- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
John swam to consciousness — the headache was blinding.
“Too bright,” he ground out. Even with his eyes closed, it was too much.
A cool, damp cloth was placed on his eyes. He relaxed for a moment.
“Up to some pills, and water?” Ronon asked.
John nodded. He felt an arm go around him to lever him upright.
“Open,” Rodney said softly. He placed two pills in John’s mouth. Someone followed that with a cup of water at his lips. John sipped to get the pills to go down.
“More,” he croaked.
“You nauseous at all?” Rodney asked. John could hear the worry.
John shook his head, which was a mistake. He flinched. “Ow!” he groaned. “Thirsty.”
“Okay, take it easy,” Rodney directed. The cup was held up and John guided it with a shaking hand. He took several swallows.
“Enough?” Rodney asked.
“Yeah, thanks!” John said, trying not to move his head. “What happened?”
“That’s what we want to know!” Rodney exclaimed. “Everything was looking normal, then all of a sudden, there was an energy spike… it kept up for a couple of minutes, then… it died and you passed out.”
“Figured you’d be better off out of the chair,” Ronon said.
“How…” John swallowed. “How long was I out?”
“Almost an hour,” Rodney said. “You had us worried. Any longer, and we would have taken you back… home.”
John wasn’t sure if Rodney meant Sateda or Atlantis in that, but he understood Rodney’s concern. He would have been just as freaked out if this had happened to Rodney.
“Let me rest for a bit,” John decided. “Headache… need to sleep.”
“Okay,” Rodney said. “You rest, we’re not going anyplace.”
John leaned back on the backpack someone had put under his head as a pillow, felt a blanket drawn up over him and a fresh cool cloth placed on his eyes. He relaxed and let himself fall asleep.
John tried to move and the grip on his hand tightened.
“Hey!” Rodney said softly. “Take it easy.”
The headache was now a faint throb in the back of his head.
“I’m going to take this off,” Rodney warned. “It’s dark outside, but we’ve set up some lights here.” John felt the cloth on his forehead be lifted away.
“Whoa,” John said as he cracked opened his eyes. He blinked several times to clear them.
“Wait a minute,” Rodney cautioned. “Let me help you sit up.” Rodney put a warm arm around his shoulders and helped him sit up more. “Want something to drink? More tylenol?”
“Both,” John replied. Rodney eased him closer to the wall, so he could sit up on his own.
“Hey, kids,” he called. The teens scurried closer. “Get some fresh water and let Ronon or Teyla know that John is awake.”
“Right away!” One replied. John heard footsteps going off quickly.
“Figured it would be better if we didn’t have everyone hovering, since you seemed to be sleeping normally,” Rodney explained. “Ronon and Teyla are in the village, talking trade with the locals.”
“Did you eat?” John asked. He could smell food, even if he wasn’t hungry as yet.
Rodney snorted. “Huge meal,” he admitted. “The villagers were already starting a small feast, and Teyla added in the tormack and other produce we brought. Ronon made sure I had a plate, well two…” Rodney admitted. “I’m good.”
“Good,” John murmured.
“Evolyn wanted to apologize, but I told her it wasn’t anything they did,” Rodney went on. “It wasn’t, was it?” His voice became worried.
“No,” John said. “Database gave me… too much information.”
“Okay, then,” Rodney frowned. “We can see what we can get from you later.”
Ronon and Teyla came up at that point.
“Sheppard! Good to see you awake!” Ronon said.
“John,” Teyla said softly. “How are you feeling?”
“Like someone opened a hatch my head and poured in a ton of information,” John admitted.
“You up to going back to Sateda?” Ronon asked. “Or should we spend the rest of the night here?”
John frowned. “How late is it?”
Ronon shrugged. “Middle of the night, by now. You slept for quite a while.”
“Then let’s stay until the morning,” John said. “No sense in making a fuss at this time of night.”
“No problem,” Ronon replied.
“Do you want anything?” Teyla asked. “Would you like anything to eat?”
“Not hungry. But any chance you can get a sleeping bag or something?” John admitted, shifting. “This floor is pretty hard, and I know I can’t sleep any more like this.”
Rodney laughed. “And you tease when I pamper my bad back!”
Teyla handed him some water to go with the tylenol Rodney shook out of the bottle in his pack. John could see the teens hovering at the other end of the hall, looking relieved that John was doing better.
Ronon took the teens with him and went back to the Jumper, and they brought back three of the sleeping bags. He lay two out and helped John to lay on that, while Rodney spread the other out for himself. He snugged in next to John, taking his hand.
“I’ll be right here,” Rodney promised.
“I’ve set rotating guard duty,” Ronon said. “We’ll be fine.”
John enjoyed Rodney’s warmth along one side of his body, closed his eyes and fell back asleep.
Waking, John realized someone must have closed some shutters or drapes or… something. The room was darkened, but he could see by the edges of the windows that it was bright outside.
Tark was sitting quietly on the other side of the room.
“Need anything?” he asked when he saw John looking at him.
“Gotta piss,” John admitted. “Help me get up?”
Tark came over and hauled John to a standing position. He didn’t let go as John got his balance.
“This way,” Tark pointed. He guided John to a small room that must have been a bathroom for the reception hall. John was glad it still worked.
“Don’t shit if you don’t have to,” Tark said. “Been told that part doesn’t work so well. And no water inside here, either.”
“Good to know,” John admitted. Tark handed him a canteen to wash his hands when he was done.
Guided back to the sleeping bags, John sat down and leaned against the wall.
“Someone will be here shortly,” Tark said. “They went for breakfast and will bring us something back.”
“Good,” John said. He was finally starting to get hungry and some food sounded good.
John heard them coming before he saw them. There was a round of Quiet! that became louder the closer the group got.
Ronon saw him first. “Good! You’re up! Keeping this crew quiet is impossible!”
The teens giggled and Rodney came over to John. “How are you feeling?”
“Less broken,” John admitted. “Although I could use a couple more tylenol.”
Rodney got those as Teyla and Umble came along with plates in their hands.
“Good, we brought some breakfast,” Teyla said. “Some of it is left from last night, but the tea is hot and sweet.”
“That sounds perfect,” John replied, with a small smile. “Thanks!”
She handed him the plate and a large mug was placed next to him. “Slowly,” she cautioned.
“Feeling better today,” John said, taking a forkful of the tormack. He was surprised there was any left.
“Ronon was going to finish it,” Rodney grinned. “But we made him save that last bit for you.”
“We have all the tormack anyone can eat,” John pointed out.
“But this is good!” Ronon protested, with a grin.
It was good. There were spices that John thought of as cardamom-ish. There was a minty-licorish tasts that he wouldn’t have thought to put into tormack. But, again, that’s why he wasn’t a chef.
“It is good,” John agreed. “I hope we traded for whatever they put into this.”
“We have,” Teyla assured him.
“You okay to travel?” Rodney asked.
“Should be,” John decided. “Give me a chance to eat, and then stretch out my back from sleeping on the floor, and I should be good to go.”
“Up to seeing Evolyn? She’s worried and wants to check on you herself,” Rodney asked.
“Give me a bit, but sure,” John said. “These folk are good allies and want to make sure they stay that way.”
“Can you tell us anything about what happened?” Rodney asked. John could see the curiosity in his eyes.
“Not here,” John decided. This was too big to share with too many just as yet.
Understandably disappointed, Rodney said, “Got it!”
John finished the plate they had brought him and the tea. Feeling refreshed, he let Rodney help him to his feet. Rodney hovered as he moved around the room, stretching and wincing as he became aware of a couple of sore muscles.
“Okay, I’m as good as I’m going to get for the moment,” John said. “Beside Evolyn, anything left to do here?”
“No,” Teyla shook her head. “We will come back later with some trade goods, but we have made good plans for the future.”
Evolyn came in shortly, and John hastened to assure her that everything was fine.
“That is one of the dangers of using the Chair,” John said. “I know you and your people have only used it for defense, but there are things to be careful of. When we have determined what happened, we will tell you what we can, but it’s probably not dangerous to you or your people.”
John really didn’t want to talk about his extra-strength ATA gene, but he knew that was what had let him communicate with the database.
“I’m so glad you are well,” she said. “Please, you and your people are welcome to come back at any time!”
“Thank you!” John said, with a smile. “There are some things we did not get to do, so we will be back, but we appreciate your help!”
Rodney hovered more as they went back to the Jumper and sat in the co-pilot seat. He didn’t ask if John was able to fly, but John appreciated the concern.
They went back via the space gate, although direct traffic between Sateda and the Tower would pick up once trading really started. It was a simple precaution that John took without thinking about it too much.
Once back at the settlement, the group dispersed back to their homes. John had discretely tapped Teyla to stay behind.
He needed to talk to his team.
They settled into comfortable chairs, Rodney almost bouncing in place.
“Well? What do you have?” Rodney asked.
John took a breath.
“There’s another City out there. And I have the Gate address for it!” John said.