- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
“Okay, that’s unexpected,” Rodney admitted, peering through the window of the Jumper.
John shut down the Gate and maneuvered the Jumper closer to the moon.
“Dialing the Gate from the Jumper must have triggered something,” Rodney said.
“Do we trust it?” Teyla asked. “I cannot sense anything that would indicate the Wraith were involved with this.”
“Good to know,” John replied. “Let me try something.”
John flew the Jumper closer to the opening, about half-way between the Gate and the moon, then stopped the forward movement. He put his hands on the console, closed his eyes, and drew up an image of Atlantis in his head. He then switched to an image of the Tower.
“Whatever you’re doing, it’s working,” Rodney said. “I think.”
John opened his eyes to see that the Jumper was now moving toward the opening. As they got closer they could see it was clearly not a natural formation, the floor and walls were smooth and there were more lights coming on to illuminate the space.
“I’m not doing that,” John said.
“Automated landing system?” Rodney asked.
“Figured if I could let it know we were friendly, that would help,” John said. “Either by bringing us in on instruments or some other way. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt.”
“What did you do?” Ronon asked.
“I thought about Atlantis and the Tower,” John admitted. “I gave it images of various parts of Atlantis and, well, tried to think friendly thoughts at it.”
“Friendly thoughts?” Rodney winced.
“Hey! It’s working, isn’t it?” John shot back.
“Unless it’s going to trap us in there,” Rodney said. “Are you sure we can get out?”
John shrugged. “We’ll worry about that if it happens!”
“Oh, sure! Be the optimist!” Rodney replied.
“Would something Ancient hurt you?” Teyla asked.
“Janus!” John and Rodney said together. They grinned.
“I didn’t get any feedback,” John replied. “But it doesn’t feel like a trap. I’m just getting Ancient-y feedback.”
“And… there’s another scientific term! Ancient-y!” Rodney frowned.
“Okay, this looks like our last out,” John said, as the Jumper came closer to the opening. “Do we go in or bail out?”
“Go in!” Rodney said.
“If you think it is safe, then go ahead,” Teyla said.
Ronon just shrugged. “Do what you think best.”
“Okay, going in,” John said.
The Jumper hesitated for a brief moment as it entered the chamber.
“A force field!” Rodney scanned the opening.
“Was there a separate ‘door’ or was that just a hologram or something disguising the opening?” John asked.
Rodney peered around the space. “Guessing it was a hologram,” he said. “Doesn’t mean there isn’t anything physical available to block the opening. Or maybe a shield.”
The Jumper came to a landing on the floor of the cavern. The floor was smooth, and there were lights around the perimeter.
“Do we wait?” Rodney asked.
“Is there breathable atmosphere?” John asked.
“Oh! Right!” Rodney brought up a menu on the Jumper. “Umm… thin air right now, but increasing rapidly. It wouldn’t kill you, but it would be uncomfortable.”
“Pressurizing the area then,” John replied. “Let’s give it a couple of minutes. In the meantime, let’s put on our gear.”
Ronon got the tac vests and weapons from the rear section of the Jumper. Everyone was ready in a few minutes.
“Air coming up to normal,” Rodney said. “Give it a couple of minutes to stabilize.”
“We have plenty of time,” John said.
There was a chime that came from the console.
“Huh! Guess it’s ready!” Rodney said. He checked the menu. “That’s what it says.”
“Okay, just in case, everyone hold on to something while I crack the hatch,” John said. “If there are problems out there, I want to be able to shut down quickly.”
Everyone braced themselves, Rodney holding on to the console and the chair he was sitting on.
John eased the hatch open a few inches and waited. When nothing untoward happened, he opened it the rest of the way.
“Looks like we’re good!” John said. “We stick together here!”
“Got it!” Ronon said.
“I’ll take point,” John said. “It will probably want my ATA gene to let us in. Ronon, bring up the rear.”
They went to the edge of the cavern where there was a door. There was an Ancient opening device on the wall and John waved his hand in front of it. The door slid open to reveal a corridor.
They stepped into the corridor and the door slid shut. Rodney waved a hand at the opening device on this side, and gave a sigh of relief when it opened again.
Rodney scrabbled in his pockets for a moment and came up with a marker. He put an “X” on the door.
“What? So we can tell it’s the right door!” he said, as the others looked at him.
“I guess we didn’t bring any breadcrumbs, so that works,” John admitted.
“While the air is not fresh, there are no bad smells,” Teyla added.
“Let’s go see what we can find, then,” John said.
“Which way?” Ronon looked down the non-descript corridor.
John put a hand on the wall, and asked for directions to… “Where would we want to go?”
Rodney frowned, then grinned. “How about a library? That should get us to someplace we can get information.”
“That’s reasonable,” John replied. He thought about a library, access to information and for a map of whatever they had found.
“This way,” John nodded to the left. He trailed a hand along the wall as they walked.
They came to another door and it opened as John waved a hand at it.
They stepped into a space that could have been on Atlantis. It was a large, open area, with corridors and stairs going off in different directions. It wasn’t brightly lit, but there were enough lights to see clearly.
“Well, this proves there were no trendy Ancient interior decorators,” Rodney said. “Everything looks alike!”
John shrugged. “This could have been all the rage ten thousand years ago!”
“Which way?” Rodney asked, bouncing slighly.
“Ummm…” John reached back to the wall. “Okay, transporter over there,” he pointed. “And to… level six. I think.”
“Do we try it?” Teyla asked.
“Well, hopefully, we don’t get lost,” Rodney said. He put another “X” on the wall next to the door they had just come out of. “Transporters are harder to be sure of, but at this point… John, what do you think?”
“I’m not feeling anything odd,” John admitted. “Just… there’s a hint that it really wants us to go there.”
“Never trust anything that you don’t know where it keeps its brains,” Ronon grinned.
“I knew letting you read Harry Potter was a mistake!” Rodney grinned back. “Let’s do it!”
They went to the transporter, Rodney leaving an “X” next to the opening. Once in the transporter, a small light appeared on the map.
John pressed the map, he could feel the moment of transport, and the door opened to a dimly lit area.
They stepped into the area, turning on the lights on their P90s.
“Umm… this isn’t a library, or anything,” Ronon said.
John shook his head. “Rodney?”
“On it!” Rodney said, bringing up his tablet.
They waited for a moment, as Rodney worked.
“Oh, stupid Ancients!” Rodney sighed. “This leads to the Chair room.”
“Do you think there was a misinterpretation of ‘library’?” Teyla asked.
“Somehow, I don’t think so,” Rodney said.
“Do we go on or back?” John asked.
“We’ve come this far,” Rodney shrugged. “Let’s see what it wants.”
They moved to the next room, where a Chair sat under a light. The room became slightly brighter as the walked in, and they could turn off the lights on their weapons.
John lightly ran a finger over the gel pad where one’s hands would go. A trail of light followed his finger.
John sighed. “It wants me to sit in the chair.”
“Is it safe?” Teyla asked.
“I’ve not found any life signs,” Rodney said. “Doesn’t mean there aren’t any, but if there’s anyone still in this city, they could be in stasis or using a cloak to hide themselves.”
“Ronon, keep guard at the door, then,” John said. “Rodney, you want to hook into anything?”
“Not just yet,” Rodney replied. “I’m going to wait to see what you find with the chair.”
John handed his P90 to Teyla before he sat on the edge of the chair. Rodney nodded at him, and John sat back. The chair extended itself as John settled into position.
“Oh!” John said.
“What?” Rodney demanded.
“Almost out of power,” John said. “We shouldn’t be surprised at that. Wait… okay, there are replacement ZPMs that it’s showing me, to put in place. Once we’ve done that, we can power the place up.”
“Replacement ZedPMs?” Rodney asked.
John sat up and rubbed his forehead. “Yes,” he replied. “Across the city from here.”
“Is it safe to power up the entire city?” Teyla asked.
John shrugged. “If it’s telling the truth, there’s no one here but us. It will activate what we need, as we need it. But I want to think it’s safe.”
“Nothing’s perfect,” Rodney said. “But… ZedPMs!”
John laughed. “It gave me directions. Back to the transporter.”
John took his weapon back from Teyla, never taking safety for granted had gotten them this far.
Another light on the transporter took them to another dimly lit room. The room brightened slightly as they entered.
“Okay, this is similar to the ZedPM power room in Atlantis,” Rodney said. He moved to a console off to one side and typed on the keyboard. A single ZPM rose from the center console.
“Good to know!” John said. “Okay, the storage room is just a short distance away.”
“We all go,” Ronon said. “This is still too new to trust it.”
“But…” Rodney pointed at the console he was reading. “I’m busy…”
“It’ll be there when we get back,” John replied firmly. “It’s not far and it should only take a few minutes.”
“Okay, okay,” Rodney sighed as he stopped whatever he had been reading.
They exited the room on the other side, to go down a longer corridor.
“Notice there isn’t any dust?” Rodney said. “It was like that on Atlantis, too. Something in the air system keeps the dust from accumulating.”
“Since there’s no open air, there’s not a lot to create dust,” Ronon said. “And if no one has been here, there’s been no disturbing what little dust there is.”
“True!” Rodney agreed.
“Okay,” John pointed. “Through here.” John waved a hand to open the door.
The door opened sluggishly, the first time that had happened in the city.
“It didn’t want to let me through for a moment,” John said.
“Might be a security thing,” Rodney replied. “I wouldn’t want just anyone to have access to ZedPMs.”
They walked into the room as the lights came up.
“Whoa.” Rodney’s voice was hushed.
“Yeah.” John replied.
“Are those all ZPMs?” Teyla asked.
“Do they work?” Ronon added.
It was a large closet, but, as John counted quickly, there were fifty-three ZPMs. All glowing.
“Let’s take three, since that’s what Atlantis uses, and see,” Rodney directed.
“If they’re charged, you’d think the city could have tapped into these and used them for power,” Teyla said, taking the ZPM Rodney handed her.
“If this is a separate circuit,” Rodney explained, “then there’s no way to tap this power. You really wouldn’t want to put your storage circuits and primary circuits together. Too easy to drain your storage without knowing.” He handed John and Ronon a ZPM. “Let’s see what these will do.”
They made their way back to the power room. Rodney swapped out the ZPM he had already brought up for the one Teyla handed him. He then swapped out the other two failing ZPMs.
“John, there’s space for a fourth device,” Rodney said. “I’d like to put one in there, too.”
“Ronon, stay here with Rodney,” John decided. “Teyla and I will be right back.”
Rodney focused on the screen he had been looking at before that was scrolling information.
“Multiple systems coming online,” Rodney announced, without looking up from the monitor.
Teyla and John came back, and Rodney quickly swapped out the fourth device.
The lights came up to full power, and other screens flickered to life throughout the room.
“Okay, this is essentially a power station,” Rodney said. “We should go back to the chair to get information from the system.”
“We don’t know what’s going to happen with full power,” John said. “Stay close.”
They worked their way back to the chair room. Lights were on everywhere.
“It’s going to be different,” Rodney warned as John sat on the edge of the chair.
“Rodney, relax!” John said. He leaned back and settled into the chair.