Sam tried in vain to find a comfortable spot on the branch but it wasn’t happening. Apparently, thorns weren’t optional when it came to Romankan plant life. Sighing, she gazed at the horizon from her perch, the flare gun grasped tightly in her hands.
It had taken them at least an hour of arguing over the map before they finally agreed on a small valley about two klicks west of the Wraith’s usual flight path. Far enough off the beaten track not to get heavy air traffic, but not so far that a passing dart wouldn’t see the flare. They would only get one chance at this; they wouldn’t get a second.“You do realise this plan totally sucks, don’t you?”
Rodney hissed through her earpiece. “I can’t even begin to calculate all the things that could go wrong.”
“Relax, Rodney, it’ll work,” Sam said, trying to keep the doubt out of her voice.“You haven’t been near any alien devices while talking to Sheppard, have you? Because you’re beginning to sound suspiciously like him.”
Sam grinned. “Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of Vala. I think I may be spending too much time with her.”“That alien chick? Oh great, remind me to never let those two alone in a room together.”
Sam pictured it her mind, and smothered a laugh. “You may have a point.”“We’ve got one,”
Rodney said a few moments later. “Are you sure you want to do this? It isn’t too late to back out.”
“I’m sure, Rodney,” she said, softly. “Just make sure you hit it before I become lunch.”
“Great, no pressure,
” he grumbled. “Okay, he should be within visual distance by now.”
Peering at skyline, she spotted the speck on the horizon. “Yup, she murmured. “Okay, firing it now.” Pointing it at the sky, she fired the flare gun and waited a few moments, before tapping her com. “Did it work?” she asked, trying to keep her voice casual as she warily watched the Dart in the distance.
“It’s changing trajectory,”
Rodney confirmed. “You’d better start running; it’s moving in fast.”
Dropping to the ground, Sam scrambled down the incline and onto the valley floor. The idea was to lure him towards the cloaked jumper once it topped the hill, so that Rodney could take out the Dart’s engines. She had barely made level ground when she heard the scream of Dart’s engine. Cursing under her breath, she tried to pick up her speed.
“You’re nearly there,”
Rodney said “All you have to do is—“
The first blast nearly knocked off her the feet, and Sam stumbled before righting herself. “Damn it, Rodney, I thought you said it wouldn’t fire,” she gasped through the radio.
“It‘s not supposed to!”
Rodney yelled back, panicked. “They like their prey alive."
“Well, this one seems to like his roasted, Rodney,” she gasped out, as she zigzagged across the open terrain. Damn it; with no cover, she was an easy target.
“Hold on, I’m coming to get you.”
she protested. “We can’t let him see you until we’ve got him where we want him.”
that,” Rodney hollered through the mic, making Sam wince. “I’ve already lost three people today, I’m not going to lose
who’s sounding like Sheppard?”
“Yeah, well, the guy’s a bad influence. You should talk to him about that.”
Another energy blast sizzled through the grass on her left, and Sam veered off again. “Rodney, if you’re going to do something, now would be a good time to do it.” The air wavered a few hundred meters ahead of her and the jumper appeared.
“Okay, here goes nothing, I’m going to—”
A white light blinded her and, for a split second, she realised what was happening. “Oh, shi—”
“Carter, Carter, wake up, goddamn it. You’re too heavy to drag back to the jumper.”
The voice seemed familiar, and she groped for a name…McKay.
“Go away, Rodney,” she moaned, fuzzily. “I’m trying to sleep.”
It was the kiss that finally brought her around; although whether it was from the shock, or that her toes were beginning to curl, she wasn’t sure. “Rodney,” she gasped, pulling away. “Stop
“What? Oh, sorry,” Rodney said, drawing back. “Heat of the moment.”
Sam eyed him; he didn’t look the least bit repentant. “You’re impossible, do you know that?”
Rodney smirked. “You kissed me back.”
“What? No I didn’t
“Oh yes you did,”
he sing-songed, an irritating grin on his face.
“That was gas.”
“Uh-huh, sure, and I’m Jack O’Neill.”
A flash of annoyance crossed Rodney’s face. “No, I don’t, actually,” he said, stiffly, getting to his feet. “Well, you’re all recorporalised and awake now, so I suppose you can help me with this.”
“Huh?” Sam said, confused by the change of topic. “Help you with what?”
Rodney frowned. “Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked. “Because you seem a bit discombobulated. Did you hit your head? Any memory problems?”
“No, no, I’m fine,” Sam muttered, slowly getting to her feet. “Just a bit woozy. You were saying?”
“The Dart,” he said, gesturing over his shoulder.
Sam’s eyes widened as she noticed the smoking wreck lying on its side. “Is it still working?”
“If you mean the parts we need to cobble together a transporter beam for the jumper, yes. I’ve already checked it out. Had to, actually, I needed to get you out of its pattern buffer,” he said, shrugging. “The rest is toast, including the pilot, thank God.”
Slowly, Sam approached the dart, circling around it. “It’s an amazing piece of technology,” she observed.
“Yeah, the bio-components are fascinating,” Rodney said. “It’s alive, in a way, although I think an amoeba is probably smarter. Give it enough time, and some of the minor damage will heal itself. At least, that’s what happens on the bigger ships.”
Carefully, Sam climbed up and looked into the open cockpit; she had only seen photos of what the Wraith look like, before. It didn’t do them justice; even dead, the pilot looked formidable.
“Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?” Rodney said, briskly, hunching down by the belly of the dart. “I’ve rerouted the transporter’s controls from the cockpit to my laptop, but we have to be careful when we remove it from the dart. As I said, on many levels the Dart’s components are alive, and power loss can damage the technology’s cell structure.”
Sam nodded, and jumped down from the cockpit. “What do you need me to do?”
“Just keep an eye on the power fluctuations on the laptop, while I try to extricate it and attach it to the generator,” he said, pointing at a small monitor window on the screen “If it drops below 3.8 let me know, cell damage occurs at 3.6.”
Sam examined the tight expression on his face, wondering why she felt the need to apologise to him. She knew that Rodney had a thing for her, she kind of took it for granted; like Teal’c’s doughnut obsession, and Daniel’s tendency to ascend at the drop of a hat. But it didn’t change the fact that she didn’t… Her mind flitted back to the kiss; okay, so she mostly
didn’t reciprocate it.
Sam grimaced at the thought; this wasn’t a road she wanted to go down. She and Jack had just started to make a go of it; she didn’t need Rodney, of all people, complicating things.
But nevertheless, there was something that needed to be said. “Thank you,” she murmured.
“Huh?” Rodney looked up, startled, from the mess of cables in his hands.
“You saved my life, Rodney; I’m saying thank you.”
Rodney looked at her suspiciously. “Are you positive you didn’t get hit on the head? Here, look up. I want to check whether your eyes are dilated.”
Sam slapped his hand away. “I’m fine,
“Oh…right.” He smiled crookedly. “Guess I’ll go back to the pod person theory, then.”
Sam laughed. “Yeah, guess you should,” she said. “So, how’s it going there?”
“All done,” he said. “One transporter beam safely disconnected. Now, all we have to do is attach it to the jumper…but there’s one more thing I want to do before we do that.” Quickly, he disconnected the laptop and clambered up to the cockpit.
“Rodney, what are you doing?” she called up.
“Getting intel,” he shouted back. “What does it look like?”
Sam’s mouth twitched. “You really are spending too much time with Sheppard.”
“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” he muttered, his head lost from sight as he leaned into the cockpit.
“No, it’s a good idea,” Sam admitted, climbing up beside him. “This trap was way too sophisticated just to trap one jumper.”
“My thoughts exactly,” he said, his hands lost in yet another clump of cables. “Ah, found
it.” Pulling one of the cables loose, he fastened it to what looked like a very lopsided end-to-end cable connector attached to the laptop.
“Had to cobble this together last year,” he muttered, following her eyes. “Funnily enough, Wraith technology doesn’t blend very well with human.” The laptop screen sprang to life, and Rodney hurriedly launched a series of subroutines.
“Can you translate it?” Sam asked, leaning over his shoulder.
“About fifty percent,” he said, absently. “More, if we had time, but…”
Sam nodded. “We don’t have it.”
Rodney didn’t answer, his eyes fixed on the screen. “Sam,” he eventually said, his voice trembling. “We’ve got trouble, real
“I thought we already had that.”
“Think again,” he said, flatly, pointing at the screen.
Sam blinked as she tried to make sense of the data on the screen. “Are those ships?”
“Lots of ships, Wraith
ships, and they’re in this
“The Daedalus. We need to warn it.”
we get Sheppard,” he countered. “He’s good at this kind of save-the-day-at-the-last-moment stuff, and I’m all tapped out.”
Sam hesitated, and then nodded. “First, we get Sheppard,” she agreed.