- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
It wasn’t Rodney’s prescription mattress that they had used before leaving Atlantis, but whatever it was, it was infinitely more comfortable than the makeshift bunk in the Jumper. At this point, John was so tired, he’d sleep on the floor — although he knew he’d regret that in the morning.
John stripped down to his t-shirt and boxers and crawled into the bed next to Rodney. Without speaking, he wrapped himself around Rodney, hanging on tightly.
Rodney snaked an arm around John and held on just as tight.
They pretended not to see John’s hands shake.
“I don’t know what we would have done if they weren’t here…” John whispered after they lay together, soaking in the warmth.
“They are here, and we’re safe now,” Rodney said softly. “Sleep.”
“You, too,” John said. He leaned in for a soft kiss, then settled back to sleep.Sh
John slept better that night than he had since that day they had encountered Carson in the Jumper Bay. Finally being able to relax and trust in his environment let him sleep soundly.
When he woke, he was alone in the bed but he could hear a murmur of voices coming from the other part of the house. He rolled onto his back and closed his eyes, enjoying the moment of peace.
He got up, putting on yesterday’s clothes, since it was all that was handy at the moment. He used the bathroom and followed the voices to the kitchen. Rodney was eating breakfast as Ronon worked at a wood burning stove.
“Hey! I was going to let you sleep longer,” Rodney said.
“Nah,” John replied. “I’m good. And still some things to do.”
“Then sit, there’s breakfast,” Rodney pointed to the chair next to him. “And they have almost-bacon!”
“Really?” John was intrigued. For all the foodstuffs they had traded for in Pegasus, there never was anything close to bacon — or coffee.
“One of the Athosians found it while trading tuttle butter,” Ronon added. “We were actually able to get breeding stock — they’re called ‘flord’ — so we’re now raising our own. But it’s still a treat, the flord herd is still small and we’re working on letting the herd grow rather than slaughtering too many of the animals for food. But they reproduce relatively quickly and in another year we’ll have a steady source of meat.”
“Then it’s even more appreciated,” John said, taking a bite. “This is good!”
“Figured you could use a couple of decent meals,” Ronon said. “That was one of the things you did for me… made sure I ate as much as I wanted.”
“We’ve actually been doing okay,” John replied. “While we ate our share of MREs, we had fresh food from the mainland semi-regularly and slaughtered a couple of the not-cow things that were pretty abundant there.”
“But, toward the end, we were running on fumes,” Rodney added. “Between making plans and packing the Jumpers, we didn’t want to take too much time to manage food. Or have the energy it takes to deal with unprocessed food.”
“There was some vegetables that didn’t need much work, carrots, leafy greens, sweet peppers, and tomatoes, in the hydroponic gardens,” John added. “We’d take a break and see what was ready to eat there.”
“We left the automated systems running,” Rodney added. “They’re pretty low power users and if we can get back there in less than a year, there should be a reasonable crop of fruits and vegetables available.”
“And if it takes longer than that?” Ronon asked.
Rodney shrugged. “I set it to shut itself down after two years,” he replied. “No sense in anything longer than that. Some of the systems need cleaning out, and if no one is there, the plants will die off. I went for semi-reasonable.”
“Makes sense,” Ronon agreed. As they finished their plates, he asked, “Now what?”
“I’d like to get the second Jumper as soon as we can,” John said. “We split most of the cargo between the two Jumpers, but the one we came in was heavier on munitions, in case we had to fight our way in or out of someplace.”
“The other Jumper has the science equipment in it,” Rodney continued. “If nothing else, there’s a naquadah generator that we can set up here for your settlement to use.”
“What would you do with it here?” Ronon asked.
“At the very least, I can set up a shield for a sizeable portion of the settlement,” Rodney said.
“That would be very helpful,” Ronon admitted after a moment of silence. “We’ve taken in refugees as they come, but we’ve not recruited anyone because we’re probably at our limit of how many we can protect if the Wraith do come.”
“It wouldn’t stand up too long to a bombardment from a full sized battle cruiser,” Rodney admitted. “But it would make whatever we put it over essentially invisible to a smaller ship.”
“That makes sense,” Ronon agreed. “But we could look to recruit some folk with needed skills, and they would come with families or groups that we’ve not been ready for.”
“What kind of skills are you looking for?” John asked.
“Doctors, for one thing. Or anyone with medical training,” Ronon answered. “Teachers are another priority. We have a growing population of children and need to set up some schools. Again, we’re doing some informal instruction, and apprenticing the older kids where we can, but if we grow any larger, we should be doing some formal schooling.”
“Any other skills you’re missing?” Rodney asked.
Ronon laughed. “Scientists. Most of the folk we have here have never seen any of what I know you can do. If we’re going to fight the Wraith properly, we need to learn more about science, and how to build everything from buildings to space ships.”
“That’s a tall order,” John said.
“It is,” Ronon agreed. “But if we don’t try, we’ll end up living in fear of the Wraith and never having a chance to be free. We know it won’t be overnight, but we have to start somewhere.”
“But you also don’t want to draw any attention to yourselves, until you have some protection,” John added.
“Exactly,” Ronon nodded. “We’re at that in-between stage right now. We don’t have what we need to protect ourselves, but we’re too big to really hide well.”
“Well, we’ll certainly do what we can,” Rodney offered.
“And, first, let’s get that Jumper,” John said, finishing up his tea. “The longer it sits there, the more concerned I’m getting.”
“If you’re done eating, we can go whenever you want,” Ronon said.
“You want to come?” John asked.
Ronon shrugged. “Sure. You can always use another set of hands,” he said.
“Okay, let’s go then,” John said.
John and Rodney got back into the rest of their uniforms, and added tac vests and weapons when they got into the Jumper. John handed Ronon a tac vest, and smiled when he saw Ronon had brought his own weapon.
“Some day, I need to get one of those,” John said.
“Maybe I’ll build you one,” Rodney replied.
“Awww… you do like me!” John cooed, fluttering his eyes at Rondey.
“Don’t push it!” But Rodney smiled as he said it.
Ronon just shook his head.
When they got to the Gate, a shorter distance since they could now travel cross-country, Ronon said, “We should stop on the way back. I’ll need to let Marek know you may be in and out and not to bother you.”
“Since we know where you are, we probably won’t be stopping here too often,” John pointed out.
“Still, it’s useful to let them know,” Ronon said.
“Not a problem,” John replied. “You know best here.”
Deciding to err on the side of caution — check twice, check again – John dialed the space Gate they had used the first day. He didn’t want to leave a direct trail back to Athos if he could help it. He couldn’t change the fact that they had come from Athos, but he could limit contact by going through another Gate.
Once through, he turned around, shut down the Gate to Sateda and then dialed Athos. He came through, and immediately cloaked and shielded the Jumper. He let the Gate shut down on its own, in case anyone was on the planet and would be attracted to the Gate activation. He waited a short distance from the Gate and was relieved when it shut down naturally and no one showed up.
“No life signs and no communication signals,” Rodney called out.
John flew the Jumper slowly to the city, still not sure if there were alarms that might attract the Wraith. He came to the courtyard they had used and settled the Jumper down.
As he lowered the Gate, Ronon went to the end of the ramp first, listening.
“Nothing special here, as far as I can tell,” Ronon said to them.
“Only small life signs, probably animals,” Rodney agreed.
“Okay. Ronon, go with Rodney as he gets into the other Jumper,” John said. “I’ll wait while you do that.”
Rodney tapped on his computer, and the second Jumper became visible. The rear hatch lowered as they watched and John kept an eye out as the others moved to the other vehicle.
The hatch went up and John raised his own hatch.
“All set here!” Rodney called.
“Okay, keep your shield on and follow me back to the Gate,” John ordered. “I’ll dial and go back to that space Gate first. Then I’ll re-dial and go to Sateda.”
“Got it!” Rodney replied.
John cautiously flew back to the Gate, making sure Rodney was right behind him.
“Dialing,” he called over the comm. He flew through the Gate and moved off to one side. Rodney and Ronon came through right behind him.
“Okay, re-dialing,” John said, dialing for Sateda.
The Gate opened and he flew through. He went high this time and Rodney was right behind him.
“Ronon wants to talk to Marek,” Rodney reminded John.
“Let’s go back to where we were yesterday then,” John said. “You land and Ronon can talk to his people. I’ll keep watch.”
“Good plan,” Rodney said.
John went up a little to give Rodney room to maneuver. He followed.
Rodney settled in the open space, lowering the hatch so that Ronon could get out. It wasn’t long before John saw Marek and his people approach the Jumper. Only two came down the road, but there were ten others in the surrounding buildings.
John couldn’t hear the conversation, since he hadn’t thought to put a radio on Ronon. But Ronon was clearly in charge, pointing to the Jumpers and making it clear that they were part of Ronon’s people.
Ronon got back onto the Jumper and Rodney raised the hatch.
“All set?” John asked.
“I think so,” Rodney replied. “Okay, Ronon’s annoyed, but he’ll live.”
John laughed. “Okay, back to the settlement.”
“Hey, do you have a name for your town?” Rodney asked Ronon.
“We call it ‘Eirini’,” Ronon replied. “It means ‘peace’ in Old Satedan.”
“Huh, I didn’t know there was such a thing as Old Satedan,” Rodney said.
“Lots of things you don’t know, McKay,” Ronon teased.
“Hey! Be nice to the guy that’s not making you walk back from the Gate!” Rodney protested.
John smiled. It felt like family again.
Maybe they could do this.