- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
“Another Ancient City?” Teyla asked.
“The chair took me in further than I expected and, well, it wanted to know where I was from,” John outlined. “I told it about Atlantis, but that we couldn’t go back there right now.”
“And?” Rodney prompted.
“Remember I said the interface was initially sluggish?” John asked.
“That’s when I worked a bit harder at it,” John continued. “It’s like it bloomed hard and fast. The… city hadn’t had an ATA carrier like me in a very long time, so it was… lonely, is the best I can describe it. It knew that it’s mostly crippled, from being buried for so long, but it’s pretty much the same as Atlantis.”
“Is it… alive?” Teyla asked.
“Not as we think of alive,” John answered. “But, it takes in a lot from its environment and, like Atlantis, is much more powerful than anything we could build.”
“It’s not sentient as we think of life, but there is a level of what I have to call self-awareness built into the systems,” Rodney explained. “To some, it would seem to be alive, but it’s really an extremely sophisticated program.”
“Anyway,” John went on, “It tried to give me a lot of information about what was happening, but it was too much to really take in.” He looked at Rodney, “I think your shield information is there, we’d have to go back to get it. If it gave me that, I don’t remember it. Sorry!”
“One of the last things, and one of the few specific things I can remember, it gave me was a Gate address for another City,” John said. “It’s also been abandoned, and is floating in space.”
“John!” Rodney said. “That’s amazing!”
“I know!” John agreed. “The Tower only had an address, but, well, it may be worth checking out.”
“Carefully!” Teyla put in.
“Agreed!” John said. “We think about what might happen and prepare for anything.”
“There’s a good chance it’s got both cloak and shields,” Rodney said. “The Ancients did a relatively good job of making sure Atlantis would be safe before they left. I would think a City floating in space would need similar protections.”
“What about power?” Ronon asked. “You tell me that Atlantis was near the end of it’s power when you got there.”
“True,” Rodney admitted. “But even if the city is dead, there may be something we can learn from it. Or there may be some things we can scavenge and use.”
“And if there are people living there?” Teyla asked.
Rodney shrugged. “It’s their city, then. We can see what they’re doing and maybe where they’re getting their power from. After all, we’d like to go back to Atlantis some day and having more power would be useful.”
“If it’s not there?” Ronon asked.
“Then we do a search and see if we can find anything,” Rodney said. “We won’t know anything until we look.”
“I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up,” John said, “which is why I started with just us. If it’s there, then we see what kind of shape it’s in, what we’d have to do to work with it, and what our options might be. If it’s not there, then it’s not there and we go on as we have.”
“That is reasonable,” Teyla replied. “Do you have a plan?”
“First of all, no one is going anywhere until we’ve all had a couple night’s sleep. And some food,” Rodney said. He sat back and frowned. “Damn. How did I get to be the practical one?”
“I suspect John getting hurt has something to do with that,” Teyla grinned. “Since we will not be going off shortly, I will take my leave for now. We can talk more tomorrow.”
“How about the day after?” Ronon asked, with a nod in John’s direction.
Neither Ronon nor Rodney would let John help with cleaning up the Jumper from their mission. Rodney got Pase to do some of the work, so it didn’t take long for them to have everything set back to rights. Rodney sent Pase off to home, with some homework to consider what they saw at the Tower and to give some suggestions.
“I’m giving homework,” Rodney moaned.
“And then you’re going to have to correct it!” John teased.
Rodney looked in horror. “I didn’t even think of that! What was I thinking?”
John leaned into Rodney’s warmth. “You’re doing fine,” John soothed. “The kid hasn’t run away screaming and seems to be useful. It’s good to have at least one minion.”
“He has a long way to go,” Rodney sighed. “Without more schooling, there’s going to be a limit on what he’ll be able to do. It’s not the formal degree, it’s all the other things… math, literature, music, botany, even those damned soft sciences. It takes all of that to make a really good scientist.”
“Let’s settle for a kinda-decent scientist to start,” John replied. “And maybe we’ll have a chance to grow some better scientists as we can.”
“It just feels daunting,” Rodney said. “I don’t always have the patience for it.”
“So you do what you can with Pase and he helps with the next group,” John said. “The other two that went with us to the Tower, they had to have some promise for you to bring them along?”
“Some,” Rodney admitted. “Not the same, but having lab techs, essentially, helps with any projects that come along. And, well, I know what it’s like being the only kid in the room.”
“We’re further along than I ever thought we’d be,” John admitted. “We’re safe, we have allies and we have a good lead on some possible help.”
“And those damned Wraith are still out there,” Rodney whined.
“And… now you’ve jinxed it,” John said. “We’ve gone quite a bit without running into any Wraith. Our luck on that is due to give out.”
“Hopefully, not here,” Rodney said. “The shield will help preserve what we have here in the settlement, but some strafing runs over the fields we’re harvesting would put us back.”
“We will manage,” John said firmly. “As long as we can work together, we can hope.”
“Which means that anyone’s who has had their brains almost fried by an Ancient database will be getting some extra sleep tonight,” Rodney grinned. “You are not to scare me like that!”
John had to grin. “Wasn’t in my plans at all,” John admitted. “I was just hoping to get any information we could out of that database. At low power, I’m surprised we got what we did.”
“Let’s get some dinner,” Rodney said. “There’s not-chicken and tormack and some of that kinda-plum dessert left.”
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m getting tired of tormack,” John said ruefully. “Can we look for something else tomorrow?”
“Sure, that would be good,” Rodney said. “We can maybe go a little further and see what else we can find. Want to take Ronon or Teyla with us?”
John snagged Rodney’s hand. “Well, I was thinking maybe just the two of us for a bit.”
“Aren’t you the sweet-talker,” Rodney teased, leaning in for a kiss. “Okay! I’d like that.”
Rodney did make John go off to bed earlier than they usually did, but it took them a while to settle down to sleep. John appreciated the I’m glad you didn’t die sex and participated as enthusiastically as Rodney.
Ronon smirked at them the next morning. John felt his ears turn red, but he ignored Ronon and turned to his breakfast. Rodney joined them and was mostly oblivious to Ronon’s mild teasing. Or Rodney was better at ignoring it than John was.
John let Ronon know that he and Rodney would be going exploring for a bit.
“Nothing exotic,” John said. “Thought we’d go off in the other direction from the city and see what else is out this way. We’ve covered a fair amount of the growing region, just want to see what else might be viable.”
“There were some mines and manufacturing plants out that way,” Ronon replied. “We don’t have people with the skills to do much with those right now.”
“If there are viable mines,” Rodney said. “We can see if we can recuit some people with the right skills from other planets and see if they can help us. At some point, we can either generate new materials, like wire for electricity, or we can scavange the city to see if there’s anything there we can use.”
“I’d like to leave scavaging the city for a later option,” Ronon suggested. “We’re not desperate for some of those things and I’d like to stay away from those living there.”
“If there was any manufacturing even further from the city, there had to be a way to transport materials and finished goods,” John said. “We’ll keep an eye out for trucks or whatever may be there. We can use that in the harvesting process.”
“Good idea!” Ronon said. “And if we can get transports that are not from the city, we don’t have to work with Marek and his people. That would also be good.”
“Understood,” John said.