Title: SURVIVING THE SIEGE (AU Ending to Siege II)
Disclaimer: I admit it--I couldn't wait until July. I tried; I really, really, tried, but I just couldn't do it. So, to begin with, the real ending will probably be much better, more logical and ten times more exciting. But I couldn't get this out of my head, so I had to write it down. To that end, please note that I own nothing, know nothing, am not making any profit from this and never intend to, and hope that it doesn't bother anyone. Stargate Atlantis is the property and creative child of all the hard working people who bring it to us--the amazing writers, actors, producers, CGI folks and directors among others--plus their corporate giant, MGM (Sony).
Spoilers: All episodes through Siege II
Acknowledgement: NT, of course. She blames me for everything. I'm proud of that.
Description: An alternate ending to Siege II
…In search of some rest,
In search of a break
From a life of tests where something's always at stake.
Where something's always so far,
What about my broken car?
What about my life so far?
What about my dream?
What about everything?
What about aeroplanes and
What about ships that drank the sea?
What about the moon and stars?
What about soldier battle scars,
And all the anger that they eat…?
What about aliens? What about you and me and
What about gold beneath the sea?
What about when buildings fall? What about that midnight phone call,
The one that wakes you from your peace?
I am not in need.
Carbon Leaf – verses from What About Everything?
"The weapon is armed and ready," John informed Atlantis quietly, "I'm going in."
"Thank you, John," Elizabeth answered with a forced coolness, looking over Rodney's hunched shoulder back towards the sensor display. "How long until impact?" Her eyes tracked the white light with "PJ-03X" on it, headed on a collision course with the two Wraith hive ships, pretending it was only that. A white dot. Not Sheppard. Not her friend.
"Three minutes," John answered.
He spoke in the same monotone as Elizabeth, emotionless and cool.
It was a tone which spoke more for the severity of the situation than any amount of screaming or yelling could have done.
Rodney was tired. Very, very tired. Sleep had been non-existent over the last week, and the tension in the room, underscored by the morbid tones of Elizabeth and John, only seemed to make it worse. He could feel Carson's stimulants coursing through his veins like battery acid, keeping him moving but only barely.
If he'd been allowed to sleep, maybe he'd have another idea. Maybe his brain wouldn't feel like it was wrapped in fog thick enough to cut with a knife. Maybe he'd see another way. But he just couldn't. Carter…she'd probably have an idea, know how to save the day. She'd be whipping around the room, her brilliance shining through. It should be her here. Not him. He wasn't good enough. He knew that now.
He wasn't even sure what time it was anymore, though it might be evening.
And all around the constant barrage of weapons fire. It had almost become like white noise.
He closed his eyes.
"Two minutes," John noted. "I am targeting the main power generators visible on the base of the ships."
Elizabeth didn't answer, not taking her eyes from the screen. Everyone else in the control room watched it as well, morbidly fascinated as the white dot moved closer and closer to its destruction.
All except Rodney, his eyes still closed, the words "power generators" bubbling inside his head.
"Plan Z," he said softly, so softly no one else heard it, and his eyes opened, finally sparking again. Even Elizabeth, only a foot away, didn't react to his words. It wasn't until Rodney suddenly snapped his fingers and popped his fist that she even remembered his presence by her side. But Rodney was already moving away from her, the bounce back in his step.
He had moved around the console and onto the balcony, looking down to the Gateroom floor, where people were still moving quickly in from the side corridors towards the open wormhole, dragging the last of the equipment for the evacuation. Soldiers carried in weapons and supplies from side rooms, where the new arrivals from earth had stowed the items brought with them three days ago. Rodney focused on two new boxes in particular, at the sequence of the USMC numbers on the side of two of them, guessing instantly at what they contained.
"Are those generators?" he asked suddenly, pointing down to the floor below, looking at the closest soldier to him up in the control room. It was a younger man wearing lieutenant stripes, wearing the black and white camouflage of the new arrivals. The soldier looked over the edge, then back at Rodney.
"We brought several with us sir. What you see there are the last two that are transporting through to the Alpha—"
"Stop your men!" Rodney stared back down at the Gateroom floor, "You!" he yelled to the soldiers preparing the generators for transport, "Stop!"
"Sir?" one of them asked. They both looked past Rodney to the lieutenant.
The young man nodded. "Stop," he affirmed, though he was looking questionably at McKay.
Rodney reached up, touching his radio, "Major, can you hear me?"
"Yeah," John replied quietly. "T minus one minute, ten seconds out," he added.
"Stop what you're doing; stop right where you are."
Sheppard audibly sighed, "McKay, no, it's too la—"
"I have an idea. All I need is five minutes."
"Rodney?" Elizabeth was watching Rodney carefully, "What are you doing?"
"I have an idea," Rodney emphasized. "I can the get the chair to work, I just need to get those generators down to the chair room." He glanced at the display as he spoke, and gripped his hands into fists when he saw that "PJ-03X" was still moving. "Major! I said to stop, damn it!"
"I can't, Rodney," John replied. "I'm sorry."
"He's right, Rodney," Elizabeth echoed, still using that frighteningly calm voice of hers, "we don't have five minutes."
"The hell we don't," McKay shouted. "Major, stop that jumper now!"
Beckett and Weir followed his gaze to the display screen, at the white dot.
"Less than one minute to impact," John informed them tonelessly.
"You damn well give me five minutes!" Rodney shouted at the screen. "Do you hear me!"
John didn't answer.
Still no answer.
"Five minutes, Major," Rodney implored the white dot. "Five minutes and I can save you and Atlantis!"
"Are you sure, Rodney?" Elizabeth asked, her eyes on the agitated scientist.
"MAJOR!" McKay looked like he was going to rip the screen off the wall.
"McKay," John's voice was very quiet, "A lot of people can die in five minutes."
"And a hell of a lot more than that can be saved! Please, Major, don't start doubting me now."
A small, wry laugh came over the comm. link at the statement, followed by another sigh.
"Do it, Major," Elizabeth said suddenly, her eyes on McKay. "Stand down. Give him his five minutes."
"And distance yourself from the hive ship," McKay added forcefully.
All eyes were on the display again…watching as the white dot slowed…and stopped. It almost seemed to hesitate on the screen, blinking in and out like a heart monitor, until it started to move away from the Wraith ship.
"You've got five minutes, McKay," Sheppard said darkly. "No more."
McKay was already moving, running down the stairs to the floor below.
"Sergeant!" he yelled, pointing at Stackhouse, who was standing just to the side of the gate, taking inventory, "Grab that generator and follow me." He pointed to one of the two boxes being watched over by the two USMC that Rodney didn't know. Stackhouse didn't question, handing a clipboard to the man next to him, and jogging to the box. Rodney had already grabbed the other, hefting it by its handle and running towards the door. With a quick salute up to the balcony, Stackhouse grabbed the second generator and took off right behind him.
Elizabeth watched them leave, then looked at the young lieutenant. He hadn't said a word, though he had technically been in charge of the assignments of the men below. Clearly, he didn't feel quite comfortable ordering Stackhouse to either agree or disagree with McKay's order. And, for his part, Stackhouse had obviously learned to respond to McKay almost as he would Sheppard or Weir.
And McKay obviously wanted someone he knew at his back.
Elizabeth sighed, hugging her arms to her chest and looked back at the screen.
And at the white dot, hovering still frighteningly close to the Wraith hive ships.
"No, no, Rodney," Zelenka's voice was shaking with worry over the radio, the Czech still up in the jumper bay, "It is craziness! You can not do it. There is no buffer. The moment you try to combine their power, it will set of a chain reaction! Two atomic bombs! You know that!"
"Yes, theoretically," McKay shot back over the radio, chugging down the corridor from the transporter at a brisk clip with his crate, Stackhouse at his back. The chair was practically on top of a transport station, probably so it could be easily accessed by the people in the control room, and he was already in sight of the entrance. "But there is also a chance that it will work! We know that the Mark Two was enough to power the chair. Two generators powers combined will—"
"Blow up in your face! You can not combine them!"
"Theoretically, I can!" As he said those words, he rounded the doors into the chair room, placing his box next to the dead Mark Two. "You know we worked on the simulations, and there was a chance—"
"A twenty percent chance that it would work, yes! But also an eighty percent chance that you would set off a nuclear explosion…two of them! Eighty percent, Rodney! Especially if you try to double each of their outputs, as I know you will try to do!"
"Aren't we blowing up the City anyway?" McKay snarled back, hands quickly disconnecting the Mark Two. "Besides, if it doesn't work, I should have enough of warning to disconnect them before—"
"Should doesn't mean you will!" Zelenka shot back. "You could destroy us all the moment you connect the wires."
"I'm doing it, Radek." McKay pulled out the wires to the dead generator and pushed it to the side. Turning, he cracked his box and reached in for the pristine new generator.
"Rodney! Please! Don't do this!"
"Get out of the jumper bay, then. Go through the gate, now." Rodney stated coldly, pulling out bits and pieces of equipment. Stackhouse hovered nearby, still holding his box. He was watching McKay nervously, his eyes wide as he listened to the disagreement among the scientists. McKay met the young man's eyes, then bobbed his head to a space next to him. "Put that down there, and get out of here. Back to the Gateroom."
Stackhouse opened his mouth to answer, but Zelenka spoke first over the comm. link.
"You need someone in the jumper bay, to tell you that it's working. No. I stay here."
"I'll know if it's working, Radek," McKay sighed, "from the people in the control room. Now, get out of there."
"You stay. I stay." The Czech's tone was steel. "You crazy. Then I crazy too. That way, you don't get all the praise when it works, right? You share with me."
McKay snorted, the tiniest smile on his lips as he finished preparing the first generator. "Sure, Radek. Whatever you say." He looked up at Stackhouse again then. The sergeant was still watching him with questioning eyes, fingers still gripping the crate's handles in his hands.
"Stackhouse?" he called softly. "Put it down."
The sergeant came alive then, moving forward and putting the crate on the ground next to McKay. The scientist was already opening it before the sergeant had even let go.
"Now get out of here," McKay added, not looking up as he pulled the second generator from its box.
"No sir," Stackhouse stated.
McKay's hands stilled for a second, before moving rapidly again. He started unlooping wire from inside the box, using it to connect the two generators together.
"Sergeant, I don't have time for this. Zelenka's right. There's a very high possibility—or probability—that I will trigger two simultaneous nuclear explosions doing this. You don't need to be here. I can handle this on my own. You should go with the others through the Gate to the Alpha Site." Still crouched down, McKay bounced over to the laptop near the back of the chair, connecting another wire from the generators to the laptop.
"No offense, sir," Stackhouse replied, watching McKay work, "But there are Wraith in the city. If they come here, and you are not protected…."
"The doors can be sealed," McKay replied, typing rapidly onto the computer, calling up the code from their simulations when they first thought up this idea two weeks ago—and then quickly dismissed as too dangerous.
"It hasn't stopped them elsewhere, sir."
Rodney found the correct program, in a file marked, "Plan Z – DON'T PANIC," smiling a little at Zelenka's homage to the great Douglas Adams, and initialized it. The name had been a joke—a program never meant to be used. He sighed.
"I'll be fine," he said, watching as the code appeared on the screen. A few keystrokes, and it was running itself.
"Humor me, sir."
McKay's jaw tensed, then released, his eyes still not lifting from the work at hand. He bounced back to the two generators, their key units still lying next to them, stopping them from powering up. He looked at them for a moment, then started quickly building the connections between them, the laptop and the control chair. Part of him was ticking down the clock in his head, recognizing that he didn't have much time left.
"Fine," he snapped. "Do want you want, sergeant. Guard one of the doors. I don't care which one."
Stackhouse nodded, lifting his hand to his comm. to inform the lieutenant upstairs that he was staying with McKay down here.
"Sergeant," the lieutenant replied, "Are you certain? There is still a lot of work needed to make sure everyone still here is evacuated."
"Yes sir, I'm certain." Stackhouse had not lifted his eyes from McKay's rapid movements. Rodney looked like he was on speed, his hands moving so quickly and deftly, they almost looked unreal. "Doctor McKay needs me."
"I see," the lieutenant replied. "And…his plan…it will work?"
Stackhouse lifted his P90 to his chest, as McKay leaned down beneath the control chair to connect the wires into some mechanism in the chair's base.
"Yes sir," the sergeant replied. "Doctor McKay's plans always work."
McKay paused, just briefly, but enough that Stackhouse knew that he'd been listening. Without waiting for a response, Stackhouse looked at the door leading back to the transport alcove, then across the room to the other doorway, leading towards the west pier. Gritting his teeth, he stepped off the chair's dais and headed towards it.
McKay finished connecting the wires as the doors whooshed open, and Stackhouse stepped through, checking the outer hall in both directions, relying purely on his own senses to determine danger. Rodney stared at Stackhouse's back, his lips parted slightly. A moment passed, and Stackhouse turned to meet the scientist's gaze. He nodded back at McKay…and then the door shut, sealing Rodney in and Stackhouse out. And Rodney knew that Stackhouse would not move from his position, guarding that door, until this was all over…or he was dead.
"Two minutes, Rodney," Elizabeth broke in, breaking McKay's reverie.
"Yes, yes," he replied, returning to his work.
Deep in the heart of the City, she hunted.
The Wraith she tracked was not far ahead, moving with an arrogance that only made her fury grow. The creature was on its own now, the drones with it sent to attack the last lines of resistance in the City. But this Wraith was heading somewhere, towards something. She wasn't sure what…but she had an idea.
She hefted the borrowed P90 up closer to her chest, feeling comfort in the weapon despite the fact that her last one had jammed on her. Helpless, she'd watched as her people had fallen, overcome, her weapon failing her at the last moment. In the end, the flaw had saved her. She'd been forced to dodge outside of the line of fire, to seek safety in a small alcove so that she could pull out the berretta strapped to her thigh, but in that same moment…the Wraith stunners had taken down the last of her men.
So she'd stayed hidden inside her alcove, watching as the Wraith drones walked over her people as if they were ants. To be collected later. Prizes for the victors. Her fear was overwhelming, drowning her as she tried to make herself smaller. Helpless, she was completely helpless.
And then one had turned…and looked right at her.
She still didn't know why she had done it, why it had even occurred to her to think it, but she did.
She had looked directly back at the drone, and told it to leave her alone. I'm not here, she told it, you do not see me.
Except she hadn't used words.
The drone had turned away. Left her alone, as if blind to her existence. She didn't understand, but she also didn't question. One by one, they all left, except for the one Wraith leader. It walked amongst the bodies like the God of War across a battlefield, tallying his successes. It swooped down, a poisonous finger swiping at one of the fallen, leaving a line of blood across the man's face, along his jaw-line. Teyla closed her eyes, shuddering in revulsion.
When she opened them again, the Wraith leader was gone as well. Leaving nothing but the bodies, the empty bullet shells, and her failure.
Her fear and her revulsion changed then, turning inwards to become something much uglier. Standing, she emerged from her little alcove and walked over to the man the Wraith had marked. Kneeling, she stared at his motionless face for a moment, and the stripe on his jaw, then down his body to the still working P90 in his grip.
An icy resolve stole her then, her entire body shifting to reflect the new confidence she felt. With a terrible calm, underscored by a ferocious anger, she took the weapon from his hands and a spare magazine.
Standing again, she hefted the P90 in her arms and looked in the direction that she knew…knew…the Wraith leader had gone. Headed down into the City depths.
Whatever the Wraith planned, she told herself, moving to follow the creature, he would not succeed.
He would not succeed.