Category: Drama, Action/Adventure
Spoilers: 'Underground', 'The Storm', and 'The Eye'
Summary: The Genii are back, and there's going to be trouble. It's payback time and Major Sheppard is at the top of their hit list.
Author Notes: Thanks to all you reviewers for your positive feedback. It is much appreciated and makes my day.
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis and its wonderfully complex characters unfortunately still don't belong to me. But nobody said I couldn't borrow them. Only the planet Logara and its inhabitants are figments of my own imagination.
Chapter 1: The Die is Cast
The sun had just risen into what promised to be a clear, bright, and seasonally temperate day on Logara. The warm rays filtered down through the trees at the edge of a forest and radiated across a grassy field, strewn with a colorful array of wildflowers just beginning to bloom. The quiet of the morning was disrupted momentarily as the stargate situated at far side of the field activated and discharged the four members of Major John Sheppard's team into the warm spring day.
They were here on a routine scouting expedition, looking to form trading alliances with the inhabitants of the planet. They still needed additional sources of fresh food, and possible allies in their fight against the Wraith. Since the Athosians had past dealings with this planet, it seemed a good idea to see if the Logarans would also welcome the current occupants of Atlantis as friends.
The team members dispersed out of the gate, each taking a visual inventory of their immediate surroundings. After coming through the wormhole, it always took a second to acclimate to the new environment. Coming through the event horizon felt similar to the jetlag frequent fliers faced after crossing several time zones. Only in this case, they weren't crossing degrees of longitude within hours, but entering new planetary systems within minutes. It was a thrilling trip, but stargate travel still took some getting used to.
Sheppard put on a pair of dark eyeshades to block the sun's glare as he surveyed the terrain before him. Lieutenant Ford did a quick perimeter check while McKay busied himself with obtaining various readings from his handheld scanner. Teyla Emmagan looked around and then pointed in a westerly direction from the field past a grove of small trees.
"The Logaran township lies a short walk in that direction if my memory serves me well."
Sheppard looked at the other members of his team. "Okay people, let's hit the road."
Teyla gave him a slightly confused look. "There is no road in this field, Major. Indeed, we have a bit of a walk before we even reach the proper pathway leading to the township. And when we get there, why would we want to strike it?"
"It's an Earth expression. I meant let's get moving." Sheppard replied, hiding his slight grin. Behind him, Ford stifled a chuckle as he shouldered his P-90 in preparation for the hike.
Teyla shook her head and muttered. "I will never understand all your earth language's idioms." She started off in she had indicated with the other three falling in step alongside her.
"Teyla, you said the Athosians have dealt with Logara in the past. How receptive do you think they will be to us showing up on their doorstep uninvited?" Sheppard had learned from past experience most species, human or alien, were often leery of strangers.
"They have always welcomed my people and traded fairly. Though it was with my father, Tughan, that they usually conducted their business. I have not visited their world since my father was taken by the Wraith."
"Well, hopefully they'll remember you as a friend." Ford pipped in.
McKay, who had been continuing to take readings of the area as they walked, interrupted their conversation. "Ah Major, I've been getting some very interesting energy spikes, and they appear to get stronger as we head in the direction of the town."
"What type of energy readings? Can you tell what they're coming from?" Sheppard asked as he looked over at the physicist who periodically glanced up from his scanner to survey the field and nearby woods.
"Unfortunately, Major, this scanner only indicates the presence of energy fields and the general heading of the source. It does not have a magic button I can push that differentiates energy output signatures from an advanced source like an ion propulsion engine from something more basic like..oh say...a toaster."
"So you're saying you can only say that there is SOME kind of energy?"
"I'm so sorry. Let me rephrase it for you. Yes, scanner light up, energy there. Scanner no light up, energy not there." The scientist retorted, eliciting an eye roll from the Major.
Sheppard ignored McKay for a moment and turned to the Athosian woman at his side. "Teyla, how advanced is this civilization?"
"From what I have seen, the Logarans are simple merchants, craftsmen, and farmers. They have some basic machinery to help them manufacture trade goods, but nothing nearly as advanced as on Atlantis."
"What about areas outside the town? Are there any abandoned cities that might have been left there by the Ancients?" The major asked Teyla as they continued walking.
The Athosian woman shrugged. "I never ventured beyond the township during our visits. I was younger then and stayed among the other children while my father negotiated trading agreements with their magistrate. My father never mentioned anything hearing about ruins outside the town, but I was told there were smaller villages and farms outside the town's limits."
"Are you thinking sir that the Ancients might have been here in the past?" Lieutenant Ford asked.
"Maybe. There has to be some reason for the energy readings."
"Do you think we might find a ZPM here, Major?" Teyla inquired.
"Hope so." Sheppard turned to the scientist. "McKay, keep an eye on those readings. I'd like to investigate them further once we get closer to the source."