- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
- Established Relationship
John looked into the tightly packed Jumpers, and then at Rodney.
“We ready?” he asked. They were, but he had to ask.. Double, then triple checking everything had become his sanity check.
Rodney shrugged. “As ready as we’ll ever be. I hope.”
“Okay then, I’ll dial the gate and go through first.” They had already agreed on this, but John knew he had to say it again. Part of that double checking. “I’ll move off to the right as I get through the gate. You follow right behind me and slow down once you’re through so we can see exactly where we are.”
“Got it. Again. Go, I’ll be fine,” Rodney said patiently. But he was just as worried as John, so he appreciated the repetition.
John took a deep breath. “Okay then. Let’s go!”
“Wait!” Rodney said. John looked faintly panicked for a moment. What did he forget? Rodney moved closer and leaned in for a kiss. “For luck!”
John leaned into Rodney and deepened the kiss for a moment. “We don’t need luck, but I’ll take anything I can get!” he said with a grin.
“Figured it couldn’t hurt,” Rodney grinned back.
John stepped away. “Okay, we’re as ready as we’re going to be. Count to five after I leave and I’ll be waiting for you.” I’ll always wait for you.
“Go!” Rodney said. “Before I… just go!”
“We’ll be fine!” John said. Someone had to be positive they were doing the right thing.
“I know,” Rodney replied, stepping back himself. “Getting into the Jumper.”
John moved to his own Jumper, closing the ramp behind him. He moved carefully to the pilot seat, around the supplies they had packed into the craft. He knew Rodney’s Jumper was similarly packed, taking everything they reasonably could with them.
They didn’t know when they would be back. Or if they would be back. But just two of them couldn’t stay here long term.
Shaking off the morbid thoughts, John initiated the Jumper and let the automated systems move him down to the empty Gate room. With a last thought to those he was leaving behind, he dialed the Gate. When the horizon stabilized, he eased through the Gate.
Coming out to the blackness of space, he eased over to the right, to be out of Rodney’s way.
He counted to ten before Rodney came through. At eight, he started to worry.
“You’re late!” John said, trying not to let how worried he had become in that short time bleed through.
“One last task to do,” Rodney said. “It took a minute to set the protections I wanted to.”
“Think they’ll work?” John asked.
“What Of course they’ll work!” Rodney exclaimed. “I set it up and it’s something Radek… we worked on together.” Rodney’s voice got tight at the end.
“Then it will be fine,” John forced himself to sound practical.
“It will be,” Rodney declared.
“Okay, we’re where we’re supposed to be,” John said. “M3R-428. Planet looks fine from here.”
“Well, that doesn’t tell us anything,” Rodney complained. “Let me scan the planet for a minute.”
“Okay, not that we’re here to do anything,” John replied.
“I know, but, well, it’s on my list as a bolt hole, if we need one,” Rodney replied absently. “Okay, give me a minute.”
“Sure,” John replied. “Take your time. We’re here for a while.”
“And, it gives me something to do while we hang out in space,” Rodney said.
“That makes sense,” John said. “Like I said, take your time.”
“Working!” Rodney chanted.
John let Rodney be, knowing he’d be happier if he was allowed to do something that was even remotely practical.
It took almost fifteen minutes before Rodney came back. “Okay, looks pretty normal. There really are no major changes since we were here last. There weren’t any human inhabitants then and there still aren’t. There are no major seismic changes, so the planet is as geographically stable as it gets, although a geologist might see something I’ve missed. There are herds of large beasts, probably more bison like than cow-like on a couple of the plains. Other than that, a reasonable spread of animals in various sizes in various places.”
“So, nothing really new,” John said.
“I’d have to do most tests on the atmosphere,” Rodney added. “From here, it looks good, but we’d have to go down to the surface to test for hidden dangers. But it’s good for at least a short time.”
“Always something to look for,” John said. “So, again, there’s nothing new.”
“Not really,” Rodney sighed. “Not interesting at all.”
“Always glad for something boring in this galaxy,” John laughed. “There is nothing wrong with that!”
“That’s true,” Rodney admitted. “Which is mostly why it’s on my list as a bolt hole. It’s so boring even the Wraith should have no interest in this planet. And with only a space Gate, there are no casual travelers.”
“That’s actually a good thing,” John replied. “Although knowing there are large animals, especially in a herd, means it’s worth checking out at some point, to see how edible they are. New sources of protein are always good as trade items. And skins might make leather.”
“Good point, I’ll make a note of that, Daniel Boone!” Rodney teased.
“We gotta start thinking like natives,” John said. “Might as well jump right in.”
“Okay, okay. Now what?” Rodney asked.
“We wait for a couple more hours,” John said. “That was the plan.”
“I know, I know,” Rodney sighed. “It’s just hard. And you’re over there.”
“And you’re over there,” John replied, with a grin.
The silence went on for a while.
“I’m hungry,” Rodney said.
“You’re just bored,” John replied.
“Okay, I’m bored,” Rodney agreed. “And hungry.”
“And that’s why I put some extra energy bars in your pack,” John said.
“Really?!?” John could hear Rodney rustling through his pack.
“I didn’t know there were any chocolate chip bars left!” Rodney exclaimed.
“Well, that may be the last one,” John laughed. “So eat it slowly and enjoy it.”
“Huh,” Rodney replied thoughtfully. “Maybe I’ll wait, and not eat it now.”
“No, go ahead,” John encouraged. “I wanted to start us off with a good thing, and that chocolate chip bar is it.”
“Now I don’t want to eat it at all,” Rodney said mournfully. “We’re going to need all the positive things we can get.”
“Rodney, go ahead,” John said softly. “I stashed a few more in the supplies. They’re a treat and if I didn’t hide them, we’d eat them all too soon.”
“You…” Rodney screeched. Then laughed. “Only you!”
“Know what you like,” John replied. “Thought I could use it as an incentive.”
“Now I am going to eat this,” Rodney replied. John could hear the sound of the wrapper being torn.
“Good?” John asked.
“Yeah,” Rodney mumbled through his mouthful. “Gonna save some of it for later.”
“That makes sense,” John said. “Gives you something to look forward to.”
“And, well, I’m bored,” Rodney admitted.
“You didn’t bring anything to do? I’m surprised you don’t have more projects planned than you can even manage,” John teased.
“Well, yeah, but nothing really grabs my attention right now,” Rodney replied. “And I have to pay attention to what’s going on, which means I can’t pay full attention to a project.”
“That makes sense,” John said. “So, how about if you take a break and I’ll pay attention for both of us.”
“You sure?” Rodney asked. “I could go for a nap, if you think it’s okay?”
“An hour?” John asked. He knew they had been working hard to get ready to evacuate Atlantis and had been running short on sleep. For Rodney to admit to needing a nap meant he was exhausted. John wasn’t ready to relax at yet, but he could give this to Rodney.
“That should be enough,” Rodney said. “Just a nap until we get to the next stage.”
“Go ahead,” John said. “Want me to set an alarm?”
“No, I should be fine,” Rodney replied.
“Okay, then sleep,” John said. “I’ll keep watch. I’ll take a nap when we get to the next stage.”
“Thanks,” Rodney said softly. John heard the rustling through the comm as Rodney settled in.
John sat back in his own chair and ran through a series of diagnostics on his Jumper, to fill the time. They had performed what maintenance they could before they left, choosing the two Jumpers in the best condition. But the diagnostic routine gave John something productive-ish to do and kept him awake.
While he was immersed in trivial details of the diagnostics — who knew you could measure the individual elements in the Jumper’s atmosphere — a small ‘ding’ came over the comm. Rodney must have set a timer on his own.
Rodney yawned, then asked, “You still there?”
“Didn’t go anywhere,” John replied with a small grin. “Feel better?”
“Yes,” Rodney admitted. “Thanks for letting me do that.”
“Not a problem,” John said.
“How much longer do we sit here?” Rodney asked. John heard him standing up and stretching.
“Another hour,” John answered. “Then we move on to P3M-736. We can get out and move around there.”
“Still not happy, but it’s a reasonable thing to do,” Rodney replied.
John turned the conversation to the diagnostics he had been doing and it turned out, of course, that Rodney was aware of most of what he had found.
“Radek…” Rodney cleared his throat. “Radek had spent quite a bit of time on the diagnostics and had someone dig through all the levels of the menus and write it all up. Brought that with me.”
“Good to know,” John said softly. Even after almost two months, it was still too new and they were both missing their friends and colleagues.
John’s own timer went off at that point.
“Okay, next step,” John announced. “I’ll dial the Gate and you can follow me. Cloak and shield as soon as you’re through the Gate. We’ll let the Gate connection time out while we make sure no one is currently there.” Double check. And check again.
“Good to go,” Rodney replied.
“Dialing now,” John said, following words with actions.