Sam couldn’t help but breath a sigh of relief as the jumper cleared the gate. It was one thing stepping through a wormhole on your own too feet, but in a hulled ship? She was only too aware of all the things that could go wrong…even in a ship of ancient design. It made her nervous, especially as she’d hadn’t yet had a chance to thoroughly examine the ship’s specs
“You okay, Carter? You look a little green around the gills.”
Sam smiled sweetly at Rodney’s smug expression. Rodney only called her by her surname when he was feeling especially pleased with himself. “I’m just fine, McKay
. I was just remembering the look on your face when you first stepped through a wormhole.”
A snort of laughter came from the pilot’s seat, and Rodney’s expression soured. “Yes, Sheppard, laugh it up.”
“Sorry, Rodney, but you must admit you had it coming,” Sheppard said dryly as he opened a com channel. “Elizabeth?”"I'm here, John, how does it look?"
quiet,” Sheppard observed, checking the jumper's display. “I’m not picking up any Wraith activity in the area.”
“Be careful, John, they might not be near the gate but—“
“— they may still be on the planet,” Sheppard drawled. “I know, Elizabeth. We’ll check back in an hour.”"Good luck, John"
"Let's hope we don't need it," he said, "Sheppard out."
The gate disengaged, cutting off communications with Atlantis, and Sam leaned forward on her seat to get her first proper look at the planet as the jumper rose into the air. “How far is it to the village?” she asked.
“About forty klicks due west,” Sheppard said, waving at the fast approaching horizon.. “Luckily, we don’t have to walk it.”
“Like the first time we visited,” Rodney added, his face twisting at the memory.
“Don’t remind me,” Sheppard grumbled.
“John,” Teyla suddenly said, strain showing in her voice. “I feel a Wraith presence…many Wraith presences.” Sam threw her a curious glance. She had read the reports, but this was the first time she’d seen Teyla exhibit her ability.
“Define many?” Rodney asked, looking over his shoulder.
“That is not good,” Ronon said
“Yes, thank you mister obvious, that’s a great help,” Rodney muttered as he turned his attention to the display screen.
“Got anything?” Sheppard asked.
“Yes, yes, give me a moment.”
“Got it! Oh dear…I think we’d better turn around now.”
“What is it?” Sam got to her feet and joined him at the console.
Rodney pointed at a green dot flickering on the screen. “Wraith cruiser…there…
where the village used to be,” he said tersely. “Not good.”
“And my day is complete,” Sheppard mumbled. “We’re heading back to the gate.”
signals,” Rodney interrupted, panic leaking into his voice as he scanned the display. “Five, no, six
darts, heading our way.”
“What direction?” Sheppard asked tersely.
Rodney scowled at the screen “They’re coming from the gate.”
“They must have dialled in just after we left,” Sam said, eyeing the display over his shoulder.
“You think?” Rodney sniped.
“Is it just me, or does anybody else think this feels awfully like a trap,” Sheppard said, under his breath, as he brought the jumper to a standstill and landed it softly.
“It’s okay, we’re cloaked,” Rodney said. “We are, aren’t we?”
“Yes, Rodney, we’re cloaked,” Sheppard said, “Here they come.”
Sam craned her neck upward and stared as the darts shot over them. “They’re beautiful,” she observed. “In a…predatory
sort of way.”
“Yeah, that would be the word,” Sheppard said, cryptically, his eyes never leaving the vessels as until disappeared into the distance. “Right, let’s get the hell out of here.”
“The jumper lifted from the ground, and Sam shook her head in wonder at the craft’s smooth manoeuvrability as the jumper skimmed the trees. It would be at least another day before she knew whether the gene therapy had worked. God, she hoped so…
Sheppard sighed. “How come I knew you were going to say that?”
Sam peered at the readings and pulled a face. “The gate is already engaged.”
“Which means we can’t dial out,” Rodney added.
“Okay,” Sheppard said. “So we wait it out until the wormhole disengages, shouldn’t be a problem.”
Rodney ignored him as his fingers flew over the console. “They’re up to something.”
Sam leaned forward. “The energy fluctuations?”
“Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Sam eyed the reading “It’s a force field.”
Rodney’s hands stilled. “You sure? A force field that large would—“
“Cover the entire gate area.” Rodney glared at her. “I’ve been working a lot with force fields lately,” she reminded him.
Sheppard coughed. “I’m guessing that would be my cue to slow down.”
“Unless you want to end up like a fly on a windscreen, yes,” Rodney said, dully.
“Perhaps we should land,” Teyla suggested.
Ronon nodded in agreement. “We should continue on foot.”
“Right, then, we’re landing.” The jumper set down on the grass and Sheppard swivelled around in his seat. “Right, kids, any suggestion?” Silence reigned in the jumper. “I guess that’s a no, then.”
“Hold on,” Rodney muttered, as he examined the reading on the screen. “I just want to…ah!” He leaned back in his seat. “We could get a radio signal through.”
Sam nodded, understanding. “The wormhole can only be held open for another twenty minutes, tops. When it disengages—“
“We dial Atlantis and let them know what’s going on,” Rodney finished for her.
“We’ll need to be fast. We have to get our address through before they do.”
, so we’ve got a plan…of sorts,” Sheppard declared.
“It still won’t get us off this planet,” Ronon pointed out.
that, which is why we’re going to check out the gate while Rodney and Colonel Carter make sure our message gets through.”
Sam caught Sheppard’s eye and he shrugged in response. “Got any better ideas?” he asked.
“Right, then; Rodney, make sure that Elizabeth knows this is a trap. Don’t let her send another team through the gate. Bad enough we’re stuck outside the force field, we don’t want another team trapped inside.”
“Maybe I should go with you,” Sam suggested. “I could be able to figure out how to disable the shield if I had a look at the situation.”
Sheppard paused, then shook his head. “Better if you stayed with Rodney and make sure nothing goes wrong. We’ll do a peripheral sweep to see what the defences are like before we start making plans to disable it.”
“Hey! What am I, chopped liver? I’m perfectly capable of delivering a message all by myself, thank you very much. Genius, remember?”
“Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of Carter being a better shot than you “
Sam grinned as Rodney’s mouth opened, then shut again. “Okay, you have a point,” he admitted, reluctantly.
Sheppard patted Rodney on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, Rodney, I’m sure Carter will take good care of you, won’t you, Carter?”
“Ha, ha,” Rodney muttered, batting his hand away.
The Jumper’s bay doors opened, and Ronon peered outside. “It’s clear.”
“Teyla?” Sheppard looked at the Athosian expectantly.
“I sense Wraith but I don’t think they are any nearby.” Teyla frowned, looking into the distance. “But I fear they are Wraith near the gate.”
“Yeah, I kinda expected that,” Sheppard grumbled. “Move out.”
Sam watched as Ronon automatically took point and trotted out of the jumper, Teyla followed him closely and Sheppard took the rear. They had all the earmarks of a tightly knit team, one that was well used to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It reminded her of the days when Jack headed their team. Cameron was getting there, but it still didn’t feel the same. Briefly, she wondered how Rodney fitted into the group. Teamed with Teyla, perhaps? She definitely had the patience, although Sheppard seemed to get along with him too, in an ‘always at each other’s throat’ kinda way…
“Hello? Earth to Sam? I need to close the bay doors.”
“Huh? Oh, sorry.” Sam hastily stepped back as the doors shut.
“Wanna join me up here? You can tell me what I’m doing wrong.” Rodney smirked and Sam rolled her eyes.
“Is the wormhole still engaged,” she asked as she rejoined him at the console, flopping into the pilot’s seat.
“Would I still just be sitting here if it wasn’t?” he asked, rhetorically.
Sam grinned crookedly. “With you, McKay, I’m never too sure.”
“Back to your own self, I see.”
“What can I say, Rodney? You bring out the worst in me.” Sam eyed the pilot controls. “So…. how does this thing manoeuvre outside the atmosphere?”
Rodney gave her a considering look. “You know, I keep forgetting you’re Air Force. What do you fly, choppers?”
“Fighter jets,” Sam said, absently, as she fingered the controls. “Not that I’ve flown much in the last few years.”
Rodney snorted. “I should have known,” he said.
supposed to mean?”
, it’s a great big phallic symbol with you at the controls—“ The console chimed and Rodney stopped mid-tirade, glancing at the display. “The wormhole’s disengaged…dialling…now
Sam nodded as her earpiece sprung to life. “Elizabeth?”"Sam? Where's John."
“Long story.” Sam filled her in on the situation, and added. “We’re going to try to disable the force field, but it mightn’t be possible.”
“The Daedalus should be nearing your coordinates in about two days time
,” Elizabeth said, after a moment’s pause. “I’ll ask Caldwell to make a detour and pick you up.”
Sam smiled with relief. “That sounds good,” she said, glancing at Rodney, who was frowning at the display screen.
“We’ve got company,” he said.
“Rodney, what’s your situation?”
“Two darts are heading back this way,” he said flatly. “We might be in trouble.”
“Elizabeth, I’ll get back to you in a couple of hours,” Sam said, hurriedly, as she looked at the readings on Rodney’s screen.
“Will do, Carter out.” The communications cut out and Sam frowned at Rodney as he pulled at her sleeve.
“Stop scowling at me, and get out of that chair,” he snapped. “We need to get this thing into the air.”
Sam stared at him in disbelief. “You’re not going to try and fly
this thing, are you?”
“I’ve had lessons
,” he said, defensively. “And its not as if you
can do it, flygirl. Now come on
, we haven’t much time. Sheppard will be a sitting duck if we don’t find him before those darts get here.”
“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Sam said, rising from the seat.
“That makes two of us,” Rodney muttered as he sat at the controls. “Keep an eye on that display, I don’t want those things
creeping up on me.”
” Sam drawled
, just what I needed.” Sam glanced out the window uneasily as the jumper slowly lifted from the ground. “Right, now where the hell is Sheppard?” another display screen shone on the window and three blips appeared. “Thank
, the darts are homing in on that position.”
“Figures,” he muttered, fiddling with his radio. “Sheppard, can you hear me? Two darts heading in you direction.” The radio hissed, but there was no reply. “Shit,
not good. Sheppard, you great big hairy oaf, answer
The jumper swivelled mid air and Sam winced as a branch hit the window. “Maybe you should take us up another few feet,” she suggested.
“No backseat driving, I get enough of that from him
.” The jumper rose another few feet, nonetheless.
Sam watched uneasily as the blips in the screen converged. “ I don’t thing we’re going to make it, Rodney.”
“Don’t say that,” Rodney snapped. “We just have to…oh.”
Sam sank back into her chair as the two darts came into view and swooped over Sheppard’s position, their teleportation beam slicing through the trees.
“Tell me they didn’t get them,” Rodney said softly.
Sam’s heart went out to him, as she saw the stunned look on his face. “Sorry, Rodney, they’re gone.”
For a moment, Rodney’s face went blank. “We need a plan,” he stated.
“Rodney,” Sam said gently. “We’re severely outnumbered and outgunned, we wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“What? The great Sam Carter of SG1 admitting defeat? Don’t give me that. If it was O’Neill in there, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” he snapped.
“What the hell is that
supposed to mean?”
“You know exactly
what I mean,” he said, turning away from her.
Sam resisted the urge to throttle him. “No, I don’t
Rodney,” she bit out. “How about you refresh my memory.
“Supernova sun, Earth being pulled into oblivion through the stargate, you refusing to let O’Neill die no matter what the cost…ring a bell?” he said, flatly.
“That was different, McKay.”
“Why? Because this time it’s my
team in trouble, and not yours?”
Shocked, Sam fell back in her seat. “Is that what you really think?” Rodney hunched over the controls and refused to look at her. “We can’t keep doing this, McKay. “.
“Doing what?” he asked, abruptly
,” she said, exasperated. “ I can’t think like this.”
“Really, because I find it helps.”
“You would.” Sam sighed
“So, does that mean you’ll help me?”
Sam gave him a considering look. “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”
“No, I was joking - of course
I’m serious. You think I say that kind of stuff for jollies?”
“With you, McKay, I never know.”
Rodney smirked. “Are we having a moment here?” he asked. “Because, if we are, I usually envision this ending with us rolling around naked, preferably covered in oil.”
Sam’s lips twitched, despite herself. “In your dreams, McKay.”
“Yes. Often,” Rodney agreed
Sam groaned. “Let’s get back on track, shall we?”
“I’m getting to you, aren’t I? Go on, admit it, no one will know, Its just you and me in here.”
“Fine, fine,” Rodney threw his hands up in defeat. “So, any bright ideas? Because we’re running out of time; by now, those darts have made it back to the mother ship and if those Wraith really know who we are, they’re in a whole lot of trouble. ”
Sam frowned as she went through their options; a full out assault was out of the question. “How familiar are you with Wraith technology?” she asked.
“Leading human expert,” he said, promptly, “Why? What are you thinking?”
“That Wraith teleportation beam, if we could get our hands on one…”
“We could turn the tables on them, and use it to get them off the ship. We’ll need to get our hands on one of the darts.”
“We just have to find a way to lure one of them off the beaten track.”
Rodney grimaced “When they hunt,” he said. “That’s when they’re at their most reckless. One of us will have to be bait.”
“We’ll need the jumper’s defence systems to shoot it down,” Sam said. “Which means you’ll have to do it. Can you handle that?”
“Looks like I have to, doesn’t it? Hey
, wait a minute, that means…
“I’m going to be the bait. Yeah, I know”