A/N: Well, two days late and a dollar short, but Saturday was the official halfway mark to Season 3! Only 60 MORE DAYS (We're practically almost there…)! I decided to recognize this momentous occasion with a silly little fic. I have the rest mostly written out, so there can be no stories not completed this time! I expect it to be in three parts, maybe four if my muse moves me. Have fun!
Okay. This wasn't so bad. If he could get through the first half, he could get through the second half. The end was practically in sight. It wasn't more than a mile to the gate. Sure, it was drizzling and damp and cold and miserable and the path he was jogging was muddy and he was alone and his radio had been smashed and his three team members were all either captured or avoiding recapture in the village behind him and his backpack straps were soaking wet and rubbing coarsely against his jacket, causing it to rumple uncomfortably, but he was halfway there and that's what mattered.
Did he say a mile to the gate? It couldn't even be that far. Three-fourths of a mile at the most. Maybe even two-thirds. That wasn't bad at all. He had to walk two-thirds of a mile to perform routine diagnostics on the naquadah generators every few weeks. Two-thirds was nothing. He could be back in Atlantis in less than ten minutes if he really tried.
Hmm…he was getting optimistic. Now he knew he was screwed.
He noted that he was becoming a little too optimistic for his own good these days. The few months he'd spent on Atlantis had already gotten into his head. The team had barely made it through so many sticky situations by the skin of their teeth…pardon the mixed metaphor…that he was beginning to get a little too comfortable with eleventh-hour rescues for his own good. He really should stop hanging around with Major Sheppard and this gang—they were a bad influence. He couldn't become too confident that they would always get through, because one of these days they weren't going to make it through. He was just surprised they hadn't already.
Although by the looks of it, this mission could be the first where they didn't in fact make it out. Per usual, things had started off peacefully. AT-1, on a mission to find the illusive willing trading partner, took the jumper and parked it in a field about a hundred yards outside the village in order to not frighten the natives, a simple farming community. After spending no longer than thirty minutes talking with the village council, a group of people burst in, claiming to have seen the team arrive through the gate in a Wraith vessel. Sheppard had begun to explain that their ship was not, in fact, Wraith, but Atlantean, and they were peaceful traders. But mob mentality took precedent, and one thing led to another, and they were promptly thrown in prison for being liaisons to the Wraith. Escape from the cell had been no problem; crime was so seldom in the town that the prison had fallen into decay and it only took Ford and Sheppard a few well-placed kicks to knock out the rotting wood boards.
Escape from the town turned out to be a different story. The team managed to retrieve their guns, but not their packs and spare ammo. They'd figured this wouldn't be a problem; no one would notice their escape, and they wouldn't have to use the weapons at all. Simple enough concept, right? Of course not. They had barely left the prison in the middle of the encampment when someone alerted the rest of the town to their presence. For a short while, just firing their guns into the air and pointing them threateningly had been enough to keep the villagers away. But they became braver, and the team soon discovered that these simple farmers were rather adept at using simple farming tools as blunt weapons. Teyla had probably received a minor concussion from being hit upside the skull with some sort of hoe, and Sheppard got several rather nasty and tetanus-prone cuts from a rusty, scythe-like object. When it became clear that things had pretty much gone to hell in a handbasket, Sheppard had decided to send someone ahead to get the jumper. And seeing as he was the only other one with the ATA gene, he was the obvious choice. The other three provided enough cover fire and distractions, while he made a rather spectacular series of dives into bushes and under handcarts. Fortunately, pretty much the entire population was focused on the other three, so once he reached the edge of the town, it was a clear run to the jumper.
He had no earthly idea why he'd been the one to make the run for it. It seemed more like a Major Sheppard deal to him. He wasn't quite…adept at flying the jumper just yet, and Sheppard would freak if he damaged it in any way. But the major's crazy overprotective streak was probably kicking in again--God forbid the man leave the rest of the team to fight on their own.
In any case, the jumper plan backfired in their faces. It had just started to rain when he had left the village, so he high-tailed it to the ship in just a few minutes. It seemed like the whole rescue mission could be over and done with inside of twenty minutes. But when he tried to lift off, the jumper's consoles glowed momentarily, and then went dead. At first he though maybe it was just the fact that his ATA gene was not quite as fancy as Major Sheppard's, but the grinding noise and faint smell of smoke soon made it clear that his flying skills weren't the problem. When he went outside for a cursory inspection, he realized the villagers had gotten to the jumper first. Apparently, farming tools could be put to use on the jumper's drive pods as well. It wouldn't have been incredibly hard to fix; after all the work on the control pathways when they were stuck in the stargate, he had a fairly complex knowledge of the ship's systems. But apparently the sounds of his attempts to take off had roused the locals, and a contingent of rather angry looking men came crashing through the field. He'd had just enough time to grab his spare backpack and bolt to avoid being caught. And so, he continued on to plan B: walk to the gate.
So here he was: halfway (probably closer to two thirds now) to the gate, and quite miserable. He felt like a drowned water rat, and probably didn't look much better than one either. Pretty much the only thing keeping him from sitting down on the nearest patch of dryness (or at least the patch of land that was the least soggy) was the fact that his team's lives were at stake. When he left, Sheppard and Ford were already back in enemy hands, and Teyla was probably not too far behind them. That had been about half an hour ago. He hadn't stuck around to find out what was going to happen to them once they were dealt with, but he had an inkling that the concept if "innocent until proven guilty" didn't apply there. No matter how badly he wanted to allow himself to be captured simply in order to get inside and out of this cursed rain (which, all things considered, he wanted pretty badly), he couldn't. Once again, it was up to Dr. Rodney McKay to save the damned day for everyone else. They owed him so much for this.
Still, the second half was always better than the first…
Hopefully the second part will be better too! REVIEW!