A/N: Okay wow. So THIS is late as heck. I honestly thought I'd posted this... but I didn't. I am so sorry about that.
Little update: I started work, and it's crazy busy, but the good kind of busy I guess. I'm just happy to be working again. I've been poking at the next few chapters during my free time, so hopefully I'll have a couple chapters ready soon.
"Teyla, wait up!"
John jogged up to her as she turned around and smiled. "Good morning, John."
"Morning." He smiled but dropped it as he rubbed the back of his neck, "Listen, about last night, with the mirror…"
The Athosian woman shook her head softly, "Think nothing of it." John breathed a sigh of relief, "Thanks."
He peered at her as a thought crossed his mind, "You're… not gonna… tell Beckett on me… right?" She seemed to think for a moment, "Your appointment is soon, correct?"
John was thrown by the subject change, "Yes…" It took a moment for his brain to catch up and realize what Teyla was about to suggest. He open his mouth to protest but she interrupted him, smiling sweetly, "Then you may inform him yourself."
He swallowed his protest and cast his eyes downward. She was right. He still didn't understand why he'd reacted like he did, and he knew he'd hear from McKay sooner or later how hard those mirrors were to replace. That sort of behaviour was out of character for John. He knew it, Teyla knew it. The last time he'd broken something, he'd been turning into a big bug.
Not the best memories ever.
He looked up at her and she already knew his answer. Butterflies fluttered around in his belly and he swallowed again.
She offered him one last smile and then turned away, leaving John in the middle of the hall. "Hey!" He called out to her, "I thought we were friends!"
She didn't stop and he didn't see her smiling to herself. John turned around and headed toward the infirmary.
"Good morning, Colonel." Carson greeted John cheerfully, probably happy that he hadn't needed to hunt the pilot down himself.
Carson turned back to the tablet on his desk, "Go head and have a seat at the scanner. I'll be right with ya." John moved away and hopped up onto the bed near the scanner.
True to his word, the Scotsman appeared in front of him, instructing him to lay back. The scanner did quick work and John sat up again, one leg bent at the knee and the other hanging over the side of the bed.
A small close-mouthed smile appeared on the MD's face, but it seemed… tight. "Yer synaptic activity is elevated, but not near like it has been." He turned to John, "Any headaches?"
John shook his head, "No, just tired."
"How are ye sleeping?"
He shrugged, "Well enough, I guess."
Carson leveled him with a disapproving look, "If ye slept as well last night as ye've been doing here, I have my doubts."
John ducked his head and rubbed his face. He could envision the doctor's face softening at the sight of his patient. I gotta look as terrible as I feel. His hand fell into his lap. He slept okay at odd hours, but when he tried to sleep at night, even though he's perfectly tired, he just can't. He said as much to Carson, who nodded in understanding. "Do ye know why ye can't sleep?"
John's mind flashed back to the dreams he'd been having… or at least the ones he thought he'd been having. The tall brown haired man that seemed… familiar….
"Dreams," he said. "But I can't remember them." Usually. "Sometimes I'll just lie awake. Like I can't turn my brain off."
The doctor looked back at the scans for moment, "Aye. Yer not far off." John peeked a glance at the scans himself and frowned. Yep. Looks like a brain. He knew very well he didn't have the medical knowledge to understand what he was seeing, and come to think of it… he didn't really have a lot of information. He had some… and honestly he was still processing that he had not only telepathic ability, but genetic memory too. Knowing those two facts were all well and good, but he needed more.
"Doc, what exactly happened to me?"
Carson took a breath, "Honestly, John, I barely understand it myself. There's quite a bit I need to learn. Terrance is the best person to talk to." John felt annoyance rise in his chest, "How do we know that he can be trusted?"
The response he got in return made his ire evaporate. "He saved yer life."
John sighed deeply and looked away, thinking.
"He's on PM7-556 with Rodney and Ronon. He thinks something on the planet had a hand in the coma." He paused, fixing John with a questioning look. "Shall I let ye know when he gets back?"
He nodded, and moved to slide off the bed. "Ach." He froze with one foot on the floor and looked at Carson. "Not so fast." The doctor turned to the scan and zoomed in on his right hand, where John could clearly see a small fracture near the knuckle of his middle finger. John winced and moved back on the bed. Carson pointed out the fracture, "Care to explain why you've got a fracture in the proximal phalanges of yer middle finger?" John had the decency to look sheepish. "And why ye failed to mention it?"
He felt it the moment he stepped through the Stargate.
An odd buzzing that he couldn't pinpoint. It felt as if it was coming from within and out. It wasn't painful. It was simply… annoying. Terrance looked around the vicinity of the porta, examining the dense forest beyond the small clearing around him. He pushed the sound away, erecting his own mental shields to block it out. Mostly.
"I hate this place." Doctor McKay said morosely.
Both his escorts seemed unsettled by this place, Rodney more obviously than Ronon. Terrance's own instincts were nagging at him but he wasn't sure of the source of his misgivings. Perhaps it was the odd sound in his head… or whatever was producing that sound.
"Suck it up, McKay," Ronon said as he pushed on down the path. The scientist whined and grumbled a bit more, "We've already looked all over this forest. There's nothing here, we're wasting time."
The Satedan simply told McKay to walk faster.
Terrance was amused as well as confused by Doctor McKay. He could be one of the most arrogant humans he'd ever encountered in his 98 years. But during the last few days, while Sheppard was in the infirmary, he'd been… thoughtful, caring even.
The buzzing in his head was still present, and was becoming more insistent on being noticed. He looked forward at Ronon, and to his left at Rodney, "Do either of you hear that?"
"Hear what?" The scientist seemed exasperated, "There's nothing here, not even any animals." Terrance gave him a sidelong glance, "You don't find that odd?"
"They probably heard the Stargate and left, or there were never any animals here."
Ronon had stopped just ahead of them and seemed to be listening. Terrance wasn't a hunter or soldier himself, but his grandfather had been. He knew what a predator looked like, and it struck him that Ronon Dex was very much a predator.
"Every forest has animals of some type, Doctor McKay." Terrance said quietly, glancing at the treetops. "Not all creatures flee at the first sign of danger." Prey animals can often sense if another animal is hungry. If it's not hungry, they sense no danger, and do not flee.
"But," he said, "Animals can sense things far beyond our own perception." He paused, examining the forest. "This forest is too silent… aside from the buzzing in my head."
"Wait. What?" McKay asked. "I don't hear any buzzing." Rodney looked at Ronon who just shrugged. "He doesn't either."
Terrance started walking again, "I know. I already asked if you could hear anything." He paused in thought. "What drew you to this planet? Why did you come here?"
"Besides to trade for food, there was an energy signature. We were hoping for a ZedPM, but we never found anything."
He'd learned that was what they called the potentia. Terrans did have an odd way to name things. The Alteran put that information aside. "The source of the… buzzing isn't natural."
Ronon broke his silence, "How can you tell?"
Terrance took a breath and thought for a moment. "The buzzing isn't really buzzing, it's only how my mind is perceiving it. It's as if there is an unknown force pressing in on my mind, but it is not natural." He paused. "The only technology I can equate it to is a nulocus. The field creates an area of negative space. The person inside the field can't see, smell, feel, hear anything around them or sense anything outside the field telepathically."
Rodney looked thoughtful, "Sensory deprivation."
Dex looked uncomfortable with the idea, "Doesn't sound fun."
Terrance stepped over a large root, "It's not. Not for me personally. Some find it enlightening, others find it unsettling. We can modify the parameters to only block certain senses. It's used medically if one of us becomes a danger to others telepathically. While inside they can't affect anyone outside. Or we will use it in conjecture with a healing coma so the body quite literally has nothing to worry about but healing itself." He gestured vaguely to the area around them, "It's possible this is the same. It's only targeting certain telepathic beings."
"Humans and animals aren't telepathic," Rodney said skeptically.
Terrance smiled, "The Tanobi on my homeworld are telepathic, sentient predators. Several other creatures native to Arcadia have lower levels of telepathic ability. Even humans to a certain extent are telepathic. You have the ability to eventually develop extra-sensory abilities. And your unease about this forest is proof of that. You only know you don't like it here, that you want to leave, but you can't say why. You have only your instinct to flee an unknown danger."
"Huh…" McKay mulled this information over, "So what you're saying is that, in time, I could be telepathic?" He smiled, clearly excited about this information.
Terrance looked at his out of the corner of his eye, the ghost of a smile on his lips, "A lot more time than you have, my friend." His smile faded. The gift of telepathy wasn't always as wonderful as it sounded, but it was the oldest trait of his species. They lived with it, and truthfully, many would feel lost without it.
Looking ahead, he could see a break in the thick, oppressive forest. Vast fields of golden grass spread out like a blanket beyond the trees. It reminded him of home, of the endless plains of tall golden grass to the south and west of the Tower. The forests and mountains lay to the north, and the old abandoned naquadah mines to the east.
His heart ached for home, for his people, but he wasn't done here yet. He turned his mind back to the present and watched as Ronon came to stop before the edge of the treeline. McKay, with an Ancient scanner in hand, joined him.
The noise, the buzzing, was strongest here. Terrance walked toward the open field, the hair on the back of his neck standing on end. He could almost sense where the energy field was. He put a hand out carefully, testing. The noise peaked then dropped away, and Terrance pulled his hand back.
This was it.
"We searched everywhere we could think of." He turned around at Rodney's voice. "We even dug into a few trees, but we didn't find anything." Terrance walked up to McKay and the scientist handed him the small scanner. "Everything looks the same. There's nothing here."
"And yet, the evidence proves otherwise," Terrance stated. He adjusted the scanner's parameters, and moved closer to where he knew the field was. He made another adjustment to the scanner. McKay moved close to, as Terrance assumed, keep a curious eye on the scanner's screen.
"We were getting power spikes all over the place, but it was impossible to pinpoint."
"It's possible the power source is centrally located." The Alteran said as he studied the scan. "Possibly somewhere near… or under the Stargate."
A hopeful look crossed the scientist's face, "Any chance you could… point the way?" Terrance gave him a hard look, "And if the people of this world are being protected from the Wraith by this energy barrier?"
"Well, I guess… that's possible."
"It would not be here for no reason." He looked along the ground where he knew the field was, "Besides, that is not why we are here." Terrance looked at Ronon, "Do you have a knife?"
The big man took a step forward, drawing something from under his leather coat. He held out a slightly curved knife, handle first, and Terrance took it with a nod. He handed McKay the scanner and then knelt down and ran his fingers in the downtrodden, hard dirt. He plunged the blade into the soil and pushed dirt away with the flat part of the blade. He dug down several inches before the knife scraped on something solid. Rodney shifted his feet and leaned closer, "Rock?"
Terrance shook his head as he pushed dirt away with his hands, and ran his fingers on the solid surface. "No. It's too smooth." He rose to his feet, and handed Ronon back his knife. Terrance gave McKay a wry grin, "You looked everywhere but down."
McKay must have chose to ignore the jibe, "It's all well and good we found a structure of some type. But how does this help Sheppard?"
"A good question," Terrance said, and then he stepped through the barrier toward the open field and clear sky.