More than you think you are!

Doctor Carson Beckett stared exasperatedly at his friend at the other end of the Infirmary. The man was like a child sometimes. Carson watched as Major John Sheppard continued to annoy and harass his staff, most of which were doing an extremely good job of ignoring him. Eventually Carson couldn't take it anymore and stood up, leaving his office and walked over to John's bed.

"Major, please are ya trying to send me and my nurses insane?"

"If it'll get me out of here, then yeah," John answered after a moments thought.

"It's only been a little over a week since we almost lost ya son this is just for precautions." Carson told him sincerely.

John sighed. He was tired of lying around the infirmary doing nothing and he was also sick and tired of Carson's tests. Seriously if he was gonna kick the bucket; it would have happened by now, he thought to himself.

"Honestly Doc, I feel fine."

This time it was Carson's turn to sigh. They had gone through this a dozen times. Looking at John now he did seem like he was telling the truth and his tests had come back normal the last few times. Carson could feel himself breaking. Especially now that John had donned a very hopefully look on his face.

"Okay," Carson relented but quickly continued as John was already pushing the covers back with a huge smile on his face.

"Hold it right there Lad, there are a few conditions. For one, no off world travel until I say and you ARE to take it easy."

"No gate travel huh?" John thought a minute. "I think I can do that." He said with a smile and jumped off the bed and nearly fell flat on his face.

"Major are you alright?" Carson asked as he grabbed him before he hit the ground.

"Yeah I'm fine Doc, just haven't used my legs in a few days for anything longer than a few minutes, they were a bit numb, BUT," he added quickly "they're good to go now."

John walked around the bed and back as if to prove to Carson that he was indeed better and he better not go back on his word of letting him out.

"Okay Major but remember take it easy and call me if feel anything out of the ordinary," Carson lectured him "I'll have a nurse get you some clothes and I'll see you later."

"Thanks Doc." John called after him. He was extremely happy to be leaving the infirmary. He spent enough time there so he didn't want to have to be there if he didn't need to.

A nurse came by a few minutes later and handed him his clothes and John thought she looked quite glad to be rid of him. well I guess I was being kinda annoying he thought to himself. Once he was fully dressed he made a hasty retreat before Carson came back with an excuse to keep him longer. Walking through the corridors on Atlantis felt great. Where to go? Where to go? he thought to himself. Finally making a decision he headed for Rodney's lab. Upon approaching Rodney's lab John started hearing what sounded like snoring. When he finally got there he opened the door and walked in to see Rodney asleep with his head on his desk, a coffee in one hand, resting on the desk and his mouth wide open. John chuckled to himself. Does this man ever sleep in a bed? John asked himself. Suddenly a thought occurred and John realized that this was too good an opportunity to miss out on. Slowly creeping up on the sleeping scientist, he was sure not to make any sound. John looked around the lab and noticed an empty metal container sitting on Rodney's workbench. He picked it up and made his way over to where Rodney was sleeping. John couldn't contain the grin on his face as he lifted the container and then brought it down as hard as he could right next to Rodney's head. Rodney jumped out of his seat, squealing and sending cold coffee flying everywhere making John have to jump out of the way while he was laughing.

Rodney's breathing became more regular and once he got over the fright and gave John a very big glare.

"Major, what the hell are you doing? You scared me half to death!" Rodney yelled.

"I noticed especially with that girly squeal." John laughed.

"I don't squeal major and sometimes I seriously wonder whether you ever truly grew up."

"Well McKay if you went to sleep at normal hours in normal places it wouldn't give people the chance to make you squeal."

"I'm extremely sorry if I happen to be one of the most important person on this base and that everything requires my attention." Rodney answered him, like always throwing in how smart he happened to be.

John just rolled his eyes and smirked.

"What are you doing here anyway; I thought Carson was keeping you in the infirmary?"

"He let me go. No off world travel and I'm supposed to take it easy but at least I'm out of the infirmary."

"Well I'm glad to see you up and about Major," Rodney told him showing a rare sign that he had feelings. "What are you going to do now?"

"Well I guess I should go report to Doctor Weir." John answered as he walked around the room fiddling with things. He continued "Then I might go get some lunch. Want to join me?"

"I have to see Elizabeth anyway and I am kind of hungry." Rodney said as he walked over and snatched the small object John was playing with out of his hands.

"Rodney McKay, Hungry, what a shock." John said in mock surprise as he headed for the door.

"Funny Major," Rodney said grabbing his computer disk and following John out the door.


Doctor Elizabeth Weir stood looking out her office window down at the Stargate. She had just finished talking to Carson over the radio and he had told her that he had released Major Sheppard on certain conditions. She couldn't put into words how happy she was that the Major was going to be fine. She had been extremely worried and it had been a close call. Considering most of the disasters here on Atlantis were mostly close calls she didn't know why it should surprise her. In the eight months since she had stepped through the Stargate she had experienced a lot of different things and she had come close to her expedition team especially Major Sheppard and his team, and of course Doctor Beckett. In fact she didn't know what Atlantis would do without Major Sheppard or McKay. Both had saved the city more times than she could count, as Rodney liked to remind everyone. Thinking back, it wasn't all that long ago when the Genii had taken hold of the city during that storm. Rodney had even stood in front of Kolya's gun for her. That had surprised her. Both Sheppard and Rodney had done their best to keep her alive and she would be forever grateful for that and many other things like that.

"Penny for your thoughts." a familiar voice, non other than John Sheppard, interrupted her thoughts.

Turning around she saw Major Sheppard and Doctor McKay standing in her doorway. Sheppard was leaning against the door with a smile on his face.

"Major, Rodney." she nodded to both of them.

"Elizabeth." Rodney said handing her the disk he had brought with him. "I thought you might like to see my report on that Ancient device we had to use on Major Sheppard."

"Thank you Rodney." she replied and looked at Sheppard again and noticed he still had that smile on his face. "You're rather happy today."

"Just glad to be out of the infirmary and getting things back to normal,"

"Well I contacted Lieutenant Ford and Teyla and asked them to join us in the briefing room, I was just about to contact you when you walked in." she said walking past them.

Both men followed her to the briefing room where Ford and Teyla were already seated, having a quiet conversation.

"Hey guys." John greeted as he sat down next to Teyla.

"Sir, it's good to see you up and around again." Ford told him as McKay took a seat beside him.

"Yes Major, welcome back." Teyla added.

John just smiled as looked around the room and his team, just happy to be back in the swing of things even if it was restricted.

"So people," Elizabeth began. "I've received everybody's reports on your last mission; there are just a few questions I'd like to ask before we move past this."

Looking at the files in front of her, Elizabeth looked up again and then continued.

"Rodney you mentioned a few times about seeing similar weapons to what the Goa'uld's use. Is there any chance that there might be Goa'uld in this galaxy that we haven't met yet?"

"No I highly doubt it. I've never known once for a Goa'uld to have the capabilities to travel to different galaxies and I also highly doubt that we wouldn't know about it if they were here."

"Doctor Weir, Lieutenant Ford has explained to me about these Goa'uld's before and I have never seen such a race here in my whole life." Teyla informed her.

"The Goa'uld aren't known for being the silent type. I came face to face with Anubis once, likes to brag a lot." Rodney told them as John and Ford looked at him disbelievingly.

"You came face to face with Anubis? Bad ass System Lord?" Ford inquired with a look of surprise on his face.

"Yes!" Rodney said looking insulted, and then conceded. "Well actually it was a hologram at the SGC and he probably wasn't even aware of my existence, but I was there and saved Earth from total annihilation, along side Colonel Samantha Carter. Although she was a Major at the time," Rodney rambled, realizing that he was starting to sound pathetic.

"Sorry where were we?" he asked.

"Um I believe that we had concluded that it was unlikely that the Goa'uld are or have been in this galaxy." Teyla informed him.

"Okay do you think that in the future there would be a chance to talk to this people?" Elizabeth asked getting strange stares from Atlantis's best team.

"Um no disrespect but why on earth would we want to?" John asked increduasly "After all they kidnapped Rodney and me, conducted tests on us and were planning on handing us over to the Wraith. Which I might add, they have done to other people!"

"Well maybe if we could convince them that what they are doing is wrong they could potentially become good allies." Elizabeth suggested.

"I think we have enough of our own problems to deal with right now including the Wraith and I don't think we have seen the last of the Genii." John counted.

"I'd have to agree with Major Sheppard, besides I doubt they would appreciate us coming there and telling them that our way of doing things is better, that's even if there is anyone left to save. The Wraith were going to attack them because they didn't have us to give them." Rodney added.

"Maybe we should journey back on puddle jumper and see if there are any survivors at least." Teyla suggested.

"Yeah I mean that guy Bowen and his men did help us, at risk to his own people." Ford added.

"That's all very well and good but I don't know whether I want to help these people after what happened." John replied. He was still angry with that commander guy Maul. Anyone who could do that wasn't worth saving in his book.

"Sir everybody on that planet didn't do it, in fact I'm sure most of the people there have no idea what's really going on." Ford told him in earnest.

"I guess."

"Look Major your team doesn't have to go back there if you don't want to, but I think the least we can do is check after all not all of them are bad people." Elizabeth told him.

"I'd volunteer to go Ma'am Bowen knows me and if he is still alive then it would be best if he knows one of us." Ford said.

"Okay Lieutenant considering Major Sheppard is your commanding officer you can go if it's alright with him." Elizabeth told him.

Ford looked at Sheppard as he mulled it over. For some reason Ford really wanted to do this. He felt it was the least he could do for Bowen after the risk he took for them. He could tell that Sheppard was having an internal confliction, He was still angry at what happened to him and McKay but also knew that not everyone on that planet was responsible for that. Sheppard was a good man, probably one of the best he had known, so Ford was pretty sure he knew which side of Sheppard's conscience would win out.

After thinking it through, John looked at Ford and saw that he really wanted to help these people and he guessed he could understand why.

"I don't suppose I'll be allowed to tag along?" John asked looking at Elizabeth.

"No sorry Major, Doctor Beckett has strict orders about that."

John thought some more. He hated any of his team members going into the unknown without him. He liked to know that he would be there to get them out of it. Not that he did a lot of good in their last mission. He sighed, coming to a decision.

"Okay Ford you can go," John finally told him much to Ford relief. "Take two teams with you and make sure one of those is Stackhouse's team since he's been there before. Be careful I don't want a repeat happening!"

"Thank you Sir." expressed Ford.

"Good now that, that is settled, Rodney? Teyla? Did you want to go along?" Elizabeth asked.

"No thank you I have some very important work, which I would rather not leave for Zelenka. The man is a good scientist but it really needs my experience and knowledge." Rodney answered with his nose up in the air and then looked at Teyla to hear her answer.

"I must decline I have affairs that I must see to on the mainland while I have the opportunity," she informed them. "In fact if you wouldn't mind Major and if Doctor Beckett approves I was going to ask if you could fly me over there."

"Sure Teyla, always enjoy spending time with your people and I'd love to see all the kids again." John said and seemed cheered up at the prospect.

"Thank you."

"Your welcome." he answered back with a sweet smile.

"Very well Ford, assemble your two teams for a briefing and the rest of you go about your day. Dismissed," Elizabeth told them standing up. She waited for everyone to leave and then stopped Sheppard on his way out.

"John, are you alright?" Elizabeth asked clearly concerned.

"I'm fine. Why?"

"Your mood just seemed to deflate when we started talking about helping those people." she told him looking into his green eyes. His eyes usually told a lot.

"I'm sorry if I don't have a warm place in my heart for them just yet." he answered rather snappily.

"I'm just concerned John."

"I know and look I'm sorry but I'll be okay. I think I just need to get out and do something, Teyla's field trip sounds like it might do the job. I appreciate your concern." He smiled softly at her.

"Okay well if your sure." she said cautiously.

"I am," he assured her "Look I have to go see Beckett so he can clear me to fly. I'll see you later." He said with another smile and made a quick exit.

Elizabeth just stood there and watched him leave. It was hard to deny him anything when he smiled that smile. She had the sneaking suspicion that he knew that too. She was his boss he wasn't supposed to get under her skin like that, but what was a woman to do.


"Major! … Major!" Ford yelled trying to catch up to his commanding officer.

Sheppard slowed down when he heard Ford calling him which gave the Lieutenant time to catch up while he made his way to the infirmary to see Doctor Beckett.

"Ford weren't you supposed to be assembling some teams?" John asked as he walked.

"I've already informed them and they are being debriefed by Doctor Weir as we speak, I just wanted to make sure you were really okay with this?"

"I wouldn't have said yes if I wasn't Lieutenant."

"Of course not Sir, I just wanted to make sure."

John stopped his forward momentum causing Ford to bump into him a little. He looked at Ford and saw concern in his eyes.what do I look like I'm about to have a mental breakdown? He was starting to get a little tired of everyone hovering over him. It wasn't like this was his first near death experience since coming to Atlantis. He'd gone up against Wraith's and had Wraith like bugs trying to suck the life out of him and if that didn't seriously unhinge you then he was sure there was nothing wrong with him now.

"Look Lieutenant I'm only gonna say this one more time. I'm fine. I'm fine with your mission!" he told Ford trying to drive home the point.

"Okay Sir, umm I guess I should go get ready." Ford said pointing a thumb back in the direction he had come.

"Yeah I guess you should." Sheppard replied

Still looking a little concerned Ford nodded and turned around and started back down the hall.

"Ford!" John called out making Ford turn back around "Good luck."

"Thanks Sir. Have a good flight." Ford replied with a smile and started walking again.

John started walking to the infirmary again. Nodding to people as they passed him. I've really gotta get out of this place for a little while he thought to himself.

He finally got to the infirmary and looked around for Carson. And he spotted the nurse that had handed him his clothes earlier.

"Excuse me have you seen Doctor Beckett?" he asked walking up to her.

"I'll go have a look," she told him "wait here."

John watched her walk off in search of Carson. She turned a corner and now John couldn't see her but she must have found Beckett and he was rather insulted when he overheard her call him the annoying Major. Carson came around the corner and looked a bit suspicious.

"What can I do for ya Major?"

"Teyla wants a ride to the mainland and since it doesn't really class as an off world mission I was hoping that you would clear me to go, besides it might be good for me to get out of here." John told Carson trying to sound persuasive.

Carson seemed to consider this for a bit and then answered.

"Okay then Major but one more blood sample before ya go." he ordered pointing to a bed.

"You know I never really liked needles before but I'm really beginning to hate them." John said as he took off his jacket and jumped up on the gurney.

"I wouldn't bother you with it Major but some of our scientists have been doing some research into that machine we used and I would just like to keep updated on your condition." Carson told him as he withdrew the Major's blood.

"Doc as long as I can get out of here for a while I'm not really that bothered." Sheppard told him with a smile.

"Fair enough Lad. I guess you can get going but remember if you feel anything out of the ordinary…"

"I know, I know I'll come straight back." John cut him off.

"Okay off ya go then." Carson said shaking his head as John made another remarkably quick exit from the infirmary.


Teyla was standing in the Jumper bay when she heard voices coming from in the hall. Eventually she saw Major Sheppard and Doctor McKay come through the Jumper bay doors. Teyla smiled as they got closer, they were engrossed in a conversation with each other about something she couldn't quite hear but it looked as if Major Sheppard was bored.

"That's great Rodney." she heard Sheppard say as they got closer.

"Do you even really have the slightest idea of what I was saying to you?" Rodney asked as they stopped in front of Teyla.

"Of course I do. Some great discovery and breakthrough that you have accomplished yet again about something here in the city," John said sarcastically.

"Yes lets all mock McKay until some disaster happens and then they all come running to the genius." Rodney said in irritation.

"Rodney will you relax, we all know your smart probably the smartest here. We couldn't forget since you remind us everyday." John laughed giving Teyla a sidelong glance.

"Well I can only tell you the truth."

"Tell ya what since I'm bailing on lunch why don't you join me and Teyla on the Mainland?" John asked sincerely.

"No offence to Teyla or the Athosian's but, why?"

"Well I dunno maybe to get you out of the lab for a while."

"Major I just spent time out of my lab on another planet."

"Rodney you had been kidnapped that doesn't count." John counted.

"What are you doing over there?" Rodney asked turning to Teyla.

"A little girl called Arianna is having her 6th birthday, she is like a niece to me and I promised I would visit if I could." Teyla explained.

"See what could be more fun than an Athosian birthday party?" John asked with a huge smile on his face.

"Thanks but, no thanks. Me and kids just don't mix and besides like I told Elizabeth I have important things to see too but by all means have fun." Rodney declined, gave a little wave and walked back out of the Jumper Bay.

"Well looks like it's just the two of us." John said as he and Teyla walked onto the Puddle Jumper.


"So did we get anything for the little lady?" John asked "Athosian's do give gifts for birthdays don't they?"

"Yes Major we do." she answered pulling a small cotton bag out of her pack and handed it to John to look at.

Opening the bag he pulled out a beautiful necklace.

"This is beautiful, where did you get it.?" He asked handing it back to her.

"It was mine as little girl. I thought it would make a nice present." Teyla explained but continued when she saw an unsure look on his face. "Don't worry Major there is not chance that this is a Wraith transmitter of any kind. I made it myself when I was a child."

"That's good to know." he said sitting down and putting his hands on the console. They were both shocked when nothing happened.

Neither of them saying a word, he pulled his hands away and then put them back. Still nothing, then all of a sudden the lights fluttered on and Puddle Jumper came to life.

"That was strange." Teyla observed. "I have never seen you have any trouble accessing ancient technology."

"Maybe it was a fault with the puddle jumper?" John said with a confused look on his face.

"Maybe we should use another Jumper?" Teyla suggested.

"Well … it looks to be alright now I think we should be alright." John told her, slowing taking off out of the roof and they made their way to the Mainland.


Ford looked out through the front window of the Puddle Jumper as he flew shotgun. Sergeant Stackhouse was concentrating on flying the puddle jumper. Although they couldn't detect Bowen's city because of the shield, they knew where to go because of their last trip there. Ford was hoping that Bowen's people hadn't been wiped out by the Wraith. Making the trip by Puddle Jumper had approved to be a lot faster so it didn't take them long to reach the shield at the edge of the road leading to the city.

"Do you want me to land here Lieutenant?" Stackhouse asked as they approached the road.

"No I want you to get us as close to the city as possible and hide the jumper there. If things do go wrong then I want to be able to make a quick escape." Ford told him.

"Yes Sir," Stackhouse said as he continued to fly.

Ford saw the city in the distance. There was smoke coming from buildings. Because the Wraith could not feed on this particular race Ford knew that they would destroy them instead. As they started getting closer, Ford motioned for Stackhouse to find somewhere to land. Once they had safely landed Ford and both Atlantis teams exited the Puddle Jumper.

"Sergeant cloak the Jumper and then lets head out." Ford ordered.

He watched as Stackhouse cloaked their Jumper, then everyone assumed their positions as Ford ordered then they all headed for the city.


Doctor Rodney McKay stood working on the ancient medical machine that had been used on both himself and Major Sheppard. Well not the exact same machine but the one they had found once they had made it back to Atlantis. Both Rodney and Doctor Radek Zelenka had been going over the Ancient's notes on the machine since Rodney had seen Sheppard and Teyla off. It was taking a lot longer than he would have liked considering they had to translate everything to English from Ancient. The expedition members were getting quite good at translating Ancient by now but he couldn't help thinking that it would have been handy to have Doctor Jackson here. The guy definitely knew his Ancient's. Had Doctor Jackson been there he could have translated everything in no time leaving Rodney to his real job of researching the actual technology. But alas Daniel Jackson wasn't in Atlantis he was still back on Earth at the SGC, where General O'Neill thought he could keep him from getting himself killed. Rodney realized his mind was wondering again and wondered why, if his mind was going to wander why it couldn't wander in the direction of Colonel Carter instead. Wandering again he chastised himself. Rodney scrubbed his hands over his face, Helping Zelenka with translating had been tiring and he had left the Czech scientist to complete the rest while he took a look at the machine itself.

"Rodney!" Zelenka called from across the room.

"What?" Rodney snapped.

"I think I have found why the Ancients hid this machine away." He told Rodney with a worried look on his face.


"It says here that they were experimenting with it hoping that it could improve their Medical technology," Zelenka explained. "It was actually meant to be an upgrade on the Ancient MRI machine in the infirmary, but it never worked like it was supposed to."

"Have you finished the translation yet?" Rodney asked impatient.

"Yes, yes its here." Zelenka said handing his data pad over to Rodney.

Rodney flipped through the translated words on the data pad that Zelenka had handed him. The machine was indeed supposed to be an upgrade on the MRI machine they already used it was meant to show you a whole lot more and be able to fix things that were not right in the body. But the machine had never worked. They had some trial runs on Patients and they found that it had caused them too much pain and did more to hinder the body than it did to help it. Reading on Rodney also saw that the Ancients noted that the machine also ran havoc with the Ancient gene. In the end they had scrapped production and put the machine away. Rodney looked up at Zelenka.

"We have to tell Elizabeth and Carson." he told him then walked out of the room summoning Carson over the radio to meet him in Weirs office, with Zelenka, hot on his heels.


John was really wishing now that he had of taken Teyla's suggestion in choosing another Puddle Jumper. The damn thing had nearly shorted out twice while on there way across the ocean towards the mainland. Teyla as always looked calm sitting beside him but he knew she had to be a little worried. He didn't know what would happen if they crashed into the water. He wasn't sure if Puddle Jumpers were even made to go underwater. Thankfully he could see the Mainland just ahead. He vowed that as soon as they got back to Atlantis he was gonna have a serious talk to whatever scientist had said this Jumper was ready to fly. If he remembered correctly one of the teams had been attacked by the Wraith and had made it back but not without getting the Jumper damaged on their way.Just my luck I manage to pick a damaged Jumper he thought to himself. Someone was definitely getting a talking to when they got home.

They finally got to the mainland and John let the Jumper down easy and shut it off and looked at Teyla.

"Well that was interesting." he commented.

"Yes," Teyla said slowly "I am just glad we made it to the mainland safely."

John nodded then decided to contact Atlantis and tell them what was going on.

"Atlantis this Jumper 3 do you read? Out,"

"Jumper 3 we read you. Out." said the voice of Peter Grodin, Atlantis's head gate technician.

"We are having trouble with the jumper. It was like it was shorting out. When we are ready to come back you might want to send someone out. I wouldn't trust flying that over the water again. Out," John told him.

"Copy that."

John turned the Jumper off again and opened the back hatch and walked out Teyla following him.

"Ahh fresh air," John said stretching. Teyla smiled at him.

"Teyla, Major Sheppard it is good to see you." the familiar voice of Halling said as he walked towards them.

"Likewise," Teyla said with a smile on her face. She loved the times she got to come to the mainland and visit with her people. She walked over to Halling and they touched heads in the Athosian greeting tradition.

John held his hand out to Halling and he shook it gladly. Always happy to see member's of Atlantis.

"Major Sheppard!" they heard a screech as a small form came hurdling into John.

"Hey Jinto!" John laughed and ruffled the boys hair.

"Jinto the Major is not our only visitor." Halling reminded him.

"Yes father. Hi Teyla!" Jinto greeted enthusiastically.

"It's good to see you again." Teyla told him.

"Jinto I brought something that I thought you could borrow and keep safe for me," John told the boy reaching into his back pack and pulling out the football he had brought with him to Atlantis. "I don't get a lot of time to play and there's no where to really play football in the city so I thought maybe you could keep it here for me and I could teach you how to play."

"Oh WOW!" Jinto exclaimed. "Thanks Major, that would be great!"

"Good, now take good care of it, it's the only one we have." John smiled.

"I will."

The three adults watched as they boy ran of towards the village extremely excited.

"Well that seemed to make him happy." John commented as they made their way towards the village.

"He is very fond of you Major Sheppard," Halling told him. "Teyla I assume you are here for Arianna's birthday?"


"She will be very glad you made it."

Teyla smiled.

The three made it to the village and saw that there was lot's Athosian's about making themselves busy. John saw a little girl over by one of the tents playing with another little child. She looked up when they got closer and saw that they were coming.

"Aunt Teyla! You made it!" She yelled running up to them and giving Teyla a hug.

"Yes I am very glad I could make it. Do you remember Major Sheppard?" Teyla asked the small girl.

"Of course, he used to tell us stories when we lived in the city," she said then beamed at the Major. "Did you come here to celebrate my birthday too?" she asked.

"Of course I did. A sixth birthday is very important you know." he told her seriously.

"Wow thank you. Jinto will be happy; you're all he ever talks about."

"Well I'm a good story teller." he said with a smirk.

"Jinto says you're a hero and that you have killed lots of Wraith. Is that true?" she asked with excitement.

"I do my best." he told her slightly blushing.

Teyla was trying not to laugh as she could see that the Major was uncomfortable. He certainly had a way with children. Most of the children of her village admired him immensely. She surmised he was so good with the children because a lot of the times he was like a big child himself.

"Let's leave Major Sheppard alone for awhile," Teyla suggested picking the little girl up. "Tell me Ari how have you been since I've been gone?" John heard Teyla ask as she walked away. He'd need to thank her later.

"Major Sheppard, can you teach us how to play?" Jinto yelled running around the corner followed by lots of Athosian kids that John had seen in the past.

"Jinto leave the poor man alone he just got here." Halling told his son sternly.

"No its okay Halling I don't mind. I haven't played Football in a while." John told him and winced when all the kids cheered.

John walked off into the open field kids around him everywhere. Halling tried not to laugh. The Major definitely had his hands full. He walked over to the field to sit down and watch the game that Sheppard was instructing, thinking that this could be interesting.


Ford and the two teams had been looking through the city and had hardly seen anyone and the people that they had seen had run away from them. Lots of the city had been destroyed and Ford was beginning to think that almost everyone had been killed. Over by a collapsed building Ford spotted a downed Wraith Dart. He thought it might be worth checking out even if all they got out of this mission was some parts from the dart for the scientists back on Atlantis to study.

"Okay, we're going to check out that dart. Everyone keep your eyes open, its possible the Wraith might still be alive." Ford warned his men.

The all made their way over to the crashed Dart. Once there, the soldiers kept the guns trained on the dart while Ford and Stackhouse opened the hatch. Peering inside it was quite clear to Ford that the Wraith had died.

"Okay, take anything you can that looks useful." ordered Ford as he looked around the city.

He thought he heard a banging sound coming from where he could see a few dead bodies. He ordered two of the men to follow him the short distance to check out the sound. Upon getting closer he could see what appeared top be a hatch door and lying on top of that was Bowen's lifeless body. Ford and another soldier gently picked up Bowen's body and placed him on the ground then Ford ordered the soldier to open the hatch. Ford stood with his weapon ready and when the hatch was opened they saw more of Bowen's people, but they were very much alive. Ford felt sad. Bowen had fought till he died to keep his people safe. He admired the man.

"Who are you?" an older male asked.

"Lieutenant Ford. I was a friend of Bowen's," Ford told him. "my men and I are here to help if we can."

"My name is Lucas and your help would be much appreciated." Lucas told him looking relieved that is was all over.

Ford nodded and held out a hand to help him out.


"Elizabeth!" Rodney called as he came to a stop at the door to her office, causing Zelenka to crash into him. "Do you mind?" he snapped in Zelenka's direction.

"So sorry," Zelenka said sarcastically.

"We have found something in the Ancient notes left over on that machine." Rodney continued, ignoring Zelenka's apology and stepping into the office.

"I assume it's important enough to come running here?" she asked slightly amused.

"Yes," he said as if that should be obvious. "Where's Carson?"

"I'm here." Carson said just appearing at the door.

"Well what took you so long, I told you it was important."

"Well I'm sorry Rodney, if I have an infirmary to run." Carson answered rolling his eyes. Rodney was his friend but the man could be quite infuriating at times.

"What have you found?" Elizabeth asked.

"We have found that the Machine was meant to be an upgrade of the Ancient MRI and that it never worked properly so the Ancients stopped testing and put it away." Zelenka explained.

"Yes, yes, yes, but the important little note is that it screws with the Ancient Gene." Rodney interrupted.

"How did Bowen's people get one?" Elizabeth asked.

"I assume that they had another research base there." Zelenka replied.

"Hello is anyone listening to what I am saying? Screws With Ancient Gene." Rodney spelled out the last sentence.

"What are ya trying to get at Rodney? You seem to be fine and I have found nothing wrong with the Major." Carson told him.

"That may be so but shouldn't we at least be sure I mean he was flying a Puddle Jumper over miles of ocean this morning." Rodney said a little testily.

"Excuse me, Doctor Beckett?" asked a nurse suddenly appearing at Elizabeth's door with a data pad in her hand

"Yes?" he asked

"I have Major Sheppard's latest blood test results in and I thought you should see this." she said handing the data pad over to Carson.

"Thank you Nurse Graham." Carson said dismissing her.

Carson looked at the data pad and his three friends didn't like the look her had on his face.

"What is it?" Rodney as impatient as ever asked.

"It does not look good." Zelenka commented looking at Carson's expression.

"Really, how very perceptive of you," Rodney said to Zelenka then turned to Carson once again. "Well?"

"It looks as if Major Sheppard's Ancient Gene is showing the first signs of deteriorating." Carson told them looking up.

"See what did I tell you!" Rodney exclaimed, then a thought crossed his mind. "Hey, what about me? Am I gonna lose my gene too?"

"I dunno Lad but to be safe let's go take a look," Carson suggested. "Doctor Weir I suggest you contact Major Sheppard and tell him not to fly that Puddle Jumper and get someone to fly out there and pick him up." Carson told her.

"Will do." she told him and followed them out of her office and then continued out into the control room.

Doctor Peter Grodin was still seated in the control room when Elizabeth walked up to him.

"Peter, I need to contact Major Sheppard." She told him.

"Major Sheppard checked in a little earlier, said he was having trouble with Jumper 3." Peter told her as he opened up a channel.

"What type of trouble?"

"He said it had nearly shorted out a few times."

Elizabeth was worried now. It was quite possible that it was Sheppard's failing gene that had caused the problems on his Jumper. She hated to think what could have happened if it had of failed completely while they were still over the water.

"When your ready Doctor Weir." Peter told her bringing her back to the here and now.

"Major Sheppard, this is Weir come in please."

"This is Major Sheppard." John answered a minute later sounding puffed.

"Major, Peter just told me about your Jumper troubles. I don't want you flying it again someone is coming to pick you up soon."

"Soon? Why soon?" He asked confused.

"Doctor Beckett has some concerns about your blood test and would like you to come back." Elizabeth told him.

"What kind of concerns?"

"Just wait till you get back here John."

"Come on Elizabeth, you could at least let me know since it does concern me."

Elizabeth thought for a moment but in the end decided that he did have a right to know.

"Okay John. Carson has found that your Ancient Gene is starting to deteriorate and it looks like its going to continue, Rodney and Zelenka have finished translating the Ancient notes on the machine and it corroborates that theory so Carson would like you back here." Elizabeth told him reluctantly.

"Okaaay." he stretched out the word. "Do you want Teyla to come back too?"

"No its okay she doesn't have too."

"Okay I'll see you soon I guess. Sheppard out." he said ending the communication.

Elizabeth sighed. John wasn't going to like this. She decided to go to the Infirmary and see how Rodney and Carson were going.


John was a little concerned. When Elizabeth seemed concerned it made John feel concerned. Why would that have shown up in his blood test after all this time? You would think that if anything was going to go wrong it would have happened a while ago. Not three days later. This was ridiculous. He saw Teyla amongst the other Party goers and walked up to her.

"Major, are you alright? You look … concerned about something?" Teyla asked as he walked up to her

Damn how does she read me so well? he asked himself

"Um can I talk to you for a minute?" he asked and lead her away.

"What is it Major?"

"I just got a call from Doctor Weir." he told her "apparently Beckett wants me back there so someone is going to come and pick me up."

"I'll be ready to leave when it is needed." she assured him.

"Oh you don't have to go. In fact being Arianna's birthday and all you should stay and enjoy it with her."

"If you are sure."

"I'm sure. Now I guess I better enjoy the rest of the party before my ride comes." he said smiling and leading Teyla back towards the other Athosian's.


"So? Has my gene been affected?" Rodney asked anxiously.

"No Rodney your ancient gene is perfectly fine." Carson said as he sighed.

"Why?" Zelenka asked.

"Radek I don't really care." Rodney answered him sharply.

"No he poses a good point and I'm going to assume that your gene hasn't been affected because it wasn't originally in your system and secondly when you had your turn in that blasted machine, nothing went wrong." Carson interjected.

"And what does that mean for Sheppard?" Rodney asked, his concern now for Sheppard rather than himself.

"Well as long as nothing else happens it shouldn't affect him really, he just won't be able to use ancient technology anymore."

"Is there anything you can do about that?" asked Elizabeth who had caught the tail end of the conversation.

"Right now I'm not too sure. I'll know more once I have the Major in here."

"I'm sending Sergeant Greene out now to go and pick him up from the mainland." Elizabeth told them.

"Can I go with him?" Rodney asked.

"If you want to go I suggest you hurry, Greene should be leaving soon."

"Thank you." Rodney said jumping off the gurney and heading out the door.


John had always loved the beach and nothing had changed although he was in another galaxy. He watch watched as the waves lapped at the shore. The sea breeze felt nice and if he closed his eyes and just listened to the sounds going on around him he could almost forget what was going on. He was loosing his Ancient gene. There was no telling whether he could get it back. Carson's gene therapy hadn't worked on everyone. It shocked John to how much this little piece of knowledge had affected him considering he'd only known he'd had the gene for less than a year. But when he thought about it, his ancient gene and that fact that he could use it so easy was the main reason he had been picked for their one way mission to the Lost City Of Atlantis. What was he without it? Just another air force Major. Just a regular old soldier who wasn't even any good at following orders. Hell if you looked at his file it would probably say that he wasn't even that good at being a regular soldier. Sure he could fly, but what else could he do? Though without his ancient gene, here in Atlantis even flying was out of the question. What was he without his Ancient gene? Now that he thought about it for a soldier he wasn't even that good at navigation. Rodney was always teasing him about getting lost and not knowing where I am on a mission.

"Its nice here is it not?" Teyla asked surprising him.

"Teyla, having fun?"

"Yes it has been good spending time with my people."

"That's good."

"Yes," Teyla responded. "Major … are you alright?" she asked hesitantly.

"Arianna seemed to really like the necklace you gave her." he commented, ignoring her question.

"Yes she did, but you did not answer my question."

"I'm fine, why wouldn't I be?"

"You have seen extremely down since receiving the message from Doctor Weir."

John looked at her for a bit then looked back towards the ocean again.

"I'm thinking of leaving the team. I'd feel much better knowing that you or Ford would take leadership." he told her out of the blue.

"Why would you do that?" Teyla asked quite shocked by his admission.

"I guess you'll find out soon enough," he sighed. "Beckett has found evidence that my Ancient Gene, the thing that makes me use all the ancient technology, is deteriorating."

"I see … and you are upset by this?"

"Well yeah, what good am I gonna be now to the team, or Atlantis? Which is why the team is better left in someone else's hands," John told her sincerely.

Teyla seemed to consider this for a moment. It was obvious that the Major was distressed by this.

"Major, Your ability to use Ancient technology is not what makes you a great leader. Doctor McKay, Lieutenant Ford and I all trust you and believe in you, not your gene."

"Believe me Teyla I'd be no good to you guys out there." John said his eyes never leaving the ocean.

"Major, no offence but feeling sorry for yourself will not help matters and secondly I believe that instead of jumping to conclusions, you should wait and see what Doctor Beckett says. I am confident he will be able to do something."

"Teyla my gene is what got me picked to come here. Without it I'm of no more use and I'm not feeling sorry for myself. It's the truth." John told her this time looking into her eyes.

"That is exactly what your doing Major. I cannot make you believe that you are important to us; you have to figure that out on your own. You are much more gifted than you give yourself credit for," Teyla scolded him as she stood up. "Contact me before you leave." and with that she walked off back towards her people, leaving a stunned Major Sheppard sitting on the sand.

Teyla rarely spoke to him like that, so it tended to get his attention when she did. Okay he thought to himself maybe he was feeling a little bit sorry for himself but that didn't change the facts. His team would be a lot safer without him and they were just going to have to accept his decision.


Rodney made his way to the Jumper bay and fast as he could. He couldn't explain it but he wanted to be there to pick Major Sheppard up. Just incase he had any questions about anything that he was qualified to answer, he told himself. When he reached the Jumper bay he saw Sergeant Greene boarding Puddle Jumper 4 and quickened his pace.

"Sergeant! Wait!" Rodney yelled getting the mans attention.

Greene waited at the base of the ramp for McKay to catch up. Rodney finally got there and stopped right in front of Greene breathing hard, for he had ran most of the way.

"Doctor … Weir … said I … could come with … you!" Rodney said between breaths.

"No worries, lets get going." Greene said grinning and leading the way onto the Jumper.

Rodney just nodded, trying to catch his breath. He really needed to work on getting more fit. Especially, since he was out in the field more often than not. He made himself comfortable in the co-pilots chair and listened as Greene confirmed with Atlantis that they were off.

Most of the ride had been uneventful and they were now close to the mainland. All of a sudden the Jumper lurched, shocking both its occupants.

"What the hell happened?" Rodney asked, a little concerned that the ride was still a bit rocky.

"I don't know Sir." Greene answered him still trying to get the Jumper under control.

From what Rodney could see Greene wasn't having much luck getting the Jumper back to normal and was just about to send out a distress call when, they plunged into the ocean. Recovering from the impact Rodney reached for his head set that had fallen off.

"Atlantis, this is Jumper 4 we have a problem come in please." he called in a panicked voice.

He looked over at Greene and noticed that the Sergeant must have hit his head on the control panel when they crashed and was unconscious.

"Rodney, it's Elizabeth, you seem to have gone off course, what happened?" Elizabeth's voice came through.

"The problem is, something went wrong with the Jumper and we crashed into the water. We need help and fast. Greene is unconscious and I don't know how well this Jumper is gonna hold with the water pressure and everything." Rodney told her in once long breath, grimacing as he heard the noises caused by the strain of the water pressure.

"Okay Rodney calm down, we'll get some help out to you." Elizabeth told him in what she hoped was a calm voice.

"Calm Down?" Rodney exclaimed "I'm stuck in a sinking Jumper with an unconscious Sergeant and you want me to calm down."

"Rodney it's not going to do you any good, now hang on and we'll get you out of there." Elizabeth said.

"Okay, Okay but just hurry huh."

"We'll be there don't worry."


For many hours now Ford and his men had been helping the Trisarin's, the name that Ford finally found they called themselves. They had been helping move the dead bodies to a certain place in the city to be dealt with later. They had used the medical supplies they had brought along with them to help the wounded. Ford looked around the city and was still dismayed by the devastation. If they stayed here it was going to take them years to rebuild, especially since only a few hundred had survived. Ford was extremely sad that Bowen had died before they had come back, but at least he did not die in vain. Everyone in that bunker had survived. Ford looked over and saw Lucas heading towards him.

"Lieutenant, we cannot thank you and your men enough for the help you have provided us with." Lucas told him.

"It's the least we could do."

"It is still hard to believe what happened. Once minute we were running about our daily lives and the next minute we were being attacked by giant space ships. Things that we had only heard of in history books, never did we think that these monsters you called the Wraith, would come back." Lucas told him sadly.

"Yeah I can imagine what a shock it must have been." Ford sympathized.

"Especially to learn that our government had known about them all along," Lucas said shaking his head.

"Look Lucas you and your people are welcome to come to our planet with us."

"It is a kind offer Lieutenant and we definitely wouldn't deny help. But I think we would prefer to stay here. I'm sure if you asked anyone here they would tell you the same."

"Yeah I already have. You do realize that the Wraith could come back at any time?" Ford felt compelled to warn him.

"Yes but it is unlikely for a while. They think everyone is dead. They have no reason to come back here."

"True but there is still a possibility. You sure you don't wanna come home with us?"

"Again, thank you, but no thank you."

"Okay then if your sure man. We'll send some supplies back with some people to help you rebuild."

"That would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again." Lucas said bowing out of respect.

Ford bowed back, and then turned back to where his own men were getting ready to leave. Lucas had told Ford that he had been surprised to here from Bowen, what his government had been doing all these years and had sent his sincerest apologies to Major Sheppard and Doctor McKay. Ford felt like Lucas was a generally good man and seemed to command respect from his people. He had a feeling that Lucas just might become the Trisarin's new leader. Ford had no worries about that and was just glad that some good was coming out of this whole mess. As Ford and his men walked back to their Jumper his thought traveled back to Atlantis and he wondered what was going on back home. He would be glad to get back to the piece and quiet.


Elizabeth looked at the screen in front of her as Grodin attempted to look for where McKay and Greene had crashed.

"There they are." Grodin said pointing to an area on the screen.

Elizabeth looked at the area that Grodin had pointed too and was relieved to see that they had crashed fairly close to the mainland. Not close enough to make it easy to get them out but close enough so the pressure of the water wouldn't compromise the hall. They were, however, still in fairly deep water. She pressed on her radio and spoke into her headset.

"How far are we from getting new jumper out there?" she asked Zelenka.

"We are just boarding now." Zelenka's voice told her.

"Doctor you don't have to go."

"Yes I know but if there are any technical difficulties then I should be there to help sort them out as fast as possible." Zelenka sighed Rodney would have to thank him later.

"Okay Doctor, good luck." Elizabeth told him

Everyone was shocked when all of a sudden all the power all over Atlantis shut off.

"Peter?" Elizabeth asked Grodin who was looking quite puzzled himself.

"I … I don't know what happened. All I can tell you at this moment is that all power in Atlantis is down."

"What about the Jumper bay doors?"

"I'm sorry but with all power out, the doors won't open."

Elizabeth sighed. This was just what they needed. She had Sheppard on the mainland with a defective gene, McKay and Greene in a sinking jumper and without power they couldn't power the Stargate shield meaning they were open to attack, should an attack happen. It was at times like these that Elizabeth seriously wondered what she was thinking accepting this assignment. But also she was grateful that she had the best of the best working to solve their problems.

"Doctor Weir? What is going on?" Zelenka's voice interrupted her thoughts.

"I'm sorry Doctor we are having an inopportune power problem, you're not going anywhere just yet. I'll keep you informed." Elizabeth told him.

"Peter I want to know what the hell happened?" she ordered him.

"I'm on it."

Elizabeth couldn't believe this was happening and was just about to contact Rodney again when a familiar voice came through her ear piece.

"Sheppard to Atlantis come in please."

"Major this is Doctor Weir." Elizabeth answered him sitting down in a seat.

"Elizabeth what's taking so long with that ride?" he asked her a little anxious to get back and find out his fate.

"We've had a little problem Major. The Puddle Jumper on its way to you hadn't been fixed properly and crashed into the water not too far from the mainland." She told him.

"Have you sent another jumper out?"

"We were just about to when we had a power failing, Grodin's working on it now."

"Who's on the downed Jumper?" he asked having a gut feeling that he wasn't gonna like the answer.

"Sergeant Greene and Doctor McKay,"

"Damn it." he cursed.

"We are doing everything we can John but until we get the power back on we can't open the Jumper bay doors." Elizabeth told him sadly running her fingers through her short dark curls.

"What's their condition?"

"Hold on I'll get back to you." she replied then attempted to contact Rodney again.

"Rodney this is Weir come in."

"Elizabeth?" Rodney asked his voice a little shaky.

"What's your condition?"

"Umm … Our impact with the bottom must have cracked a seal in the door. We are leaking water and its getting pretty cold down here he told her.

"What about Greene?"

"I'm here Ma'am." Greene's voice came into the conversation.

"Good to here you awake sergeant." Elizabeth said clearly relieved.

"Eliza …" Rodney was halfway through saying her name when their line went dead.

"Rodney? Rodney? Come in?" she tried but getting only static as her answer.

"Elizabeth? What's going on?" Sheppard asked impatiently.

She had forgotten that he was waiting for her reply and she wasn't looking forward to relaying the information he wanted.

"Rodney said that they are leaking water and it was getting cold, when his radio fizzed out. Both are conscious."

"How far out are they from the mainland?"

"About 100 meters out in front the Athosian village but there's nothing you can do John we'll get to them as soon as we can." Elizabeth tried to assure him.

"Well as soon as you can, might not be good enough. They could drown before you get there." John told her getting impatient again.

"John there's nothing you can do from where you are." Elizabeth didn't like where this was going. John was likely going to get himself killed.

"Well I can't just sit here and do nothing; I'll contact you when I know more. Sheppard out," John told her then severed the connection.

She really hated it when he did this. Now with no connection to Sheppard or McKay all she could do was wait and that was something she was extremely not happy about.


Teyla made her way back to where she had left Major Sheppard sulking. It had been some time since they had last spoken and he had seemed to have turned off his radio. Upon approaching the Major's location she could see that he was in the middle of taking off his shoes.

"Major, what are you doing?" She asked making the rest of the distance between her and Sheppard.

"McKay and Sergeant Greene are in a crashed jumper about 100 meters out and it's filling up with water as we speak. Atlantis has had a power problem and can't get another jumper out through the doors right now. So … I'm gonna swim out there and see if I can help." he told her quickly, finally taking a breath at the end of his sentence.

"Do you think that's wise?" she asked worried for his safety.

"Teyla I'm not gonna sit around on my ass and let McKay and Greene drown when I maybe, could have helped." He told he as he fought with his shoelace, nearly toppling over when his shoe finally came off.

"I understand, but why did you turn your radio off. I have been trying to contact you?"

"I had a feeling Elizabeth was gonna ask me to leave this alone. If I don't here her orders I can't disobey them can I?" he said with a cheeky smirk.

He took off his jacket and threw it on the ground on top of his shoes and socks and then looked at Teyla.

"Wish me luck."

"Good luck." she said bowing her head

He nodded at her then turned around and headed into the water. He could do this it was only 100 meters. That wasn't that far. Not when his best friends life was on the line. Stepping into the water he gasped

"Ohh … that's cold." he said to himself.

A little bit of cold water wasn't going to deter him. It must be even colder for McKay and Greene, that far under the surface. He made his way further out and it didn't take long before it got very deep. He started swimming as fast as he could through the waves towards the direction he thought the sunken puddle jumper was. When 100 meters finally came John was very grateful because swimming against those waves was very tiring. Now though it was time to go under. Taking a deep breath he dived under and swam down until he could see the Jumper. Now knowing where exactly it was he swam back up taking another deep breath. Once he had taken his fill he dived back under and headed for the jumper.


The water inside the Jumper was gradually getting higher and higher and the temperature of the water was not helping their predicament. They had thought about maybe blowing the hatch and trying to swim out but had realized quite quickly that the Hatch door was broken. In fact whoever had done the repairs to this Jumper needed a serious talking to. McKay wanted to bet it was Kavanaugh. It would be just like him to screw up something this important. But abusing the pony tailed scientist when he wasn't here wasn't helping either. Bother Rodney and Greene were shivering and trying to stand on the seats in order to stay out of the water. Thankfully it looked like they weren't deep enough for the front window of the Jumper to crack. Rodney was sure he was seeing things when a fish looking surprisingly like Major Sheppard swam up to the window. He must be delirious. What would Major Sheppard be doing all the way down here in the water?

"Hey look its Major Sheppard." Greene pointed out interrupting Rodney's train of thought.

Rodney looked closely at the Major and realized it was him and he was trying to tell them something. Eventually Rodney caught onto him and grabbed his note book and wrote a message then stuck it to the window.

John read the note and inwardly sighed. Of course they couldn't blow the hatch. That would make it too easy. Realizing he was running out of oxygen he motioned for them to wait and headed back up to the surface.

Rodney watched as John swam back up. He was grateful that John had come for them but he didn't know what he could do about their problem. Rodney was getting frustrated with himself. He was supposed to be a genius. Smartest person on Atlantis, yet he could think himself out of this mess.

"What are we gonna do?" Greene asked him killing the silence.

"If I knew don't you think I would have already got us out of here by now Sergeant?" Rodney snapped at him. He didn't mean to but he hated not having the answers and it certainly wasn't the Sergeant's fault.

"No reason to snap McKay I was just asking." Greene retaliated.

"Shut up!" Rodney all of a sudden rudely interrupted.

"Shut up? I'll give you shut up!" Greene started but was once again interrupted.

"No shut up. I just thought of something." he said and quickly started scribbling another note for when John returned. Once finished he thought he owed Greene an explanation.

"There is a lever on the outside of the Jumper that creates a Force field around it. If that's in working order, Major Sheppard should be able to pull it and it will give us some time to get that hatch open before we drown to death." Rodney explained.

"But wouldn't he need the Ancient gene in order to get it to work?"

"No it's already been initiated, but even if it did I highly doubt that the Major has lost the gene completely yet and besides it's the only plan I have so it's going to work."

"Let's hope so." Greene commented.

Rodney ignored him as he saw John swimming his way back to them. He put his note to the window. John looked confused and McKay wondered why till he realized that he had the note upside down. He quickly turned it the right way up. John read the note and nodded to Rodney and made his way as quickly as possible to the back of the jumper and looked for the lever. Upon finding it he found it had been scorched in the firefight. Praying that it still worked he grabbed hold of it and pulled as hard as he could. It wouldn't budge. He tried again harder this time. He was running out of oxygen again and it still wouldn't move. Giving it one more shot before heading back to the surface for more air, he pulled with all his might and thankfully it finally gave way. The force field suddenly surrounded the outside of the Jumper, causing John to come crashing down to the floor in a drenched heap. He slowly got up and shook his head, sending water splatters everywhere from his wet hair. He walked over to the rear hatch and banged his hand on it.

"Rodney?" he called "you okay in there?"

"Fine Major. Just give me some time to get the hatch open and we'll be right with you." Rodney called back but sounding muffled because of the door between them.

"Okay I'll just wait out here." John called back and then realized how stupid that sounded. Where else was he going to wait?

While John waited he looked around at the ocean that was being held back by the Ancient force field. There were quite a few sea creatures swimming about that he hadn't taken much notice of before in his rush to get to McKay. It had been about fifteen minutes when John finally heard the sound of the rear hatch opening. A surprisingly dry McKay and Greene walked out and greeted the Major.

"Took ya damn time in there Rodney." John commented to him with a smirk.

"Well next time something like this happens lets see you try and get things working again. It's not like splicing a few wires together you know. Ancient Technology is very complicated I'll have you know. Of course someone of my skill finds it just a tad easier." Rodney rattled off.

"Aha," was all John said.

He walked over to the lever that had created the force field and then looked at Rodney.

"So if I push this up the force field should disappear right? And we'll be free to swim to the surface?" John asked him.

"Well yes of course."

"Okay then. Are ya ready boys?"

"No … wait. I mean it is perfectly safe to swim amongst those … things isn't it?" Rodney asked pointing at the sea creatures.

"I've swam all the way down here and they paid me no attention whatsoever. So I think your pretty safe Rodney." John told him with a smirk.

"Well maybe they just didn't like the look of you."

"Rodney relax. On the count of three, One, Two, Three." John said and then pulled the hatch, not waiting for anymore stalling from Rodney.

As soon as the force field disappeared water came gushing at them. All three men swam for the surface. All three came up coughing and spluttering.

"We should head back to shore now." he shouted once he got his breath back.

"No argument out of me Sir." Greene said.


Teyla stood watching anxiously watching the ocean. Searching for any sign of Major Sheppard. It was foolish to go out there by himself, but she hadn't even attempted to stop him for she didn't think that was possible. Besides if somehow he managed to pull this off then just maybe it might prove to the stubborn man that he was quite useful, contrary to his beliefs. In the distance Teyla thought she could see something. It liked three people swimming. Major Sheppard never ceased to amaze her.

"Doctor Weir this is Teyla." she said into her radio.

"Teyla, what's the situation?" Elizabeth sounded worried.

"I believe I can see Major Sheppard returning, with Doctor McKay and Sergeant Greene." Teyla happily informed her, hoping that the Major's success might help ease some of Elizabeth's annoyance that he had once again gone against her wishes.

"That's good to hear." Elizabeth told her clearly relieved. "Grodin has just found the problem and we are getting our power online as we speak and we should have a Jumper out for you in about twenty minutes."

"Thank you Doctor Weir." Teyla signed off.

By the time she had finished talking to Doctor Weir the three men had gotten much closer. Sheppard, in front was already standing and was walking his way up towards Teyla. Finally Sheppard made it back to shore and Teyla had to smile. He looked like a drowned rat, his hair plastered to his head because of the water. Once standing on dry land next to Teyla he should his head as if to clear it of water and sent water sprinkling all over Teyla.

"Oh … I'm sorry." he apologized when he noticed what he had been doing.

"That is okay Major. It is just good to see you all come back safely." she smiled.

Both looked over when Greene came over and sat down on the sand next to where Sheppard was standing. John decided that looked like a good idea and sat down beside the Sergeant, easing his tired muscles. All three looked back toward the water to see Rodney struggling up the remaining distance between the water and where his friends were. Once he made it back to them he collapsed onto the sand and lay sprawled flat on his back breathing heavy.

"You okay Rodney?" John asked trying not to let his humor show. He didn't know why seeing McKay in discomfort made him laugh.

"I'm … fine … just trying to … catch my … breath." he told them. After he had regained his composure he turned his head and looked at John. "I don't know why you think this is funny. It's your entire fault that I was trapped down in the first place." he informed John.

"And how do you figure that?" John asked still amused.

"Well I was coming after you. If it wasn't for you I would never have been on that Jumper to begin with."

"Well Rodney I'm truly sorry that I inconvenienced you in any way." John told him giving an amused glance to Teyla, who just smiled back.

"So you should be." Rodney said as he closed his eyes quite happy to just doze off where he was laying.

The memory of why he was supposed to be going back to Atlantis suddenly came to him and he was once again anxious to get home.

"Teyla, have you been in touch with Doctor Weir?" He asked looking up at where she still stood.

"Yes Major and they have everything under control now. She said that a Jumper should be here within twenty minutes".

"Ohh good hopefully this one will actually get here." Then a thought occurred to him. "Wait they don't need to send a jumper."

"They don't?" Rodney piped up.

"No you or Greene could fly us back on the Jumper Teyla and I came on, now that we know that there is nothing wrong with it."

"Oh yeah." Rodney realized "why didn't I think of that?"

"I dunno Rodney I'm not the Genius." John said before picking up his radio. "Atlantis this is Sheppard hold that Jumper we have our own way home."

"Affirmative Major."

"Alright people, lets get out of here. I'm thinking the faster we get home the better." Sheppard told them standing gathering the rest of his clothing.

Greene and Rodney also got up, Rodney a lot more slowly. Rodney looked in front of him to see the others already making their way back. It had been one heck of a day and why did all these things always happen to him, he thought as he started after his friends, hearing a continuous squishing sound as he walked.


Elizabeth had meant to meet Jumper 3 in the Jumper bay when they came back from the mainland but had been swept away with other pressing issues. She had just received a communication from Ford telling her that most of the city was destroyed; despite this the survivors had wanted to remain on the planet and try to rebuild. Ford had told her that he had offered them assistance. Elizabeth had assured him that she would get it organized and told him to make his way back home. Now that, that had been tended to she headed to the Infirmary where she knew she'd find some very anxious people. Upon arriving at the Infirmary she found Teyla and a very wet looking McKay waiting outside.

"Rodney! I'm glad to see that you made it back. Thanks to Major Sheppard," She told him as she approached.

"Glad to be back." Rodney told her. "What happened here anyways? Teyla said that you had a power problem."

"Grodin found out that Kavanaugh was conducting an experiment near one of the grounding stations which temporally cut all power to the city; We couldn't get the Jumper's out." Elizabeth explained to him.

"I knew Kavanaugh would be involved in this some how!"

"I'm not that fond of the man my self but he didn't do that on purpose."

"I guess." Rodney conceded

"Doctor McKay maybe you should go get changed." Teyla suggested.

"What? Why?" Rodney asked her, totally oblivious to the fact that he was dripping all over the floor.

"Rodney your dripping wet, you'll catch a cold." Elizabeth told him.

"Oh right, okay but I'll be right back." He answered taking off in the direction of his quarters.

"Has Carson told us anything?" Elizabeth asked as her attention switched to Teyla.

"No not yet. He took Major Sheppard in to run some tests."

"Weren't you going to stay on the mainland and spend time with your people?"

"I was." Teyla nodded "but in light of what happened I thought it best that I come back to Atlantis. If just to lend moral support to Major Sheppard. He was quite down on himself when he found out about his gene." she explained.

Both women stood in silence for a while as they waited to hear word on Major Sheppard. About 30 minutes later, Rodney had rejoined them munching on a power bar. Neither Teyla or Elizabeth were surprised to see Rodney come back with some type of food as the man was always hungry. Eventually all three friends heard the Doctors familiar Scottish accent before both he and a dry Sheppard came walking around the corner.

"I suggest you go relax and maybe get something to eat and I'll call you the minute we have anything." Carson told the depressed Major.

John looked up to see that Teyla, Elizabeth and Rodney had waited for him and he thought he may as well put on a happy face. If things went badly they were not going to like his decision.

"Carson is there anything you can tell us now?" Rodney asked between mouthfuls of power bar.

"Not as yet Lad but I best be getting back at it." Carson told them, nodding to them then retreating back into the Infirmary to hopefully get to the bottom of Sheppard's gene problem.

"So who's up for dinner?" John asked clapping his hands together.

"I'm hungry." Rodney commented making John look at him in mock horror.

"What I can't be hungry now?" Rodney asked insulted. He wasn't always eating.

"Teyla? Elizabeth?"

"Sure." Teyla smiled.

"Sorry Major I would love too but I have things that need to be done. I'll have to take a rain check."

"That's okay … oh by the way how's Ford doing? Have you heard from him yet?" he asked suddenly remembering about Ford's mission.

"He should be back any minute Major, I'll send him up to the commissary when he gets here and he can explain what happened." Elizabeth told him turning around to go.

"Thanks." John said than turned in the direction of the commissary. Rodney and Teyla following.


Teyla sat down across From Major Sheppard with her dinner. She could tell that he was trying to be usual self but he wasn't fooling her. He looked up at her when he caught her watching him and smiled. Luckily Rodney was still getting his food. She didn't want to bring up the subject with Rodney around just yet.

"Are you still planning on quitting the team?" She asked out of the blue wiping the smile of Johns face.

"Can't we leave this alone for now? And it's not quitting. I'm doing what's best for the team." he told her quietly.

"Yes Major it is quitting and I would think that your latest escapade with saving Doctor McKay would prove to you that you don't need your Ancient gene to be important to our team. You would be robbing us of a great leader and if you cannot see that then you are truly blind." Teyla told him sternly.

She hadn't meant to get so deeply in this subject at this time but he was exasperating her. What would it take to prove to the man? She looked at her C.O sitting across from her. He had a thoughtful look on his face. She didn't understand why this was getting to him so much. At that point Rodney had chosen to come back to the table with his meal.

"Sorry I took so long I had to make sure there was no citrus in this marinade. I don't want to die of anaphylactic shock just after you helped save me." Rodney apologized, digging into his food as soon as he sat down.

Noticing for the first time that his teammates were being incredibly quiet he looked up from his plate

"You look pensive Major. What's on your mind?" Rodney asked while chewing.

"No actually I was just thinking." John replied after a minute of starring at Teyla, earning an eye roll from Rodney.

"That's what I said." Rodney said exasperatedly

"What's what you said?" John asked clearly confused.

"Never mind." Rodney sighed.

Teyla knew she was about to play dirty but she really needed to get through the Major's thick head. So she turned to Rodney.

"Doctor McKay. Major Sheppard believes that he will be no longer of use without his Ancient gene and therefore is quitting the team." she spouted out rather guiltily.

Rodney and John both sat there with the mouths open in shock. Rodney because of what he had just learned and John because he couldn't believe Teyla had just told Rodney. Overcoming his shock Rodney turned to John, making John wince.

"Why would you think that?"

"McKay without that gene I'm just an everyday ordinary person with not a hell of a lot to contribute to the team. It's better this way."

"Major you are anything but ordinary," Rodney commented "But this team wouldn't be the same without you."

"Rodney …" John tried but was interrupted.

"No listen to me Major because you will probably never hear this again. Savor this moment." Rodney told him looking directly at John. "I don't know why you would think that but you only have look at the amount of times you have saved me, the team and the city without using that stupid gene."

"I remember a certain scientist that let Carson use him as a first human trial in order to get that gene." John reminded Rodney of how he had the gene.

"Yes, yes, yes that's because I am extremely arrogant and superficial and can't stand to think that you or Carson are superior to me."

John looked shocked at the omission.

"Don't look at me like that Major. Like I said before savor this moment they don't come very often." he said the quietly more to himself "I am just glad Radek is not here to hear this."

"Rodney …" John tried again but once again was interrupted.

"If you didn't listen to Teyla, listen to me. I don't usually try to boost your ego for no good reason. You are incredibly valuable Ancient gene or not." Rodney finished his lecture and then stuck a fork full of food in his mouth and chewed but kept his eyes on John to see his reaction.

"I don't want to put anyone in danger." he stressed.

"You won't. And besides we all look out for each other it's what we do." Teyla told him with conviction.

John smiled. Indeed they did. And if he thought about what they said he realized they were telling the truth. Most of the things he had done since coming here didn't all have to do with his ancient gene. Most of it had been just plain old John Sheppard. His team seemed to be okay with that. He didn't understand why he was reacting like this. He had lived his whole life not even knowing that the stupid gene was there. He had seemed a little on edge since leaving the Infirmary. Maybe this was the residual effect of what happened to him making him feel like this.

"Major!" Ford interrupted his thoughts from across the room.

"Ford. How'd it go?" he asked glad for the subject change.

"Well when we got there Bowen and many others were dead. But we did find many survivors hiding in a bunker. We offered to take them back here but they want to stay there. We are gonna send them help." Ford explained all at once.

"Glad you could help some of them." John said sincerely.

"Yeah. You know besides their government the actual people were pretty nice people." Ford told him. Noticing for the first time how quiet Teyla and McKay were being. "What's up guys?"

Rodney and Teyla just looked at John obviously thinking that he was the person to answer that question.

"You know I think everything's gonna work out just fine." John said grinning, getting up and leaving the Commissary.

Rodney and Teyla looked after the Major not quiet sure what he meant by that. Had what they said changed his heart or was he still doubting himself and leaving the team? Ford on the other hand had no idea of what was going on.

"Where did that come from?" He asked looking at his teammates for an explanation.

"It is a long story …" Teyla began explaining what had transpired while Ford had been off world.

When they had finished telling him what had happened. Ford was shocked. To him it didn't matter whether Sheppard had the gene or not. He was still the best commanding Officer he had, had since joining the Air Force. To think that he thought less of himself without the gene was ridiculous according to Ford. He was confident that Sheppard would come to his senses in the end.


John had gone for a long walk since leaving his friends in the commissary. He needed to clear his head and he thought the best place for that was the south pier. He decided to take the longest way there. He had been standing looking out over the balcony for the last 10 minutes when his radio came to life.

"Major Sheppard, this is Doctor Beckett do you read me?" Carson's voice came through.

"Yeah Doc I hear ya."

"I have some results, could you make your way back to the Infirmary please."

"Sure thing Doc," John answered him and took one last look at the great view over the balcony.

He walked back into the hallway and made his way confidently to the Infirmary. He had come to the conclusion that no matter what the results if he lost the gene it didn't matter. He knew he was capable of doing his job either way and he was going to prove that to his friends. If they thought he could do it then he was going to show them that he could. His mind was finally at peace as he reached the Infirmary. He walked inside to see Carson and Elizabeth quietly talking.

"Hey guys. What's up?" he greeted, making them aware of his presence.

"Major, I have some good news." Carson told him smiling.

"Really?" John was honestly surprised. He had expected to lose the gene and be like every other soldier on Atlantis.

"Well we did some tests combining your DNA with the Gene therapy and it seems to have a multiplying affect."


"Meaning, I believe if I give you the gene therapy it should repair the damage as if nothing had happened. So If you wouldn't mind jumping up on this bed Major, I'll give you the shot now." Carson told him leading him to the gurney.

"Do you really think this will work?" John asked suspicious that it seemed so easy.

"Aye, I believe so. But there is only one way to find out."

John watched as Carson stuck the needle in his vein and plunged the contents into his system.

"How long until we know if it worked?"

"A couple of hours,"

"Why don't you try getting some sleep? It might do you some good and would make the time pass a lot faster for you." Elizabeth suggested.

"Yeah I might just do that. Thanks Doc, I'll see ya later." John said jumping off the table and walked out of the room.

Walking towards his quarters he started thinking that assuming this thing worked, he felt like an idiot letting something like a little insignificant gene worry him so much. He was John Sheppard and nothing could take that away. He reached his quarters and after closing the door behind him went straight for his bed. He fell asleep before his head even touched the pillow.


It was already afternoon the next day and Rodney had already nearly strangled Kavanaugh. The man was a self centered, egotistical ass. And that was just for starters. Kavanaugh had been assigned to help Rodney repair the downed Jumper that they had recovered early that morning. Rodney had the sneaking suspicion that Zelenka had sent Kavanaugh down there as payback for being rude to him. Well Rodney being the head scientist in Atlantis overruled Zelenka and decided to send Kavanaugh to work with him. If he didn't send him somewhere he was most likely going to kill the man and sending him as payback to Zelenka sounded as good a place as any. Rodney thought though that Zelenka got just as much joy pissing of Kavanaugh as he did. So if they had to keep passing the annoying man around so be it.

Kavanaugh had just stormed out to go find Zelenka, leaving Rodney alone to finish the repairs properly. He did not want a repeat of yesterday happening to anyone. Laying under the main console Rodney was surprised for all the power to go off. He was just about to slide out from under the console when the power strangely came back on again. Off again. On again. Mumbling under his breath about stupid puddle jumpers he slid out from under the front console and nearly jumped in the air from fright. Major Sheppard was sitting in the co-pilots chair.

"Major, I didn't think anyone was in here. What are you doing here?" Rodney asked accepting Johns helping hand up and trying to act like he hadn't just jumped.

"I'm making a bad habit of scaring you Rodney."

"For your information Major I wasn't scared. I just wasn't expecting anyone else in here and then the power kept going on and … " Rodney trailed off as he watched the power on the puddle jumper go off again at Sheppard's touch.

"You got your gene back?" Rodney asked surprised.

"No I'm just extremely special and can use the technology without it." John answered back sarcastically.

"Funny Major. You have to give it to Carson and all his voodoo stuff." Rodney said and began to fiddle with the puddle jumper again.

"So I assume your not thinking of leaving the team now that you're a superior being again?" Rodney asked.

"I never felt superior from the gene Rodney and no I'm not leaving the team you had me convinced yesterday with your lecture. It's a shame I didn't have a tape recorder with me, that little speech could have come in handy." John smirked.

"Yes well bad luck for you. I'm glad to hear you came to your senses though. You know the rest of the team feels the same way."

John nodded. It was nice to know how his team really felt about him. But he realized he hadn't needed them to tell him because he had already known. In the short time they had all worked together they had become like a family. A family he knew he would never leave.

"McKay I am getting sick and tired of this bullshit. You and Zelenka might be the head scientist's around here but that doesn't mean that I have to put up with this crap!" Kavanaugh came bursting into the Jumper yelling.

Well maybe he didn't of everyone here like family. Just like a true family member he was gonna leave while he could and let McKay deal with Doctor Dread. He quietly slipped out as McKay's attention became occupied with the ranting scientist. Deciding to go give Teyla and Ford a visit he smiled and walked away. He could still hear McKay arguing with the other scientist.

"Kavanaugh for one, I am the head scientist, Doctor Zelenka works under me and secondly you just don't have what it takes to contribute to fixing this jumper. Now I know Radek needs help on his generator research. Go help him."

"That's it I've had enough I'm going to see Weir."

"You do that. Don't wreck anything on the way." Rodney yelled as Kavanaugh stormed out.

John sighed and couldn't keep the grin off his face. Yes things were definitely back to normal and everything was going to be fine. Now if only he could find away to beat Teyla in stick fighting instead of getting his ass kicked every time, life would be perfect.

The End