- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
There was just a tinge of daylight when some life signs started moving toward the Jumper.
“Head’s up,” John said softly. “We’re about to get some company.”
“Finally!” Rodney said, yawning.
“Hey! They’re just being reasonably cautious,” John pointed out. Just like they had been. Life in Pegasus was too dangerous to relax too soon.
“I know, I know,” Rodney grumbled.
There were two people coming down the road to the Jumper, but half a dozen in the surrounding buildings. They waited for the two men to come closer to where they were waiting.
“Okay, you cover me,” John said. “If it gets out of hand, throw up the shield and I’ll get back inside and we can try elsewhere.” He moved to the back of the ship, and put on a tac vest and the P90 they had ready for this encounter. He checked the revolver in his thigh holster.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Rodney said.
“Moi?” John laughed.
Rodney sighed and lowered the back hatch.
John noted that this made the men in the road stop.
“Why are you here?” the taller man demanded.
“We’re looking for some friends,” John said. “Ronon Dex or Teyla Emmagen.”
Silence for long enough that John started to worry.
“How do we know you are friends?” the man asked.
“Can you get a message to them?” John asked. “Or, if you tell us where they are, we will go an look for them ourselves.”
“Who else is with you?” the shorter man asked.
“That’s not important,” John countered.
“If you have a troop of men there, it is important,” the shorter man replied.
“True,” John answered. “But we could just fly away and look on our own. We’re trying to be… diplomatic.”
The taller man shrugged. “You would not find them easily, even in your ship of the Ancestors.”
Interesting, John thought. They could identify that this was an Ancient ship and not necessarily something Travelers might use.
“We mean no harm,” John replied. “We are just looking for our friends.”
“Yet you are prepared for war,” the taller man answered.
“And you have others in the buildings, watching,” John replied. “Being safe is always important.” Since they could identify the ship, letting them know they could spot the others shouldn’t be a surprise.”
“True,” the shorter man agreed.
“Come with us and we can discuss how you can find your friends,” the taller man offered.
“I don’t think so,” John replied easily. “If you have information, we will be glad for it. Otherwise, we will go on our way and look on our own.”
John had already planned on not being separated from the Jumper — or from Rodney. Going off alone wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
The shorter man shrugged. “Had to try.”
“Can you help us find our friends or not?” John asked patiently. “If not, we’ll be on our way.”
The two men looked at each other and they seemed to converse without talking.
“Okay, we don’t know exactly where they are, but there’s a meeting place they check regularly,” the shorter man admitted. “Go back to the Ring of the Ancestors, go in the opposite direction you came through the Ring. It’s about a two hour walk in that direction. Look for a stone building the height of four men next to a diti tree. There’s a meadow where you can set up camp. They will come to you.”
“Tell me what a diti tree is,” John asked.
“Big, green, no leaves but needles,” the tall man elaborated.
Ah! Fir of some sort! “That should work,” John replied. “Many thanks for your assistance.”
“Tell Ronon, if you see him, that he owes Marak for sending you on,” the taller man said.
“I can do that!” John agreed.
The men stood there as John eased himself back into the Jumper. As soon as he could, Rodney raised the hatch.
“Thanks for nothing,” Rodney muttered.
“It’s a start,” John said. “And if we don’t find them, we start looking on our own.”
“It’s a big planet,” Rodney sighed.
“They won’t be that far from the Gate, and you know it,” John said as he took off the vest and stowed his weapons. “A two hour walk means they have found a decent place for themselves, outside the city.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Rodney admitted.
“Okay?” John looked at Rodney, who nodded. “Then let’s see what we can find.”
They lifted up the Jumper, staying high above the men in the road, who still had not moved. They went back to the Gate and turned in the other direction.
Two hours on foot was probably about fifteen or twenty minutes in a Jumper. They flew above what would have been a suburban area around the city. There were a spread of buildings that John assumed were homes and small businesses, with roads and green space around them. It reminded him of the suburbs found around any Earth city.
There was one road that seemed to go straight in the direction they needed to go, so John followed it.
‘Stone building’ was more of a three story home, with a large evergreen-ish tree next to it. Something definitely built pre-culling, and it towered over the buildings in the immediate area. It certainly did make a good landmark.
“This must be it,” John said as he hovered in front of the building.
“Well, it’s a start,” Rodney said.
“Give me a minute to go up high and scan the area first,” John said. “I can take some pictures of the area, if you’d scan for life signs.”
“On it!” Rodney replied.
John prodded the Jumper to take images of the local area so they’d know more about where they were.
“Done?” Rodney nodded.
“Any life signs?” John asked.
Rodney shrugged. “A group of six, about a mile away, but that doesn’t mean much and we can’t tell if it’s Ronon or Teyla anyway.”
“Okay, then, I’ll put down and we can secure ourselves,” John said. “Then we wait.”
“How long?” Rodney asked.
“I don’t know,” John admitted. “I’m tempted to say at least two days. Let’s see what happens in the next day.”
“We could go looking for them,” Rodney said.
“I’d like to stay here for a day,” John suggested. “It’s open enough to be able to see what’s coming and we don’t want to send anyone into hiding if we don’t have to.”
“We don’t look like Wraith,” Rodney countered.
“But if someone doesn’t know what we are, that could be just as dangerous,” John replied. “I’d like to give it a chance.”
“Okay, but I’m setting up proximity alarms and you’re not going wandering off anywhere,” Rodney replied.
“Fair enough,” John agreed. It wasn’t time to relax yet, so Rodney’s precautions were only sensible. “Does the building look solid enough to park the Jumper right next to it?” He started to circle the building to see where the best landing place would be.
“Let me scan for a moment,” Rodney replied. He poked at his tablet for a few minutes. “I think so,” he finally decided.
“Okay, there’s a blank wall there,” John pointed. “If I settle next to that, we’ll have a relatively secure wall on one side. With your proximity alarms, we only have to protect ourselves from three sides.”
“That should work,” Rodney agreed.
John neatly set the Jumper next to the building and then lowered the hatch. “I’ll leave the shield on, go out and set up your alarms.”
Rodney grabbed a box from the rear of the Jumper and John scanned the horizon while Rodney worked. The good news was that they were protected from the one side, being next to the building, but it also served as a huge blind spot. But in the end, having one protected side was better than being in the open.
“Done!” Rodney called. “No one can sneak up on us, at least.”
John powered down the Jumper and went out to see what they had.
“Lots of loose vegetation against this side,” Rodney said. “Not much in the way of wood, so doesn’t look like we’ll be able to set up a fire.”
“If folk come out here regularly, I suspect they scavage any word for their own fires Although I don’t see any firepits or burned spaces,” John decided. “We’ll be okay, we’ll just leave some lights on.”
“That works,” Rodney agreed. “MREs for another couple of days won’t hurt.”
They had packed MREs for the first part of their journey, knowing it wouldn’t be safe to think about looking for or cooking food. They had more MREs in the other Jumper, but John was hoping to find Ronon and Teyla before they needed to go back for that.
Since they might be here for a while, John dug a small pit right next to the building to use as a latrine. He dug it deep enough so they could bury their waste as they left. Once he had the pit dug, he took a piss and spread some dirt on it.
“Latrine between the building and the Jumper,” John announced as he put the shovel away.
“Good,” Rodney said. “I’m gonna…” He waved a hand.
John laughed. “Take your time. I’ll keep watch.” He donned the tac vest and put the handgun in it’s holster. He took the P90 with him.
John brought out a small camp stool and set it in the shade next to the Jumper, looking out at the area around him. There were several broken down buildings that he could see, and a forested area in the distance. If no one showed up soon, he’d go back to that scan he took of the area and start looking more closely.