- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
“You’re going to think I’m crazy,” Rodney said one night as he and John lay in bed.
“I know you’re crazy,” John replied with a grin.
Rodney poked him in the ribs. So worth it, John figured as he inched away from tickling fingers. Rodney had found all of his ticklish spots.
“I think… I’m guessing, mind you, that I can extend the shield, but I need some information,” Rodney said.
John was quiet for a bit.
“You want to go back to Atlantis,” John said softly.
“No, see, that’s the crazy part,” Rodney said. “I think I might be able to get what I need from the Tower.”
John was quiet for another bit.
“I thought the shield was mostly from the Asgard,” John said. “At least that’s what I remember Carter saying.”
“A good part of it is,” Rodney admitted. “But the underlying principles really are Ancient. We know for a fact that the Asgard and the Ancients worked together on a lot of things. This shield was one of them. The Asgard gave the shield information to us, but they originally got it from the Ancients.”
“Okay, talk it through,” John offered.
“We know the ZPM in the Tower was pretty much depleted as we left, we did that by setting off the star drive, and that the natural ATA gene was fading in the population,” Rodney outlined. “Even though we gave a number of folk the mouse-gene, that’s still a small part of the population, since it still doesn’t work for everyone. Anyway. I want to think there’s more to the Tower than what we saw when we were there. Even though we only saw the one tower, and some underground levels, we know there was a huge portion of the city that was buried. There’s got to be something there we can use.”
“Like what?” John asked.
“Another copy of the Ancient database,” Rodney said. “Or at least another Ancient database.” He snorted. “Maybe one with an index. But I’m not going to count on that.”
“Hmm,” John murmured. “We didn’t go looking for what was keeping it all running, did we?”
“No!” Rodney agreed. “And, well, it’s been a while and I suspect if we went back in a Jumper and with a small team, we would be able to poke around relatively safely.”
“We’d have enough weapons,” John agreed. “I think Matias’ team was there last, so I don’t remember if there’s a current Lord Protector, but if it’s one of the townspeople, they would be glad to see us.”
“Or Lady Protector,” Rodney grinned.
John poked at Rodney. “They only wanted me for my genes.”
“But she was pretty,” Rodney teased.
“You’re prettier.” John leaned in for a kiss. “What do you want to do there?”
“I’d like to put you in the chair, and see if you can find their computer,” Rodney said. “We never did get a chance for you to sit in that chair.”
“And if the chair doesn’t work?” John asked.
Rodney shrugged. “Then it doesn’t work. I don’t want to risk taking a naquadah generator there, in case we’d have to leave in a hurry. But we have some smaller battery systems that I think should be able to power up the chair, if we need to.”
“You think it’s worth trying?” John persisted.
“It’s the best option I can think of, short of going back to Atlantis,” Rodney said. “And, well, I’m not ready to do that.”
“Me, neither,” John whispered. “We’ll talk to Ronon and Teyla.”
It was several days before they could get Ronon and Teyla together. Teyla spent a lot of time off world, trying to exchange trade goods for the tormack and other food they had harvested. As predicted, they got some excellent trade deals for the multiple pallets of tormack they could offer. John and Ronon used the Jumper to take a group from the settlement out to the field to harvest what they needed for themselves and for trade.
One of the women — a refugee from a culled world — was familiar with farming and John, along with Ronon and Rodney, took her out to the other fields and orchards they had found.
“Some of these trees won’t grow on their own too much longer,” she decided as they toured one of the orchards. “They are getting to the end of their natural life span. If we had the resources, we’d start pulling sections of them down in the next year or so and plant new trees in their place.”
Ronon shrugged. “We’re not ready to do that. We don’t have the man power to pull down trees, and we don’t have any saplings to replace them,” he agreed. “How long will they give us crops to harvest?”
“They won’t quit producing right away, or all at once,” she admitted. “We’ll probably get ten seasons or so out of it with reasonable crops. After that, it will decline steadily.”
“Heck, I was going to be happy with one or two more harvests,” John replied. “This gives Teyla something else to use for trade for some time.”
“Good to know,” Ronon replied eagerly. “We will have to be careful with telling anyone how much is out here, so we do not attract predators who try to take this away from us.”
“True,” John agreed. “If haven’t done it already, you should have three or four trading teams, so Teyla isn’t the only point of contact. She’d be in a dangerous position if anyone puts together what we have here to offer for trade.”
“She’s already making it sound like she got some of this from someplace else and we’re sacrificing our ‘extra’ for other goods,” Ronon said. “We can send some of the others out with some of the less exotic vegetables. They can learn about trading and bring in things we need, without being too obvious that we have this kind of surplus.”
“Get your council folk to put that on their list,” Rodney grinned. “It’s another good problem to have, but it’s not something we can do a lot about.”
“Although we can’t manage as much without your Jumpers,” Ronon pointed out. “It would be a day’s walk just to get here, without the Jumper. And getting anything we harvest back to the Gate would take probably three days.”
“True,” John agreed. “I would think your people had some type of transportation system, before… We’ll have to find that and see if there’s something we can salvage.”
“There were large vehicles that were used for transporting goods,” Ronon agreed. “I haven’t seen any, but we haven’t looked for them, either.”
“Probably in the city, somewhere,” Rodney put in. “Put Marek and his people to work looking for something. Give them something they want when they find anything.”
Ronon nodded. “Good idea. I’ll drop that the next time we go through.”
When Teyla got back, John sat them down to talk through Rodney’s idea of going back to The Tower.
“While there’s nothing preventing us from going to Atlantis,” John said. “Well, we’re not ready to take that chance.”
“Even it we got out with — hopefully — no problems,” Rodney nodded. “I’d like to see us wait at least a year before we go back. We need to give the virus more time to die off totally before we go there.”
“That is sensible,” Teyla agreed. “And you think the Tower will have something you can use?”
Rodney shrugged. “No guarantees,” he admitted. “But I’ve been going through different locations in my head and it’s worth checking out, at the very least. We were on good terms with them and, if nothing else, we could see what we could trade with them.”
“For trade alone, that would be good,” Teyla agreed. “As you have discussed, we do need to plan to spread out some of what we have available over a few worlds.”
“Having another friendly world will be useful,” Ronon agreed.
“Since I have just returned from trading,” Teyla asked, “can we plan to go in another two days? I’d like to be home for a bit before we go out again.”
John looked at Rodney. “Okay with you?”
Rodney nodded. “It’s a long shot anyway,” he nodded. “Another couple of days won’t be any problem.”
“Thank you,” she said.
“Think about who we might want to take with us,” John said. “We’ll empty out one of the Jumpers, so we can take several people with us. Some for security, some for trade, and you can bring Pase, if you think he’ll be useful.”
“I can keep him busy,” Rodney agreed. “Sure.”
“Let’s figure in three days,” John said. “That will let us copletely empty the one Jumper over a couple of days.” There was a lot of stuff in each Jumper and emptying it wasn’t a trivial thought.
“Anything that needs to be secure can be put in the space under the house,” Ronon said. “If you set up that security alarm, that will be as secure as anything around here.”
“Sounds like a plan,” John agreed. He knew there were things in the Jumper they didn’t want anyone getting their hands on.
Emptying the Jumper was more work than John thought.
“This is a lot of stuff,” Rodney said as they were taking a break.
“It certainly is,” John agreed. “But it’s things we can’t get anywhere out here.”
“I know, I know,” Rodney replied. “Just… wow.”
John laughed. “If I wasn’t so paranoid, I’d ask Ronon to get us some help. But I’d rather not. Not just as yet.”
“I agree,” Rodney said softly. “Some of this is unique and is irreplacable. I get it.”