- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
They ended up with a team of fourteen. Teyla had two men and a woman who had already voiced interest in learning about trading. Ronon brought four men to serve as security for them all. Rodney brought Pase and two of his friends who evidently had an interest in learning more about science and Ancient systems.
John had his doubts about three teen-agers going with them, but Rodney had rolled his eyes and pointed out that they had to learn sometime. And being a teenager on Sateda was far different from being a teenager on Earth. John only had to think of Keras to remember that.
“Okay, no one goes anywhere alone,” John said at the briefing he held. He looked hard at the teen-agers. “If your partner isn’t available, find someone else or don’t go. Nothing is more important than yourselves. While this world was safe the last time we were there, it’s been just long enough that we don’t know if there have been any changes in that time.”
“Someone stays with Rodney at all times,” John went on. He had raised this issue with Rodney last night. Rodney hadn’t been happy about it, but, in return, he had made John promise to not go off on his own. “Roth, Umble, Tark, and Leed will work with Ronon to set up a schedule to stay with Rodney.”
“What about us?” Pase asked. “We can help with making sure Rodney is safe.”
“How about this trip you focus on learning what you can about how things work,” Rodney suggested. “If that doesn’t work out, then you can learn about being the muscle.” He leaned in and mock-whispered, “But it’s better being the brains.”
The three teens giggled.
“If you’re not sure of something, ask!” John said. “It doesn’t take more than a moment for everything to go pear-shaped, and then someone gets hurt.”
Pase raised a tentative hand. “Pear-shaped?”
John sighed to himself. He actually should have known better. “Means goes wrong.” He thought for a second. “Hmm… I don’t know where that comes from.”
“What’s a pear?” Pase asked, puzzled.
“Fruit,” Ronon offered. “Like a kissa but not as yellow.”
“Thanks,” John said. “But that’s exactly what I mean about asking.”
“Any other questions?” John asked. Seeing none, he went on, “Then we’ll be off first thing in the morning. Get a good night sleep!”
The teens went off in a chattering group. While John knew they had to teach anyone who was interested, he had somehow hoped for more adults. But he’d take what they could get for now.
The sun was just rising as they boarded the Jumper. Teyla pointed to the benches in the back section and had the group that had never been in a Jumper before sit. She pointed out the hand holds, while assuring them they would not be needed.
“Ready?” John asked.
“Ready!” Teyla called, slipping into the seat behind John.
John flew to the Gate and dialed the space Gate first. He had warned the group that he was going to do that, and explained the security measures they should take if they had to travel through the Gate on foot. Everyone had a secondary Gate address they could use in an emergency.
He dialed the address for the Tower and flew through. Everything looked calm, the village nearest the Gate had several people walking through the main street. John flew on to the Tower itself. He landed a short distance away.
He lowered the hatch and stood there, looking around. He pointed to a group of large trees that were not too far from where the Jumper sat.
“If you need to, get to those trees and wait for me, Rodney, Teyla or Ronon,” John said. “There’s hopefully enough cover that you can hide until one of us can come and help you.”
“Hopefully, we will not need that,” Teyla said. “But always be prepared for problems.”
Ronon’s security group nodded and the teens giggled some more.
“My team will start by going to the village,” Teyla reminded them. “Let me know if there is anything I can assist with.”
“Will do,” John said. “Everyone ready?”
Rodney nodded. “Let’s go!”
John lead the way to the Tower, letting the security team bring up the rear. That put Rodney and the teens in the middle of the group. The teens went silent as they looked up at the Tower.
“It’s so big!” Pase was amazed. The other teens were silent.
“There’s even more, buried underground,” Rodney added. They looked at him with wide eyes.
“Let’s see who’s in charge,” John said. “We need to start there.”
Rodney looked faintly smug when Lady Evolyn was introduced as the current ‘Lord Protector.’
“Your people had tested me three seasons ago and I was given the–” she said the word carefully, as if someone had practiced with her — “in-nock-u-lation to activate my capability to serve the Tower,” she explained. “There had been a story in my family that my great-grandmother was born from a dalliance with the then Lord Protector.”
“And without the introduction of the gene therapy, your ability was not enough to activate the Ancient equipment,” Rodney finished.
“The last ceremony to test who was the strongest to lead was my first time to try,” she nodded. “And, well, I used to work in the bakery, but here I am!”
John outlined what they were looking for. While they had, okay, stolen most of the drones in storage, there still were a number left so the population could protect itself. There was a small generator already connected to the system, to provide power to the chair and the drone system.
“But we do not use it for anything else,” Evolyn said. “And since your people have not been here for two seasons, it has been decided we only use it when the Wraith attack us. We are lucky that they have left us alone for so long.”
“We can help you with that generator,” Rodney said, looking at John. “We have brought power we can use to supplement that. We knew we’d need some power to search for the information we hope to find.”
“That is appreciated,” Evolyn said solemnly. “Not being able to protect our people from the Wraith has been a growing concern. We have relied on the ability of the Tower to protect us for so long, we do not have many other options available to us.”
“Ronon and his people have experience with that,” John offered. “We can have someone from there come out and talk to your people about what they can do to protect themselves.”
“That would be helpful,” Evolyn agreed.
“We have some foods that your people may want to trade for,” Ronon said. “Teyla is in the village to talk to your people about what we might be able to exchange.”
“Excellent!” Evolyn exclaimed. “Since the change in the Lord Protector, and the waste they created, there is more to trade to outsiders.”
“Good to hear,” John said. John really didn’t want to know what had happened to the previous occupants of the Tower. They certainly had not integrated into the local town. Damn. Now he had to know where they went.
“Umm.. can we…?” Rodney waved a hand. “We’d like to use your chair and see if we can find the information we’re looking for?”
“Certainly,” Evolyn nodded. “Although we will appreciate any information you can share with us.”
“Come on,” Rodney nodded at the teens. “We’ve got work to do!”
They scrambled to follow Rodney to the chair room, bringing Rodney’s equipment with them. The security group followed closely, bringing along the heavier power equipment.
“Ronon?” John called softly.
“Keep an eye out for the former residents,” John said in a low voice. “Our teams didn’t report any problems when they were here before, but that doesn’t mean everyone is gone.”
“Good to know,” Ronon replied. “We’ll be careful.”
They stood in the reception hall.
“If there is nothing more right now?” Evolyn asked.
“No, not right now,” John replied.
“You and your team will be welcome to join us for the dusk meal,” she invited.
“Teyla has brough some samples of what we have to offer for trade,” John replied. “We certainly can contribute to that meal.”
“That will be a welcome addition,” she nodded. “Until then.”
Evolyn left John and Ronon standing in the reception hall.
“What?” John asked as Ronon stood next to him.
“No one goes around alone,” Ronon grinned. “Even you!”
“Oh, right!” John could smack himself on the forehead. It was a good problem to have.
“Let’s see if Rodney needs any help,” John suggested. “If not, we should look around to see if we can find anything useful.”
“Oh, good, you’re here,” Rodney said as they came into the chair room. He had been sitting in the chair, but got up. “Sit.”
“Woof!” John shot back.
Ronon grinned as he went off to talk to the security team about possible problems with those that had been here before.
Rodney rolled his eyes and huffed. “Would you sit in the chair, please?” he asked patiently.
The teens giggled some more. John wasn’t sure Rodney was a good role-model for them. In fact, he was pretty sure he wasn’t.
“Sure!” John agreed.
“I can only get so far with it,” Rodney grimaced. “Let’s see if it will respond to you any better.”
John sat back in the chair and focused on the database.
“See if you can find anything about shields,” Rodney said softly.
The interface was sluggish, compared to what he was used to with Atlantis. He wriggled in the chair, trying to get more comfortable.
“Problems?” Rodney asked.
“Really sluggish,” John murmured. “Let me work at this for a bit.”
John heard Rodney step away and speak in a low voice to the teens. He tuned Rodney out as he focused on his breathing and becoming calm. The interface was there, just not within reach…
Then information bloomed hard and fast. John tried to slow it down, but then he understood that this was a last-ditch attempt of the City underneath him to make contact.
Slowly. I need to understand… and remember… John tried to throttle back the flood.
An image of what he knew was Atlantis came through the interface.
John sent back a memory of their dead, and a strong feeling of sadness.
A break in the stream, then a new image, with Gate coordinates.
Then, something John had to interpret as whistful. And the connection died.
John tried to move from the chair, but passed out.