Summary: Events send McKay truly adrift, as he is faced taking on the universe to save the man he loved from the people he spent years trying to protect: Earth
Info: This story goes total AU during Season 4 episodes Adrift & Life Line and Carter NEVER makes it to Atlantis
"Take a left at the next hall," Elizabeth said. Her eyes were closed as she spoke, and Rodney could tell she was seeing everything that was happening in order to guide John and Ronon as they made their way through the Asurans' city, in search of a ZPM to save Atlantis from dying in the midst of space. "The first room on your right, enter there."
A moment of silence, fills the 'Jumper as Rodney was doing his best to keep an eye on Elizabeth's nanites and the rest of the Replicators in the city.
"I see a ZPM," John's voice said over the radio.
"No, don't touch it," Elizabeth said. "They'll notice the power drain."
"That's a risk we'll have to take, we didn't come here to window shop," John said.
"Then we might as well make it worth our while," Elizabeth said, a grin crossing her face. "Go back into the hall, I'll open a storage area, take the cart you'll find there, back to the room you're in now," she instructed.
"Elizabeth," John protested.
"Trust me, John," She said, and Rodney knew that, that was what it bottomed down to, did John trust her or not.
More silence filled the 'Jumper and Rodney felt nervous wondering what John would do.
"Okay, I got the cart and we're heading back to the room," John said.
Suddenly things were blurry and Rodney felt dizzy.
"Rodney?" Elizabeth said her hand on his shoulder.
"I'm okay, just...skipped lunch," He/he said, feeling that had to be the cause. He pulled out a powerbar and began to open it. He looked to Elizabeth and said, "Want one?"
Elizabeth smiled warmly at him. "No thank you, Rodney. I'm good."
"Okay, now what?" John's voice filled the air.
Elizabeth closed her eyes again. After a moment, "Take the drawers, they're heavy, be very careful with them," she instructed.
"What's in them?" John asked.
"What we need," Elizabeth smiled, but Rodney saw something sad about it and wondered why.
"Elizabeth?" Rodney asked.
"They know something is wrong, they are sending a patrol to investigate," Elizabeth said.
"John, you need to hurry, they're heading in your direction," Rodney said, the 'Jumper radio open for both to speak and hear.
"Sorry, Rodney," Elizabeth said, and before Rodney could act, not sure why he didn't, she was out of the 'Jumper and through the door of the city.
"Rodney," John said, as if he'd been calling him, which couldn't be the case, it's only been a moment...right?
"She...she left the ship, I think she went to stop them...I..." Rodney didn't know what to say, he was still puzzled on why he didn't stop her.
"Damn it, why didn't you stop her?" John demanded.
"She was too fast," was all Rodney could honestly say.
"Not his fault, John," Elizabeth said over her personal radio. "But you do need to hurry; I don't know how much time I can buy you."
Rodney sat there listening to John tell Elizabeth off for her recklessness and Elizabeth telling John that what he was transporting would be the key to saving Atlantis. He was so nervous he forgot what he was doing before, searching the Asurans code to find some weakness, to stop them from searching out Atlantis again and destroying it.
Seconds felt like hours, but soon he heard them coming, the sound of footsteps then running and something rattling on a cart. He got up from his seat and went to the edge of the 'Jumper and felt a smile of relief fill his face, seeing his friends coming through the door. He exited the 'Jumper and grabbed the cart to help push it up the ramp into the 'Jumper.
"What's wrong?" Rodney heard John ask. He turned to ask what did he mean, but John was not talking to him, but to Elizabeth who was stopped at the foot of the ramp to the ship. "Elizabeth?" Rodney asked, concern creeping into his chest as she looked like a statue.
"Elizabeth," John said with concern, as he started to move from the cart, which was now inside the ship, toward the exit, when Elizabeth's eyes snapped open. They were cold for a moment, then, they shifted and she looked at Ronon.
"I...I want... Sateda..." Elizabeth stuttered, her eyes pleading.
The sound of a blaster filled the air, once, twice, three times, along with a cry of "NO!"
"No!" Rodney shouted as he shot up from bed, sweat pouring down his face. He was breathing hard as fear, panic and memory of the event filled him. He cupped his face in his hands; the recollection of Ronon killing Elizabeth was fresh, even if it had occurred over three weeks ago. He could still smell the stench that filled the air...the only thing that could be left behind as the body had been destroyed for even in grief John had known nothing could remain for the Asurans to collect. Ronon had finished the job and the two were still not talking to each other. It didn't matter that Elizabeth had prearranged this execution should she be taken over...not wanting her death on John's shoulders. Sateda her code word, that she was losing and for Ronon to act. Even now it stung deep, though Rodney could understand, but the guilt was his to bear, for if not for him, she'd never have been in that situation in the first place. Of course then they'd probably not have gotten the ZPMs they so desperately needed and Elizabeth would still be dead.
Rodney got out of bed and stumbled to his bathroom to shower and shave. Today, he and John were going to Earth to deliver a ZPM via the Midway station, just now online. They were to debrief and then be informed of who would be taking over Atlantis, though Rodney suspected whoever it was, was probably already on the Apollo, who they were told was already on its way back. No one on Earth anticipated the Midway station would be online so soon, but Carter and Lee pulled it off. Though Rodney was sure they wouldn't have been able to do it so soon without his aid, but at the moment, Rodney didn't seem to care.
Rodney didn't waste too much time getting ready to go, packing light, hoping he'd be able to do some shopping on Earth once he got there. He already had a list from his science department on what he needed to bring back, or face their wrath, or more importantly Zelenka's wrath, as but for a few, Rodney didn't care what they all wanted...to a point. Well, he cared, he just didn't want them to know how much. Rodney shook his head, his thoughts having drifted, and finished gathering what he needed and headed to the control room.
Once there he saw John was already by the gate, talking with Teyla and Lorne, probably giving final instructions on what to do or not do, during his absence. Rodney saw Ronon on the edge by the door, wanting to come in, but not doing so without being invited. Rodney sighed, for he knew it was hurting Ronon that John wasn't talking to him. He just wondered if Ronon understood it wasn't that John was mad at him for doing what needed to be done, but that he was mad at himself for not being trusted by Elizabeth in this matter. For not finding a way to save her or to prevent it being necessary in the first place and being mad at Rodney for not listening when John told him not to use the nanites to save Elizabeth when she lay dying on the table from the Asurans' attack. No, Ronon was probably the only one John was not really mad at, but John had to communicate with Rodney, he was chief of science, he didn't have to talk to anyone else...except Lorne and Teyla. No, Ronon probably didn't understand this, so Rodney made a mental note to explain it to him after they got back. Perhaps by then he and John could work out their own differences and then Rodney would be able to smack some sense into the man, and have him explain it to Ronon.
Rodney headed to the consol where Zelenka stood, overseeing the new connections to the Midway station. "I emailed you everything you should need to know. Please, try and keep the morons from blowing anything up. I want my city intact when I get back, thank you very much," Rodney snapped.
"Ano, ano, yes, yes," Zelenka said, not really paying attention to Rodney. Then he looked up with a puzzled look. "Strange, Midway contacted us, asked when you were coming. I said soon, and then they shut down. Chuck just notice you had important message, perhaps you should read it."
"Dial the gate, we need to get this show on the road," John shouted from down below.
Rodney moved and looked down as Chuck started to dial the gate. "I just got an important message, give me a minute," he shouted down.
"You have 38 minutes," John said back, his voice even, but the tone a bit cold. Rodney knew he was mad, but trying to be professional.
Rodney moved to another console and began logging in so he could open the message that was encrypted, but it was easy enough to figure out. In the background he could hear the gate being established and Chuck announcing they were ready to send John and soon Rodney across. As the screen in front of him began to form, having taken precious moments to be deciphered, he heard Midway state the all clear and John calling out he would wait for Rodney on the other side.
It took a moment for the words on the screen to process in his brain. "John, no, wait!" he shouted and jumped from his seat and ran to the balcony, but it was too late, John was more than halfway through the gate, he never heard Rodney's warning. Rodney tapped the radio he and John wore out of habit, "John it's a trap..." he started but John's words flowed back, somehow John got his radio on.
"Can I help you gentlemen?" John asked.
"Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, you are hereby placed under arrest, please surrender your weapon and come with us peaceably," a strange man, military by the tone, said.
"On what charge?" John asked, his voice sounding calm to most, but Rodney could hear the tightness in it.
"You are charged with the deaths of Colonel Marshall Sumner and Doctor Elizabeth Weir. Also for conduct unbecoming an officer, and treason against the United States of America," the man said.
"What?" Rodney snapped, catching the eye of everyone in the control room. It was then that Rodney realized that John had his radio still on, but on their private channel, everyone not needing to hear them banter or in most recent times, bitch to each other.
"We have orders to arrest Doctor Rodney McKay as soon as he steps through the gate as well," the man's voice said.
"Well, pity he won't be joining us," John said, his voice firm, but yet sounding resigned.
"This is bullshit, John," Rodney said, not caring if no one else knew what was happening and he was ignoring their questions and looks.
"I'm the one who is responsible for everything that happens on Atlantis, you don't need Doctor McKay..." John said.
"Don't do this," Rodney pleaded, knowing it was John's guilt that was making him surrender to this absurdity.
"None the less, we have our orders," the man said and the sound of men moving and cuffs being closed came clearly over the radio.
Rodney felt the fear squeeze his heart, as he turned in a small circle trying to figure out what to do, still ignoring the others around him. He could hear Lorne asking Midway what was happening, but they only said they were waiting for Dr. McKay to arrive and would they hurry him up.
"Like hell," Rodney snapped. "John," he said, hoping the man still had his radio. "We'll get you out of this. This is bullshit and you know it!"
"Keep everyone safe," John said.
"Who is this?" the man's voice Rodney had heard telling John of the bogus charges filled the radio.
Rodney pulled his radio off and moved to the console where Chuck was sitting and slammed down the button that would shut the gate down. It took a moment to realize he was panting as if he had run a small marathon. He looked to see Zelenka, Teyla, and Lorne looking at him expectantly.
"Dial Earth," Rodney ordered Chuck. "Contact the SGC and pipe it into..." he hesitated, it wasn't Elizabeth's office anymore, though no one had found the courage to pack the items within it. "...the office," he said and headed there. He needed to know what the hell was going on. He also knew who would be following him. He stopped at the door and turned to face the small group, joined by Ronon now. "They arrested Colonel Sheppard," he said quietly, for he didn't want this information to leak out into the city. Even though he knew the gossip of what might be happening was already running wild, he could contain this.
"On what grounds?" Lorne asked.
"The deaths of Sumner and Weir," Rodney said.
"I shot Weir," Ronon said, the guilt clear in his voice.
"This is all bullshit, and I'm going to get to the bottom of this. Just..." he gestured for them to stay outside, closed the office door and took a seat. He keyed up Elizabeth's laptop, for he knew all her codes, which he didn't think was so unusual, for John knew his, so why shouldn't he know hers. He also knew John's, Johnny Cash and Evil Knevil' dates of birth plus 16 for the F-16 John boasted about flying over and over again. Seeing General Landry's face snapped even the slightest fond memory he had out of his head. "What the hell is going on? They arrested Sheppard. What assine idiot would do such a thing?" Rodney demanded.
"Dr. McKay, you are supposed to be on the Midway station, you should report there and we can discuss this when you get to Earth," Landry said, his expression seeming normal as if he had no idea that the same soldiers where there to arrest him as well.
"You think I'm stupid, you must if you think I'm going to hand myself over to be arrested for no reason!" Rodney snapped. "And what is this crap about charging Sheppard with Sumner's and Weir's death? The SGC knows what happened to Sumner..."
Landry cut Rodney off. "We only have Sheppard's word for the events that surrounded Colonel Sumner's death. Also for the death of Doctor Weir."
"What? What the hell are you getting at? Sumner was dying, John prevented the Wraith Caretaker from obtaining the coordinates to Earth, and you all knew this. You cleared him already on this. Also, the reports were clear; Elizabeth made the arrangement with Ronon, fearing what might happen. He..."
"Wasn't the one who infected her in the first place, that was you, Doctor McKay. That is why you are being charged with her death and conspiracy to take over Atlantis. You will surrender yourself to Major Lorne..."
"Have you gone senile or has the Trust paid you enough pimp money to sell the last of your brain cells to them? This is insane. I will not turn myself over to anyone. Who ever is behind this doesn't know..."
"The order has come from the President of the United States, McKay. Colonel Sheppard will be charged with Treason, conspiracy to take over Atlantis in conjunction with you, and conduct unbecoming an officer. There's no room for fags in this man's military, McKay, we sure as hell aren't going to let them traipse around the universe giving us all back here on Earth a bad name," Landry said.
Rodney was shocked by the viciousness in the General's tone. He couldn't believe it. The SGC were supposed to weed out such bigotry, surely O'Neill wouldn't name one as his successor. "I can't believe..." he said.
"That includes you. The two of you are a disgrace," Landry said, not listening to Rodney's shocked voice.
"What? What do you mean us...there is no us," Rodney protested.
"I have two very creditable witnesses, McKay, more than enough to get Sheppard on charges of conduct unbecoming alone," Landry said, his face looking uglier as his disgust of the situation appeared on his face.
"They're lying, nothing has ever..." Rodney protested.
"Save it, McKay, no one here will believe a word you say. You're going to rot in a nice tiny cell where you belong," Landry snapped. "If you want a tiny window, I suggest you get your ass to the Midway station now!"
"You're insane. Is this some kind of foothold situation? Or are you the Trust after all. I don't believe this," he said more to himself than Landry.
"Believe this, McKay. You will surrender yourself to Major Lorne, where he will send you to the Midway station where you will be taken into custody. If you do not, I promise you after Sheppard is found guilty at his trial he'll be taken out and shot. If you cooperate, he can rot in a nice tiny cell like you, but not in Leavenworth..."
Rodney's brain whirled in a million different directions, fear, panic, love for John, love for his city, love for Elizabeth and her sacrifice. He knew if he stepped through the gate, they were both lost. No one would fight as hard for John as he would, and no one would fight as hard for himself but John. He knew the others would protest, but it wasn't the same. Everything would be lost...he couldn't let it happen.
"No," Rodney snapped harshly, shutting Landry up. "You listen to me. You will send Colonel Sheppard back here to Atlantis where he belongs and drop all this bogus insanity, or Earth can kiss Atlantis goodbye. As it is, we're seceding from Earth as of now! You want any access to our technology you'll have to negotiate for it like any other potential ally. You can start by sending back Sheppard, unharmed," Rodney said firmly.
"So, you admit there was a plot..." Landry smirked.
"No, there was never a plot or conspiracy. But we in Atlantis will not let you hang Sheppard out to dry as some Judas, which he is not. I don't know what is going on, but I do know this is some insane plot on your end to get a hold of this city. Well, it won't work. John Sheppard is a good and honorable man, I can't say that about you or that idiot you put into the White House. After this the only person I'll talk to is O'Neill, and he better have Sheppard ready to return with him," Rodney snapped and cut the connection.
He was glad he heard the gate shut down, for he forgot to tell Chuck to do it. He was too busy feeling overwhelmed as a cold sweat overcame him. "What did you do?" he asked himself.
He didn't know how long he sat there, but hearing the gate beginning to dial up again, he dashed from his seat an into the control room. He hit a few keys and the gate shut down before it finished dialing. He leaned back in his chair and saw everyone was staring at him. He looked around, saw more concern than suspicion and it touched him, but he'd made his choice, and in truth it was too late to do anything else, except surrender and deep down he knew he couldn't do that.
Without a word, he began keying in commands, while he talked. "Conference room, Command staff, twenty minutes," he said, then everything went dark for a moment, then only the lights came back up, all but his console were dark. After a second his too went dark. He stood up and tapped his radio three times, the last tap echoed on the PA system of the city. "This is McKay. Long story short, Atlantis has been shut down except for vital systems. No one has access but me, so don't try unless you want to make things worse. Just sit tight or better yet, go to your quarters. Command staff will be meeting in twenty minutes; you'll get more information afterwards. McKay out." Rodney turned and headed back to...the office.
"McKay, what the hell is going on?" Lorne demanded.
Zelenka cursed in Czech for he couldn't get into any systems either, having been ordered by Lorne to try.
"Twenty minutes," Rodney snapped.
"Rodney," Teyla said worry in her voice and on her face.
"Please...twenty minutes," Rodney said, hoping they understood he needed this time to regroup.
"Twenty minutes," Teyla said, nodding her understanding, placing a hand on Lorne's arm, letting him know he needed to be patient and not push by the look she gave him along with her gesture.
Rodney nodded, thankful she trusted him. He then went into the office and closed the door. He leaned his back on the now locked door and wiped his face with both hands, wondering what the hell he was going to do now. "You were the strategist between us," Rodney said to the air, referring to John's ability to plan. "Fuck," Rodney said, though he hated cursing, a sign of small minds, but he felt screwed. He had committed the city to a course of action without even consulting anyone in it. But if he didn't, he had nothing to bargain with, but would they bargain? Would they keep their word even if they did? Was it a Trust issue, Foothold, or had Earth gone insane? Rodney didn't know, and frankly didn't care. They had John and he couldn't go there and do anything without winding up in prison himself. He didn't know who to trust on Earth and didn't know how to get in touch with them anyway. All he had was Atlantis...and perhaps its people.
Rodney moved and sat behind Elizabeth's desk and felt a small headache coming on. He reached into the side drawer of the desk and without thought reached for a hidden compartment in the back; there was a large bottle of Tylenol, Tylenol PM, Scotch, five pound bag of Kona coffee, two large Swiss chocolate bars, and two CDs. Rodney stared in shock, more over the fact that he seemed to know these items where here; his vision blurred.
Rodney was sitting in the 'Jumper waiting and listening to Elizabeth.
"Trust me, John," She said, and Rodney knew that, that was what it bottomed down to, did John trust her or not.
More silence filled the 'Jumper and Rodney felt nervous wondering what John would do. He barely blinked as Elizabeth moved toward him and froze, her hand in his mind, just like one of the Replicators had done in the past.
The scene changed and they were in her office, Rodney sitting across from Elizabeth. He blinked and looked around confused. "Um..."
"I need you to listen Rodney; there isn't a lot of time. In a moment I'm going to give you all the information you need to operate those drawers John is bringing, but you must, must not let Earth have them/. They are how the Ancients created ZPMs Rodney. We have the minerals, but we never had the actual method, since they are missing from city. If Earth, especially now, gets a hold of them, there is no telling what they'd do. It's a key to almost unlimited power, and we both know what absolute power does, right?"
"Corrupts absolutely," Rodney said, trying to process all this. "Elizabeth, what's going on?'
"I'm probably not going to make it out of this, Rodney. I don't trust anyone but you to look out for our city. Though I trust John implicitly, he's military ,and he'll follow orders if push comes to shove, because he's not only a good man, but a good soldier. Even if the IOA and the American military are too stupid to realize what they have," Elizabeth said. "Bottom line, Rodney, is I'm making you my successor. Even if they name someone else to run the city, you will be its guardian, keep it safe and protect everyone, especially John."
"Everything you need to know I'll explain by a faster method, but I need you to be clear on some things, thus this..." she gestured to their surroundings. She then proceeded to show him her secret drawer. "For headaches of all kinds, and to sleep at night when it gets really bad...just please don't mix them, okay?" she said, smiling warmly at him. Then she pulled out two CDs. "This is your proof that not only is this conversation real, but the danger to Atlantis, John specifically, is also real. They want someone here they can control, and I have too many ties to too many people who won't cross me, not if they don't want what is on the second CD to come to light. But if anything happens to me, they'll jump to grab both my seat and John's. You can't let them. Also, hide the drawers, tell them they contained a ZPM each, they don't need to know the truth. You'll have all my knowledge, it's all I can do." Elizabeth said.
Rodney looked at her like she was crazy, "What...ah...how...who..." He tapped his radio, but there was none. He looked and saw no one outside of the office. He looked back at Elizabeth with concern and a bit of fear. "Why?"
"As I said, I chose you to be my successor," Elizabeth said.
"I'm still in the 'Jumper, and you're," he gestured the hand slip the Replicators did to them. He then looked hurt. "I'm the only choice," he said.
"Only partly true, but I'm not lying to you Rodney, if nothing else, believe this. When you remember..."
"What do you mean, when?" Rodney snapped.
"...believe me, you are my choice, not because you were the only one here, but because you are the right man for the job. John wouldn't let anyone else protect him, and the city means everything to you both, just like it does me. Please be careful," Elizabeth said.
"Wait, what do you mean I won't remember."
"I'm going to download the rest, you'll have access to it once you remember this conversation, but I'll make sure it doesn't overwhelm you. I...love you too, Rodney," She said, then it all went blank.
Rodney lifted his head from the desk, once more panting hard. He blinked and wiped the sweat from his face. He looked at the time displayed on his watch. He still had over twelve minutes before he had to go and explain everything. He pulled the CDs from the drawer, the first one was marked "CA-E-Status" the Second was marked "Back up" which was crossed out and under it written "Hail Mary". Rodney gave a small smile knowing it was John's influence. He still had Elizabeth's laptop running, so he inserted the first CD and after a moment began scanning it. There were documents and correspondences between Earth and Elizabeth. There were even copies of newspaper articles. Seemed Elizabeth was watching the Presidential elections very closely. Rodney zoomed in on some of the notes Elizabeth had made.
...Senator Dawson worse than Kinsey, send support to Senator Kessler. Dig deeper into Kessler, looks likely...
Rodney thought for a moment, and if he was correct, Dawson as the name of the idiot sitting in the White House right now. He didn't pay much attention, but he recalled John and a few other Americans bitching about it.
As Rodney read more and more, his face paled, for he never knew how much Elizabeth fought for their city and keep not only John but him in their positions. It almost seemed that this Dawson had it in for John personally, but John never said a word about knowing this asshole, and he was sure he would, at least to him.
The last item that caught his eye was a private email from O'Neill to Weir, warning her of the crackdown in the US Military and how Dawson was trying to push out the other countries who were not willing to play ball by his terms. Canada was one of them. He also warned to make sure Sheppard kept his nose clean along with McKay, that even with all her influence, one slip and they could be out. That Dawson has most of the IOA in debt to him already.
The last line of it all made Rodney shiver.
.... Dawson is dangerous. Watch your backs...
Rodney leaned back, his eyes wide. "Oh, Elizabeth," he said, wondering why she never said anything. But then he knew. John would as he's already done, be the sacrificial lamb, if it meant keeping the city and it's people safe. And him, he would have gone off on a huge tangent and probably make matters worse.
"Worse than seceding from Earth?" Elizabeth said.
"Oh heavens, I've gone insane," Rodney said, seeing Elizabeth standing on the other side of the desk.
"No, you're not insane, Rodney. I promised you'd have access to all my knowledge, and not to let it overwhelm you. This is how I'm doing it. You see me, hear me, but I'm not really here. I have no control over what you do or say. If this bothers then you only have to say so and I will fade away, not to return unless you want me back...my knowledge will still be there...you just have to think about me and opening a file...just like a computer," Elizabeth's image said.
"Please, I can't afford to lose it. There is too much at stake," Rodney said, wiping his eyes. He looked up, Elizabeth was gone, but he could feel, a part of her was still with him, just to the side. It was strange, but it was there none the less. She had done exactly what she said she would. "How do I know you're not controlling me now?" he asked.
"Only you can answer that, Rodney. I made sure that you were able to access everything when it was needed, there was nothing more I could or would do. If you have no true use for this information, then in time, like all unused thoughts it will fade. However, it shall be available so long as you wish. My voice is imprinted so you know which is your knowledge and which is mine...there was no attempt to control or manipulate..."
"But you did, you manipulated my brain...my brain, Elizabeth! You could have screwed it up; I could be a vegetable now. You could have cost me the one brain cell that might make the difference between saving the city and death. How could you?" Rodney accused.
"Sorry, Rodney," Elizabeth said, but it was accompanied with the memory of Elizabeth running out of the 'Jumper.
"You made sure I wouldn't stop you, then you...then you..." Rodney closed his eyes, unsure of how to feel. He felt betrayed, violated, angry, hurt, and helpless.
"You are not helpless, Rodney. If you truly wish, this information can be erased. All you have to do is concentrate on my password code for my laptop, backwards, and repeat the sequence six times consecutively, and this information will vanish permanently." Elizabeth's voice said. "Once gone via this method, it can never be retrieved, so please be sure, Rodney. I only left it to help you...nothing more." Elizabeth said, her voice sounding so sincere and like her.
Rodney started to think about what she said, then the numbers, but stopped, for what if he did need to know things that he didn't know now? What if what she knew...knows ...could help save John. "Can you save John?" He heard himself ask.
"Unknown. I am only able to respond independently with a limited degree, again, this aspect can be turned off if it makes you feel more comfortable. Of course you will then not be sure of whose knowledge you are accessing," Elizabeth's voice said. "You also do not need to speak out loud, to access this knowledge. Again, just picture opening the file and access it." Her voice said.
Rodney thought long and hard and it was true, he could see it in his mind. A file, like on a laptop screen, marked "Elizabeth" and he could access it at will. There were folders broken down by subject matter. Thankfully, there was no emotions attached to any of it, it was just thoughts...knowledge. A part of Elizabeth, a part, Rodney couldn't find in himself to get rid of. He did however turn off the 'voice' in his head. He had enough problems without thinking he was crazy or talking to himself, which he knew he would do, regardless of it not being needed.
"Thank you," he said softly, still torn about how he felt about what Elizabeth did. Feeling that being changed may have altered her to make her take such drastic actions, or perhaps the possibility was already there, just not the opportunity...he didn't know and he couldn't worry about it now. He had to make plans and he needed help. He just hoped he could convince the people waiting in the other room to help or he was really in trouble.
"Sir, McKay didn't come through, but they have Sheppard," Samantha Carter's voice came across in a whisper over Jack O'Neill's private secure cell phone created by Carter personally.
"How is Sheppard holding up?" Jack asked, knowing things were going to get bad fast, and not sure if there was a damn thing he could do about it. The new President was a total jackass on a power trip and it seemed he had plenty of powerful friends along for the ride. It didn't help one iota that Landry had jumped on the President's band wagon, and was participating in this farce. Jack was still hoping his choice in the man to take over the SGC wasn't so wrong, but it wasn't looking too good at the moment. As for Jack himself, his own position was precarious at best, and if he wanted to keep his foot in the game, he had to tread carefully.
"I'm afraid it's like you said, sir. He's taking it lying down. He only speaks up when they mention the charges against McKay, nothing else. Sir, what are we going to do? I over heard the General tell McKay they'd have Sheppard taken out to be shot for treason if McKay didn't surrender."
"What did he do?" Jack asked, for if he didn't come through, what was he hoping for.
"He officially seceded the city from Earth," Carter said.
"What?" Jack said, and then quieted his voice, as this was not an official conversation and he couldn't allow it to be noticed. It was bad enough how much he was watched, he didn't need to bring more suspicion on himself or Carter. "He what?" he asked again, but in a softer voice.
"He seceded, he told the General that if they wanted anything from Atlantis they needed to negotiate it, like any other ally, then that they shouldn't contact them unless it was you with Sheppard by your side ready to go back. Sir, we both know they're not going to do it, this is only feeding into their hands," Carter said.
"True, but it's too late for that, they moved before we could do anything and off hand, it's the only thing McKay could do. They want the city; they already feel they have the SGC..." Jack sighed. "I'll have to think about this. Keep an eye on Sheppard if you can. Let him know we don't all believe this crap, but don't bring yourself under suspicion, it's bad enough they've locked Teal'c and Vala up and shipped Mitchell to the Alpha site. You and Jackson have to keep a low profile and keep me informed. I'm trying to find who I can trust here, and it's like walking a damn minefield. If Lizzy hadn't..." Jack stopped, for the memory of Elizabeth Weir hurt, for he admired that woman greatly. "Her list helped, but political tides are changing faster than moods of a teenager in puberty," Jack said.
"I understand, sir. But it may just be me soon. Daniel ignored me and once more went toe-to-toe with Landry about Teal'c and Vala, and he may be getting assigned to PX3-725...the ice planet with the ancient runes that Daniel said were nothing more than bad poetry, but had lots of minerals to be mined," Carter said.
"Crap, can't he listen just once, when I give an order. You'd think by now he'd know better," Jack said, wiping his face, feeling his age.
"You know Daniel, Sir," Carter said, the smile heard in her voice.
"Yeah, I do. But still...see what you can do. Let him know that he should do what he must to stay at the SGC or he'll not be in a position to help anyone, got it? Hell, I don't care if he has to apologize to the old coot in charge of that base, but I need you both there. Things are hot as Netu as it is. I can't do anything if you're both out of commission, got it?"
"Yes, sir. I understand. I see what I can do. I have to go, sir, someone is coming. I'll contact you again at the prearranged time. Carter out."
Jack closed his cell phone and tucked it away inside his inner shirt pocket, his regular kept in his pants pocket. He leaned back in his chair and ran his hand through his grey hair, wishing not for the first time, that Hammond was still with them, that Hayes was still President, and that he was a hell of a lot younger and fishing at his cabin. But duty called, a duty higher than even the President's office...keeping Earth and its people safe, that included those in Atlantis. Somehow bad people have gotten a hold of the right seats of power and he could feel in his bones that the shit was about to hit the fan big time. That this crap with Sheppard was just the first step, for there were still a few who wouldn't have allowed Shepard removed, but under these circumstances...they didn't have a leg to stand on. They were trumped charges, Jack knew this, but it seemed he couldn't stop them either. Kessler was gunning for a sure fire way of removing Sheppard and this just fell into the bastard's lap.
"Poor bastard," Jack said, not sure if he meant Sheppard or McKay...both really. He leaned back in his chair, mentally going over the list of political powers that Elizabeth said to use should something happen to her, and then grabbed the phone. He'd rather face the Goa'uld than politicians, but war was hell and this...this was definitely war!
Rodney brought Elizabeth's laptop with him into the conference room. He could see everyone was there, that mattered. He mentally closed the door and took a seat in his usual place, noticing that John's seat and Elizabeth's had been left open. He felt a bit better that he had no urge to sit at the head, mentally relaxing about that part of things for now.
"Okay, McKay, what's going on?" Lorne asked, sounding ticked off, but trying to be patient.
"They arrested Sheppard as I said," Rodney said flatly, as he began setting Elizabeth's laptop up so he could show the CD he viewed earlier.
"Why?" Lorne snapped, as did Ronon and Keller.
"Why would they do such a thing?" Teyla asked, and Zelenka seconded her words.
Rodney took a deep breath, he needed to be in charge, he just had to think what would either John or Elizabeth do, and then do it. "A long story short, and I only have some of the pieces, someone wants me and John out of the way so they can put their own people here. Now that Elizabeth is...gone...so is the political backing that was, apparently protecting Sheppard and myself. They have charged the Colonel with the deaths of both Sumner and Weir, conspiracy to commit treason, namely take over Atlantis, and conduct unbecoming an officer. Seems someone lied and said they saw us...well unbecoming," Rodney said.
"That is a load of horse manure," Lorne snapped. "I admit that you two should have been more careful, but the rest is just..."
"What do you mean, been more careful? There is nothing between Sheppard and me. I repeat, nothing!" he snapped, angry because he so wanted there to be, but there wasn't even a kiss.
"Please," Lorne scoffed. The rest in the room seemed to be just as doubtful of his words.
"You idiotic morons!" Rodney snapped. "You'd think Sheppard would do anything to put this city at risk, if he could avoid it? Do you think he cares about himself ? No, he has the self preservation instinct of a Lemming! That's why he'll sit there and take it all, blaming himself out of guilt that he couldn't protect Sumner and Weir...but he did nothing, I repeat for the last time, nothing to disgrace him or the oaths he took. Do I make myself perfectly clear here?" Rodney challenged, looking each and every one in the eye.
"I am sorry to doubt your word," Teyla said. "I am also saddened to hear that as well."
"Yeah, always thought I was looking the other way, never thought there was nothing to look away from," Lorne said, looking ashamed of himself.
"Well, it's probably because of you bozos that someone got it into their pea brains to lie about seeing us kiss, thinking that if asked, John would admit it. But, ha! He won't as nothing happened. Of course, that's not going to save him, they're out to get him and they admitted the trial is rigged.
"Wait, who is they? Trial?" Keller asked, looking really concerned.
"Here it's easier if you watch. Oh, for the record, they're after me too. But they can only charge me with attempt of conspiracy to take over the city, as I'm not an American citizen and I'm a civilian. Here," Rodney said, and hit play on the recording of his conversation with Landry. He was glad old habits die hard, as he almost didn't realize he had recorded it, he was so angry. He was glad he did.
Rodney sat back and listed to Landry's threats and watched everyone's face. It was strange, but before he'd barely understood what he was seeing, but now he could just hear a hint of Elizabeth's voice in his mind telling him who was angry, who was scared and who wasn't following exactly what happened and what it all meant. He didn't see anyone looking at him like he should be in jail, at least that was a start.
"You seceded from Earth?" Keller asked, looking shocked and pale. "Without asking us?"
"What did you expect me to do? Put it to a vote?" Rodney snapped, and then took a deep breath; this was not the time to lose his temper. "I'm sorry. But I stand by what I said. There was no time. What do you think would happen if we tried to vote about it...how long do you think that would take? The Apollo is on its way and I'd bet the last of my coffee and chocolate that Sheppard's, Weir's and my replacement is onboard. I also bet there are plenty of fresh soldiers onboard to make sure no one interfered with the change of command...from anyone," he said, looking at Ronon, Teyla, Zelenka directly. He then looked at Lorne. "You'd have been given a direct order, one that if you disobeyed you'd would probably be locked up right along side of us...is everyone getting the picture now?"
"How is that possible, they just arrested John, moments ago?" Teyla asked, looking confused and angry.
"The Apollo was forced to make an immediate turn around, which means once they got word of what happened, the decision was made and action taken. When the Midway station came fully online they ordered me and Sheppard through the gate under the pretense of a debriefing and of course, wanted one of our ZPMs. They actually wanted two..."
"Two, city runs on three, bad enough they wanted one...they already have one, why so greedy?" Zelenka growled as he took off his glasses and cleaned them with his shirt, a habit he had when he was upset.
"I told them no, and that with one more they'd have two like we would have. As for greedy, you nailed in one, Radek. They're greedy as hell and want Atlantis under their full control and I'm sorry to say, that with Elizabeth...gone...it opened the flood gates," Rodney said.
"Do you know who's behind this?" Lorne asked.
"You saw who on the recording, Lorne. It's your very own Commander in Chief, he ordered Sheppard's and my arrest, and from some information I found in Elizabeth's desk..." he brought up the CD and started showing the different articles. "If you want to look at it in more detail that's fine, but I don't want it out of this room," Rodney said.
Several curses in several languages filled the room as email, article and news clippings shifted by painting an ugly picture of how things were shaping up in the United States, who was taking more and more control over the Stargate, and pushing out other countries like Canada. It also seemed that China and Russia where joining the Americans in their vie for control of the IOA and were winning.
"I didn't have much time to act and I didn't have anything personally they wanted...except Atlantis. And I know Sheppard and Weir would want to keep the city out of their hands and that's what I'm going to do. But...I could really use your help. The Apollo will be here in a matter of days and then, there's Sheppard."
"I don't know what we can do about the Colonel, but I will help keep our city free of tyrants and money-baggers," Zelenka said, nodding his agreement to support Rodney.
"What do you need?" Ronon simply asked.
"I will do whatever it takes as well, Rodney," Teyla said.
"I...I want to help," Keller said, but she didn't look so certain. "But...my father..."
Rodney understood perfectly and nodded. "I'm going to let everyone who wants to leave go. I don't want anyone here who doesn't want to be here. Plus, I'm going to kick out anyone I don't think I can trust as well. Last thing we need is someone trying to be all heroic and sabotage us," Rodney said.
"It's not that I don't want to be here..." Keller protested. "But...they may not let us go back to Earth...ever and...well..." She looked around the room, hoping someone would understand.
"You don't need to make excuses, I...know," Rodney said. "He's your only family and you don't want to be cut off from him if you have a choice. It's why you didn't come on the first wave; it's why a lot of folks didn't come. No one here, especially me is going to hold it against you, Doctor Keller," Rodney said, almost feeling like Elizabeth, but knew it was himself, as he did understand. A part of him didn't want to lose his sister either, but she was happy, had a family and they still just barely got along, and Atlantis was his home and most of those around him his family.
"I can't speak for anyone else but myself," Lorne said. "But the Colonel is a good man, a great commander and this is my home. You can count on me."
"Do you have a plan?" Ronon asked.
"I have some ideas, but first thing's first. We need to get everyone into their quarters, then I'll announce what's going on and then we give everyone one hour to pack and then dial the gate to the Midway station. There is no iris but there will be plenty of soldiers there waiting I'm sure." Rodney said.
"You sure there is no iris?" Keller asked, looking concerned.
"I went over the plans with Carter and no, only Earth and here have the address to the station. But if we need too, we can have the Major here say he's tossing me through, but they'll figure out it's a lie very quickly," Rodney said, with a small smirk.
"Okay, that'll take care of those who don't want to be here," Lorne said.
"Not fully, what if someone lies, like Rodney said, and tries to sabotage us?" Zelenka asked.
"I hate to say this, but...we should run the Big Brother program," Rodney said, looking like he rather eat a lemon than say what he just did.
"No, Rodney, that is not good idea," Zelenka protested.
"What is this...Big Brother...program?" Teyla asked.
"Basically it's a program that will monitor everyone's activities and if they are doing something they are not supposed to or in a location they do not belong it will alert someone else...and Radek is right, that it is an evasion of privacy, but what else do you suggest?" Rodney asked, looking around.
"How about trust," Teyla advised. "If we are united in this cause then we must stick together and support each other. If we create barriers and mistrust we will fail."
Rodney sighed. "Okay, we'll give it a shot, and Major, you can just beef up security around the sensitive areas and Radek, same for codes and lab areas with access...but if something big and bad happens..." he warns everyone. He sees they all nod they understand, but he doubts it. "Okay, let's take care of this stage first. Once everyone who is staying is settled, I'll establish limited access to the city for a bit, and we can regroup to discuss what happens next. Think people, we have a ship load of military heading our way, we have a city to defend, feed and run, while trying to save Sheppard's ass once again. We'll meet back here after dinner...agreed?" Rodney saw everyone nod.
Rodney looked to Lorne. "Once everyone is where they should be, let me know, I'll make the announcement. I'll have your men who wish to stay or go contact you." He turned to Zelenka, "Same for you with the scientists. If anyone complains about their projects, let them know the data will be sent to Colonel Carter as soon as possible, she'll make sure they get it."
"I will take stock of what we have in way of supplies," Teyla said, knowing it was something that needed to be done as new priorities would need to be made shortly.
"I'll help Lorne," Ronon said.
"I'll inventory the infirmary and speak with the two people I have there for observations. Nothing serious," Keller said.
"Good, good," Rodney said. Then saw they were all still staring at him. "Go, go," he snapped, his hands waving them out of the room. He took Elizabeth's laptop and shut it down, keeping the CD inside. He got up to leave and noticed Keller was still there. "Things to do, go," he said, waving his hand, but she wasn't leaving.
"I...I want to help and...I'm sorry. But my father sent me an email, though he didn't say anything it kind of sounded off and I'm worried about him. I was going to request leave but..." Keller looked really upset.
"Jennifer, I meant what I said. No one is going to hold it against you. If Carson were still here, he'd be packing to be with his Mother...peas in a pod and all that. Do what you got to do, I understand," Rodney said.
"I'll help in anyway I can," Keller promised.
"You'll be leaving in an hour or so, not a lot you can do," Rodney said, giving her a small smile. "Go, figure out who I should put in charge of your Voodoo and chicken bones and fill them in on what's going on, okay?" Rodney asked, wanting her to leave now. He wasn't up to any more attempts of understanding or calm, he wanted to have a nice little break down in Eliza...er...the office.
"I will," Keller said and with a sincere smile, left.
Rodney went to the office, closed the door and rested on the couch, mentally blackening the windows for some privacy. He needed to think...short and long term. That's what John did and that is what he needed to do. "Crying out loud, I never...imagined something like this," he said to himself. He may have said things about being a leader and being in charge, but it was hard enough being in charge of the science department, how was he supposed to run an entire city?
One step at a time, his mind said, and he knew this was true. He closed his eyes and tried to think of things logically and in what order they needed to be addressed and by whom. He'd just have to accept he wouldn't be able to do it all by himself and 'trust' the others to help and support him. "I wish you were both here," Rodney said, missing Elizabeth and worried sick over John. He let his thoughts drift as he rested, hoping his brain would be inspired and soon.
John sat in his cell, forced to wear nothing but a military prison jumpsuit. He knew someday it would all come crashing down around him. He never got to keep what meant the most to him. At least Rodney was safe and from what little he overheard, so was the city.
After being chained like an animal, and lead through the gate to Earth, John didn't know what to expect. He then had been taken to the infirmary, made to strip and some male doctor, who didn't even bother to introduce himself, gave him a quick exam as was standard for those newly arrived to the SGC from being off world. Then made to dress and taken to an interrogation room where John had sat for probably an hour. The guards outside, talking, one having been the source that let John know indirectly that Atlantis had separated from Earth. He didn't know if he should be ticked or happy over the situation. They were charging him with conspiracy to take over the city and here it was seceding from Earth.
Afterwards, a Colonel Marks entered the room. The guy looked like a politician in a uniform and his slick and sly smile didn't help matters any. The man proceeded to lay out the charges, but wouldn't listen when he said there was no conspiracy, there was nothing between him and McKay and soon the slick smile faded into irritation and arrogance. The man made it pretty clear that it really didn't matter.
"Doesn't matter," John said in a whisper to himself. He leaned back against the wall of his cell, his legs hanging off the bed, which was the only place to sit in the cell. The guilt over Sumner and Weir was eating him alive, but he didn't and wouldn't do anything against the city and he sure as hell wouldn't drag Rodney down with him. It was why when in that first year, when they almost kissed, that he backed off. They had talked and both agreed, that in such a small community, someone would find out. That John needed to remain there in the city, where he could protect his people, those he cared about...but just how good had he been at that? John banged the back of his head lightly against the wall. He mentally went over the list of those who had been lost...Aiden, Carson and Elizabeth the three most painful on the list. The only thing that made it bearable was that it could have been Rodney and even if that was selfish, didn't make it any less true. Hopefully the man wouldn't do anything too stupid. But he had to trust Teyla and Lorne to keep things in hand, for Rodney was a genius, but sometimes he ran like the Energizer bunny, going and going but with no real direction.
John looked up to see a SF with a tray of food; at least they were going to feed him. He watched the man, his average face neutral as he moved and then turned so he was facing the area of bars made to accept and allow the prisoner to retrieve their food without opening the cell, squarely. John thought that was a bit odd.
"Compliments of Colonel Carter," the man said very, very softly. Then he turned and left just as he had arrived.
The name stirred something in John so he got up and got his tray. He knew as he moved where the observation camera was and thought about it. His meal was laid out in packed foil trays, one for each of the four sections of his divided tray. There was a spork and napkin packet, that also contained one packet of salt and pepper. There was also a sealed bottle of water. John sat on his bed and opened the largest of the tins and inside was a small meatloaf and in what looked like ketchup was the words: we believe in you. John felt something inside click; some hope that somehow this madness would work itself out. For Carter had taken a risk doing even this much, but at least John could make sure there was no evidence, just in case. He then spread the ketchup over the meat and opened the other tinfoil containers to find mash potatoes with butter on them. There was also peas with butter on them and a chocolate walnut brownie. It had a bit of icing on it saying: Keep faith.
John decided that he could keep the faith. If Carter was behind him, then there was a good chance SG-1 was as well, which meant O'Neill. Those guys here on Earth and Rodney, even in Atlantis meant there was hope and John just had to keep his head above water, keep from drowning in all this mess. He'd already said he was responsible for Weir and Sumner, he always felt that way, but he didn't murder them...failed them, perhaps, but nothing like Colonel Marks was spouting.
The meatloaf wasn't too bad for military food; at least they didn't serve him MREs. Though John wasn't too hungry, having a bit of appetite after reading Carter's message, he knew he had to keep his strength up. He ate his meal, keeping hope alive in his heart in the form of Rodney's smile. The man said they'd get him out of this, he knew his team wouldn't let him down...they never did. He was the one...no, he had to stop that right now or he'd completely cave in...he had to be strong and wait.
He spread the icing out on the brownie and took a big bite, and then looked up into the camera and gave a huge smile, hoping that Carter got his message that not only did he understand but he would: Keep the faith.
Rodney snapped his eyes open, he had an idea...a few actually. He exited the office, seeing that the control room was mostly empty except for a few, who Rodney had hoped would remain after his announcement. He spotted Ronon, gave him a nod as he passed and headed to the transporter. He wasn't too surprised when Ronon joined him.
"Where you going?" Ronon asked.
"Get my favorite computer, it's in my room," Rodney said. "And you're here because?"
"Can't be too careful," Ronon said.
Rodney knew he just gained a bodyguard and though he didn't think he needed it, he also knew Ronon was too stubborn to be talked out of it. Besides, it was nice to have the company. "Okay," he said just as they were exiting.
"You have a plan yet?" Ronon asked.
"I think so. Need to work out the details," Rodney said, as he entered his quarters and grabbed his PC from his desk, hitting a few stray keys that would allow him a window to input his access codes. Upon getting online, he headed out of his room, head down, focusing on his screen, walking to the transporter, knowing that Ronon would look out for him.
"McKay, what the hell is going on?" a man in a white lab coat said, coming out of the transporter.
"You don't belong here," Ronon said.
Rodney raised his head and wondered for a moment when Ronon had gotten his blaster out and then to the man before him. "Dr. Edgings, go to your quarters. I'll be making an announcement explaining the situation in a little while...I'm sure that was made clear to you already. If this is your way of following instructions, it's any wonder your theories are such a mess. Now, go to your room and wait just like everyone else," Rodney snapped.
"My project..." Dr. Edgings protested.
"I'm quite aware of everyone's projects and their sensitivities and timeliness. If you want to delay matters and be the downfall of your compiled data, then by all means, stand here and bitch, but until everyone is where they are supposed to be, nothing is going to move forward, or do I need to put that in smaller words for you? Go to room or project go bye-bye, that work for you?"
"You are an ass!" Dr. Edgings shouted at Rodney. "When Colonel Sheppard gets back, I'm letting him know..."
Rodney stiffened at hearing John's title, torn at missing him and proud that even this idiot had faith in him as a commander. Before he could say anything Ronon had stepped forward and grabbed the man by the arm and literately tossed him into the transporter.
"You need to leave now," Ronon said, and leaned in and touched the section where most scientists resided and dashed out of the transporter before the doors closed. Then he turned and looked at Rodney as if expecting something from him.
"I'm fine, let's just get this over with," Rodney said and stepped into the transporter, now empty of the idiot.
Back in the control room, Rodney saw Lorne nod at him. "All reports state personnel should be back in their quarters except for those here in the control room."
"Chuck, run a city wide sweep for life signs. Make sure no one is out of place," Rodney said, as he continued to type on his own PC, organizing his thoughts and plans. "The scanners are working now." He said, Rodney having released some of the systems moments ago.
"I have one person near lab seven," Zelenka said. "Everyone else is where they should be," he added.
Rodney looked up to see Lorne order his men to find out who it is and get them back to their quarters ASAP. Rodney then looked at his PC and with a few key strokes was in the correct window and proceeded to lock all vital areas of the city: labs, armory, ZPM room and access to the unexplored areas of the city or sensitive areas as well.
"Stackhouse reports it's Dr. Edgings, sir," Lorne said. The sir catching his attention, for it was not typical of the man by far. He gave Lorne a real look and saw respect and trust in him and it touched him deeply.
Rodney nodded. "Okay, get him back to his quarters." Then he played with his PC some more. "Moron, I warned him," he said, not caring if what he was about to do was petty, the man brought it on himself. With one more key stroke, the man's project was no more, all its data gone. "Pity, only had an hour to go...oh well," Rodney said, for it wasn't a vital project anyway. It was one of Elizabeth's 'charity' projects as he thought of it. He stopped and waited, but there was nothing from that side of him and he was glad, making him feel that perhaps what was said was right, it was only information nothing more. But once they got John back, he was getting a full MRI, the works and getting it all out of his head...but for now...he was okay, so it stayed.
"Okay," Rodney said and moved to stand near Chuck and Lorne. "What about..." he gestured toward the soldiers in the control room, "You know..."
Lorne smiled. "I trust the men here, sir."
For a moment, Rodney had to wonder if he trusted Lorne, but seeing Teyla and Ronon, whom he trusted completely, and Lorne was someone John trusted as well, he would take the chance. "Very well." He then tapped his radio three times, again the last one going over the PA system.
"This is McKay. I know you all have a million questions and I'm probably the worst person to explain all this but I'm going to try. Things on Earth have taken a political turn for the worst, especially for the Americans. Their new President has decided to make a power play for Atlantis and his first move was to arrest Colonel Sheppard on the charges of treason, conspiracy to take over Atlantis, the deaths of Colonel Sumner and Dr. Weir...and conduct unbecoming an officer...meaning some morons thought they could get him on being gay with me. Let me make this clear...and I mean very clear...nothing and I do mean nothing ever happened between us!" Rodney snapped. He saw some doubts in the faces of the control room techs and he seethed, for he hated being doubted. Taking a deep breath, Rodney became bold, for he knew he needed too. "I will admit...I do...care very much for Sheppard, but nothing, not even a kiss, ever happened. John puts the needs of this city above his own, always has and always will. He's a good man being targeted because of that love and dedication to this city, nothing more. They want to arrest me as well as his co-conspirator, which is why...we have officially separated from Earth." Rodney paused for he could just picture the many complained and voices crying out in protest.
"They want this city and I'll be damned if I'll let them have it. Now, I'm going to play you the last conversation I had with Earth. Take it however you like, but it's my proof of what I'm saying and how bad the situation is. Then, those who want to go back to Earth will have one hour to pack and report to Lorne if you're military and Zelenka if you're not. Be sure, people, because unless we can rectify this problem with Earth, no one will be going back anytime soon. If you have questions ask Lorne or Zelenka." Rodney said then hit play on the recording, which would be popping up on every laptop and screen that had been previously online, the audio playing over the PA system. He then moved toward his office...well, it might as well be, since he'll be using it for now, and continued to make his plans, trying to block out the nasty words and the final threat of what they would do to John. Rodney couldn't help but wonder just how long they would have and prayed it was enough.
"Rodney," Zelenka said.
Rodney looked up and saw the recording had stopped and there was dead air. "Right." He heard his voice over the PA. "Okay people, you have the situation, make your choices. Those who want to stay, know we're going make this right. Those who leave, we won't hold it against you as we know many of you have families on Earth and wouldn't have come if it was still a one way trip. One hour people, bring only what you can carry, McKay out." Rodney shut the system down and placed his radio on the command channel.
"Do you have a plan?" Zelenka asked, looking hopeful and worried.
"I think so," Rodney said, hating not being certain, but he was stepping into the unknown, with only what he learned from John and Elizabeth as his guide. He was finding the basic information from Weir....strangely helpful. He looked up and met his friend's eyes. "No one leaves with anything that belongs to Atlantis...technology or information...we don't give those bastards anything, got it? Personal information or personal items or personal data is fine. Work with Lorne. Then once they're through the gate, we'll meet then instead of after dinner." Rodney said.
"You have idea?" Zelenka said, his face beaming with hope.
Rodney nodded, knowing he needed to be confident that they could pull all this off. "Now, the sooner you get started the better," Rodney said and watched the man go, overhearing Chuck state he was staying and the communications channels were jamming with calls.
Rodney couldn't worry about that right now. He tapped his radio once. "Jennifer...I need to speak with you and your second as soon as possible," Rodney said.
"We'll be right there," Keller's voice replied.
Rodney then bent his head and got to work on his plans, short term and long term, when he heard a clearing of a throat. He looked up and blinked, realizing his had been lost in time. Ronon was there, standing guard, and with him was Keller and Dr. Biro. Rodney wasn't too surprised; she'd been with them from the beginning and the only one besides Keller with the expertise to take the job. Sadly he knew she didn't really want it and allowed Keller to take over, seemed she was getting it regardless. "Come in," he said, his voice bit raspy from disuse.
"What the hell is going on down there?" Keller asked as Biro walked right over to a mini-refrigerator Rodney seemed to have forgotten about and pulled out a bottle of water and handed it to him.
"What do you mean?" Rodney asked, and then noticed the commotion going on outside. He got up from his desk, water in hand, smiling his thanks at Biro for it and headed out of his door. He noticed that Radek, Miko and Simpson had some metal columns lined up and those wanting to go back to Earth had to pass through. Then the soldiers were going through bags and pockets, taking out bits and pieces of technology, while Miko was going over USB drives. "Oh," he said, not realizing was a mess his orders would create, but it was necessary, especially seeing how much was being confiscated.
"Everyone just shut up!" Rodney shouted and waited until everyone quieted down enough for him to talk. "Basically, those of you going back to Earth, means you are not citizens of Atlantis and therefore not entitled to her technology or property. If you don't like it, take it up with your Congress man, representative, who ever, but you're not going through the gate with it, got it? Your theories, your personal data, your personal items are just that." Rodney said.
"But what if one of the ancient tech items is personal?" someone shouted.
"I'm not sure how that's possible, but if it is, make your case to Zelenka, if he's still not sure, he can ask me. But we're not giving Earth anything until they give us our Colonel back, got it?"
"I didn't ask to go, why am I here?" Dr. Edgings demanded.
"Because you're an idiot and I don't want you here and that goes for anyone else who is being made to leave, if you're not Military and if you are, it's probably because Major Lorne thinks you one too. Now, the sooner we get you processed the sooner you all can get out my city," Rodney snapped.
"So, you were really trying to take the city?" Some idiot woman said.
"No, you imbecile, we're just trying to keep it out of those assholes' hands. I say this city is mine as I've bled at least twice as much than any of you over it, and saved it more times than any of you could possibly count. The other person who can claim that is Sheppard, but he's being placed through a mock trial and accused of treason and killing two people he admired and respected...and yes, that includes Sumner. He might not have liked the man, but he respected him...he respects the chain of command; he just doesn't respect automatons, idiots, or greedy bastards anymore than I do. Now shut up and get moving," he snapped and headed back to the office.
"Rodney..." Keller said, her tone showing she was far from happy.
"Save it," Rodney said, for he didn't have time to debate this. "Now, I need you to make this and...to consider postponing your departure." Rodney said handing over his PC, all other windows locked out, but the one showing. "I need this or something similar that will follow the parameters I set. Longer time period if possible."
"Are you serious?" Keller asked, While Biro took the computer and looked at the request with more silent thought.
"Could be dangerous," Dr. Margaret Biro said, handing the computer to Keller. "But it's doable."
"How dangerous?" Rodney asked, for he wasn't trying to harm anyone...not yet. He just prayed it didn't go that far.
"We don't know who has what type of conditions, even though they should all be basically healthy, anything is possible, especially with something like this," Keller said, looking concerned and unhappy.
"If you don't like that particular one, find another brand or wave your Voodoo chicken stick, but I need something to knock out the crew of an entire ship, fast, quick, and preferably harmless, odorless and keep them knocked out until we decide we're ready for them or at least enough time to secure them all." Rodney said.
"You're seriously going to take over the Apollo?" Margaret smirked, showing she rather liked that idea.
"How are you going to get it up there?" Keller asked.
"Look, I'll go into more details after we get this..." he gestured to the crowd down below near the gate, "settled. I need to know what you can make and how fast you can make it, and...if you're willing to do a little bit of acting, Jennifer?"
"Acting?" Keller asked. "Um...," she bit her lip. "I will be able to go back, right?" she asked.
Rodney anticipated this question. "Yes," he said confidently.
Keller looked to Biro who was grinning like a Cheshire cat, seeming to either have figured out what Rodney was planning or just liked screwing over the Apollo and those screwing with Atlantis. "Okay, I'm in," she agreed.
"Good," Rodney smiled and took his PC back. "The faster the better. I'll signal you when this mess is gone and we're about to meet. Have as much data ready by then. Also..." he looked to Biro. "Who ever your second is going to be, brief them as well, because all seconds will be at this meeting too. Go," Rodney said, waving for them to leave.
"I'm not a soldier, Rodney," Keller gripped.
"Just go...please," Rodney said, but the last word wasn't sincere at all. After she left, he unlocked his PC and checked off a few things on his to do list. He then headed out to the control room. Time was almost up and there were only a handful of people left to get screened.
"Chuck, I've activated your accounts and all your regular access. I've emailed you a project I need you to work on now. Have whoever you like dial the gate for Midway. This is your top priority," Rodney said.
"Yes, sir," Chuck said and shifted over and a dark haired woman, who Rodney thought was American slid over, but her patch denoting her country was missing. He noticed it was the same for all who were staying and thought it was a rather good idea. He pulled his own off and shoved it in his pocket. He didn't hate his country, seemed to be one of the few keeping their heads...though he didn't blame all of America, just the current administration. "Um..." he snapped his fingers for he didn't have a name.
"Amelia Banks," she said, leaving off which country or designation she was from...but it seemed kind of obvious with the missing flag and all.
"When Major Lorne is ready, contact Midway. Say whatever or have him speak with them. Let me know when they're all gone," Rodney said.
"Yes, sir," Banks said, and took over Chuck's station.
Rodney was about to head back to the office, when suddenly Teyla was there with a cup of coffee and a muffin for him. "Oh, um...thanks," he said, not realizing how hungry he was. The coffee was good and the muffin delicious. After a moment his smile faded, he would miss coffee and they still hadn't found a decent substitute for it. Seemed coffee was a true Earth commodity.
"Rodney?" Teyla asked.
"I'm fine, just...going to miss coffee."
"Have them add it to the trade agreement," Ronon said, already anticipating that was what was going to occur eventually.
Rodney smiled at that. "Yes, that and cats," he said.
"Cats?" Teyla asked, though she had seen pictures of Rodney's cat, who had been taken by the lady who said she'd watch him and moved, taking Rodney's cat with her. "Was there not a reason they were not allowed to come here?"
"New administration, new rules," Rodney smirked, pointing to himself, though he was going to be delegating a lot and he wasn't sure how much John was going to take on himself. Seeing Teyla raise an eyebrow he chuckled. "Don't worry, we'll make sure it's safe. I have no intentions of flooding the Pegasus galaxy with kittens. Though I wonder if purring has any effect on the Wraith...hmmm," he said, his mind contemplating that as he headed to the office...then laughed at how silly it was, and got back to work. There was a lot to do and time was crucial.
Those leaving for Earth via the Midway station were gone. Rodney was sure those on the station were pissed off being they didn't get him in the group they sent, but he couldn't care less. He also knew they would be taking steps to prevent Atlantis from using that gate again...at least he would be, so he wasn't going to count on it being available anymore.
Rodney entered the conference room and stopped. There was only one chair open, and Ronon was still following him, still acting as his personal bodyguard. Lorne was there with some other Major he didn't know, but recalled the face. Zelenka was there with Miko, Keller, Biro and some guy he didn't know off hand. Plus Teyla who was sitting next to the open chair that used to be Elizabeth's.
Slowly he moved forward taking a seat, feeling a bit unworthy sitting here, but he was in charge and this was the only chair open, so he'd make do. "Okay people. Most of you know the basic situation. Earth has Sheppard, going to either lock him away or worst case scenario shoot him after some mock trial, for Treason and a whole bunch of garbage. We're not going to allow that to happened, got it?" he said, seeing some nods, most just waiting for him to say more.
"First however, now that we've sent those to Earth who wanted to go...we have to deal with the Apollo. Lorne, how many people are left?" Rodney asked.
"Out of 576, 182 left, leaving us with 394, of which 118 are military, leaving 276 medical and science and some support staff. Not much, but we've had less. Can't blame so many military for going back, they were rotated out here and they all had families back on Earth." Lorne said.
"Yes, had much less when we first came here," Zelenka said.
"Yes, but it means more mouths to feed and less protection," Rodney said. Then he shook his head, not wanting to get sidetracked. "Okay, we'll have to make do for now. Chuck ran some scans and some figures for me and it seems we caught a bit of a break...not much, but I plan to use it for all it's worth. Seems that the Apollo was and still is in the black concerning this morning's fiasco, meaning they don't know what's going on here...and we're not going to tell them either," Rodney smirked.
"How is that going to help us?" Lorne asked.
"Simple, we're going to stage a quarantine on Atlantis, Radek is going to be altering the shields, I sent you what you should need in your email check it, to prevent the Apollo using the Asgard beaming technology. Technology we're going to need...."
"We're going to take the ship?" Lorne asked, along with a few others.
"Shut it," Rodney said. "Yes, we're going to take the ship and no, there will be no shooting on...Earth personnel. That's where Keller and her people come in," Rodney said. He looked at Keller with expectation.
"Ah, yes. Well, having spent some time going over options with Dr. Biro and Dr. Samuels, we've agreed to use Hytosic gas, which we discovered on P3x-949, it's organic, easily made and less likely to cause complications with anyone, since we don't know what hidden conditions someone onboard may have. The downside is that we'll have to pump it into the ventilation system constantly, for after hitting fresh air they'll only be out for about an hour," Keller said.
"How are we going to get that stuff into their ventilation system?" Lorne asked.
Rodney smirked, looking pleased with himself. He was sure John would approve of his plan. "Simple. When they arrive, the gate is locked down, so they can't contact Earth or Midway, so they'll have to take Dr. Keller's word that we're in quarantine, which to their sensors we will be. Zelenka will manipulate the shield so they can land, since they can't beam in...Dr. Keller's going to need help with all the sick. In the mean time...cloaked 'Jumpers will be nearby. Once the ship has landed...." Rodney hit a key on his PC and the screen behind him came on with the schematics of the Apollo. Three areas are circled. "You'll be able to land a 'Jumper in those locations and even if they feel a bump, they won't know what it is until it's too late. Your men will go to these locations..." Rodney hit his PC again and the screen magnified showing the area in question. "These areas normally open when in breathable atmosphere to allow for fresh air intake. You should work fast but be careful we don't need your men asleep up there."
"What about those who will be disembarking?" Lorne asked, slightly impressed.
"Well, during Keller's performance, I'll be the shadow taking over their systems, keeping them all busy little beavers until the gas takes affect. No one will be disembarking, but if for some unforeseen reason someone does get off the ship, stunners...no one is to carry live ammo. We're not to harm them, but don't count on them not trying to harm you, so be careful...got the careful part...yes?" Rodney asked.
Lorne and the other Major smirked. Zelenka, having his own PC had brought up the email with Rodney's instructions, while the others, except Keller and Dr. Samuels chuckled, seeming to find some much needed humor in his words.
"You...name," Rodney said, pointing to the female Major.
"Major Ann Teldy, sir," the woman said.
"Ah, yes. Do you have the gene? Do you fly? How many pilots do we still have?" Rodney snapped off at her, tilting his head down, entering data into his PC.
Ann shared a smirk with Lorne. "Yes, yes, and 24 military 31 in total," she said.
Rodney looked up at her and blinked taking her in. Seemed she wasn't half bad. If he weren't totally in love with John and she was a blond...no, never mind. "Hmm, you'll do," he said. Then finished what he was doing and looked up after a long moment. "Figure out who the three teams are going to be, get with Keller and Biro to decide what you need and Miko...Zelenka is going to be busy. We have less than 15 hours before they'll hit the edge of our sensors and I want to be ready before they reach the beginning of theirs, got it?"
There was a round of yes and yes, sirs and Rodney nodded. "Okay, Ronon..."
"I'm sticking to you," Ronon said.
Rodney caught the shared look between Ronon and Teyla and guessed who was putting Ronon up to his bodyguard duties. He sighed. "Okay. Teyla, I'm putting you second in charge of basic administration and whatever else not covered. Since we won't be back to any projects except what is needed to get ready for the Apollo, I want you to organize everyone to help where needed. I've emailed you further instructions...Keller. I need you to leave now."
"What...why?" Keller asked, shocked to hear her being requested to leave.
"Because we're done discussing what we're doing with the Apollo and it would be better all around if you didn't know our plans for after...you'll be on Earth and I can guarantee you they're going to question the hell out of you...can't slip if you don't know anything, right?" Rodney said, fearing they might do more than ask, but hoped there was some small amount of decency left in the mountain. "Also, as far as the Apollo crew will be concerned, they'll think you're under duress, so they'll hopefully clear you once you're back on Earth, okay?" Rodney said.
Keller was quiet for a moment then nodded. "You're right. I'll be in the infirmary lab prepping to make the gas," she said and got up and left.
Rodney turned toward Lorne and Teldy, anticipating their actions. He was pleased to see Teldy got it as she tapped her radio and said a name "Dusty", which seemed to be enough. The woman then looked at him and nodded. Seemed she was really on the ball and someone Rodney needed to pay attention to as well.
"What more do you have planned," Teyla asked.
"Simple, since there is no way they're going to send Sheppard to us, we'll be going to him," Rodney grinned.
"Taking the Apollo all the way to Earth will take 18 days, who knows what might happen during that time," Lorne said with concern.
"We're not taking the ship, it's staying here in the city...no, we're taking Atlantis," Rodney smirked.
"We barely had power with one ZPM, two...perhaps..." Zelenka said.
"We have three," Rodney said, then sighed. He put his PC down and folded his hands in front of him, Elizabeth's knowledge let him know this was a good sign of authority, confidence, and understanding...he didn't see how, but he'd use it anyway. "Elizabeth didn't sacrifice herself for three ZPMs, she did it for a hell of a lot more," Rodney said.
"Wait, there is another ZPM?" Zelenka and Lorne echoed.
"Those drawers were heavy," Ronon said.
"Yes, there is more and one of the last things Elizabeth...said to me...was she feared what those drawers represented getting into the hands of a corrupt Earth and I agree. They're the key to making more ZPMs and they hold five each," he said, letting the bomb he verbally just exploded in the room take affect.
"Five as in fifteen...?" Zelenka said, and then started cursing in Czech. Miko was rambling in Japanese, while Lorne was asking questions, Rodney was ignoring.
"John did not know of this, did he?" Teyla said softly.
"No," Rodney said. "He'd have wanted to give half to Earth, that's why Elizabeth trusted me with them...for Atlantis. This city was her dream, her life's work, her hope for the future and I wasn't about to let some greedy bastards on Earth take advantage of it. And yes," he said to Teyla, knowing her next question. "In time we will share them with the right people...people we can trust not to turn on us or misuse it against their own people or worse destroy themselves, but that's for a latter discussion. For now, we have the power, what we'll need is the city ready, as we know the hell we went through with the last take off. Also...we're going to need a second shield or more specifically a cloak, on top of the shield. Radek, I've emailed that to you as well, I'll be helping. Teyla, getting the city ready is part of the instructions I sent you...but Keller can not know we're moving the city. I don't trust Earth not to push her perhaps even drug her to get answers and yes," he said looking at the new Doctor, Samsonite or something. "They just might, they're after all about to hold a Kangaroo Court for Sheppard, I wouldn't put it pass them to try and use drugs to get what information out of Keller. Worst case scenario is they'll charge her for helping...we'll bust her out as well if we have to."
"We're really taking Atlantis to Earth?" Lorne asked, looking concerned.
"Yes. With the stardrive, we'll make it within a week, but we need to prep now and get things in place so once we have the Apollo, we can gate the crew off and then launch. During our time in space, I'll have things for us to do to further prepare for our time on Earth..."
"On Earth, we're going to land the city?" Biro asked.
"Yes. We're going to get Sheppard, and we're going to stock up...we have the technology to get anywhere and not be noticed. To that point, I'd like you to speak with everyone in your departments. I want to pool our finances, though I don't expect everyone to cough it all up. If they want to keep some hidden, I can do that. If they want it given to someone I can do that too, but at least a third needs to be donated to our cause. I myself will be donating half, the rest pretty much is going to my sister and a trust fund for her kid...I'll keep a small portion hidden just in case we do make contact with Earth and want something..." Rodney shrugged, as he couldn't think of what that might be. "I rather buy what we need, though we can take it if we have too. What I need is for you to put someone in charge of making lists of items we'll need and want...they're separate lists, as we'll be focusing on need over want...also...we're going to invite a few folks to join us...so we'll need to be prepared for newbie's...again," Rodney said.
"What people?" Miko asked quietly.
"Anyone we want," Rodney said seeing some peoples' faces lighting up.
"But that will be after we're ready to depart in case the SGC gets wind of us and once we have Sheppard, they'll be looking," Rodney said.
"But they'll be looking for the Apollo, not the city," Lorne said, finally getting the plan.
"You got it Major. Now, I'm starved. I'm going to get dinner, then I'll be in the lab with Radek working on the shield and a few other projects, Teyla you know what to do, I trust you to handle it. The rest of you get to work." Rodney said, then sat back and watched his people go. It was then that he realized they were his people...good people and his plan had a chance...a good chance.
John didn't have much patience, but he'd learned it over the few years in Atlantis...well, he learned it better than before. He still preferred to take action than remain behind or wait, wondering about the people he cared about. He knew Rodney had not come through the gate and he knew or was fairly sure, that Atlantis has separated from Earth, but he didn't know anything else. He didn't know if they were alright, or if Rodney was going to turn himself in or why any of this was happening.
Before Atlantis, he wouldn't care as much if at all if he'd been court-martialed for his actions to try and save Holland since he failed. He felt similar now, having failed to save so many, especially Sumner and Weir, but unlike before, he wanted his life in Atlantis. He wanted a place where he felt that not only did he belong, but he mattered and made a difference. He wanted the brother and sister he had in Ronon and Teyla that he never had growing up. He wanted the best friend he'd ever known...the man that could easily become his everything...practically was his everything. He wanted Rodney safe, he wanted Rodney happy, even if the best he could have done was be his best friend, best man at Rodney's wedding, Uncle for his children...he wanted...Rodney.
John sighed; tired of resting on a bed that was a bench with a blanket and pillow. He sat up and rested his face in his hands, elbows upon his knees. He hated retrospections, especially when he got so damn close to the truth...a truth he'd already known, but still hurt. He loved Rodney and he was fairly sure that Rodney knew it on some level, but they had agreed, they were both needed in the city if it were to survive, if Earth were to remain safe. So, another sacrifice was made, and even if they never so much as kissed, it wounded deeper than any physical cut John could remember. It hurt the most especially when he saw Rodney with Katie Brown of all people. He recalled trying to be a friend, but inside he was screaming...no...No...NO! He felt like it was too late and he didn't even realize that until that moment he'd been holding some hope, some belief that he and Rodney would still have a future together.
It didn't matter anymore, was the thought going through his head as he heard the door that lead to this room open. He looked to see a guard had entered the room with of all people, General Landry. John fought the instinct to stand up and go to attention for a senior ranking officer, for he didn't have a lot of respect for this man at the moment. He didn't have a lot of respect for most of the people he'd been seeing so far, except a rare few.
"General, sir," John said, not able to break every habit it seemed.
"You will stand when in the presence of a superior officer and come to attention, soldier." Landry said, his voice sounding rather raspy as if he'd been yelling a lot. John believed he probably had been if he'd been trying to negotiate with Rodney.
John was debating if he wanted to act, when Landry's face became more pinched and his looked a mix of anger and something else, John couldn't read. "Now," Landry said, his order clear.
The man looked rather on edge and so John decided to treat this as a hostage situation and stood up, going to attention, but he didn't salute. "Standing, sir," he said in a crisp tone, with a hint of mocking. He then watched Landry move into the very same spot the SF had stood previously, his eyes locked on Sheppard.
"I want you to pay very close attention to what I'm going to say, Sheppard, as I'm only going to say this once," he said in a very hushed voice. "Are you listening?" he asked, seeming to be waiting for an answer, so John nodded. "Good." Landry said. He closed his eyes and for a moment he looked rather ancient as in old to John and John almost felt sorry for him...almost.
"My parents are long gone, but I have one brother and he has a wife and three kids and eight grandchildren. I have an ex-wife, that had I not put my career before her, would still be married to, and a daughter with her whole life ahead of her," Landry said, his eyes still closed. "I took this position, not because I couldn't deal with retirement, but because it was a way to keep them safe from the enemy out there...because even if they didn't understand, it was how I could show I loved them..."
After a moment of silence, Landry looked up, his eyes were moist as if holding back tears, but his face was also determined and angry. "But...the enemy isn't out there any more, Sheppard. And where I am willing to die for anyone in this mountain, hell on this planet, I won't hesitate to do whatever it takes not to sacrifice my family...even if it means throwing you to the dogs," Landry said. "All of whom I mentioned verses you..." Landry said, trying to remain firm, but his eyes seemed almost pleading for John to understand.
"The SGC is supposed to protect the families," John said, also in a hushed voice since this felt like a conversation off the record and best not overheard.
"How do you protect them, spread throughout this country and the people who are supposed to be protecting them are the ones making the threats to them, tell me that, Sheppard? Tell me how I can protect them from the thousands of specially trained soldiers who will follow orders without a second thought, if their Commander-in-Chief instructed them to?" Landry asked, showing in is expression how bad the situation really was. "One wrong move...who do you think will be first?"
John was shocked to hear that the President, the person who is supposed to uphold all that this...his country holds dear and precious. The very person who is supposed to be honest and a person of integrity...they were behind all this? "Why?"
"I don't know, Sheppard and frankly, don't care, in that unscrupulous men don't have reasons most of us could understand. What I do know is that if someone is going to die, it won't be my daughter," Landry said firmly.
"Die?" John said, for he'd thought imprisonment, but...die?
"You're being charged with treason, Sheppard and I was informed that if McKay didn't give himself up or if you were the one who hadn't come through the gate, that the other would be taken out and shot," Landry said. "I was also instructed to make a few other ugly statements, in case other American military were listening. Of course I hope I phrased it all to not do the damage they were hoping for, but nonetheless, Sheppard, the Puppeteers want you and McKay out of the way. If he doesn't cooperate soon and leave Atlantis, they will shoot you as an example to anyone else who might think to stand against them and their bid for control over the Stargate. And as long as there are crosshairs upon my family from the man who can literally and practically legally push a button and have them all killed, my hands are tied," Landry said, showing from the stress on his face, that he probably had aged another ten years since this mess began.
"Then it's true, Atlantis has seceded from Earth," John stated.
"Yes, and the son-of-a-bitch managed to prevent us from establishing a link with the city, so..." It was the first hint of life in the older man's eyes that John was a bit taken back at his expression. "Those in charge are pissed. More so, since when Midway was dialed a little bit ago, they were told by Major Lorne that they were turning over McKay..."
John felt his spin stiffen and his heart leap with fear, but seeing the smirk on the General's face, he relaxed a bit. "What happened?"
"They sent everyone who didn't want to remain in the city to Midway, and then cut connections," Landry said, then after a moment, looked worn and exhausted again. "The Apollo is on its way, they don't have a full understanding of what has already occurred, since they're out of radio contact, but..." Landry made an audible sigh. "The ship is loaded to bear with soldiers and Colonel Lemmas has orders to take over the city. Those soldiers who resist will be arrested and be court-martialed as well. Over half of the scientist will be made to return; because their countries are not accepting the current situation and those countries have been sanctioned...this includes Canada, England, and Japan. Since many of the European countries are under one or two IOA representatives, whose votes were purchased already, they could remain...under military leadership," Landry explained.
"Sir," the soldier who let Landry in said in a hushed voice. Then shut the door most of the way once again.
"Son, unless your McKay can pull off another damn miracle, I'm afraid there is nothing I can do. O'Neill is being pushed into a corner and I've been made to send Mitchell to the Alpha site and arrest Teal'c and Vala...seems we no longer cater to aliens," Landry said, his feelings of not buying into the crap clear to John in the man's tone. "SG-1 is being split and kept under constant watch, so if help is to come..."
"I...understand...sir," John said, realizing that if it meant someone else's life over Ronon's, Teyla's...Rodney's life...another soldier specifically...he just might do it. Perhaps even if they weren't a soldier if it meant keeping Rodney alive and well, no matter the personal cost. John could see Landry was paying now. "Sir..." he said, making a move to salute, to show some respect, but the man stopped him.
"Don't, this is being watched...flip me off, something," Landry said.
The sound of a keys rattling was obviously a cue and Landry's face changed, expressing anger and disgusted. Only now, could John see the truth in the man's eyes. "I'll ask you one more time, what is the code for the back door to Atlantis? McKay did it once before, I'm sure you can do it again. The arrogant ass is nothing if not predictable!" Landry snapped.
John knew the game and would play along. He would die if he had too, for it was a soldier's duty to die to protect civilians. It was why Landry told him what was happening, not for forgiveness, the man was not looking for it. He wanted to give John a way to handle what was going to happen...give him the only thing he could...a purpose. And whether he knew it or not, he gave him hope, in the form of his team...in the form of Rodney. So, he'd play and if that miracle didn't happen, he would die while keeping civilians safe. "I'm afraid you'll have to ask Rodney," John said, giving the sarcasm that he knew would be expected. "He's not as predictable as you would think...or he just didn't think I could remember that many numbers. You know how highly he thinks of the military?" John said, as he slouched.
John's eyes went to the doorway, seeing Colonel Marks in the corridor, and kind of figured who the top creep was. "Since you're here, General, I'd like to mention that I have not met with my JAG representative...I have the right..."
"The only right you have is to either shut the hell up or give me what I want to know," Landry said. "If you won't tell me, I'm sure there are other ways of getting the information out of you," Landry threatened.
"Ah...we may be out in Pegasus, but we haven't forgotten protocol. If a member of the Command staff has been captured by the enemy and...I'm sure McKay thinks you're definitely the enemy, all command codes and security measures are to be changed with no preset or predetermined codes and passwords. And since you just said Rodney is predictable...what do you think he's done since you arrested me?" John asked.
Landry's eyes seemed to show it was enough, so with a growl, he turned and stormed out of the area, the door being closed and locked, leaving John wondering about all the madness he'd just learned about. As he sat on the bed, he also wondered what Rodney could do...Earth was a long ways away and with only two ZPMs...perhaps they could fend off the Apollo, as Rodney had to know it was coming. As for himself... John shifted and laid down, his back to the camera and folded his arms around himself after shifting the pillow under his head. "Have faith in your team," he said, for he knew they would be trying to do something. Trying to find a way to save him, but other than the city itself, they had nothing Earth seemed to want off hand. He shook his head, and then closed his eyes. His team would find a way...Rodney would find a way, and it was that thought he focused on as he rested and waited for this nightmare to play out.
Since Elizabeth's death, Teyla has been keeping a close eye on everyone in the city, especially John and Rodney. They were the next leaders in the chain of command for Atlantis, both with their strengths and weaknesses. Together they complimented each other, but after her death...the strain between them was clear. Rodney was grieving and torn between grief over her death...second death as it were, and guilt at not letting her die on the table as John ordered. She could see it was hard for the scientist, who in ways that only those who knew the man could tell, loved and admired his boss. But the facts remain; it was due to Elizabeth's sacrifice that they were able to save the city. Teyla hoped it brought Rodney some peace, but the man was too prickly to share such things with Teyla.
John was in ways very similar to Rodney, though his way was keeping it all bottled up until it exploded from him. This usually happened in the form of their sparing or when it was really bad, sparing with Ronon. Of course, John was not talking to Ronon either, and though Teyla suspected that John did hold some anger toward the younger man, it was himself he was blaming, with a small share toward Rodney was well. Teyla had tried to get John to talk, during and after their last sparing session.
"Rodney only acted out of his love for a dying friend," Teyla said out of nowhere, for she had wanted to get John off guard. He was distracted as it was in their sparing sessions and she could have easily hurt him, but that was not her goal today.
"He went against orders," John snapped, striking toward Teyla in what easily appeared to be an angry move. "I told him not to do it, but did he listen?" John growled.
Teyla was glad he was at least responding. "Does he ever when his heart is involved?" Teyla challenged, wanting to keep John talking.
"It was a fucking order," John growled again, taking another wild swing at Teyla, which she easily sidestepped. "He knew how dangerous those nanites could be, damn it. Putting me in the position of...of..."
Teyla backed off, though kept the illusion that they were still sparing so John wouldn't realize he was talking. "of being the...bad guy?" Teyla said, believing she understood John and his unvoiced feelings well.
"Yes!" John exploded and once more took wild rapid swings at Teyla, which she could see coming even if she were half blind. "And now she's dead!" John snapped at her, his sticks making contact with hers, and she could feel the vibration of the power behind them all up her arm and into her chest. She knew that if John ever took this sparing as serious as he was capable of, he could be quite formidable. But alas, and perhaps on a good note, as far as Teyla was concerned, this was his fun and his release, and she was honored to be a part of it. So it was her duty to help him through this difficult time.
"Elizabeth was already dying; there was no way for Doctor Keller to save her. In fact, had Rodney not acted, we would have lost her anyway, but we would not have had the ZPMs we so desperately needed," Teyla said, knowing this was the crucial point of this session. To help John see clear that he was not at fault, that either way they were going to lose her, at least her death was not meaningless. Earther's had interesting concepts on death and dying, some similar to her own, but she was convinced that since those who lived here in Pegasus, who lived with the threat of loss and dying every day, never knowing when it would occur, viewed it differently. That if there was going to be a loss, let it have meaning, even against the Wraith, who were responsible for many senseless deaths.
John faltered and again, Teyla backed off, allowing the sense of sparing to remain, while not engaging John in his moment of thought. After a long moment of silence, knowing that John once more was locking himself away, she knew she needed to act. She moved in quick, her left stick low, so when she swung her right one up high, he reacted, leaving himself open. She took her left and snagged it behind his knee and quickly dropped him to the mat. "She loved this city as much as you and Rodney. She did no less than either of the two of you would have done. She also anticipated she might fall victim to the Replicator's influence, and like all good leaders placed a contingency plan in place. That plan was Ronon. I do not feel it was a matter of trust or lack there of, when she chose Ronon over you. Only she did not want to place that burden or decision on your shoulders," Teyla said. She would not say that she believed that Elizabeth feared for John's indecision to pull the trigger in what could easily be key seconds before the enemy took over and used her against her people. John didn't need to be made to feel bad that he had a good heart and his need to protect and save everyone he cared about could have been a liability in this situation. Ronon was a solider and in many cases more practical to the situation at hand...he was a good choice, Elizabeth knew this. "Do not blame Ronon for following his leader's request to keep the mission, the city and the people in the city safe. Trust that Elizabeth knew what she was doing," Teyla said. Then putting her stick into her left hand with the other, she offered her free hand to John to help him up.
John stared up at her, looking tired, confused, angry and for a brief moment, hurt. "What...what if they made her say..." John said, his eyes closing, making it harder for Teyla to interpret his words and their true meaning.
"I do not believe the Replicators would want Elizabeth dead. They would want her as a prisoner, not only as her self, a hostage, but because of her knowledge of the city and perhaps even Earth. No, I believe it was her, her last strength of will to overcome the enemy...give her this John. Honor her in this, so her sacrifice is not in vain," Teyla said, still holding her hand out to him.
John took her hand and got up, then moved away from her to his bag, where he grabbed a towel and wiped the sweat from his eyes. "It's like a loop," he said, his back still to her. "I try...to accept that if things had not gone down the way they had, the city and everyone would be lost, but yet..." he hung his head in a long silence.
Teyla, having grabbed her own towel walked up to him and placed a hand gently on his shoulder, waiting until he looked at her. She could see the struggle in his eyes, but it had to be his choice to talk some more. She had said her peace and planted to seed, the rest was up to him.
"I understand, I'm just...not ready," John said, moving from her touch to drop his stick into his bag, which he then grabbed up and headed out of the gym. Teyla sighed, for though she saw progress, it was going to be a slow healing if John clung to the pain and the guilt, while allowing only anger to come across to his people.
She had no way of knowing that that might be the last time she would get to speak with John and prayed it would not be. His arrest spurred on mixed emotions within the city, but none stronger than from the city's new leader, Rodney. The man held such passion and depth, it scared him, so he hid it under his bluster and sarcasm. Rodney had a heart of gold, which he kept people at such lengths to prevent from getting hurt. It had been painful to watch, but she was glad she had been one of the few to see the true man beneath the egocentric, arrogant mask. True, he still had those qualities, but they were amplified to protect the heart and soul which lay almost dormant and fragile underneath. But over the years that heart and soul grew stronger and bolder and those who could see it, experience it, loved the man for it and ignored the mask for what it was and accepted Rodney for who he really was.
Now that heart and soul was in danger. She had been surprised to hear nothing physical had been between John and Rodney, for the love they shared was so obvious it made her envious at times. Knowing this saddened her heart and strengthened her resolve to watch over and protect Rodney until John could return. But with the fast pace and the multitude of things that needed to be done, it was making it difficult for her to even be near Rodney, much less care for him. So, she decided to take on two tasks at once, protecting Rodney and healing Ronon. By giving Ronon the task of protecting and caring for Rodney, it would give him purpose and healing between him and a team mate...brother. Unfortunately they would have to wait for John to return to fix that part, but for here and now, this would serve them all.
Teyla was honored and touched that Rodney had such faith in her to let her take on many of Elizabeth's old tasks. She knew it wasn't that Rodney couldn't do it or even refused to do it, though perhaps a bit. She knew it was because Rodney knew, as demonstrated by his actions, that he would be pouring his heart and soul into getting the city ready to not only depart once they were prepared, but to take on the Apollo upon its arrival. She had watched him leave the conference room and argue with Radek over the ZPM drawers, something she didn't quite understand, but would ask more questions later of Radek, for he would be more patient of her questions than Rodney. Then she watched them both vanish into the heart of the city, while she organized the personnel to inventory everything that was not already going to be accounted for...it had been a long day.
It's late and many were asleep, and thanks to Ronon, Teyla knew where to find Rodney, sadly it was not in his bed but in his laboratory. She moved to the doorway, where Ronon was still standing watch and exchanged a look, sure that her questions of why is Rodney not in bed, was conveyed very clearly.
"Wouldn't leave, kept saying only 15 hours, had to be ready. So, I let him work. He passed out like that about two hours ago. Zelenka said to not disturbed him or he'd just go back to work, so..." Ronon shrugged. He then moved to the chair he'd been using and took a seat.
"Then I am saddened to have to be the one to wake him," Teyla said as she moved into the silent lab and placed the hot cup of coffee she had brought with her next to Rodney, but just out of reach. She had learned much watching John care of this man. "Rodney," she said softly, but firmly.
She watched Rodney's nose twitch at the smell of coffee, then slowly open his eyes. She saw at once when he realized he was still in the lab. "I am sorry to wake you..."
"No, no, I...I need to finish," Rodney said, moving to grab the coffee as if by some instinct.
"Radek said you did finish, which is good. The Apollo has arrived on the outskirts of our sensors...it's time."
"Already?" Rodney asked, blinking at her like that earth creature from the movies they watched...yes, an owl.
"Yes. Lorne, Zelenka and Doctor Keller said they are ready...it's up to you now, Rodney."
"Yes, yes...isn't it always," Rodney said, appearing to come back to life as he finished his coffee. It was amazing to her on how the bitter drink affected so many people from Earth, especially Rodney. It was also sad, that it did all fall unto Rodney, very frequently, thus her vow to watch over him until John could return to take his place. Perhaps now that they were no longer part of Earth, perhaps he'd take the place he belonged and not the one he had resigned himself to...perhaps.
"Okay people," Rodney said into his radio. "Let's get this party started. Lorne, get your men to the 'Jumper bay, Keller meet me in the control room, Radek you know what to do. I want 'Jumpers in the air and cloaked in one hour exactly, no less. We're not taking chances," Rodney ordered, then closed his radio. He looked into his cup forlorn then at her. "We ready?"
Teyla felt a soft smile cross her face. "Yes, we are ready and I have sent you a full report on supplies. Also, there is a full pot of coffee, just for you, waiting in the control room," she said. Seeing the beaming smile on Rodney's face was worth the effort to get the coffee made, which was little, and the threat if anyone else touched it, which was much, to bring this look upon his face.
"Did I ever tell you how amazing I think you are?" Rodney said with delight as he got to his feet.
"No," Teyla said to his back. "But please, feel free to do so," she said. The look on his face when he turned to face her upon hearing her words was priceless. "Shall we go?" she said, as if she has not spoken her previous words. Rodney was indeed a dear man, and fun to tease. But now, it was time to take on the Apollo and for Rodney to lead.
Jennifer handed over the last canister to the young corporal who would take the gas to the 'Jumpers. She was still in a mild form of shock over what she was doing...aiding and abetting the taking over of the Apollo. Of course, it brought mixed feelings over the situation, but Atlantis had become her home and regardless of their quirks, even McKay's grumpiness, they were all good people, and what was happening on Earth was atrocious. A tiny voice in her head wondered if it was real, did Sheppard really get arrested, but the video feed that McKay played everyone seemed all too real and having seen McKay at his worst and best, she could never believe that he and Sheppard would stage a coup to take over Atlantis...even if in the end, that was the result.
She stopped in the middle of her Infirmary and wiped her tired eyes, trying once more to make sense of all the madness. As long as she kept in mind that taking over the Apollo and Atlantis was a result of Earth's actions and not the crap spouted by Landry, she was okay with it. But she couldn't help but get the feeling something else was going on. "Don't be naive," she said in a whisper to herself. "Of course there's something else going on, and they're trying to protect you by not telling you." That was the crux of the matter when it came to her doubt. She hated not knowing what was happening, especially when it concerned her infirmary and her people. So, when she had asked one of the nurses what she was doing, Jennifer found herself taken back by being told by the nurse she couldn't tell her. So, in the end, it all came down to trust...did she trust McKay and those left behind to do the right thing and when she could honestly and without hesitation answer yes, she knew she'd just have to deal with not knowing.
With this thought clear in her mind, Keller headed to the control room, where she was going to have to give a truly convincing performance ...for the sake of everyone involved. Plus, according to Rodney's email, which laid out very clearly what he wanted her to say and do, she'd have to continue the act, just before, during and after they went through the gate. But she was determined to do it, for this was how she could protect her city and hopefully help save Sheppard. She was also going to change her political party stance once she got back as well.
Upon reaching the control room, she noticed an empty chair next to Rodney, which he waved for her to sit in, while still focused on the screen before him. She kind of wondered how he could do that when he seemed so oblivious to everything else, but when needed, he was aware of practically everything. She did understand McKay a bit better than most, at least she believed so, since she like him, had been a child prodigy as well, and she believed it gave them something in common. Though, if you observed McKay, he tended to think no one but he ever suffered fools growing up and that because of it, he didn't need any manners. This was sort of a pity, because when he was not being such a jerk, he was rather...cute. She wondered as she took a seat, just how close he was to Sheppard, for he said he cared for the man, but nothing happened...well, it was a moot point, she was going back to Earth and he was staying here.
"Okay, did you read the email I sent you?" Rodney asked.
"Yes, and I looked everything up to be sure there were no discrepancies," Keller replied. She then noticed how tired McKay looked. Part of her wanted to tell him to take better care of himself, and rest, while eating a good healthy meal. But the other part knew that not only would Rodney McKay do as he wanted, he was pretty overworked taking on the Apollo and the rescue of Colonel Sheppard, so she let it go. She did make a mental note, to tell Dr. Biro to keep a close eye on the man, for if something happened to him, Earth would get Atlantis, as she really couldn't see anyone else stepping up and taking charge.
Hearing Lorne's voice in the background, made her recall the Major, but even though he was a good second in charge to Sheppard, and a loyal office, she couldn't see him running things in such a state as things were now. Perhaps if things were already settled...perhaps.
"So..." Keller asked, when a beep on Chuck's consol stopped her, for not only did it startle her, it also caused Rodney to stop paying attention to her. Her gut tightened when Chuck announced that it was the Apollo hailing.
"Apollo, this is Atlantis, we read you," Chuck said evenly. He then hit the speaker so those in the room with him could hear, but those on the Apollo wouldn't hear them in return.
"Atlantis, this is Colonel Ellis, is Colonel Sheppard available?" the man asked, his voice even and calm, no hint to the betrayal planned for Sheppard and McKay. Keller saw how angry it made McKay and was partly amazed to how silent he remained.
"I'm sorry, sir. But at the moment, Doctor Keller is in charge. I also, must advice you to not send anyone down as we are currently in a quarantine lockdown," Chuck said, staying close to the script in from of him on his monitor. Keller smiled, knowing that McKay probably wrote that too. She wondered, if the man ever got over his hypochondria and put his mind to medicine, he'd probably be an amazing doctor...well surgeon, for what he could do with his hands with such fragile equipment was just short of a miracle. He'd have to work on his bedside manner to make a real doctor," she thought with a bit of a smug smile on her lips...for just a few moments. She then let it fall, for she'd learned from her father that folks didn't respond well to that type of expression, but it was a part of her that let her comprehend McKay just a little better, she thought, then most.
"What happened to Colonel Sheppard and Doctor McKay?" Ellis demanded.
"I'll patch you to Doctor Keller, one moment," Chuck said, then placed them on their version of hold. "Ready?" Chuck asked Keller.
"They're still a couple of hours away, give them the brush off. We need them closer before I can really do anything before they notice," McKay told her, and reached over and brought up another monitor and without Keller's help and to her annoyance, had her email opened with the various scenarios and scripts for her.
"I know what to do," she said, trying to retain her anger at that stunt. He might be a good man, but he needed to learn a few things...a lot of things, when it came to dealing with people. For a moment she wasn't sure if she was up to the task, before realizing again, it didn't really matter. She'd be going home. For now, she needed to sound a cross between exasperated and a hint of frightened. She was supposed to be sitting here with a gun to her head, as the scenario played out further, so the crew of the Apollo would vindicate her upon reaching Earth.
"Fine, fine, but remember, we may not get another chance at this," Rodney said, then went back to his consol and screen. He nodded at her and then Chuck.
Chuck, gave her a silent three count, like they were in a TV studio and about to go live. She took a deep breath and gave a nod herself. "Keller, what's the emergency?" she snapped, taking the annoyance of having McKay opening her private email before her and used it. "If it's another case then bring them to the infirmary, if it's another body..." she sighed heavily on purpose.
"Doctor Keller, this is Colonel Ellis. What is the nature of the emergency and can we help in any way?" The man sounded sincere enough and Keller figured to a degree he probably was.
"Oh, Colonel, am I glad to hear your voice. I don't know what caused everyone to get sick. It's almost like a form of Scarlet Fever, but different enough not to respond to any of the treatments. I've got over half the military in stasis with a quarter of the scientists, including Sheppard and McKay. Every bed is full down here and I've lost...about a dozen so far, their fever spiking to a 108 before we could get any control over it and...well," she stopped, knowing it was a good point to pause.
"You said, Sheppard and McKay are in a stasis pod?" Ellis asked, seeming to not have heard about people dying down in Atlantis. It really ticked Keller off.
"Yes, that's what I said. Look, I've got my hands full, only a small portion of my medical team have managed to not get this virus as we got to our biohazard suites on in time. But I have people dying here. If you want to help, then you're going to have to make sure anyone who comes here is properly suited as well," she snapped, sounding exhausted and over worked, just like she was supposed to.
"We'll be in transporter range in forty-five minutes. I'll have..." Ellis began.
Keller gave a huge sigh, actually rolling her own eyes for the effect. "You can't beam down. If Chuck didn't tell you, or you couldn't guess, we're in a quarantine lockdown. Nothing beams in or out, and the gate is locked." Keller said, sounding irritated. "I'll be right there," she said to no one for further affect.
"Then how are we supposed to render assistance," Ellis asked.
"Ah...I don't know...McKay is not an option....wait, Zelenka isn't too bad off at the moment. I'll talk to him, see what he suggests. I'll have to call you back," Keller said, and then gestured for Chuck to cut communications. She then turned to Rodney after seeing Chuck's smile and nod that they were no longer talking with the Apollo and smirked. "Convincing enough for you?"
"Eh, not bad," Rodney said, a small smile on his lips.
"Not bad? Not bad? I could have gone into acting, I had offers," Keller replied, feeling a bit insulted.
"I had offers too, but then I woke up," Rodney said, looking at her, his eyes dancing and she knew then he was only messing with her.
Keller smiled back, thinking it was a pity they didn't have more time to know each other better. "How long until I call the Apollo back?"
"Give it an hour and a half, this way we don't give them too much time to ask too many questions about what's going on down here." Rodney said. "I also noticed he didn't ask about anyone else or for Major Lorne, just me and Sheppard," Rodney added.
"Yeah, I noticed that and believe me, I didn't like it," Keller said. "Though I do feel he was sincere with his concern, perhaps there is something else going on?" she said.
"Of course there is," Rodney snapped, and then looked apologetic toward her. "Sorry, but there is another Colonel up there along with a ship load of Marines to take this base over, I have no doubt his only concern is how to return us to Earth." Rodney told her.
"I'm sorry, you're right. I just...if I hadn't heard it with my own ears..." Keller said, referring to the video of General Landry. She sighed. She didn't have much more to say on this matter and there was nothing more to do really, but get ready for her next performance in a few hours. "Doctor Biro is going to help me look like a healer forced to cooperate, with a few strategic and minor bruises. They'll look worse than they are, so don't worry," she told Rodney.
"You really think that's necessary?" Rodney asked. "It's not like we're the bad guys, I don't see anyone knocking you around per se, just...you know, forcing you. Don't you think having a gun pointed at you...which will be completely empty, Lorne said he'd see to that, you know, do the trick?"
"Oh, um, I thought it would give a little authenticity to the roll, but...hmmm, you might have a point," Keller said. Those staying behind were supposed to be the good guys, but those on Earth wouldn't think that. "But maybe, since those on Earth won't think so, it'll help my case...a little." She said.
Rodney frowned at her. "I don't like it. It makes us the barbarians...no, no, no, it's bad enough what they think about us, I won't give them any more fuel for the fire. No bruises or whatever else you had planned. They'll buy the gun, and that's only if they're awake long enough to even notice," Rodney said firmly.
"I think," Keller said, thinking that Rodney should listen to others in this matter. She'd done some dramatic arts in high school, for the short time she was there and college as well. She knew what she was talking about.
"Well don't, that's my job," Rodney snapped at her, and then got up, his PC padd in his hands as he just upped and walked away from her. "What was I thinking?" she muttered to herself as she got to her feet. How could she have thought this man attractive? Well, she'd show him, she'd go talk with Margaret and get ready for a performance that would knock the man's socks off!
Evan Lorne was nervous. This was kind of insane, trying to overtake a full compliment of soldiers on the Apollo, but he knew deep down it was necessary. McKay had explained most of everything once Keller had left the meeting. They would remove the crew and secure the ship to the pier, so when the city took off, it wouldn't knock itself over from the vibrations, for they all knew first hand how unsmooth take off could be. He just wished Colonel Sheppard was here to do it, but if that were the case, would they be doing this now?
Probably not, and that was what scared Lorne the most. If Sheppard had been here, he probably would have still handed himself over, trying to get any charges solely laid at his feet. The man was nothing short of insane or a full-blown hero. He always put the needs of the city first, then the needs of its people before himself, always. From what he heard and understood from McKay, who Lorne had seen John look at with undisguised love, had sacrificed any chance of being together to assure they would remain in the city. At times like these, Lorne wondered if duty really needed to be such a cold and lonely path for someone like John Sheppard. He was a good man, a great commander and an even better friend.
"They're on their way down, make sure you've got everyone out of the way," McKay's voice said over the radio.
"We're on the other side of the city, fully cloaked," Lorne replied.
"Just making sure, we can't afford for anything to go wrong," Rodney said back.
Lorne wanted to snap at the man, but he was right, as per usual. He knew if it hadn't been for Sheppard almost threatening him and all the newbies that arrived so many years ago not to harm McKay, he'd have shot him by now. But he didn't and he was glad he didn't as the man had proven over and over again, that when in a pinch, you wanted McKay on your side every time. He also learned by observing and not caving into his anger, to see McKay for the man he really was under all the gruff and bluff, as Sheppard had called it. Though McKay couldn't bluff his way through a poker game, Lorne was rather amazed how he had learned to bluff the enemy in times of need. McKay was an enigma, but one key element rang true...he was a good man. Okay, two elements, he was also a genius, but Lorne wasn't going to admit that, except under duress...from McKay himself.
"Not to worry, Doctor. We've gone over the drill a few hundred times, we know what to do and what not to do. We'll remain on this side of the city, until you give us the go ahead. Then we'll move in and get to work.
"Okay, okay. Oh, for the record, I'm in. I'm beginning to lock out some of the minor systems that won't hinder their landing, so when it comes time to lock the rest of the ship down, it won't take me as long. Is Teddy standing by with the gurneys or whatever you're going to be using to get the crew off?"
Lorne smirked, as he knew McKay was much better with names than that, but it seemed to be some trial by fire with the man. He never got your name right unless you earned it or it was an emergency and there was no time for miscommunications, then he conveniently forgot it again. "Major Teldy is standing by and will not move a foot until you tell her too. Rodney...we got this. You do your part, let us do ours," he said.
Lorne heard Rodney's sigh of exhaustion and annoyance and held the chuckle in, because the last thing he needed was to upset Rodney while the man danced through the Apollo's systems while in the process of landing. "It'll be okay," he said quietly.
"Alright," Rodney said.
Lorne sat quietly, the minutes stretching into what an ex-girlfriend called Football minutes. She used to get furious with him, when he said there was only five minutes on the clock or so, and then not move from the couch for what could easily be an hour or more, depending on time outs, penalties, commercials and other things that kept freezing the clock. He was beginning to understand why.
"Stackhouse, Houseman, stand-by, I see the Apollo, it's heading to the West Pier as planned," Lorne said. He heard the two men give an affirmative and once more began waiting. The Apollo had to be landed and engines disengaged before they moved in, for if they got even the hint they were out here waiting for them, they could take off again, and then there was no way they could over take the ship and its crew.
Lorne went over everything in his head one more time, confident he and his men were ready for this. "'Jumper six, your team suited up, secured and center doors closed?" he asked needing to be sure they were all on the same page.
"Yes, sir, we're ready here," Stackhouse said.
"Same goes for 'Jumper Seven too, Sir," Houseman said.
Lorne looked behind him, his team gave him the thumbs up and then Lorne closed the inner doors to his 'Jumper as well. "Good. Stand-by."
"I've got you bastards now," McKay's voice echoed over the radio, and by the sound of it, it wasn't supposed to do that. He didn't know if Rodney hit his mic or if Chuck thought they'd get a kick out of listening to him, if so, the man was right. McKay sounded like a kid playing at a video game. Even though this was real life, it was kind of nice to hear.
Lorne heard the tap of the radio, which means McKay hadn't turned his radio mic on himself. "Major, their engines are off, you've got the..." Rodney said.
"Go, go, go," Lorne said, over talking McKay. He heard the man gripe at him for denying him his moment of glory or whatever it was the man saw it as, for giving the green light as it were. But Lorne wanted to do this fast before anyone got suspicious. "'Jumper Five moving into target zone in twenty-three seconds," he said, for the tiny ship gave him a countdown, which he always thought was so cool.
"No one has made any move to the outer doors at the moment," Rodney said. "In fact, it seems that Colonel Ellis is having a bit of an argument with some guy, Colonel Lemons or something," Rodney said. "Seems this idiot wants his Marines in the limited biohazard suites to secure the city and not the medical team, Elli ordered...hmmm. Never thought I'd feel sorry for Ellsworth," Rodney said.
"All ships are in place, crews exiting out of 'Jumpers now," Lorne informed Rodney. He was glad to know what was going on inside, but his focus was overseeing his people and making sure everything went according to plan.
"Jumper Seven, line is secure and pumping of the gas has begun." Houseman said.
"Jumper Six, our line is secure as well, we've begun pumping in the gas," Stackhouse said.
Lorne waited and when he got the word, "Jumper Five, gas is being pumped into the ventilation area as planned."
"Shutting down other vents, now," McKay said. Lorne would have sworn he heard the man give a small giggle...but it couldn't have been. McKay did many things, giggle was never one of them.
"Copy that." Lorne said. "Monitoring life signs as we speak."
"Same here," Stackhouse and Houseman said as one.
"Alright, we'll give it good ten – fifteen minutes, let the air get all through the ship. Telly, your people are suited up, right?"
Lorne smirked again at the name his current 2IC was being called.
"Major Teldy here, Doctor, and yes, my team is all suited up. The halls are secure as well as the cells have been prepped for their arrival," Ann Teldy said, a hint of a smile in her voice.
Lorne felt she would do just fine when it came to dealing with one Rodney McKay. He was glad she remained behind with Atlantis. It was also a pity...in that he liked her, but she was his 2IC and fraternization even if not a serious regulation, would still keep Lorne at bay. It wasn't something to think about at the moment. He had better things to keep an eye on and a ship to help take over and secure. "McKay, how are you going to secure something this size to the pier?" he asked, for though he'd been told a lot, there were still a lot of details still missing."
"Don't worry your pretty little head over it, my people have it covered. You just make sure you get everyone off that ship. The manifest states, that with crew and passengers, we're looking at two hundred and twelve, people. Make sure you count them all correctly, for even one remaining behind could be trouble," McKay said, his voice firm and serious.
"Copy that," Lorne said, for it was true. "I'll make sure we triple, quadruple count them if need be, don't worry."
"I worry, Major, about a lot of things. I just don't want this to be one of them. Contact me when Telry moves in, I have things in the lab to oversee. Their computer is fully locked out and only a signal from your 'Jumper will open the hatchway. Contact me when either it's done or you run into trouble...McKay out."
"Well, whatever he's going to do in the lab is really important or he realized that we can count past our fingers and toes, boys and girls," Lorne said, laughing at his own joke.
"That or he doesn't think even we can screw this one up," Ann said, her voice a bit muffled as she must be in her suite now, since it would be only a few more minutes before Lorne would be sending them in.
"All life signs in my area are remaining stationary and vitals are down to what Doctor Keller said is normal for people unconscious," Stackhouse said.
"Ditto," Houseman said.
Lorne smirked and then checked his area, which included the bridge area. "I have one stubborn SOB, trying to get off the bridge, but his vitals are getting close to target. I think the SOB was holding his or her breath."
"My team has Wraith stun guns, just in case," Teldy said.
"Good, but I think Mr. or Ms. Stubborn is going down for the count in three, two...oops there they go," Lorne said, feeling a bit too giddy at seeing everyone via the 'Jumper scanner, getting knocked out. But he couldn't help it, he felt a small bit of satisfaction as if they just got a bit of their own back for what was being done to them and more importantly to Colonel Sheppard. "Okay, Major, go get them," Lorne said, and once he knew Teldy was near by, he sent the signal that would open the ramp and hatchway to the Apollo, it was time to wrap this part of the plan up and move onto the next one.
Between being worried sick over Rodney and his people back in the city and bored out of his mind, since he had nothing to do but waste time, John was worn out. Landry had never returned and besides a rare random message among his food, in the form of one condiment or another, he had no real contact with anyone. Colonel Marks had come by three times wanting one thing, the back door to Atlantis. The bastard even threatened using drugs, but John's response was the same as was his point. If there was anyway back, Rodney would have removed it long ago. Rodney's history of being paranoid was well known to the SGC so it was easy enough for John to play on, and it also happened to be true. So, John paced, laid down, and worried.
The sound of the door opening long before what John had calculated to be meal times, brought John to full attention to what might be happening. He saw a group of SFs enter along with Colonel Marks and the man looked seriously pissed. John was now even more worried, especially when one of the SF pulled a gun and pointed it at him, while the others unlocked the gate and entered, carrying wrist and ankle chains.
"What's the meaning of this?" Sheppard demanded, not that he expected an answer, but he'd not given them any trouble to deserve this kind of treatment.
"It's simple, Sheppard," Marks said, his tone firm and smug. "You're going to put on the performance of your life and if you don't...." Marks looked purely evil when he stared at John, making John want to shiver and turn away, using all his will not to flinch waiting to hear what the man had to say. "Well, let's say, if you want to see the light of day again, you better cooperate to the fullest, got it?"
"Got it," John said, not that he planned to help this man, but he needed to know what is going on. "So what am I supposed to be helping with?" he asked.
"Bring him," Marks said, not bothering to answer or even acknowledge Sheppard anymore.
Thankfully the SFs were practically carrying John or he wouldn't have been able to move down the hall at the speed he currently was, due to the leg shackles rubbing against his ankles even through his socks. "Easy guys, what's the hurry," he said, trying to keep his cocky flyboy attitude, but it was hard for even with the assistance, if he didn't want to be dragged, he had to work at it to keep up.
John noticed that the halls were empty as he was forced forward and finally into the control room. The only other person there besides General Landry, was Walter and he looked like a rabbit being eyed by a huge hungry hawk. John looked at Landry and noticed the man was not even looking at him, but the window to the gate room. The tension in his face let John know something was happening and it wasn't good.
With a shove from Marks, John was barely able to catch himself and sit in the empty chair next to Walter. John didn't want to cause the Sergeant any trouble, so didn't speak to him. "I take it I'm supposed to speak to someone?" he asked, giving a cocky grin over his shoulder to the men behind him. He expected a lot, but for Marks to pull his gun and pistol whip him across the face was not one of them.
"Stand down!" Landry said, sounding truly pissed.
"General, might I remind you..." Marks began, looking like he didn't think much of the General either.
"No, you may not. You will stand down or I will have you removed from the control room, do I make myself clear?" Landry said, moving until he was in the man's face. John could see there was a power struggle going on, and though Marks back down, John could feel that this wasn't going to be the end of it.
Once it seemed that Landry was satisfied, he stepped back. "Let's get this over with," he snapped.
"Dial," Marks snapped and Walter began the dialing sequence.
"Now listen very carefully, Sheppard," Marks said, moving toward him, the gun back in his holster, but his hand resting on it.
"Chevron one encoded," Walter said out of habit, as far as John knew.
"Shut up," Marks said, making it clear that Walter best stop announcing the chevrons all together. Marks then turned back to Sheppard. "We're going to be contacting Atlantis, you are going to make McKay believe that you are on the Midway station ready to return home...all...alone," he said, emphasizing the alone part. John didn't have to be a genius like Rodney to know it was another trap. Also, that Rodney must have contacted them first, since he knew from Marks that they couldn't even get a lock on the city.
John felt a smirk cross his face, then winched for his jaw hurt like a mother and his lip was bleeding. "He's not going to fall for it, he'll want to verify..." John said.
"Oh, I'm counting on it," Marks smirked at him with what John was convinced was a face that not even his mother could love.
"Ah, sir," Walter said quietly.
Marks turn toward the Sergeant then toward the gate and saw it was connected. "Tell midway to dial Atlantis after the men are in place," Marks said.
John took the opportunity to look down and saw a dozen SG Marine units hustle through the gate, fully armed to bear. John prayed that Rodney wouldn't fall for this ploy and he also wondered what McKay had found in a way of possible trade. He prayed it wasn't himself. John also knew he had to find a way to tip McKay off that this was a trap, just in case. John felt a hand on his shoulder and then was forced to take his seat. He looked up to Mark's ugly face and his eyes made it perfectly clear he'd be listening carefully. John then looked over the man's shoulder to Landry and he saw the concern in his eyes and John felt a knot in his stomach for whatever was really going on, couldn't be good.
"Sir, Midway reports the men are in place and they are dialing now," Walter said.
"Good. Sheppard, make it good as I meant what I said," Marks growled at him.
John closed his eyes and took a calming breath. He hoped he was inspired on what to say to let Rodney know what was really happening. He saw Walter nod and Landry stepped forward, apparently not able to completely stay out of this farce.
"Atlantis, this is Landry, we're sending Sheppard through now," he said, his voice even and but John could hear the tightness in it.
"Good," McKay said. "If you know what's good for you, you won't try anything. I also expect Sheppard to confirm once he's on the other side."
"Understood," Landry said, then let Walter key off the microphone.
Marks was looking at his watch and John could tell the man was mentally trying to figure out how long it would take him, if he were really there, to get to the other side and be given a radio. By the Nod Marks gave Walter and the threatening glare he gave John, it wasn't long. The man mouthed, "Make it good," while rubbing the gun in his holster, making the threat more intense.
"Rodney?" John said, not sure what to say.
"John, are you alright?"
John could hear the worry and concern in Rodney's voice. He didn't want him to worry so much. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just really bored, just like the last time I was really bored," John said and received a hard hit on the back of the head, almost making him blurt out in pain. He turned and glared at Marks who was glaring aback at him, this time the gun was pulled and pointed at him.
"Yeah, I can imagine." Rodney said. "Are you on Midway?"
"Yeah...yeah," John said, having to repeat it, his voice a bit raspy from holding back the yelp from the hit by Marks. "Yeah, I'm..." John saw the gun being moved by Marks to his temp. "Here," John said. He could easily put an end to things by letting Marks blow his brains out, but John was holding tight to the hope his team would rescue him somehow.
"Good, good. I'll be right there," McKay said.
"No!" John shouted, but it was too late, Atlantis had cut the link. John flinched as another blow was coming his way and he'd gladly have received it had his warning had been heard by Rodney, but it hadn't. Thankfully, Landry still had some authority, as an SF was holding Marks' arm with the gun, up and away from him or anyone. John relaxed a bit, seeing the SF take the weapon and move to stand next to Landry, who John was sure had a tiny smug glint to his eyes.
"This is still my base, Colonel. It would be good for you to remember that," Landry said. Then he turned to the SFs in the room. "Take him back to his cell," Landry ordered.
John was dragged to his feet and once again forced marched back to his cell. John was petrified that he'd led Rodney to his demise. He'd tried to hint about the last time he'd been this bored; it was when he was sitting in a prison cell, talking to Elizabeth via their radio with a guard standing next to him, making him tell her all was well and she should join them. Of course, Elizabeth knew better, for John never let her off world without a few visits under their belt to a planet or John by her side from the start. Also, they had set up a few code words for just that type of situation, sadly they were rather common and John feared Marks would catch on, so didn't use them....damn it, if Rodney ended up in a prison cell because of him...
John barely noticed that he'd been free of his bonds and left in his cell. His mind light years away, kicking himself for not doing better to warn Rodney and kicking Rodney's butt for not knowing that under the circumstance, Earth would pull a fast one.
John moved to sit on the edge of his bench/bed, and rested his aching head in his hands. He lost track of time, but the door opening once more got his attention. It was a medic who strangely looked a lot like the SF who brought him his meals from time to time. John couldn't help but give him a strange look.
A guard entered with the medic and opened the cell for him, then locked it again, the guard moved to stand near the door, as the medic came closer. John was puzzled when the man chuckled at him. "I'm not that funny looking," John protested.
"No, it's not that, it's that you have the look of a man who has met my brother," the medic said, kneeling in front of him. The man then started to clean up John's apparently split lip, which stung badly. Then used a couple of butterfly Band-Aids to close it. "Sorry, not allowed to bring in a stitch kit," the medic said. "I did get permission for this," the man said, retrieving a few instant cold packs. "Keep them on your jaw," the medic said, and then as he was shaking one of them he whispered. "Midway only got the Apollo crew," he said, then handed over the ice and gathered up his belonging. He shared a knowing smile with Sheppard before schooling his face and leaving.
John sat there for the longest time trying to process what he had been told. What did, "Midway only got the Apollo crew" mean? Could it mean that somehow Rodney and his people captured the Apollo and sent them to Midway? John wasn't sure, but deep down he couldn't help but think that Rodney was never in any danger, that the entire thing was a trap but not for Atlantis. If Rodney really did have the crew of the ship, he'd want to ditch them and the easiest and safest would be Midway. Of course Midway would be on their guard after the last stunt he pulled, so thinking once more they had a shot at McKay under the pretense of letting Sheppard go..." John laughed, for the first time in awhile really feeling there was hope...real hope. Now if he could get some aspirin, he'd know there was someone looking over him. But he figured one miracle was enough for one day.
General Hank Landry wasn't in a good mood. It wasn't the fact that McKay had once again made the SGC look like a bunch of backwards school children, in fact, he was rather pleased with the man's ingenious actions. It was really Colonel Marks' problem over all that he once again underestimated McKay, as he himself had done many times over the years. McKay had learned a lot over the years and he really was a genius to start, it was only natural he'd learn to pull a few fast ones over the SGC, like tricking Marks' to letting Midway open their gate without shooting first anyone who stepped through. To discover it was the entire complement of the Apollo was surprising, in that it meant that somehow they had taken the ship and worse, still had it...for that he was getting the heat and worse, more threats. How was he supposed to keep his family safe when he had zero control over what Atlantis did? He'd even told the President to really return Sheppard, as the man could be counted on to keep his word, the words 'unlike others', had only lingered between them over the Red phone.
The President...oh, how that angered him, that this...man, sitting in the Oval office was a heartless, ruthless bastard and a poor excuse for a human being, was in charge of him and his country? They had dodged a bullet when Kinsey was forced to step down, but they missed this one. President Dawson had kept his true nature close to the cuff as there was little wind in the air around election time. He did hear some scuttlebutt over the man, but it wasn't unusual during an election, but now he wished he had listened. He wished he'd voted for the other man, not that he was sure it mattered over all.
The President hung up after giving Landry orders to have Marks take Sheppard out and shoot him. Landry couldn't let that happen not on his watch. He had to do something, so in an act of desperation, he contacted a friend of his in the judicial department, with knowledge of military law and thank God he found a loop hole. It wasn't much of one, but since they were not in a 'true war' since it was not declared by Congress, Sheppard was entitled to a fair hearing. Landry wasn't counting on it being fair, just time consuming, for the only true chance Landry saw was Atlantis pulling off another miracle act, like they've done in the past. In many ways, it reminded him of SG-1.
SG-1, now there was another sore subject. Thankfully Daniel Jackson had the decency to apologize publicly for his behavior, so Landry had an excuse not to send him away and Carter was to all known accounts, keeping her nose clean. Sadly and to his deep ire, he had to keep Teal'c and Vala locked up. It took everything he had to keep them out of the hands of those who would treat them like lab experiments. He was already having trouble living with himself over his actions, but he did what he could where he could, praying more and more each day for a miracle.
His door opened without him being notified, so he was a bit surprised that it was his daughter Carolyn. She wasn't speaking to him for having Cameron Mitchell transferred to the Alpha base. He hadn't known they had started dating, but then there was a lot about his daughter he didn't know, but he in away got a second chance, now that she was stationed here...until this fiasco came up.
"Carolyn," he greeted, seeing the anger upon her sweet face, so much like her mother's. "I thought you weren't speaking to me?" he said, hating to push her further into anger, but he couldn't give her the answers he knew she was seeking, for he was terrified she'd do something stupid and get herself killed. It was bad enough living with the danger she was constantly in just being here in the SGC, but as Carolyn proved, she was an adult and could make her own choices. That didn't mean he would stop trying to protect her.
"General," she snapped back. Boy he really was in the dog house with her.
Carolyn came all the way up to his desk and leaned in, a tactic she learned from others on base, he was sure, for it was an intimidation move, one she hadn't used before...at least never on him. "I want to know what the hell is going on with you? You've sent Cam away, you've split SG-1, locked Teal'c...Teal'c of all people, up in a cell. Vala, well, I can sort of see why, but she's been good for a while now and improving on her social skills and not stealing anywhere near as much, which she usually returns...mostly after Jackson catches her, but that's not the point. You've locked them up and now there's rumors that you have Colonel Sheppard locked up and going to have him shot...shot like a dog, for what?" she demanded. "He's a good man and a good commander, you said so yourself not too long ago. Something is going on and you either tell me or I'll find out for myself and any, and I do mean any chances of you and I remaining family will be gone, do you understand me? And don't give me the "it's orders' crap!" she snapped, her face flushed with anger, some of her dark hair, usually kept back in a normal pony tail, escaping around her face. Her eyes dark with fury, Hank knew it was no idol threat. Their relationship may have improved, but it was strained from the beginning with him always doing something 'under orders' leaving her and her mother alone. He had thought at the time they understood, that he was doing his job, keeping them and this country safe. It wasn't until it was too late, when his wife filed for a divorce that it had been him who didn't understand that they needed him too. Now he had a chance and because of this he could very well lose his daughter, one way or another.
"It is under orders," he said, his voice more like a growl, hoping she could see the strain and frustration he felt over them. "All of it," he said, again willing her to see he didn't like these orders, that he was in a corner.
"Please," she said, straightening up and looking down at him in more than one way. "You've bucked orders plenty of times; it's why O'Neill chose you for this post. The person in charge needs to know when to follow and when to think for themselves," she snapped back at him.
She had his number, but then his daughter wasn't stupid or she'd not be a doctor in charge of the base infirmary at her age. He also could see she was about to walk out, not just of the door but of his life and he felt desperate in the face of her glare. Her mother was just starting to talk to him again, and deep down, he hoped it meant something. He never stopped loving her and seeing she'd not taken up with anyone else even after all these years, gave him hope. If he let Carolyn leave now, he knew, he just knew, he'd lose them both.
Listening to his heart, he opened a draw on his right and found a small gadget under a hidden panel and turned it on. O'Neill was kind enough to show him this little thing and instructed not to use it often, it would give him time to talk without being overheard by anyone outside or by any electronic devices...nor would the security camera's maintain any images...it was a nifty device.
"Sit," he ordered, old habits of being in charge remained as did Carolyn's stubbornness as she arched a delicate brow at him. But she listened and took a chair, looking at him with anticipation of finally hearing the truth. "First, I can't tell you everything that is going on, but you will listen to what I do tell you and you will never breath a word of it outside of this room, do you understand?" Landry said, his eyes pleading with his daughter to understand the severity of what he was telling her.
"Alright," Carolyn said, sitting up straighter in the chair, indicating that on some level he had reached her.
"Everything I'm doing that you're upset about is under orders, and I'm trying the very best I can to make right where I can without jeopardizing the lives of my family," Landry said. "Do you understand, Carolyn, you have to stop asking questions and stop pushing," he snapped, his emotions beginning to bubble over his attempt at being calm.
"Someone is threatening me?" Carolyn asked, appearing shocked at hearing this. "Can't you go to someone, O'Neill, the President?" she said. But as he watched her face, something in his own must have given something away as her shock turned into disbelief and horror. "The...President?" she whispered.
Landry dropped his head, he didn't meant to share so much, but it was done and some small part of him felt a bit of relief, hoping she'd at least understand he wasn't the monster everyone was thinking him to be. "It's not just you...all of them, your mother, uncle, cousins...all of them...I..." He felt himself begin to tremble, and hated it. It had been years since he felt like this, his emotions out of his control. He closed his eyes, fisting his hands to try and gain control of himself, for he needed to be in charge otherwise mistakes could be made and that was unacceptable. To his surprise, he felt arms around him and opened his eyes to the sight and feel of his daughter hugging him. It had been years, so many years, that this one gesture undid him like no other. He hugged her tightly and let the tears fall.
"Its okay, Daddy," Carolyn said soothingly. "We'll do it together," she said.
Hank Landry felt his heart leap with joy, for it had been even longer since his daughter had referred to him as Daddy and not Father, or more recently General. It was a bitter sweet moment, for it took this nightmare to bring him closer to his child, but he couldn't regret having this moment either. "Yes," he said, for he also had to realize, she wasn't little anymore and he needed someone he could trust, and she was it.
Hating to break the moment, Landry leaned back and wiped his face. "We don't have much time, someone will notice the security is off in this office," he said as way of explaining his pulling back. He smiled at the kiss his daughter placed on his cheek and took the time for her to regain her seat to compose himself.
"So, what are we going to do?" Carolyn asked.
"What we're told," he said firmly, then gave a small mischievous smile, "and what we can where we can." Then he felt the sadness overcome him again. "He's out to get Atlantis as he has full control of this base. He's planning to make Sheppard an example. Best I was able to do was buy the man some time and hope and pray his people in Atlantis can pull off another miracle. The President is wary of SG-1 including O'Neill, that's why I had to split them up. He's also anti-alien, which is going to mean war eventually."
"Again, what are we going to do?" Carolyn asked, sounding concerned.
"I'm not sure. You just keep out of trouble, you're being watched. I'm not even allowed to send you off-world. But, find a way to contact Carter, I know she's working with O'Neill, I'd bet my life on it. In fact, I'm betting all our lives on it. But don't jeopardize her. Jackson has only caused himself to be watched even closer. One wrong move and he's being sent off-world, like Cameron. For the record, it was not my idea, and second...as long as he doesn't hurt you," he nodded, trying to say he approved of the man for his daughter, but also knew his daughter probably didn't want to hear it. He was surprised at seeing her smile at him.
"Thank you," Carolyn said, her eyes beaming at him. "I...I love him."
Landry felt his lips tighten, as he still found it hard to admit his little girl was a full grown woman and hearing she was in love with a military man, one of his officers, was tough on keeping that image in his mind. "I want you to be happy," is what he said and it was true. "But for now, please, stop pushing or asking too many questions. I don't know who you can trust, it's not like the villain is someone we can all get behind, it's the President and that title alone holds a lot of influence over people...be careful. Also, send someone to check on Sheppard, Marks hit him in the head a few times."
"That's why I'm here. One of the SF told me to send a medic to the cells, as Sheppard was hurt. It's not like you to let something like that happen, I had to know," Carolyn said.
Landry nodded again. "Do what you can; I'll back you as much as I can. But as much as you may hate me, I will not, repeat not; let your mother or uncle and his family die. If it means sacrificing Sheppard or anyone else on this base, I will," he said firmly. He wasn't surprised to see the anger in his daughter's eyes.
"That include me?" she asked.
"Would you let them die?" Landry tossed back at her? "Would you let those who have no clue as to what is happening die, when you can prevent it? Even if it means the life of another?" Landry challenged. He hated being so blunt with his daughter, but again, she wasn't a child, but she was a healer...he was a soldier. "It's on me," he said.
"No, it's on us, now," Carolyn said back, her eyes meeting his. "And I hate admitting it, but you're right."
Landry felt his heart break seeing his daughter's understanding in her heart and knowing what that was doing to her. "You keep taking care of the people of this base, I'll take care of the rest. We have some time," he said, not mentioning how little time it was.
"Okay," Carolyn said as she got to her feet and headed to the door. She turned to look at him and Landry could see a tear fall down her cheek. "Together, okay?" she asked.
Landry felt a wave of pride fill him. She was quite a woman, just like her mother. He nodded, "together," he said. Then once she left, he undid the device and hid it in his desk. He had to inform Marks that he was placing Sheppard on trial. He then had to find away to make sure it was at least somewhat fair and dragged out as long as possible; otherwise John Sheppard was a dead man.
The voice was soft and sweet, like a dream and Rodney was tempted to answer it, but he was so tired, sleep beckoned louder, so he tried to snuggle deeper into his bed. Problem was, he quickly realized when the keyboard dug deeper into his face, he wasn't in bed and bolted upward.
"Easy," Teyla said, placing a gentling hand on his shoulder to keep him from falling of the chair he'd been sitting on all night apparently.
Rodney looked around and noticed it was dark and the lab empty and it felt late. He blinked owlishly at Teyla, smelling coffee and food from someplace close by. "Um...what time is it?" he said, wanting to go back to sleep, but knowing there was so much to be done if they were going to take off on time.
"It's 05:35 in the morning. I am sorry I did not realize you were still here last night," Teyla said, an apologetic look upon her beautiful face.
Rodney just waved it aside, his stomach growling and his need for that lovely brew he smelled growing. "Coffee," he said, his mind only focusing on one thing at the moment.
"I have brought it and breakfast, I knew you would be hungry." Teyla said as she moved and got the tray she had brought with her and placed it in front of Rodney.
Rodney's hand darted out almost on its own accord toward the coffee mug and brought it to his lips, its warmth and flavor feeling like a healing balm to his body and soul. Then for a moment it tasted almost bitter, as he recalled that it had been a long while since he slept the night away in his lab. John would always show up around 2200 hrs, midnight if it was a crisis, and gather him up and get him to his room to sleep. Rodney felt his hands tighten on the mug, as his heart clenched in his chest, he missed John so damn much and he was worried sick, afraid he'd be too late, afraid he'd fail the man he loved.
"It is probably already too late," Elizabeth said.
"Rodney, are you alright?" Teyla asked.
Rodney looked up from his coffee, seeing her so close and feeling the heat from the coffee in his hands, made him realized it was real. He was hearing Elizabeth's voice, it wasn't just a bad dream, like he hoped. "Um...yeah. Need to get the second shield generators up and working, if we're going to take off today," Rodney said, draining the last of his coffee, glad to see the thermos on the tray, for he knew he would need more.
"Radek said you finished last night that you were only going over things as a secondary precaution" Teyla said, looking concerned for him.
"I did?" Rodney said, then placing his empty mug down on the tray, brought the key board he had slept on like a pillow, closer and brought up his computer to see she was right. The secondary shield they had discovered after having all three ZPMs was repaired and up and running. He recalled his thoughts about how it could have saved lives when the primary shield began to give out, shrinking to the tower, closing off areas one by one, and those who couldn't get back in time died.
"A week in space, it could happen again," Elizabeth said.
Rodney clenched his fists and his eyes, remembering his time with Cadman in his head, he knew he didn't have to respond out loud, and also, if he was heard yelling at himself, he would have to explain everything, and with John in danger, he couldn't afford to be locked up or sedated in the infirmary. Insanity was the risk of every genius, he knew that. He just hoped it wouldn't happen to him, but it seemed it was, for he couldn't believe for a moment that this...voice...was really Elizabeth. Shut up! He thought inside his mind. Go away, you're not real!
"Rodney?" Teyla said, this time a hand on his shoulder again, rubbing it gently like she did when he first woke up. "Are you in pain? I can get Doctor Biro?"
"I am real, as I have said. I'm here to help, but you know what to do if you wish for me to be completely gone," Elizabeth said.
Rodney shook his head, choosing to ignore the 'pest' as he was referring to it, and looked at Teyla. "Yes, something for this headache would be good," he said.
"Also, eating would help I think," Teyla replied, gesturing to the food on his tray. "We do not want your blood sugar to drop as it has in the past when you push yourself so hard. We are ahead of schedule, take a few moments, eat, while I get something for your headache from Doctor Biro. I will return in a few minutes," Teyla said and stayed put, staring at him.
It took Rodney a moment to realize she wasn't leaving until he began eating, so he pulled the tray closer and began to eat almost-eggs and almost-bacon with tarmak hash browns, double portion. He gave her a small smile as he piled a bit of almost-egg on his toast, nicely buttered and took a bite...it was good. "Thank you," he said, after swallowing most of his bite.
"You are most welcome," Teyla said, then headed out of the lab.
"This is foolish, Rodney. Taking the city to Earth without John, the only truly experienced pilot with a strong enough ATA gene to control it, something worse may happen to the others," Elizabeth said.
Rodney's smile had fallen at the sound of the voice in his head, but he didn't stop eating. Teyla was right, he needed to food or his blood sugar would fall and then he'd be in the infirmary, and there was too much to oversee today. He also noticed that if he didn't think directly toward the voice, it didn't take notice of what he was thinking, which was a good thing. He didn't need his every thought analyzed by it. He had enough on his mind without it.
By the time Teyla returned, Rodney was done eating and drinking the rest of the coffee, back to overseeing his checklist for the scheduled launch today. Lorne would be in the Chair, there were other ATA pilots lined up to rotate through the trip, since there was no way Lorne could remain in the chair the entire week. Plus, once the city was in hyperspace, they wouldn't really need anyone there but to keep an eye on things. Then Lorne would be needed in the chair once again once they came close to Earth.
"Here you go," Teyla said, placing down a second thermos of coffee and a couple of Tylenol.
"You are an angel of mercy," Rodney said, seeing Teyla had anticipated that he'd need more coffee. He opened the second thermos quickly, poured more coffee and with it took his pain relievers, which was more for his back, than his head.
"I saw Radek in the mess hall, he will be here soon. What time do you want to hold the staff meeting today?" Teyla asked.
Staff meeting? Rodney thought, then recalled it would be a good idea to make sure everything and everyone was on the same page. "Yes, yes, ah...0800 hrs sound good," he said to her.
"Yes, that does sound good, and the rest of us would like to know more of what you have planned once we reach Earth. Radek said the secondary shield had been damaged." Teyla said, looking relaxed and even confident in him, it touched Rodney, but her comment on the secondary shield hit a sore point nonetheless.
"We didn't even know it existed before, we didn't have enough power for it to even initialize or I would have..." Hell, he thought they would have to build a secondary shield, imagine his surprise when the indicator came on after installing the other ZPM, saying it was damaged.
"Rodney, I meant nothing other than we understand why you have been so busy the last couple of days," Teyla insisted.
"Oh, um...yes. It's just that..." he sighed, his heart heavy for so many reasons.
"They could all die if you do this," Elizabeth said.
Shut up, just shut up! Rodney thought in his head, and then turned to look at Teyla. "I just want to make sure we're safe, it'll be a week of space travel, longer after we get John back," Rodney said, no doubt at the moment that they would get Sheppard back. He couldn't afford to give into that fear, it would paralyze him and he needed to keep moving.
"We understand, Rodney," Teyla smiled warmly. "We have faith in you," she added.
Just then the lab doors opened and his staff along with Radek came pouring in. "Thank you," Rodney said softly. "I'll see you at the staff meeting."
"I will remind you," Teyla said, an amused smile upon her face. "Since I know how busy you will be and how you can lose track of time."
Rodney glared at her. She was right, but he couldn't help but react like he normally did when teased. "Speaking of busy, where is my seven foot hairy shadow gone?"
Teyla smiled warmly. "Ronon is resting. Sergeant Mehra is on duty until Ronon returns."
"Why?" Rodney asked, for he suddenly felt like all the trust he'd seen in her eyes was false.
"They don't trust you, Rodney." Elizabeth said.
"It is because of what you said in the first meeting. That someone might stay behind and try to sabotage our efforts to save John," Teyla said easily. "It is easy to determine that to accomplish that would be to bring harm to you, for without you, we would probably not succeed. Plus, you are the leader of the expedition now, a...prime target..." Teyla said, looking at him to see if she was using the terms correctly.
"Well, yes, but Lorne is already on security detail, we discussed that already," Rodney said.
"Yes, and he is, but he and I are more at peace knowing we have someone we can trust to keep you safe as well. Not only because you are now our leader, but because you are our dear friend," Teyla assured him.
"Morning, Rodney," Radek said as he walked up to them. He had a data pad in his hand and then handed it to Rodney. "We are green on all tests," Radek said.
"Run them again," Rodney said, just a bit harshly even to his own ears. Seeing the expressions on Teyla's and Radek's face, he was right. He sighed, "I want to be sure, just...please, run them again," he said. He could tell that Radek understood a moment later by the look in his eyes.
"Yes, of course," Radek said and hurried off to oversee the tests, to be as sure as humanly possible, that it wouldn't give out at a critical moment.
Rodney then turned to Teyla, her shock at his outburst gone from her face. "I've sent you an updated list of administrative things that need to be overseen. It would also be good if every department had their Need lists and their Want lists ready soon, then during the trip we can plan for how we're going to go about gathering them, without being noticed on Earth," Rodney smirked.
"You are putting the entire expedition in danger over one man, you can't do this Rodney," Elizabeth said.
Shut up or I will delete you! Rodney thought viciously. He knew he was going to have to do something about this 'voice' but he had more important things to worry about first, then...a bit of research. If he'd learned anything in Pegasus, it was not to jump to conclusions...unless you didn't have time and life and death was on the line. But once they launched he would have time.
"I will see to the email you sent me and check with all the departments before the meeting," Teyla said. "I will see you in a little while," she added before leaving.
Rodney brought up his check list and then tapped his radio. "Simpson, Miko, if you're finished with your testing, go down to the Stardrive room and start double checking its condition. I'll meet you there in half and hour, McKay out." Rodney said, without waiting for a confirmation. He knew those two could be counted on, like many who stayed behind. There were only a small handful he'd have chosen to send back, but they weren't complete idiots and perhaps with time, and a miracle they didn't kill themselves, they'd turn out to be decent scientists after all.
Rodney looked at his watch, even with delegating a lot of the work, there was a lot to be done before 0800 hrs staff meeting and 1300 hrs launch. Rodney wasn't going to be the reason for any delay and he was determine to make sure no one else was either, and got to work...John was waiting.
"What's this?" John asked, when he was handed a garment bag from one of the soldiers, who accompanied Colonel Marks.
"It's a dress uniform, the one in which you will wear to your trial," Marks said, his tone harsh and by his expression, John could tell he wasn't too pleased about it either. "General Landry insisted," Marks added.
Another soldier handed him a shoe box, with a pair of black socks, and John knew they were serious. "You're actually going to hold a trial? I thought you were just going to take me out and shoot me?" John asked, for that was what he believed was going to happen to him.
The dirty looked John got from Marks told him a lot. The man would have been perfectly happy to do just that it seemed. "No, you're going to get a trial Sheppard, then I'm going to take you out in front of a firing squad and have you shot. It's not only going to be shown live here, but I'm having it recorded so the other traitors in Atlantis will know what is in store for them. Though it might take awhile before you're reunited with your boyfriend, Sheppard, as I doubt Canada will simply hand over that traitorous fag, but it will only be a matter of time," Marks said, his tone sounding like a promise.
John purposely gave one of his cocky smirks. "I wouldn't count on it, Marks. Rodney is smarter than you on his worst day," John said.
"It's not just me he's going up against," Marks smirked back. "And he's an arrogant piss-ant who Carter has worked rings around, so again, Sheppard, it's only a matter of time."
John knew a lot about Colonel Carter, mostly from Rodney and reports, but he'd seen Rodney at his worst... Doranda...and seen him change. The man was a genius, and his gut told him the expedition wouldn't have faired anywhere near as well under Carter. Plus, Rodney wasn't alone either. "Want to make a bet?" John asked.
Marks laughed. "Sure, let's bet your life on it, shall we?"
Marks was a true bastard and John couldn't wait to take him down a peg. Of course, he knew he might not be around to see it, but he knew Rodney wouldn't let him or any SOB take Atlantis, and he found he could live (or die) knowing that. "Sure, Marks, you're on." John said. Then turned to get changed, for he knew there wouldn't be any privacy and he also knew if Marks already had him before a firing squad, there probably wouldn't be any true justice or fairness either.
John opened the garment bag and caught his breath. It seemed Landry had been busy, for there were medals upon his jacket chest pocket he didn't recall having before. A few he recognized and one was a Presidential Medal of Honor...it had to have been from President Hayes. John felt a lump in his throat; it meant a lot to him that Landry wanted the others to see not just the man accused, but all his accomplishments just staring them in the face while they passed judgment on them. He had to thank Landry when and if he got the chance. Now it was time to face his Kangaroo Court and listen to the mockery they were going to be putting forward as his trial.
"Sorry to disturb you, sir," Carter said over the phone she kept hidden on her person. "But I just found out that Colonel Marks has gathered some brass and is planning to hold a trial for Colonel Sheppard."
"That should take awhile," O'Neill said.
"On the contrary, sir, Colonel Marks has also ordered a firing squad for later today...it's going to be a fixed trial, sir," Carter said, the urgency clear in her voice as she hid in a corner that the hall camera's didn't quite cover. She'd been on the base for years and knew it probably better than anyone, shy of Sergeant Siler.
"The hell!" O'Neill said and Carter had to pull the phone away from her ear for a moment. "That scum sucking bastard is going too far," O'Neill continued. "Stop it if you can, delay it otherwise. I'll have Lt. Colonel Davis there as quickly as I can. He doesn't know the real details of what's happening, but I know he won't go against the law and railroad Sheppard."
"I have Siler standing by to cut the electricity to all but the gate floor, infirmary and vital areas. Also, have a few SF's standing by with smoke canisters, if I have to fake a lab accident," Carter said.
"Sweet. Knew I could count on you, Carter. What's Danny up to?" O'Neill asked.
"He's sounding out Carolyn Lam. Said he saw her exit the General's office looking upset but determined and glaring at everyone...he thinks she knows something. She then pulled Sheppard in and gave him an MRI and a full exam and tried to keep him overnight for observations...Seems Marks smacked Sheppard around a bit, when they tried to BS Rodney into going to Midway for the false exchange," Carter explained.
"Don't take this wrong, Carter, but I think McKay is a bit smarter than we both gave him credit for. Who the hell would of thought he'd manage to capture the Apollo and then fake us out during a fake out, to return the crew...it's why Marks wants a rush trial. But the Apollo will take about 18 days, since the President ordered the ZPM removed from it. Bastard is selling it to the highest bidder...." O'Neill growled and Carter pulled back and looks astonished at the phone.
"Sir?" Carter said, for she wasn't going to admit that she agreed with Jack's assessment that McKay was smarter than even she gave him credit for. Oh, not in the scientific field, he was 'almost' as smart as her and did know Ancient tech a hell of a lot better than her, not that she'd admit it. But this, this she never saw coming. He was cowardly, even though he went on missions. He whimpered and whined, yet he always came through for his team...yeah, come to think of it, she did underestimate him quite a lot. She really should have looked at the reports more, perhaps look at Rodney some more. But now was not the time.
"Never mind, Carter. Lam might be helpful, but tell Daniel that he better be careful, cause it's her father we're talking about here. I'd sure as hell like to know what got into him to allow this crap?" O'Neill said.
"Me too, sir," Carter said, for though Landry was no Jack O'Neill or George Hammond, he was a decent man. This was just out of nowhere and to the extreme. She thought perhaps the Goa'uld but she didn't sense any naquadah when she was around him, which made her wonder if the Goa'uld had found a way to hide it. Still, without proof of a problem, they were stuck with sneaking around, just like now. "I'll let Daniel know. How soon do you think it'll take Colonel Davis to arrive?" She asked, for she needed to know how long to delay the phony trial.
"I'll have the Daedalus beam him over as soon as I can track him down and let him know he'll be defending Sheppard. Again, he doesn't know about the corrupt ass we have in the Oval office, but he's smart, so he might have a clue. Still, keep an eye on him and if need be, get his back," O'Neill ordered.
"Yes, sir. I better go, I saw them taking Sheppard a few minutes ago," Carter said.
"Okay, keep in touch," O'Neill said then hung up.
Carter put her phone away and then headed down the hall. She casually brushed her hair, much longer than it use to be, so it hid one of the few Atlantis style radios she'd appropriated from one of the shipments and had given to those she knew she could trust. Siler and Daniel being among them. "Siler stand by, Daniel, Jack said to approach with caution after all, she's still the General's daughter."
"Copy that, Colonel," Siler said in a soft hushed voice.
"Don't worry, Sam. I won't do anything without telling you first," Daniel replied.
"Carter out," Sam said then casually again, in a gesture to brush her hair aside slightly, closed the radio. She took the elevator to the floor she knew the 'trial' was going to be held. On her word, the electricity of the base, except for vital areas would be shut down, she hoped that would be enough, but there was a lab on that floor, so, if she had to, there would be an 'accident' to slow things down until Davis arrived.
She wasn't too surprised to see some of Marks' men standing guard outside the room, so Sam just walked right by to the nearby lab and entered her security code and went in. It was empty, for she purposely didn't assign anyone here. She locked the door behind her and moved to a laptop she had left there earlier and booted it up. Once it was up and with a few tricks she knew, she had visual and audio of the room next door and by the looks of things, it wasn't starting off very well.
"How is this man supposed to represent me if I've never even spoken to him before?" Sheppard asked, his tone calm, but his anger clear.
"Because he is, now shut up and sit down, Sheppard," Colonel Marks ordered. He then turned to face the four men who where sitting at a long table, looking very uncomfortable and not happy to be there. There was also an unhappy looking Lieutenant sitting with her laptop open, apparently to take the transcription of the events. "You've all been briefed on what is going to occur here today, so let's get on with it. Admiral, if you please?"
A tall, dark haired, older Hispanic looking man, in a Navy uniform cleared his throat and eyed the others before nodding. "Please stand, Colonel," he said.
Carter watched Sheppard stand at attention and faced the tribunal. She gave the man a lot of credit to stand there with such dignity when faced with such...crap as Jack would say. She then listed as the Admiral read the list of charges, including conspiracy, treason, murder and homosexual acts, as is governed in the officer's code of conduct. She clenched her teeth and fists at hearing the lies. Though she wondered about Sheppard and McKay, she didn't think it was anyone's business and this was just adding insult to injury on so many levels.
"How do you plead?" The Admiral asked.
A thinly built Lieutenant from JAG, standing next to Sheppard squared his shoulders and looked straight into the Admiral's face and said, "Guilty."
"The hell, I do not, who the hell do you think you are?" Sheppard said, his calm gone and he reminded Carter of McKay, ready to flay the Lieutenant up one side and down the other verbally and she didn't blame him for it one bit.
She tapped her radio, for she made sure this room was not being monitored. "Cut the power to all but the pre-discussed locations," Carter said. The lab she was in would maintain enough power to keep monitoring the situation as well as the security cameras. The idea was to slow or stop the 'trial' and it seemed the power outage only fueled things some more in the other room. Sheppard was now laying into the brass about rights and laws and justice and how this was a mockery to all they stood for. Marks was trying to shut him up and telling them they should just keep going...crap.
"Use the smoke," she said and once seeing through the camera's even in the darken halls, the smoke, she closed down her laptop and headed out. Time to escalate the emergency. She exited her lab and got a face full of smoke. Great, well it was part of the plan so she just dealt with it as she made her way to the room. The guards tried to stop her.
"Are you blind, can't you see the smoke, this area is being evacuated, now stand down," she ordered. Thankfully they were good solders, not knowing how badly they were being used and stepped aside. She entered the room to see Marks' pulling a gun on Sheppard. "Stand down!" she ordered.
Marks turned to face her and snared at her. "This has nothing to do with you, Carter. Don't interfere."
"I don't know what's going on here, but the current emergency makes it my business. Now I said stand down. This floor is being evacuated." Carter turned to one of the SF next to her. "Take the prisoner back to his cell," she ordered.
"Delay that order," Marks snapped. "He's my prisoner, I'll take care of him," he said, then turned to Sheppard. "You're right, I don't need you here for this 'trial' the record will show you're guilty and sentenced to the firing squad, which I think we'll carry out immediately," Marks' sneered.
"Did I just hear you threatening my client to bypass his rights and have him killed?" Lt. Colonel Davis asked, his face covered with a white kerchief in one hand a briefcase in another. "Because if I did, that would be clear grounds to not only place you under arrest, but call a mistrial," Davis said.
"That's what I heard," Carter said quickly, hoping to back Davis up in this matter.
"Who the hell are you?" Marks snarled, his gun still pointed at Sheppard.
"Lt. Colonel Davis, I'm here to represent Lt. Colonel Sheppard," Davis said easily, then turned to Sam. "And since we both heard correctly...Colonel?" his eyes let Carter know since she was the ranking officer not participating in this farce; she had to make the call.
"Arrest Colonel Marks," Carter ordered. Sadly she knew it wouldn't last.
"Stand down," Marks ordered. The SFs looked confused on whom to listen too.
"Gentlemen, Colonel Carter, perhaps you should not interfere," The Admiral said, being the highest ranking officer in the room. His tone did not seem to be backing Marks more like afraid of the situation getting out of hand.
"With all due respect, Admiral Hernandez," Davis said. "But under the circumstances and what myself and Colonel Carter have witnessed, I have no choice but to place Colonel Marks under arrest and the participants in this room under investigation. I can not, nor will not let this matter go, sir."
Carter felt her eyes widen for a moment, for though she knew Davis had some brass, this was something else. Standing up to a room full of officers and a lunatic Colonel, with the backing of the current President, boy was she impressed. In fact, she suddenly realized that Davis was rather good looking. She wondered why she never noticed before and more importantly, what the heck his first name was as it escaped her.
"You're weapon, sir?" and SF was asking, having pulled his own out and was pointing it at Marks, along with five other SFs that were now in the room. Carter mentally slapped herself for letting herself drift, for she had missed something. Her only excuse was the lack of sleep for the past few days since this whole disaster started and Sheppard's life hung in the balance. On the other hand her Aunt's tenth letter this year asking her about marriage prospects and kids again on top of it could have contributed, either way, she was the ranking officer her and she knew how to act like it. Straightening her posture, she focused keenly on the events around her so she'd know her cue when mit cae.
"Sirs, this trial is now declared a mistrial. I will make my report to Generals Landry and O'Neill, as well as Admiral Gains with JAG," Davis said. "I will also be sending copies to all parties involved and your superiors at the Pentagon," Davis said.
Carter wondered if Davis would be this bold if he knew the President was a prick with a lust for power, money and that he had condoned this mockery. She did notice that Marks wasn't stupid and had handed over his weapon and was being cuffed, along with Sheppard since he was still a prisoner.
"You will regret this, both of you," Marks vowed as he was lead out of the room.
Carter didn't doubt it, but she couldn't in good conscience stand by and do nothing while a good man was being railroaded into being executed. No, something had to happen and soon. Perhaps Jack would be successful and find a way to get a recall going or better a vote of no confidence...something.
"Colonel Sheppard, as I said before, I'm Colonel Davis. General O'Neill sent me here to represent you. Once I've made my report, I'll come down to your cell and we can talk about the situation, okay?"
"O'Neill sent you?" Sheppard asked, and Carter saw he was looking at her than at Davis. She gave a slight nod, and could see he caught it by some of the tension leaving his shoulders and eyes.
"Yes," Davis said.
"Okay...good," Sheppard said, and then was forced to exit the room.
Carter turned to see everyone else had left out of one exit or another. She knew none of the people in this room short of Marks, perhaps the JAG officer, wanted to be there or participate. But for whatever reason they did, and Davis was in his rights to file charges against them for accessory to interfering in a Federal trail. Sadly again, she knew nothing would come of it. She just hoped it would buy them all enough time for Rodney to make whatever move he was planning, and she knew he was planning something...she was sure she knew what it was too, since it was kind of obvious with taking the Apollo. She hoped Rodney was prepared, for she could only imagine what orders where given to the other ships in orbit.
"You want to tell me what the hell is going on around here?" Davis asked.
Carter realized they were the only two in the room, the smoke having dissipated since she didn't call for more and the vents were taking care of the rest. She met Davis' eyes and realized this man didn't really know the danger he was in, but trusted Jack and her to get his back, just like always. "Not here, not now. Go make your report, talk with Sheppard. I'll contact you when I can with what I can," Carter said. She then turned to head out before stopping and looked at Davis over her shoulder. "Don't trust Landry or anyone but me and Daniel. There are a few more, but I'll fill you in on them later," she added, not wanting Davis to screw himself over when he went to talk with Landry. This was going to be an uphill battle, one she didn't think they were going to win, but...SG-1 and even SGA-1 have had to fight some pretty hopeless battles and came out triumphant, she prayed this would be one of them.
The lifting off of the city was smooth compared to the last time. The difference was enough power when before they barely had any. Discovering the second shield had been a God send in that it saved time. With a few minor tweaks they could turn it into a cloak, but for now it was running as a shield while in hyperspace. With their stardrive it would only take them a week instead of the eighteen days it would take the Apollo, since it no longer had a ZPM...idiot Americans.
After being in space a full day, Rodney was worn out, but all the planning that needed to be done was completed and now he could focus further on his current problem... Elizabeth. He'd gathered the equipment he would need and was about to take it to his room when Zelenka came into the lab.
"Rodney?" Radek asked, and by the look on his face Rodney could tell Radek knew he was up to something, but not what.
"Any problems with the shields, ZPM, Stardrive?" Rodney asked as an attempt to deflect the man away from all the equipment in the box he was just about to carry out of here.
"No, all is fine, that is why I come, to tell you to get some sleep. What is this?" Radek asked, obviously not going to be swayed from the topic.
Yes, Rodney, what are you doing? Elizabeth asked.
Rodney ignored the voice, he had become very efficient in that as of late, and realized that if he didn't focus too hard on his thoughts, Elizabeth couldn't hear them nor could she see what he could. But if he focused, she knew everything he did so he had to be careful. "I'll explain later," Rodney said going to dismiss Radek, but he touched on an idea and turned back to him before he could dwell on the it. "In fact, come to my quarters in about 20 minutes...no earlier and no later than 25, got it?" Rodney asked as he turned back to the box and picked it up.
"Why can you not tell me now while I am here?" Radek asked.
"Yes, Rodney, why can you not tell him now?" Elizabeth asked in Rodney's mind.
"You heard me," Rodney said and moved passed Zelenka toward the door. "20-25 minutes not a minute more or less," he said and was out the door and heading to his quarters.
"Rodney?"Elizabeth tried again.
"Not now," Rodney said in a hushed voice as he entered the transporter. In moments he was inside his quarters where he began hooking up a lot of equipment while humming Brahms, purposely adding some Beethoven as he did so. He could hear Elizabeth calling to him, letting him know that all she could hear or understand was the musical notes he concentrated on. Part of him wanted to kiss Cadman for showing him how to do this, but then again, not...she was a bomb toting tap dancer...too weird for his taste.
Once he had everything laid out the way he wanted he booted up his laptop and then turned off the monitor after bringing up a blank document. He hit the enter key twice and then began typing, trying to focus on two things at once. Something else he's had plenty of practice of doing over the years they'd been there, herding scientist, soldiers, Sheppard, running for one's life while trying to repair equipment.
"Rodney, you're staring at a black screen. What are you doing?" Elizabeth asked for what felt like the thousandth time.
Rodney hummed to himself until he was finished. He hit his auto-save and then got up. Once he was to the side and couldn't see the screen he turned the monitor back on, by reaching back behind him. Then he moved and sat on a stool that was located in the middle of all the wires, electrodes and equipment he brought and assembled. He grabbed a set of the electrodes that ran to a small black box with a few switches and a white area that was lit up showing it had power. He then placed the electrodes around his head.
"Rodney!" Elizabeth demanded.
"Its okay, Elizabeth. I just figured out how to solve both our problems," he said. "I don't want you in my head..." Rodney said.
"I told you how you could get rid of me," Elizabeth said sounding a bit irritated.
"Yes, don't remind me." Rodney said, the irritation in his own voice just as clear. "But that's the problem," Rodney added. "I don't want to destroy you, so, I'm going to place you in here!" Rodney said, sounding excited and stared at the little black box, while reaching out and grabbing hold of remote that would activate it. He placed it into left hand and held it tightly.
"But...Rodney. I'm here to help you, if I'm in...that...device I can't do that. You may as well just delete me." Elizabeth said.
"Ah, but that's the beauty of this. I can access the box with you in it anytime I like, just like any other computer program," Rodney said, grinning, then he closed his eyes and concentrated, something Teyla had shown him over the years...though mostly against his will...but it seemed to help now as suddenly the image of Elizabeth was clear in his mind as was the surroundings. The place looked like Elizabeth's office, though rather sterile even with so many of the items she kept on her desk. Elizabeth was standing by the window that looked over the control room, which was barren. She was dressed in her red shirt and black slacks like usual, but she stood kind of tall, her hands behind her back as if partially at attention.
"Rodney?" Elizabeth said sounding puzzled for this was the first time they had met face to face within Rodney's mind.
"Blame Teyla," Rodney said, giving a small grin. Then he got serious. "Look, Elizabeth, I appreciate all you've done for us, Atlantis, me and not just this," he gestured toward her. "But from the beginning in giving me a chance to participate in this expedition. I know you had to go to bat for me, but I hope I've proven I was worth it."
"Of course you have, Rodney." Elizabeth said, never moving from her spot. "But now I can only be of use one way and if you feel that strongly that I'm hindering you, then please, Rodney. Don't put me in a box. Just...let me go,"
Rodney sighed, looking down to his shoes, then after a long silent moment he nodded. "Very well, Elizabeth. I guess...this is goodbye."
"Yes, I guess it is. Goodbye...Rodney," Elizabeth said.
As Rodney began thinking about Elizabeth's sixteen digit access code backwards, he squeezed his left hand, pressing the button in it. What took his physical body only moments was slow compared to how fast Rodney thought, so he had just about finished the last cycle of the numbers backwards, when all of a sudden he heard chittering noises in his mind. He looked around and saw coming from the walls, Replicator bugs. There wasn't many yet, they were just taking form. He turned to Elizabeth, but her appearance had changed to a red headed woman he'd never seen before. "What the hell!"
"I want to thank you, Rodney for freeing me," the woman said. "Had you not done what I asked, then Elizabeth Weir's little trap would have worked. But she underestimated me and thought too highly of you. It will be a shame to lose you, but I must have a body and yours will have to do once my nanites fully take over," The replicator woman smirked.
Rodney just folded his arms over his chest and looked smugly at the woman. He didn't say a word, as the room filled with the sounds of squeals and pops. He watched the woman turn and finally noticed all her replicator creations were turning to dust in waves, faster than she could create them. "I knew you weren't Elizabeth. It just took me awhile to figure out who or I should say what you were. Granted had I not had so much to deal with, I would have figured it out sooner. I wired the room with an anti-replicator pulse on a rotating frequency and you'll be history before you can figure it out, so don't bother." Rodney said.
"No. NO!" The replicator woman screamed, slowly turning to dust herself. "I'll destroy you!" she screamed and lunged for Rodney, arms stretched out to reach him, but then something pulled her back as if she was connected to an invisible string. She struggled, but soon it didn't matter, she fell to the floor into dust and in her place was Elizabeth.
Rodney blinked. "Elizabeth?" he asked. But the woman before him didn't move, but held still like a statue. He moved forward carefully and touched it, his hand going through like a hologram. "Elizabeth?" he asked again. Rodney jumped back when the hologram turned to look at him.
"I am but a memory, Rodney. Originally placed here to help you, but when one of the replicators entered the mind meld my real self created with you, I altered this program to protect you. I am sorry, Rodney. I had no right to do what I did. I was thinking of Atlantis and what the ZPM creation containers could do, not you as I should have. You are my friend. If you are hearing this, either you or I were successful in ridding yourself of the replicator nanites. If you do not want the knowledge I have placed here I have full confidence you will be able to remove it. I promise no hard feelings. Take care of your self and our city, Rodney." Elizabeth said, and then once more she turned to face forward and froze. Nothing like the figure he'd been dealing with, but this hologram had more...Elizabeth-ness about her than the other one.
"Thank you and sorry," Rodney said and once more squeezed his left hand. If this was really just a 'download' as he was originally told, then the 'file' would be removed from him to the black box as he said. If not, then it would be gone forever. Either way, Rodney couldn't continue leading the good people of Atlantis, much less save John with something in his head other than his own genius. A slight bit of pain was the last thing Rodney felt before it all turned dark and he was unconscious.
General Landry grinned wickedly at Sheppard. "We're done messing around with trials. You're guilty of treason against the United States Government and you're not only going to pay but be an example to anyone else who thinks they can defy our President!"
John struggled, not so much to get away, it was impossible, as he was chained foot and wrist to a waist belt and held by two brick houses in guard uniforms. He struggled to get the gag out of his mouth so he could tell the SOB what he thought of him and this mockery that man in the white house was making of his Government...but it was futile.
"Take him," Landry ordered.
Sheppard was marched down a long hall, lined with soldiers, some sneering at him in disgust, some looking at him with great sympathy. Near the end of the hall guards where holding Carter, Jackson, Mitchell, Teal, and Vala all in chains, their mouths bound as well. Their eyes held fear but mostly for Sheppard as he was pushed through double doors that led to a courtyard, that he once played basketball on, now converted into a place he would die...unless Rodney and the others showed up real soon. In his mind they were near by and he held to that thought as he was marched to stand before a long wooden pole, where he would be chained and forced to face a firing squad...
...Rodney's hands were dancing over the computers of the Apollo. "We need to hurry, they've marched him outside!"
"I am trying to get lock on him, but they are jamming the signal. They know we have Asgard beaming technology!" Zelenka shouted as he continued to try and get through and lock onto Sheppard before it was too late.
"Work faster!" Rodney said, as he jumped from his seat to the station where Radek was and knocked him aside. "Double the power cuplink connections and switch the polarity on the mid flow," Rodney ordered...
...John saw the men lined up before him, General Landry standing just to the right of them. Behind him were a couple of cameras filming this farce. "I'd offer you a last cigarette, but they're a nasty habit...could kill you," Landry said, his smirk growing. "They're not coming; Sheppard and you are going to die."
John mumbled for him to go to hell, but it was a moot point being gagged. So he calmed himself and stood at attention, he knew he was going to die; he would do it with dignity.
"I'd offer you a blindfold but...you don't deserve it," Landry said and raised his arm. "Aim!" he shouted...
..."I think I got it!" Zelenka shouted...
.... "There is still some interference!" Rodney snapped. "Ah...yes!"...
... "Fire!"... and the sound of guns going off filled the air at the same time a golden light flashed the area....
On board the Apollo a figure appeared and then fell to the ground where blood began to seep onto it. "No, no, no!" Rodney shouted as he ran from his station to kneel next to John, who lied injured. "Get a Doctor here, quick!" he yelled, then reached and undid the gag on John's mouth. "You're going to be okay, just hang on."
"You...'re...l...ate." John said, and then went limp in Rodney's arms, his hazel eyes empty and sightless.
"John," Rodney said in disbelief. He was too late, John was...no, no he couldn't lose John like this. "John, no, no. JOHN NO!"
"Rodney," a gentle voice called out. "Wake up, Rodney, it is okay."
Rodney blinked a few times and realized he was in the infirmary, Teyla standing next to his bed. A cold fear ran down into his soul. "John?"
"Still on Earth. We shall rescue him soon. I believe you were having a nightmare. Are you alright?" Teyla asked with genuine concern.
"Ah, Dr. McKay, good to see you are awake." Dr Biro said as she came around the curtain. "I was a bit concerned for you for awhile."
"Concerned...what...happened?" Rodney asked.
"What is the last thing you remember?" Teyla asked.
"Um..." Rodney closed his eyes and recalled everything up to destroying the nanites...or did he. "You need to scan me," he snapped. "Nanites!"
"Dr. Zelenka found your note on your laptop when he discovered you unconscious." Dr. Biro said. "It was a good thing too that Dr. Beckett kept such detailed notes. It seems that when the nanites were forced to break down in your system they became toxic. Similar to what occurred in Dr. Weir, but Dr. Beckett noted the cure, which needed to be initiated at once. If we didn't know about the nanites, I wouldn't have been able to administer the treatment in time. Though I'm curious, how did you get the nanites in the first place?" Dr. Biro asked.
"I too am curious. Does this have anything to do with the headaches you have been having?" Teyla asked.
Rodney was still cold from his nightmare, where he failed to save John. He was in no mood to be interrogated by anyone, especially someone as sharp as Teyla. "I don't want to talk about it," he said as calm as he could, which meant it came off as a snap. "How long have I been..." he gestured to the bed.
"About four days," Teyla tells him.
"What?" Rodney asked. They had been in space about a day, and it would be another six on top of that to reach Earth. If he had been here four days, then they would be nearing Earth in two days. "I have got to get out of here. We need to exit hyperspace near Jupiter, but not too close so its gravitational pull traps us. The SGC has sensors throughout the Milky Way galaxy to track if anyone comes out of hyperspace," Rodney snapped.
Dr. Biro was no Carson Beckett, but she was no Keller either. She folded her arms over her chest and arched a menacing brow in his direction. "You are not leaving this infirmary until I'm satisfied you are well enough. It was bad enough your system was flooded with poison from unexpected nanites, which you still have not informed us of where you got them from, you were beyond exhausted to start with. On top of dealing with the poison I had to deal with your crashing blood sugar, another reason you slept for so long. So, I state again, you're not going anywhere until I'm satisfied you are well enough to be out of this bed."
"Then get satisfied!" Rodney snapped. "There are still a million things that need to get done before we approach Earth. If one, and I mean ONE of those things doesn't get done, Earth will be notified and they may shoot Sheppard just for the hell of it. And if you think I'm going to lie around here and let you..."
"Calm yourself Rodney," Teyla said, placing a soothing hand on his arm. "Give Dr. Biro a chance to examine you. Then we can see what we can do to get you out of here. In the mean time. Major Lorne and Dr. Zelenka have all well in hand." Teyla said, once more proving the voice of wisdom and reason.
"Fine, lets get this over with," Rodney relented.
"So...the nanties?" Dr. Biro asked.
Rodney knew he had a big mouth in many cases, but it he could keep a secret and people here would be amazed to what he kept to himself. Sure he blabbed about some things, but his idea of a secret and others was different. Though over the years he was getting better at keeping even the most trivial of secrets, and letting anyone know about Elizabeth or a Replicator glitch has been in his head wouldn't do anyone any good. The only person who needed to know was John and maybe later, Radek. But not now and not here, so he folded his arms over his chest and glared at Biro. Again, she was no Beckett, so after a minute she caved and Teyla sighed. She knew how stubborn he could be and thankfully didn't press it...yet.
"I will let Major Lorne and Dr. Zelenka know you are awake and then I will bring you lunch." Teyla said.
"Also clothes," Dr. Biro said. "If he's able to be this stubborn, I suspect he'll be able to leave...after my exam and a good meal," she said to Rodney.
"Fine. Teyla, tell Radek what I said about needing to exit near Jupiter and to give me an ETA for when we'll reach it," Rodney asked.
"I shall," Teyla said then smiled warmly before leaving. Just as she exited, Rodney saw Ronon was in the hall, looking upset and Rodney first wondered why, and then realized, what happened wasn't something Ronon could have prevented and knowing how protective he's been lately, the big Yeti probably took it personal. Great! Now Rodney would have to find away to avoid getting a pummeling and worse find a way to make it up to the big oaf...which he did owe. Ronon was a good friend and loyal and his shadow had been a comfort the last few days.
Rodney was snapped out of his thoughts. "Hey, that's cold."
"I offered to warm it up for you, but you ignored me," Dr. Biro said, a smirk on her face and her eyes were twinkling under her glasses. He needed to get out of here and get Sheppard so things could get back to some sense of normalcy...and quick.
Earth, the Big Blue Marble, shined brightly in space, the clouds dancing across the atmosphere, covering various landmasses below. Above, unknown to but to a few thousand, the Daedalus orbited the planet far enough away that her orbit wouldn't effect any of the multitude of satellites that encircled the world like a metallic ring. Unknown to anyone below or on the orbiting space ship, one satellite was there...then it slowly...vanished from sight...only to return to its rightful place twenty two minutes later.
"McKay, to Atlantis, link-up is complete. We're on our way back. Have Lorne prepared to land on my mark. Radek, any unexpected feedback?" Rodney asked, standing alone in a Space EVC suit.
"No, no, all looks good. I have already begun transmitting and it will reach world wide proportions within sixteen minutes, just as I predicted," Radek said.
"You mean just as I predicted, you hack!" Rodney snapped back. "And let's not forget whose idea this was in the first place!"
"Yes, Major Lorne's," Radek said, his voice full of smiles and smugness.
"As if anything he said could have been accomplished without me," Rodney said, but there was little bite into it. "Just make sure the moment we land you have someone to help me get out of this contraption. I'm an astrophysicist...if I wanted to run around in space suites, I'd have joined NASA!" Rodney said.
"As if they would take a dough boy like you," Radek said back. "And the Major is in the control chair waiting for the 'Jumper to land before moving us in. Are you sure this is wise?"
"They know we have the Apollo, they know it contains Asgard technology, so they know we're going to try and beam up Sheppard. So they're not being a hundred percent stupid, sadly, they are masking his signal. This way we can search for a way to get him and supply the city! I shouldn't have to explain this again," Rodney growled, feeling a bit claustrophobic in the EVC suit, as the 'Jumper pressurized, but the only person here was the pilot, so Rodney had to wait until they returned to get out of it. So he paced slowly as the suit became heavier with the return of gravity.
"I was not talking about overall plan. No, I have agreed with that. I am talking about landing at the North Pole, there is much ice in water near there," Radek said.
"Yes, and a Military base, not to mention the Ancient outpost, at the South Pole. With the broadcast going on about a strange anomaly in space, all eyes should be looking where we send them. We'll land in the one place they won't expect us to be, it's brilliant," Rodney said, his voice sounding a bit smug.
"And if you are wrong?" Radek asked.
"Then we take over Santa's Workshop and build a toy army to take over the world and little hairy trolls who pass themselves off as scientists will only ever get coal in their stockings! Are we there yet?" Rodney snapped.
"Ano, ano, yes, the 'Jumper is entering the bay now. Once you touch down we will proceed as Chuck has informed me that the Daedalus has changed heading, it seems that Major Lorne's idea to make it seem there is something all of Earth can see from their tiny telescopes has gotten the attention of the SGC as planned."
"Good...we've landed. As soon as the Daedalus is not able to visually spot us, take us in," Rodney ordered.
"We shall be reaching Earth's orbit in three minutes and twenty-seven seconds and counting," Radek said.
The door to the 'Jumper opened and Rodney felt relief at seeing Teyla and Ronon there and Dr. Biro, though he felt fine and had done this sort of thing before. A wave of sadness washed over him as a memory of how Peter Grodin had died returned briefly, but he was in essence on a mission and there was no time to dwell on the past. He would never forget Peter, but now was not the time to remember him. "Get me out of this thing," Rodney demanded and was relieved when Teyla undid the outer seal and Ronon removed the helmet. "Thank you."
"I take it all went well?" Teyla asked.
"Yes, yes, of course it did. We're moving toward Earth now and Radek should be announcing shortly we'll be entering atmosphere. Has everyone got their lists done?"
"Yes, I received them hours ago and have as you requested broken them down into the categories you advised," Teyla said with a smile that mostly reached her eyes. Rodney could also see the worry and concern, but they all were when they couldn't locate John's signal upon reaching Earth.
"Good, good. Did you bring me clothes?" Rodney asked.
"No, thought it would be funny to watch you run around in those white 'jammies'," Ronon smirked.
"Ha, ha, funny. And seriously, 'jammies'? Who have you been hanging around with, kindergarten rejects watching too many shows with ugly purple dinosaurs in them?" Rodney snapped at him.
"No, the Marines," Ronon replied, his smirking indicating he wasn't the least bit insulted.
"Same difference," Rodney said, and then smiled at Teyla when she handed him a duffle bag of his clothes. "I think you're the only one civilized here...after me, of course," Rodney said.
"Of course," Teyla agreed, the smile moving higher into her eyes, which pleased Rodney a great deal. His family was in crisis and any little bit he could do to help, he would.
"Turn around, this isn't a peep show," Rodney demanded, gesturing his team to turn their backs, glad the pilot had already departed with one of Dr. Biro's nurses. She of course wasn't budging.
"You have nothing I haven't seen before," Biro said with a wickedly pleased smile. "Just pull on your boxers and I'll give you a quick check up. Since nothing went wrong, I don't think I need to do a full work up, but there will be the letting of the blood. Carson always said we should never forget to leech you of your vital fluids so we can dance around and shake our rattles and chicken bones at it," She smirked.
"It's a good thing you do practice voodoo, because your comic routine would have you starving in the alleys and dumpster diving...something you're probably already good at. Now let's get this show on the road, I have a million things to do," Rodney snapped. Another wave of loss washed over him as he suddenly remembered Carson, missing him terribly at this moment. He took a deep breath, steeling his resolve that he won't lose anyone else today, especially not John.
The announcement that they were about to hit the atmosphere came later than Rodney expected, as he had been keeping a mental countdown in his head. But he was being poked and prodded by Biro so he couldn't ask why. The moment he was free he finished getting dressed and even as the city rocked from the vibrations of them moving through the atmosphere, Rodney headed to the control room.
"What's our status?" Rodney demanded upon entering the control room.
"We are holding steady on course, shield and cloak is holding, though if someone does look in this direction, cloak or no cloak, they will see large burning in sky," Radek reported.
"Thus the reason for the world wide diversion of the phony news report from Farm Cove Observatory, Auckland New Zealand. Even though they are considered somewhat amateurish in their pursuit they are credible enough to have all who hear listen," Rodney said. Then he turned to Chuck. "Speaking of listening?"
"The Daedalus didn't completely move out of your predestinated parameters so we had to wait. So far, all reports from the SGC have them still investigating the area. No reports about any strange burning in the sky near the North Pole," Chuck said as if understanding Rodney's unspoken request.
Rodney moved next to Radek and started pulling up his own reports of how the city was responding and of the area they would be landing. "Major, you need to shift your angle by four degrees," Rodney said.
"Got it," Lorne's voice came over the control room speaker.
The city continued its journey downward, everyone left was in the control tower either in the room or they were above or below. Rodney wasn't taking any more chances that some part of the shield might collapse and he wouldn't be able to convert the cloak to a second shield in time. The Control tower was built to take the most punishment, so it was the safest location for his people to be, he felt that if John had been here then he would have agreed. Of course, if he were there with Rodney, they wouldn't be doing this crazy stunt.
"Major, I just took a reading on the target area, I need you to launch a single drone, straight down," Rodney ordered.
"A drone?" Lorne asked.
"Yes, I was speaking English, wasn't I? A drone as in now, there is a large ice formation below and a drone will do us the favor of breaking it up instead of the city, which might take some damage. Fire the damn drone, now." Rodney ordered.
"Drone has been fired," Radek said.
Rodney knew Lorne had his hands full, mentally, so let Radek keep him posted on the direction of the drone. Upon its impact into the ice, Rodney smiled. "Good, now start slowing us down, Major. Nice and easy. Think about the city as if it were a leaf landing softly and kissing the surface of the water," Rodney said. The city shook upon hitting the water and Rodney gripped the control panel to keep from falling. "I said kissing, not hitting. If that's your idea of kissing, Major, no wonder you're still single!" he snapped.
"We're down safe and sound," Lorne said. "And for your information I'm may be single but I happen to..." Lorne said.
"Yes, yes, my sympathies now get up here," Rodney interrupted and cut the channel. He turned to those in the room. "I want the leader of each Jumper team in the conference room in thirty minutes. Teyla that will include you as you have the list break down," Rodney said.
"Very well," Teyla said, moving off to probably gather the information needed.
"Sir," Chuck said, looking up at Rodney and smiled and something inside Rodney relaxed, not even knowing what the man was going to say.
"Colonel Sheppard is alive and well and at the SGC," Chuck said.
Rodney moved and collapsed into a nearby chair. "Thank, God," he said, wondering if, even after all the false deities around, that maybe, just maybe someone was out there looking after him and more importantly after John. "Do you have an exact location?" he asked.
"No," Radek said. "Remember, they have long since jammed all signals so Asgard technology will not penetrate, since gate was stolen."
"Sir," Chuck said. "From what I'm hearing, they have Colonel Sheppard on some sort of...trial."
"What? They're really going through with it?" Rodney said, jumping to his feet. "It's a load of crap! Landry knows he has nothing, what is wrong with those people?" Rodney growled.
"Sir, I also discovered something you might find interesting," Chuck said his expression a bit smug.
Rodney moved to Chuck's station, the man used to Rodney's ways had rightly so, moved out of the way. Rodney danced his fingers over the controls and found what Chuck discovered...interesting. He read the information coming in and smiled. "I think I found our way to get Sheppard," as he stood up and smirked wickedly at everyone around him. He was a genius and this...this was brilliant.