Chapter 1

"Uh oh…..I think we're stuck," said the short brunette. She was dressed casually in blue jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt, bearing the logo, "I love American Idiots." A bulky backpack was slung over one shoulder, an I-pod was attached to her hip and her feet were encased in bright yellow trainers.

Dr. Rodney McKay looked at the woman in disdain. "No, we're not," he snapped. Although they didn't seem to be moving very fast. Come to think of it, they didn't seem to be moving at all. "We can't be."

"Whatever you say, Doctor," she replied, her features calm. She reached around and activated her headset.

"Hello? Can anybody hear me?" she said, and Rodney frowned. Her voice rang loud and true in his ears; apparently his headset was working just fine.

"Is there anybody out there?" she said in a sing-song voice, speaking into the comm again. "I always wanted to say that," she admitted to Rodney. He just gave a non-committal grunt, glowering at the woman. He glanced around the transporter. Although the lights had flickered a bit a few seconds ago, they had popped right back on. Still, the transporter didn't appear to be transporting Rodney or the woman anywhere.

Rodney strode two steps over to the door, waving his hand impatiently at the controls. "Where's the damn call button?" he muttered impatiently. He banged on the doors, getting a "Oh, that's gonna help," comment from his companion. He refrained from snapping at her, taking a deep breath. For the first time, Rodney took in the size of the transporter. It was small. Really small. He felt the first tiny nibble of uneasiness take hold. Rodney McKay did not like small spaces.

"Why don't you try?" she said, removing her headset and peering at it. Rodney stared in dismay at the girl, resenting her calm. She had slid down to the floor, still examining her headset.

"It's working just fine," Rodney said. "I can hear you." Still, it was worth a try.

"Colonel Sheppard, this is Dr. McKay. Please respond." Silence. Rodney waited a few seconds. Then, "Dr. Weir, this is Dr. McKay. Can you hear me?"

Nothing. Not even static. Rodney frowned, tapping his headset with one impatient finger.

"Dr. Zelenka. Anyone. This is Rodney McKay. Can you hear me?" Nada. Zero. Zippo. Zilch. Rodney felt his uneasiness transform into anger. He had work to do, dammit! He didn't have time to wait for someone to realize he and this…this unbelievably calm woman were stuck in the transporter. Did he even tell anyone where he was going? Rodney traced his steps back, remembering he told Zelenka he was getting something to eat, and he'd be right back. Relief flooded through Rodney; soon, Radek would realize that McKay was missing, and a search would begin. He…they…would be found.

Still, until that time, he was trapped. The walls suddenly shrank around Rodney, and the temperature in the transporter increased twofold. Sweat beaded on Rodney's brow, and he impatiently wiped a hand across his face.

"We're stuck," he mumbled. The woman stopped playing with her headset, and smiled up at the scientist. "Probably between stations; that's why the doors won't open," he added.

"Yup," she agreed. She tossed the headset to the side and settled her gaze on Rodney. He didn't look so good. His face was flushed, shiny with a thin layer of sweat. He had started pacing the transporter, if you could call walking three steps, spinning around and walking three steps back, pacing.

"Doctor, why don't you sit a minute? I'm sure that we'll be out of this in no time," the woman offered, patting the floor next to her. "They're probably working on the problem right now," she added.

"Sit? I can't sit. I need to do something," he replied. "And you don't know that anybody's aware of our situation. Perhaps there's a bigger problem that we don't know about. Maybe it's up to us to get out of here," Rodney barked. He paced for a few more minutes, drawing a sigh from his companion.

Inspiration suddenly hit, and Rodney rushed over the main control panel. He pried it open, dropping the cover to the floor. The woman rose, standing on her tiptoes to peer over his shoulder.

Rodney shot her an irritated glance. "Do you mind?" He reached into the panel, moving cables and examining the circuits.

"Careful," she warned. Rodney huffed an impatient breath, then continued looking for the main power cable. He found the thick translucent cord, and peered at it, looking for flaws or breaks. Nothing.

"I need to test the circuit," he muttered absently, wishing he had taken his laptop with him. He could have just wired into the system, run a diagnostics, located the problem and voila! Problem solved.

"What do you need?" she asked, her hazel eyes curious. Rodney ran hand through his hair, ignoring the slight trembling of his fingers. He turned and looked at the woman.

"Well, for starters, I could use a pair of cutting pliers," he snapped. "Then I need a computer. And while you're at it, how about a turkey sandwich? With mayo?"

He watched as she frowned at him, then reached down and grabbed her backpack. She rummaged around for a moment, then withdrew a small Swiss army knife.

"Will this do?" she asked, a slight smile brightening her face. Rodney stared blankly at the tool for a long moment, then grabbed it out of her hand. "Your welcome," she sniffed, although she remained at his side.

"Thanks," he muttered. He pried open the small knife, noting the many other attachments. This might work.

Rodney returned his gaze to the woman, something nibbling at his mind. He spied her I-pod, attached to her blue jeans by a clip.

"Let me have your I-pod," he ordered. "Please," he added when he saw her eyes flicker with uncertainty. She unhooked it from her jeans, handing it over to Rodney. He turned it over in his hands, staring at the screen for a long moment. If he rewired the I-pod, routed the proper diagnostic line into it, he could (in theory) determine if there was a short in the transporter system. And if that was the case, there was a small chance he could rewire the system, bypass the short and get them moving again.

If..if..if..Rodney hated uncertainties. Still, fussing with this would keep him busy, and being busy would help keep his mind off the continually shrinking size of the transporter.

The woman watched as he sat on the floor, prying open her I-pod with the knife. He examined the interior for a few moments, then removed the circuit board. After a few more minutes spent detaching two of the tiny connections on the circuit board, he grunted in apparent satisfaction. Rodney stood, turning his attention to the control panel. He reached in, gently tugging the cord towards him.

"Are you sure about this?" she asked, concern on her face. "I mean, what if you break it even more?"

Rodney gave an impatient shake of his head. "I'm only testing the circuit," he explained, impatience sharpening his words. "If I don't find anything wrong, I'll rewire it. I know what I'm doing. Now, if you don't mind…?"

"No need to be snippy," she replied, taking a step back, and crossing her arms. Rodney returned his focus to the cable. He took a long, deep breath, closing his eyes momentarily. Please let this work, he thought.

He carefully slid the knife along the cable, opening it to reveal several smaller wires within the protective sheath. He peered at them, trying to determine the one he needed.

"Go with the blue one. They always go with the blue wire in the movies, you know," his companion advised. Rodney looked at her in disdain, shaking his head.

"First of all, this was created by Ancients, who, to my knowledge, never even saw a movie. Secondly, they don't go for the blue wire. They go for the red one."

The woman shook her head. "I don't know what movie you saw, but I'm telling you, cut the blue wire."

Rodney just gave her a dirty look, then leaned in with the small knife. He fingered the blue wire first, trying desperately to remember the schematics he had merely glanced at when they had first activated the transporters more than a year ago.

He released the blue wire, and, with a determined look on his face, grasped the red wire. He reached in, positioned the blade, and with a short tug, cut the red wire.

The lights went out. Rodney froze as complete darkness suddenly dropped around him. Then, from the pitch black came her voice.

"Told you it was the blue one."