- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
Now John could relax. They had the two Jumpers safely on Sateda, Ronon and Teyla were also here — alive and healthy! — and they had more resources than John could have hoped for.
“You sure you want us to stay here?” John asked Ronon. Not that he minded, he had to ask.
“There’s plenty of space,” Ronon replied, waving an arm at the empty rooms. “And you’ll be here to visit — or eat — more often than not. Just being practical.”
“Well, that’s true,” John admitted. “Thanks!”
“You’d do the same,” Ronon pointed out calmly.
John couldn’t deny that.
John and Rodney took a couple hours to settle into the house with Ronon. They brought in some clothing, and Rodney set up a proximity alarm. Habits were hard to break. He showed Ronon how to turn it on and off, just to be sure someone else knew how to operate it.
Two days later, Ronon took them to what would be a ‘town council’ meeting. Ronon introduced them as Tau’ri, leaving out any mention of Atlantis or Earth.
John could see the curiosity in their eyes, but it was too early to give away too much. The only thing they did speak about was the shield Rodney could provide over a significant portion of the settlement. It wouldn’t cover the entire area, so they assigned this group the task of deciding what area the shield should cover.
“That will keep them busy for a while,” Rodney said as they went back to their own home. It was getting dark and they wanted to be inside before full dark fell. There was a moon and some ambient light, so it wasn’t pitch black, but wandering around in the dark was a nuisance.
Teyla came back with them to the house.
“Let me get some beer,” Ronon said.
“Where do you keep that?” John asked.
“There’s a storage space under about half the house,” Ronon said. “It’s cooler down there and it’s a refuge if there is a culling. The flooring masks enough of anyone’s life signs from above. We don’t have cooling like you had on Atlantis, so the basement will do. But it’s better than being room temperature.”
“There are some beers that are better at room temperature,” John offered.
Teyla wrinkled her nose. “We will have to experiment with that,” she said, doubtfully.
Ronon came back with a small jug and poured them each a mug of the beer.
Rodney took a sip. “This is pretty good!” he enthused.
“It uses local grains,” Ronon said. “There’s trade for food, beer, clothing, other items.”
“It sounds like you have a pretty thriving economy,” John said.
“It works, for the most part,” Teyla said. “Most of the residents are… pleasant and get along. There is a small group that is reluctant to trade fairly, or do not want to help with whatever projects need assistance.”
“Mostly physical labor? Like working in a field or assisting in whatever work needs to be done?” John asked. “Not really surprised. In a group the size you have, I’d be more surprised if you didn’t have any malingerers.”
“True,” Ronon said. “Before Sateda was culled, there was always a part of the population that did not contribute.”
“It’s like Malak and his group at the Gate, preying on lone travelers,” John said. “At least you’ve essentially put them to work, even if they don’t know it.”
“John, I have been thinking about what you told us about not being able to contact Earth,” Teyla neatly changed the subject. “If someone from Earth was to reach out to Atlantis, what would happen?”
“Well, the Gate won’t connect, which will probably set off a warning on their end. It depends on how long it takes them to decide the problem is on the Pegasus end and not on the Earth end,” Rodney said. “What we’re hoping for is a ship to come to Pegasus. I was able to set up a satellite above the planet that will hopefully attract any Earth ships with encrypted information on what happened, what we were doing and where we were headed.”
“What if a Wraith were to find your satellite?” Teyla asked.
“If they physically take the satellite, it’s programmed to blow itself up,” Rodney said. “Hopefully, there’s enough power in the explosion to seriously damage a large-ish ship. If they try to read the data on the satellite, it’s set to give a false set of information. It leads to a couple of nasty places, one of which is a black hole.”
“But then you’ve lost your message to your people,” Teyla frowned.
“I left more messages on the planet,” Rodney replied. “Some physical messages in the different areas of the city and some electronic messages in the Ancient database.”
“There’s no perfect solution,” John added. “We talked all of it through, and did what we could to protect us, and you.”
“That makes sense,” Ronon said. “Do the best you can and move on.”
“Exactly!” Rodney nodded.
“And if no one comes?” Teyla said softly.
John shrugged. “Then you’re stuck with us,” he grinned.
“There are worse places to be,” Rodney added. “We’re moderately safe, we have supplies, and we have you. That’s all we can ask.”
“And we are very glad to have you,” Teyla promised. She stood. “I will be going home now, since Torren will be looking for a story before he sleeps.”
“Bring him around, if you want,” John offered. “We’re not going to do much besides sleep and eat for a couple more days. We figure we’ve earned that.”
“You certainly have,” Ronon said. “I have a work detail to work on building some homes tomorrow, but I’ll leave some breakfast and you can do what you want for the day. I’ll be back later in the afternoon.”
“That works,” John said. “Rodney and I certainly can manage for a few hours on our own.”
“Speak for yourself,” Rodney said, but with a small grin.
“And I do not want to know!” Teyla laughed. She leaned into John to press her forehead against his. “I am glad you are here.”
“Thank you,” John said softly.
John couldn’t hear what she said to Rodney, but he did see the smile he gave her in response.
“Come on,” John said. “Let’s get some sleep.”
John found he enjoyed a couple of days of — safely — doing nothing. Rodney puttered on his laptop for a couple of hours each day and John read a few more pages of War and Peace. He had to make it last longer since heaven only knew if or when they’d find any books.
By the third day, however, John was ready to do something.
“Come and help, then,” Ronon said, when John put his boredom into words. “We can always use an extra set of hands.”
“Yes, go,” Rodney added. “You need to do something and some physical labor will be good for you.” At John’s look, he added, “Yes, I’ll be fine by myself. I won’t answer the phone and I won’t answer the door.”
Rodney was right. The physical labor in helping build a new home was welcome to John. It was hard, but rewarding, work, and it let him meet some of the other members of the settlement.
It took about fifteen days before the town council decided on a location for the shield.
“That’s actually faster than I expected,” Rodney observed. “I figured they’d take a month or more to make a decision.”
“When you’re fighting for your lives,” Ronon pointed out, “there’s sometimes less to debate than you think. Getting the largest part of the settlement to be safer is a good thing.”
“Makes sense,” John agreed.
John went to work with Rodney on placing the shield and setting up some emergency entrances and exits to the shielded space. It was overly idealistic to set up the shield without any entrances once it was up. If anyone was caught outside the shield when it went up, there needed to be options to get stragglers inside the shelter.
Some of that was sent back to the town council to debate. Rodney recommended a maximum of two entrances. They would need to be securely guarded at any point the shield went up, so the fewer entrances there were, the more secure the space inside the shield would be.
Since the shield they had was a relatively simple system, it was a circle generated from the generating device. Since the settlement had developed rather haphazardly, there were a handful of buildings that would be on the circumference of the circle. These buildings would not allow the shield to reach the ground, which was a major security hole.
John let Ronon deal with the town council and those living in the identified buildings, while he and Rodney worked on the building where the shield generator system would sit. It needed to be secure enough so that no one could tamper with it, but it needed to be available to be turned on when needed. Again, who would have access and how that would be managed was sent back to the council.
“Think they’re tired of us yet?” Rodney asked, when they sent more questions back to the council.
“Not yet, but soon,” John laughed. “We’re making them work for this.”
“Better them than us,” Rodney said. “If we end up staying here, I don’t want to be blamed for making some of these decisions.” He snorted. “You did that! We didn’t have any choices! It’s your fault!”
“It’s kind of nice to not be in charge, for a change,” John agreed.