Now that I've reached the final chapter – I'd like to thank you all again for your support while I've been writing this. The Reviews have been very helpful, and fun to read. Well, I hope you enjoy this last instalment


The Lord Deviser just stood there in horror, looking at Rodney and Carson.

"Go and check his clothes, he might have been carrying medication," Carson said to the Lord Deviser. "Move, now!"

Carson's tone was very much that of the Chief Medical Officer, and the Lord Deviser reacted in the same way as his staff did in the Infirmary. He did just what he was told.

Carson was concerned, however, that it would be too late. Rodney was barely breathing. Carson went over the check the robes to see if Rodney had brought his meds with him. He knew how obsessive the scientist was about such things, and there was just the chance he might have put his epi-pen in his robe.

He checked the first robe, and found nothing. He thought he better check the other one. The two robes were identical, and he might have picked up the wrong one. But the other one was his own robe. In his pocket was the device he had picked up just before the Lord Deviser had called them through. He had just put it in his pocket because there hadn't really been time to put it back.

He went over to Rodney, kneeling beside his friend, looking at him in frustration. There was nothing worse for a doctor to know that he could cure someone, but for that cure to be out of reach.

As he knelt down, he felt the device he was still holding activate. He could feel a slight buzzing in his hand. He looked down at it, in curiosity. The panel had lit up again, and it seemed to be acting much like the Ancient scanners Carson used on Atlantis. He saw readout of Rodney's body, with the places affected by his allergic reaction highlighted in red.

As Carson watched, the device continued show Rodney's body, but the areas of inflammation which showed up red were being obscured by a mist. Carson looked down at Rodney's actual body, but there was no mist there. He glanced back at the device as the mist started to clear. As it cleared, it seemed to take the inflammation away with it. The scanner showed Rodney's body as being healed, being whole.

Carson glanced down at his friend, almost in disbelief. Rodney's eyes fluttered open.

"Carson?" he said, slightly croakily. "Am I dead?"

"I bloody well hope not," Carson replied, his voice rough with relief. "That would mean that I'm dead too."

Just at that moment the Lord Deviser came back. "I brought the healing device," he said, then stopped short when he realised that Rodney was awake and seemed to be recovered.

"I thought you said your friend was dying," he said turning to Carson. "You lied to me. Why did you want me out of this area? What are you plotting?" He turned to face the two men, and drew a gun from the folds of his cloak. "I do not countenance disobedience. I aided you because it suited my purposes to have you both alive. But your survival is of no significance if it threatens my own. Tell me what you have done."

"We're not plotting anything," Carson said, moving between Rodney and the Lord Deviser. "I used this device I found in the room we were in before. It seems to be some kind of Ancient healing device, much like the goa'uld one you use. Look, there's no need to kill us. We've gone alone with everything you've asked us to do so far."

The Lord Deviser still looked at him suspiciously. "Why should I trust you?" he responded. "All aliens are evil. They only use I have for them is to use their genes to feed the breeding pools. The breeding pools allow me to live. They feed me. If they don't get fresh genes, then they fade, and I fade too. But your genes have already mixed with the pool. They will sustain me for a while longer. Why should I keep you alive now? Your presence is now a threat to me?"

With that, he raised the gun, pointing it directly at Carson's chest.

"I don't think that's a very good idea," a voice said from over under the trees. Colonel John Sheppard stepped out, his P90 raised. Ronon, Teyla and Lorne were just behind him, their weapons at the ready too.

A wave of relief swept over both Carson and Rodney.

"About time too," Rodney said from behind Carson, his voice still sounding slightly throaty. "Here we are, having to save ourselves while you're gallivanting half way round the galaxy."

"You're welcome, Rodney," John said, with just a hint of irony.

"Now, Mr Lord Deviser, or what-ever-your-name-is, I suggest you put that gun down very slowly, and step away from it."

"How did you get here?" the Lord Deviser asked, ignoring John's order. "This place is hidden. Only those who know how to find it, can find it. Ah, the Observer. That snivelling little rat. He showed you how to get here. I'm going to kill him this time."

"That's what you think," Ronon muttered.

"Now, just do what I asked," John reiterated. "And no-one will get hurt."

The Lord Deviser, with great reluctance, throw the gun on the ground and took and step back. He glanced over at Carson and Rodney, a look of fear and hatred intermingled.

"And now what?" the Lord Deviser asked, his voice rising in fear. "Now you will take away everything I've ever owned. All my toys, my gadgets. You'll lock me up in some dark, dank prison. And you'll leave me to rot with the vermin."

"He's obviously been reading the wrong sort of novel, the bad ones," John said, under his breath.

"I'm sorry, My Lord," the Observer suddenly appeared from nowhere. He was snivelling. That was the only word for it. "They made me do it. They said they would kill me and cut me up into little pieces if I didn't help them."

"I must have missed the bit when we said that," John said in an aside to Teyla. She smiled her reply.

"Please, My Lord," the Observer continued, falling on his knees in front of the Lord Deviser, grabbing at his robes. "I beg your forgiveness. Please don't hurt me."

"He reminds me of Gollum, from Lord of the Rings," Rodney murmured to Carson.

"Aye," Carson replied. "And I suspect he is just as trustworthy."

"Please My Lord," the Observer carried on his rather pathetic display. "Please let me still serve you in any way I can." He reached up to the Lord Deviser, clutching at the other man's hands.

"You have served me well," the Lord Deviser said, turning towards Carson and Rodney, his gun suddenly back in his hands.

"Crap!" John said, succinctly. "Drop the gun, again, and we won't hurt you."

"Oh, I don't think so," the Lord Deviser answered. "I'm not designed to be a prisoner."

With those words, he looked down at the Observer, then looked up at Carson and Rodney. He raised the gun, and fired once. Carson fell backwards, blood gushing from his side. In the moment of chaos that followed, the Lord Deviser hit a switch and dived into the breeding pool.

Rodney and Teyla both raced to Carson's side, while John and Ronon went towards the breeding pool. Lorne grabbed the Observer and held him firmly in his grip.

As John and Ronon watched, horrified, the Lord Deviser seemed to disintegrate before their eyes. It was as if he was been worn away by the pool. John went to reach down to help him.

"Don't!" the Observer called out sharply. "The pool is absorbing his genes, all those genes he has gained from others. Soon he will be no more. If you put your hand in there, it will dissolve you too."

"But why didn't it do that to us?" Rodney asked from Carson's side.

"It was set to a low setting when you were there, but the Lord Deviser set it to the highest setting. He did not want to live the life of a prisoner."

"Carson," Teyla said gently, trying to roll the doctor over onto his back.

The doctor allowed himself to be moved, but groaned as his back hit the ground. He was clutching his side and the blood was seeping out between his fingers.

"Let me see, Carson," Teyla said, trying to ease his hand away from his side.

"It's no good, lass," Carson said sorrowfully. "It's too late."

"No!" Teyla said in alarm. "Don't say that Carson."

"We can use the healing device," Rodney said, his alarm equal to Teyla's. "Don't give up yet, Carson. We can save you."

"It's no' me, you daft bugger," Carson said, chuckling. "It's the device."

He held up the healing device which had still been in his hand when he was shot. It had taken the brunt of the impact and was now a mangled wreck.

Rodney laughed, almost hysterically, in relief. "I thought you were dying," he said, through his laugh. "Don't do that to me again."

"Are you really well?" Teyla asked him, a gentle hand on his arm offering comfort.

"Aye, lass," Carson replied. "Oh, the bullet nicked my side, all right. But it's just a flesh wound. Bleeds a lot and hurts like hell, but not serious. I was just annoyed that this bloody machine which heals people got broken."

"That 'bloody machine' saved your life, Doc," John pointed out.

"Aye," Carson replied. "I suppose it did. But I was thinking of all those other lives it might save," the doctor added, with a sigh.

"What do you want to do with this one?" Lorne asked, nodding towards the Observer.

"Take him back to Atlantis, I guess," John replied. "He doesn't seem entirely reliable, and this planet has way too many traps on it to risk leaving him here."

"There are hundreds, literally hundreds of devices here," Rodney said, enthusiastically. "It could take years to just examine them and catalogue them. Not just Ancient devices but Wraith too, and some others that we couldn't work out where there from. I think it would be worth having people check them out. We might even find another Ancient healing device like the one Carson used as a shield."

"I could help you with that, Sirs," the Observer said ingratiatingly. "I have served the Lord Deviser for years and I know many of the devices and their uses."

"I don't see the harm in letting him do that," John said, shrugging. "As long as he is under guard at all times. But first things first, I think we should get you two back to Atlantis."

"I expect the place is in chaos without me," Rodney said, smugly.

"Of course, Rodney," John replied. "The last I heard, the ZPM was threatening to go on strike unless you returned within the week. Elizabeth was in serious negotiations with it."

The others laughed as Rodney sniffed. "You may mock, Colonel," Rodney replied. "But just you wait until the next crisis. You won't be laughing then."

"That is true, Rodney," Teyla said, patting his shoulder. "You have saved us so often, we take your abilities for granted."

"See," Rodney said, pointing at Teyla. "At least someone appreciates my genius."

"Yes, Rodney," came the chorused reply, as they started back towards the 'Gate and then home, to Atlantis.