- Episode Related
- Science Fiction
John and his team stepped through the Stargate into Atlantis to the accompaniment of cheers. He blinked as he looked up to see Elizabeth standing with the members of the delegation. Ellis and Chapman looked sour as ever but O’Neill was grinning and even Woolsey and Wray looked happy to see them.
“Colonel Sheppard, Dr. McKay, good to see you again,” Woolsey said. “We’ve heard Colonel Caldwell’s report. I understand that our new acquisition is entirely of your doing.”
“If you’re talking about the Aurora, then yes, it was our plan. We couldn’t have done it without the sacrifice of it’s crew though,” John added. They had left the Aurora safely behind in the system with the Gate they had just used, the Daedalus remaining to protect it until they could get a team of scientists and engineers out there to make the necessary repairs to return it to Atlantis.
“Yes. It would have been nice to be able to converse with an actual Ancient,” Elizabeth said, somberly.
“Yeah, speaking of, I promised to bring them home so I would really like to get a team together so we can get started on those repairs.” He turned to Elizabeth. “You think you find something about their burial practices in the database? I didn’t have a chance to ask what they wanted.” At her nod he continued. “Then we’ll just go arrange that repair team.”
“Before you do that Colonel, there is the matter of our decision on your posts,” Woolsey interjected.
John felt his heart sink and Rodney stiffened beside him. “I gather you’ve reached one?” He couldn’t read any of their faces.
Woolsey cleared his throat. “Yes. You have engendered a tremendous degree of loyalty in the members of this expedition. In light of their answers and support, as well as your actions with regard to the Ancient ship Aurora, we feel that the two of you have proved yourselves capable of carrying out your duties. However,” Woolsey held up a hand to prevent anyone saying anything, “this decision was not reached lightly. You should expect your decisions to continue to be scrutinized for the foreseeable future.”
John didn’t care about that last part as relief flooded through him. He was elated. Not only was he staying on Atlantis, with Rodney, which had been the most he had expected, they were letting him keep his command. “Thank you,” he managed to choke out.
The room filled with cheers again as it sunk in to everyone present that he and Rodney were staying.
O’Neill calmed it all down by clearing his throat. “You two have earned your places here.” He tilted his head. “So is there an estimate on how long it will take to repair the Aurora?”
“Yes, we should get the ship back to Earth as soon as possible,” a sour looking Ellis added, earning glares from almost everyone present.
“Well I would estimate at least a week before we can repair it enough for a return trip to Atlantis. But I couldn’t really say more until we get it here for more complete repairs. Frankly, I’m not sure I would trust it with an intergalactic journey, even fully repaired. It’s just too old, too much damage, and not enough of the right parts for repairs,” Rodney informed them.
“So you’re saying it can’t be done?” Chapman spat in disgust.
“Look, it’s the same problem we’ve faced with Atlantis. Too much damage and not enough parts. We can scavenge and re-purpose items so that the equipment will work but it probably won’t match the standards of the original. We’re still learning about this technology and how it works, we don’t know enough to build our own parts. Yet.”
“But you think it will be safe for interstellar travel?” Wray asked.
“Once we’ve repaired it, then yes.”
O’Neill clapped his hands. “Then I guess, at least for now, Atlantis has gained a ship.” He glared the other members of the delegation as they looked at him unhappily. “Don’t look at me like that. If they have a ship of their own it will free up the Daedalus for more use back in the Milky Way.” He turned to Elizabeth. “I think we’ve taken up enough of your time. Thank you for showing us your City but we’ll go pack and then we’ll be heading back to Earth. Things to do there, I’m sure the works just been piling up while we’ve been gone.” He shook her hand then turned to John and Rodney. “Sheppard, McKay, keep up the good work,” he told them. With that he turned and led the rest of the delegation out of the Gate Room.
Once the doors closed behind them the room once more erupted into cheers. John and Rodney found themselves the recipients of a multitude of congratulations and back slaps.
Elizabeth stepped forward and gave them each a hug. “Good work, I knew you could do it,” she told them. “Now go, I’m sure you’ve got things to do.”
So they left. John accompanied Rodney to his lab watching as the scientist ordered around his minions and made decisions on what they needed to bring to the Aurora for repairs, selecting who would go and what tasks they would perform. Once John got an idea of how many scientists and engineers would be needed, he contacted Lorne to arrange for the needed military escort and jumpers.
After being at it for a few hours they got a call on the radio from Elizabeth. “I thought you’d like to know the delegation has left.”
John breathed a sigh of relief. He liked O’Neill and Woolsey and Wray hadn’t been too bad but he was glad to have Ellis and Chapman off of his city. “That’s good.” Plus now it was too late for them to change their minds.
“I’m sure you two haven’t eaten yet, join me for lunch in the Mess?” Elizabeth asked.
John blinked, he hadn’t realized how much time had passed. “Yeah, that sounds good.” He ended the call and got Rodney’s attention. “Come on, let’s go eat. Elizabeth wants to talk to us over lunch.”
“It’s that late already?” Rodney asked, saving his work. “What’s she want?” he asked as they started heading toward the transporter.
John shrugged. “She didn’t say.” He grimaced as he caught his reflection in a panel.
“Nothing,” John replied, shaking his head. “Just got to get used to my reflection again. It was nice seeing the old us, even if it wasn’t real.”
Rodney gave him a thoughtful look but didn’t say anything as they arrived at the Mess. They entered to cheers and applause. It looked like it was time for another round of congratulations.
He accepted them good naturedly and could tell Rodney was touched by the display. He noticed the glasses of champagne Elizabeth must have arranged and accepted one. He held up a hand and the room quieted.
“Thank you. I just want to say a few words. First, thank you all for your support with the delegation. It means a lot to the both of us. I’m sure that without your trust and support they would have reached a very different decision. So thank you, all of you. Last but not least, I’d like to raise a toast.” He lifted his glass and waited until everyone had one. “This might seem a little strange but I promised to do something when we got home. To the crew of the Aurora.” They all clinked their glasses together and drank.
The rest of the party was spent accepting congratulations from those present. If John noticed Rodney being a bit quieter than usual or looking thoughtful he just put it down as the scientist thinking of the work needed to be done to get the Aurora back in working order.
“You’ve been avoiding me,” John said, startling Rodney into banging his head on the access hatch he was half inside.
“Ow.” He glared at John. “Don’t you have better things to do than sneak up on busy scientists?” he asked. “And no, I haven’t been avoiding you. I’ve just been busy.” Which wasn’t quite a lie.
“Rodney.” Now John was giving him a sad look as he took a step closer. “Come on, just tell me what I did wrong?”
Rodney sighed, caving in. He couldn’t take the dejected look on John’s face. “You didn’t do anything. I really have been busy.” He reached into his pocket. “I wanted to wait until I was done but I’ve only been able to work on it in my spare time which isn’t much. It’s why I haven’t been around lately. I’ve either been working on the Aurora or this.” He handed the pocket-sized device to John.
John frowned down at it. “What is it?” he asked as he turned it over in his hand, causing it to project an image of pale skin over the blue of his hands. “Rodney?!” he asked in shock.
“You know those holograms we’ve found? I pulled a few of their projectors and studied them, combining that with what I knew of a Mimetic imaging device I studied briefly when I worked at Area 51. Once it’s finished it should be able to project an image of our old appearances right over our new ones, hiding our differences. I’m having trouble with the power supply but I think if we wear long sleeves and just use this over exposed areas like our faces and hands it should work. But we couldn’t wear it full time, just when we’re on a mission or something.” Rodney met John’s shocked gaze and shrugged. “It’s just, I saw the faces you were making every time you caught your reflection after your experience in the virtual environment. Plus you’ve been moping since Lorne started going out on the missions we used to take. I know you miss going through the Gate.”
“I have not been moping,” John denied, staring at the device again. “You made me a mobile emitter.”
“It is not a mobile emitter!” Rodney squawked. “It is so much more advanced-” He was cut off by John claiming his mouth in a heated kiss.
Once John pulled back, he leaned his forehead against Rodney’s. “I can’t believe you made me a mobile emitter.” He shot Rodney a heated gaze. “Are you done here?”
Rodney swallowed at the look in his eyes. “It’s nothing that can’t wait,” he managed to say, still not used to having that look directed his way no matter how many times it’s happened.
“Good.” John kissed him again, then began towing him toward the door. “Because first we’re going back to our quarters so I can show thoroughly you just how much I appreciate what you’ve been doing. Then later we’ll find Elizabeth and see about getting our mission slot back.”
“But it’s not finished yet,” Rodney protested. “I don’t know how long it will take to get it working properly and then we still have to test it. It wouldn’t be good for it to cut out in the middle of a mission,” he couldn’t help but point out. It’s not that he didn’t like John’s ideas but there was still so much to do.
John stopped and kissed him again, pressing him against the wall so he could feel every bit of the hard body pressing against the front of his own. “I have every confidence that you’ll finish it quickly with the right incentive.” He went back to towing Rodney through the halls, uncaring of the looks they received from those they passed.
Rodney stared at him as they walked, his pupils blown wide while he nodded eagerly, all of the blood in his body rushing south. Yes, he would finish those devices in no time at all. The repairs to the Aurora could wait a little while.
John couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he tied his boots, preparing to go on his first mission through the Stargate since Elizabeth had approved the use of the mobile emitters after Rodney finally completed them. It felt good to be going through the Gate, things had been a bit too boring while he was stuck on the City. He needed to get out and do something.
And it must have been fate that Rodney had managed to complete and test the emitters just as a contact of Teyla’s had reached out with information of someone wanting to speak to them about a possible ZPM.
“You’re being insufferably happy, stop it,” Rodney muttered from where he was checking his gear. “We’re about to trek through who knows how many acres of thick foliage filled with who knows what kind of creatures to meet someone who wouldn’t even give a name over a possible energy source that may or may not exist. There are much better uses for my time. There is absolutely no reason for you to be so happy about this.”
John stepped over and automatically checked Rodney’s vest straps were all in place, ignoring his attempts to bat his hands away. “Can’t help it, I’m just glad to finally be getting out there and doing something.”
“And you don’t find it odd that they asked specifically for our team?” Rodney asked. “Like that doesn’t scream trap.”
John shrugged, nothing could bring down his mood today. Everything was perfect. He had his team, he and Rodney were in a good place in their relationship, he didn’t have to worry about being removed from Atlantis, and now he was about to head through the Gate on a mission. Life was good, no matter how much Rodney liked to complain. “We have earned a bit of a reputation,” John pointed out. “And this tip came from one of Teyla’s contacts, someone she trusts. I’m sure it will all be fine.”
Rodney glared at him. “You just jinxed us.”
John rolled his eyes. “I thought you would be too scientific and logical to believe in something like jinxes McKay. Besides, even if something does happen we can handle it. Now, are you ready or not?”
Rodney patted his pockets one last time, double-checked his holster then sighed. “Yes.”
“Good, let’s go.” John led him out into the Gate Room, joining Teyla and Ronon where they stood in front of the Stargate. As Chuck began dialing the planet they would be visiting John pulled out the mobile emitter and activated it before securing it to his dog tags and tucking it safely back beneath his shirt, still amazed by the sight of his blue, scaly skin being replaced by his old tanned but pink complexion. He looked to Rodney just as the scientist activated his own emitter, his blue skin being replaced by his old pale complexion. But John knew that it was an illusion, that if he reached out to touch he would still feel the scaly skin he’d become so familiar with.
“Everyone ready?” he asked as the vortex formed and the Stargate burst to life. Getting nods of agreement, he turned to look at the Control Room.
Elizabeth stood there, smiling down at them. “Go ahead Colonel, and be careful.”
John’s smile widened. “Always am,” he replied before turning and leading his team through the Stargate and whatever awaited them there.