Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things SGA belong to MGM, et al. All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al.
Warnings: Future!fic (sort of)…. Kid!fic (sort of)….
Pairings: Sheppard/Faith, McKay/Willow (well, again, sort of)
Spoilers: Up through The Tao of Rodney. Nothing past that.
Summary: Two visitors show up on Atlantis’ doorstep.
~*~Chapter One (of 4)~*~
“It’s too quiet around here.”
Arching an eyebrow and silently agreeing, Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard gave his teammate a tight smile and drawled, “C’mon, Ronon. A little downtime can be a good thing. Not every day can be running-for-our-lives fun or, my personal favorite, taken-hostage-and-tortured-for-what-we-know fun.”
Ronon grunted, which John decided to take as an agreement of some kind if for no other reason than because it didn’t sound like one of those ‘disagreeing’ type of grunts. Usually that kind was accompanied by a glare. John glanced at Ronon out of the corner of his eye. No glare.
Fact was, he agreed
with Ronon. Atlantis had been quiet for going on a week. Wait, no. Make that nine days
. No Wraith attacks, no off-world disasters, and no foul-ups in city itself. It was almost like a vacation. One where he still had to get up and report for work each day, but kind of like a vacation, nonetheless. Too much more of it, though, and he was sure he’d go out of his mind with the boredom. There was only so much to do in the city to keep occupied – only so many sparring sessions he could have with Teyla in one day, or annoy McKay in the labs without risking life and limb when said physicist turned on him in annoyed ire – before a person just…ran out.
He was on schedule with his read-through of War and Peace
, and getting ahead was out of the question. Which left him with relatively little to do if he didn’t want to go harass his Marines. Which, hey, that was an idea. Though, he had the sneaking suspicion that was what Major Lorne was doing for kicks today. His 2IC would probably get pissy with him if he stole all his fun. An irritated Lorne was a Lorne that didn’t do all of his CO’s paperwork, and that was the last thing Sheppard wanted. He was bored, yes. Just not that
John sighed and tried to marshal up the words to further extol to Ronon why downtime was supposedly a good thing
, just as his earpiece crackled to life, Weir’s voice sounding worried and a little flustered. “Colonel. I need you in the jumper bay immediately. McKay will brief you.”
Already up and moving, aware of Ronon at his back, John jogged out of the mess, breaking into a full out sprint when he reached the hall. Before he could even try to raise McKay on the com system, the scientist’s voice was in his ear.
“There’s a jumper flying erratically a short distance from the city, and either the pilot has been sipping a little too much Athosian ale, is worse than me when it comes to going in a straight line to begin with, or there’s something wrong with the jumper. I can’t tell from here, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be in the air much longer.”
John frowned and sped up a little, reaching up to tap his earpiece even as he went over schedules and rosters in his head. That made absolutely no sense because, “I didn’t think any of our jumpers were out.”
“Well that’s because none of them are
,” McKay snapped back with what John was sure was a roll of the eyes. “This isn’t one of ours. Well, it is and it isn’t. It looks like one of our jumpers, but since they’re all accounted for… “ John focused on the pounding of his feet on the floor of the corridor as he waited for McKay to continue his explanation or sign off or whatever. “Are you almost here, Colonel? The way they were weaving around, if we’re going to be rescuing them we should, oh, I don’t know, hurry it up a bit
John turned the corner, sprinting into the jumper bay without even bothering to answer. McKay, running over to where some Marines were obviously waiting for him to get there. They wouldn’t be taking any chances with this. Maybe it would turn out to be nothing more than a simple rescue mission, maybe it wouldn’t. Never hurt to be prepared. That was one of the things the Pegasus galaxy taught them all on a regular basis – you didn’t go around assuming that anything
was going to be easy or go as planned.
When he slid into the pilot’s seat, the jumper came to life immediately, no conscious thought required, stealing his breath for just a second in wonder, like it always did.
Damn, he loved this place.
McKay was in the back of the jumper pulling out crystals and tugging at wires, but still John felt his glare when the takeoff came, quick even if not the smoothest he’d ever managed, jostling everyone in the back.
“Sorry,” he tossed over his shoulder as he called up the external sensors. There it was. A little blip on the radar that wasn’t supposed to be there, a few thousand yards out from Atlantis. Writing in Ancient followed the blip as it moved, and not for the first time John thought that maybe he should apply himself a little better to actually learning to read that language, even if just so he could understand the jumper better.
“Yes, yes, you’re sorry
,” McKay bitched. “I nearly drop two crystals which, I might add, we do not have time to replace
, and you’re sorry.”
“What are you doing anyway?”
“A little something Zelenka and I have been toying around with in our spare time,” he said the words in the tone of someone who was obviously mocking himself. Not surprising, since John knew for a fact – from McKay’s never-ending bitching – that he just didn’t have that much “spare time” to play around with. “It’s a variation on the shield technology. Basically we extend a sliver of our shield out and around something – like a crashed jumper – and then we can tow it back with us.”
Now that? That was cool
. “So – a tractor beam, then?” he asked, knowing the question would irritate his friend.
He wasn’t disappointed. Rodney huffed in irritation. “Trust you to simplify it down to something so juvenile.”
John smirked, then flicked his gaze from the HUD to the window in front it, then back again. In the distance he could see the rectangular shape of a jumper, weaving erratically in the air. McKay was right, it did sort of look like what he’d expect drunken jumper flying to look like. “Closing in, McKay.”
“I’m working as fast as I… got it,” the snappish quality of his tone faded to a satisfied grunt, and John heard the click of the jumper’s panel being shut. Settling into the seat next to him, McKay hooked a wire from the tablet in his hand to the console of the jumper, already typing out commands on the screen. He glanced up at the jumper they were rapidly nearing, mouth turning down at the sight. “Okay, Colonel. You need to get us within – and maintain – a distance of no more than five meters.”
John choked. He was good at flying. Hell, he was great
. But getting that close with the way the other jumper was veering around the sky like a fly with one wing pulled off? “Five meters? How the hell am I supposed to get that close without getting hit in the process?”
McKay snorted. “You’re the pilot. Figure it out.”
Right. Sure. Figure it out. Easier said than done if they wanted to all walk away from this. It would sort of suck for Weir to have to send out a rescue jumper to rescue them
And he fully planned on making McKay regret his little comment at a later date. Preferably by doing some over-the-top maneuvers the very next time they had a few minutes to kill in a jumper together. Things that would make McKay squeal in that almost girlish way that he sometimes had.
John slowed as he neared the area the other jumper was flailing in, his brain working furiously to try to figure out the safest way to get their jumper within range of the other jumper so that McKay could work his magic and they could pull their visitor back to Atlantis like some sort of intergalactic tow truck.
The runaway jumper swung upwards, at an angle that was damn near perpendicular to the ocean below. John backed his own jumper up a bit, following the other jumper with his eyes. Would it stay on that trajectory for much longer? If so, he could get up alongside it and let McKay do his thing. He was more curious than ever about whoever was inside of the jumper, if anyone. And where the hell they’d gotten a jumper from to begin with? Up this close he could see that it was exactly like Atlantis’ own jumpers. In fact, he’d thought for a second that he recognized a ding on the front of it as one that he’d put on his favorite jumper during a mission gone wrong, though the ship had been moving around too much for him to be sure.
Of course, it was right about that time that the unidentified jumper seemed to just hang in mid-air, before dropping from the sky. McKay swore under his breath, leaning forward in his seat, looking down into the water below them just in time to catch the massive spray from the impact. His eyes widened, then he snapped, “Before it sinks, Colonel, if you don’t mind. I know you have experience with deep sea rescues, however I’d prefer not to do this the hard way today, thank you.”
John was already angling the jumper down, though, and he barely spared McKay a second thought as he neared the slowly-sinking jumper. If anyone was in there, they’d need to get them back to Atlantis and to a medical team as soon as possible. The jumper had hit the water hard, going straight down, and it didn’t take a genius to know that the impact had been pretty damned hard on anyone that was inside of it. Even if the inertial dampeners were still up and functioning as they should – which he doubted – the crash would have been rough.
As he maneuvered up close to the downed jumper, John barely paid attention to McKay’s mutterings, trusting that his teammate was doing his best to get the jumper out of the water before it went any deeper. Then –
“Got it. You can take her up, Colonel. Slowly,” he warned, with a sharp glance up from the data in front of him, reviewing power levels and the like, John knew without having to even ask.
Still, he couldn’t resist a dig. “No, really? And here I thought it was a good time for some barrel rolls.”
One of the Marines in the back laughed, but was quickly subdued by an over-the-shoulder glare from Rodney. It sure was funny the way that some of those guys were more scared of McKay than they were of the Wraith, John thought as he slowly pulled the downed jumper out of the water. The controls were slightly sluggish, but he supposed that had a lot to do with the fact that they were towing an entire jumper behind them.
“I’m reading two life signs inside of the other jumper,” McKay muttered, already reaching for the com controls. “Elizabeth – we’ve got it in tow and are on our way back. Have a medical team meet us on the East Pier.”
That would be as good a place as any to try setting down the jumper he was towing, John supposed. A lot easier than trying to do it in the jumper bay, which was where he’d been headed on some kind of mental autopilot. The whole way back – all five minutes of it – he thought about how the jumper had been behaving, where it had come from in the first place, and – most of all – who was in it.
He was no closer to having a working theory when he touched both jumpers down on the East Pier than he had been when he started, though.
Grabbing a gun from one of the Marines, and aware of the medical team hovering nearby just waiting to be cleared to assist, John jogged around to the hatch of the other jumper, Marines at his back. Hopefully the damned thing wasn’t locked, because judging by the fact that the hatch had yet to open, John was going to assume that the jumper’s occupants were down for the count and unable to help them get in if needed.
He needn’t have worried. The hatch swung open as easy as any other in Atlantis, like a warm welcome to him and him alone. Gun at the ready, he waited for it to finish opening.
The gun wasn’t going to be needed. That much he could tell with only a glance. The interior of the jumper was wrecked, items from storage bins littering the floor, tossed about during the flight and subsequent impact. And then there were the passengers. Two girls – mid-to-late teens from what he could see – and they didn’t look so hot. The one that was lying on the floor had blood trickling from a head wound up near her strawberry-blonde hair that was almost a twin of the one that her friend – slumped over the arm of the pilot’s chair – had.
As much as he wanted to assess them further, try to figure out who they were and how they’d gotten there, the fact that they were injured took first priority. John scanned the rest of the jumper with a trained eye then relaxed as gestured for the medical team, Beckett at the fore.
“They’re just kids,” McKay muttered from beside him. “Who the hell let a kid drive a jumper?”
“They look old enough to me,” John argued, shrugging a little as he watched the medical team start to work on both the girls, stabilizing them for a move to the infirmary. Jumpers were safer than cars, after all, and these two looked old enough to have their licenses.
McKay snorted. “Of course you’d
think so. We all count our blessings each and every day that there aren’t mini-Sheppards out there flying the not-so-friendly skies.”
Mini-Sheppards. Now there was a scary thought. It wasn’t that he didn’t like kids, he was just damn sure he’d make an awful parent. Obviously that very point had been proven to Rodney when he commented on the girls’ age in relation to jumper flying. John scrubbed a hand down over his face, still watching the doctors work on the pair.
Where the hell had these two come from?