- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
John eased through the Gate and immediately turned on the cloak and shield. Just because no one lived here — or could live here, because of the high radiation levels — didn’t mean they shouldn’t take precautions. Even more importantly, it could still be a Wraith ‘hunting’ ground.
John saw a flash at the Gate as Rodney came through, disappearing from sight as he put on his own cloak and shield.
Moving the Jumper to the edge of the field, he eased the Jumper down on a rocky area. The goal was to not disturb any vegetation that might make him visible, in case anyone was already there. Or if anyone came after they had left. He knew Rodney was doing the same at the other end of the field. They didn’t want to leave tracks behind them.
They sat in silence, waiting for the Gate to time out the connection and shut down.
“I’m not seeing any life signs,” John said over the crackling comm — any further distance would make the comms unworkable. “But with the radiation, the distance I can trust that is limited.” That limitation was frustrating.
“Same for any ships,” Rodney replied. “Nothing came through the Gate after we did, and I can’t see anything in orbit, but if it’s any distance away or on the other side of the planet, I won’t know it’s here until it’s almost on top of us.”
“I think we can turn off the cloaks and take advantage of the radiation ourselves, that’s why we’re here,” John said.
“Don’t remind me,” Rodney moaned.
“You agreed…” John started to say.
“I know, I know,” Rodney hastened to assure him. “I agreed, but I don’t have to like it.”
“Too true,” John laughed. That was Rodney.
“I’m going to open the hatch and save on air,” Rodney said. John saw the Jumper materialize on the other side of the field. He turned off his own cloak so Rodney could see him.
“That’s okay,” John said. “Stay alert.”
“Will do,” Rodney agreed.
John listened as Rodney moved around his Jumper and the slight ‘whoosh’ as the rear hatch opened.
“Just a lovely as ever,” Rodney commented. “Bright sunshine, overgrown vegetation and enough radiation to ensure I never have kids.”
John had no good answer to that, so he let Rodney ramble.
“I’m going to go out and take a reading from the DHD,” Rodney said. “It will be helpful to know how much traffic this place gets.”
“Go ahead,” John replied. “I’ll cover you while you do that.”
One of Rodney’s minions, working with Miko Kusinagi, had made a huge breakthrough in reading the logs on a dialing device. They were now able to mostly read the logs and know when the Gate had been used and where it had been dialed to and from. For Gate addresses where they could identify the incoming or outgoing dialing address, it let them get an idea of usage. For unfamiliar dialing addresses, however, it didn’t give them any information on the originating address. And, as usual, the database on Atlantis wasn’t helpful in matching up dialing addresses with planetary information. As a result, they treated all unknown addresses as space Gates until they found otherwise.
The other was that the time and date ‘stamp’ provided was… wonky, as MIko had pointed out. John remembered the small grin she had given when using that term in a briefing. While the Ancients had a universal time clock of sorts, it really only worked on Atlantis, local time also factored into the logs. Unless one was familiar with the planetary time system — mostly the length of the local ‘day’ — the time stamp only gave an approximate value. They had figured out how to read the log from a Gate that was relatively busy – travel to and from a planet multiple times in the same day, or even with a few days, gave a distinct pattern. For infrequently used Gates, the best guess was ‘maybe a month ago’ or ‘maybe a year ago’ and even that was sketchy.
Knowing if the Gate here had been frequented even semi-recently was useful in helping them decide if anyone else might be on the planet currently.
“Okay, best I have is that there’s not been anything before us in quite a while,” Rodney finally reported. “We should be here by ourselves.”
“Good to know,” John replied.
If Rodney thought it was safe, their plan was to stay here for the one full day they had planned. Between the time in space and the radiation on the planet, that should kill off any stray virus they may have transferred to the Jumpers back on Atlantis. They couldn’t do a lot about what might be on the supplies, but they had to try. Just because they were well past the incubation period of the virus, didn’t mean they should relax. Spreading that virus to anywhere in Pegasus would be even more deadly than the Wraith.
“Back inside and closing the hatch,” Rodney reported. “You can take a break if you want, since I got a nap already.”
“Thanks,” John said. “I’m going to get out and take a piss first.”
“Okay. Let me know when you’re done,” Rodney replied. John knew Rodney wasn’t going to relax until he did. Hopefully, they could do that soon.
John got up and stretched. It felt good to move around after sitting for so long. He could have moved before this, but his instincts made him need to be alert. While this wasn’t necessarily the safest place, it had enough security that he could almost relax for a bit.
He opened the rear of the Jumper, letting the hatch settle in place. He waited for a few minutes, listening for any unusual sounds. After ten minutes, he decided that if he wanted to get out to piss, it was as good as it was going to get.
He only took a step away from the Jumper, so he remained inside the shield, before he stopped to relieve his bladder. The Jumpers had chemical toilets, but they wanted to keep those for true emergencies and not for regular use. John figured he had pissed in worse places than this over the years.
He did take advantage of the unlimited overhead space to stretch thoroughly and jog in place for a few minutes. They had carved out sleeping spaces in the Jumpers, but that was limited because of the volume of supplies they had brought with them.
John got back in the Jumper and closed the hatch. “Okay, I’m inside and sealed in,” John told Rodney. “I’m gonna nap for a bit. Wake me if you want to take a break.”
“I’ll be good for a while,” Rodney told him. “I’ll work on these logs for a bit, if nothing else. Take your nap.”
“Yes, mom,” John teased.
“Brat,” Rodney said affectionately.
John left the comm open and moved to the sleeping space. Since they would be here for a while, he might as well get some sleep. He set his alarm for two hours.
He came awake at the gentle ‘ding’ as the alarm went off. He lay for a moment, mostly to clear the sleep out of his head. He got up and looked over the instrument panel.
“I’m back,” John said, yawning.
“Dead quiet,” Rodney reported.
“That’s what we were looking for,” John answered. “Damn, I could use some coffee.”
“That’s my line,” Rodney laughed. “There’s a thermos in a compartment under your bench. It’s not coffee, but it will help.”
John found the thermos and opened it carefully. It was the Athosian ‘stout tea’ that John had become accustomed to drinking, and it was still relatively hot.
“How’d you get it to do that?” John asked. “It’s still pretty warm.”
“It’s an Ancient thermos and that spot under the bench must have been made for it,” Rodney admitted. “It’s a proximity heater of sorts, keeps whatever is in the thermos hot. There’s a different thermos for cold drinks.”
“And why hasn’t anyone told me about this?” John asked.
“I found it as we were packing up supplies,” Rodney replied. “The cubby opened as I was working on it and the thermos was in it. I have one, too. Once I opened the cubby, it showed up in the Jumper manual and… well, there you go.”
“Damn, we could have used this from the beginning,” John sighed.
“Not all the Jumpers had a thermos in the cubby,” Rodney replied. “I had to go through most of the Jumpers in the bay to find the two we have. I suspect they missing ones are stored somewhere near the Jumper bay, or maybe in a kitchen space somewhere, but I ran out of time to look for them.”
“Hey, thanks!” John said, pouring himself a cup of tea. “This is good!”
“You’re welcome!” Rodney said softly.
“Find anything in the logs?” John asked, as he opened a power bar for himself. Peanut butter — not as good as the chocolate chip, but in more plentiful supply.
“Nothing special,” Rodney said. “I think I can figure out which entries are from when we found Ronon here. That leads me to make an educated guess that the Wraith have stopped coming, since no one else seems to come here.”
“Good news. I think,” John replied. “You need a break?”
“In a bit,” Rodney replied. “I’m good for now.”
“Okay, let me know when you need one,” John answered.
They traded off breaks and took turns watching for the other. Eventually, it was time to leave, based on their plan.
“Ready to go?” John asked.
“Definitely!” Rodney replied.
John dialed the Gate.