Disclaimer: Owned by wealthier people than me. Borrowing. No profit made, no infringement intended.
Parts: Unknown but cross my heart, not as long as the last one!
Characters: Sheppard and McKay...it's really just too easy....
A/N – Totally unrelated, but HOORAY RED SOX! They're my boys and I'm so proud of them! Long time coming! Imagine if Atlantis finally contacts Earth, and, as an aside, O'Neil tells them that the Sox won the Series. Somehow I see Sheppard hanging up the connection. "Playing with our minds again--how gullible do they think we are?"
A/N 2—This is a Halloween story, of sorts.
A/N 3—Bioluminescence is light given off by a chemical reaction in a living organism, like those glow in the dark fishies deep in the ocean, or those sparks you see in the waves on a hot summer night, or a firefly showing off its colors, or the gold foxfire on that tree stump in the garden, glowing like candles in the yard. Once people thought they were fairies, others thought them to be ghosts, but, as Rodney knows, there is always a logical explanation....
CHAPTER ONE: THE TEMPLE
A small, innocuous looking temple on the top of a tree-covered hill held secrets none of them could have imagined.
They were on a routine exploratory trip—looking for trading partners again. The MALP had shown nothing but a peaceful planet, and the signs around the gate suggested visitors were welcome. When they got there, McKay encouraged them to check out the temple based on some strange energy readings showing up on his scanner, and as they had some time to kill....
It was made of a light colored stone, like the ancient Greek temples, and might even have been white once. It sat atop the large hill about a mile from the gate, easily visible to anyone below, and appeared to be about the same size as a small town's bandstand. It almost looked like a folly built by some Manor-born aristocrat, because it was so little and seemed to have no purpose other than being aesthetically pleasing.
The temple's first secret was revealed when the four members of Team One walked inside to find carved stone steps leading down into the darkness...to a room almost as big as the Gate Room back on Atlantis. And more corridors and stairways led off this room to smaller and largers rooms below, and each one of those had even more doorways, more stairs and led to even more rooms. In other words, the entire hill was the temple...and it was huge.
The second secret was revealed by shining their flashlights on the walls, to find images carved in bas relief, like the Elgin Marbles so proudly on display in the British Museum. They showed celebrations and ceremonies, classrooms and lectures, games and sport, all of which this temple had once obviously been a focal point for.
But something else was obvious as well—no one had been in here in a very long time. Green moss, lichen and other plant life needing little or no light covered almost everything, so that they had to rip much of it away to see the marble carvings. Tree and plant roots had burst through the rock to climbed down and around the rooms, blocking holes that had once let in air and light. And over it all was the steady drip of water and the heavy smell of decay.
In other words, not the nicest place to spend the day.
The third secret was revealed when Ford nearly fainted getting to close to a sconce on one wall. He stumbled back, complaining of light-headedness. McKay inspected it more closely, guessed at the source of Ford's condition, and took a chance before Sheppard could stop him. Pulling the matches out of his pocket while Teyla and the major were checking on Ford, he tossed a lit one into the sconce....
The room burst into light with flames erupting from all the sconces. Seconds later, with some sputtering and a stronger smell of burning gas, the formally dark hallways leading away from this room were lit up as well. But it was a bit like Christmas lights. Every so often, the natural growths that had taken over the many chambers of the temple blocked the carefully designed lighting system, and they went through a number of matches restarting the thread of sconces. Still, it made getting around much easier.
Not that this stopped Sheppard giving McKay an earful, which the scientist did not quite understand. He did not almost blow them up! He had known what he was doing!
Luckily for McKay, it was a moot point. And they did get around...and around...and around.
They checked room after room, and found nothing.
After a while, Sheppard was convinced McKay was getting nowhere, and sent Teyla and Ford to make contact with the indigenous population before it got too late in the day. He argued with McKay after they had gone, until he finally got the scientist to promise they would only explore one more room. McKay chose a rectangular room deep down inside the bowels of the temple, many levels below the entrance, where he insisted the strange readings were the strongest. It turned out to be about eighteen feet long and fifteen feet wide, and had two entrances, one on each side of the lengthwise walls of the room. The floor was slimy and wet, and, to Sheppard's nose, it smelled more like death than any other place he had ever been.
And if Sheppard had listened to his instincts and gotten him and McKay out sooner, none of this would have happened....