Stargate Atlantis

Running out of time

Major John Sheppard looked up to the blue sky and sighed. Once again he was with his team on another lush green planet. It had been a week since they had come so close to finally getting their hands on Zero Point Module.

In fact we had had our hands on a Z-PM only for it to be taken away by Allina, the Dagan Archaeologist that we were sure had had a crush on our very own Doctor Rodney McKay. I'm not about to forget that mission anytime soon. One minute we were searching for the Z-PM, teasing McKay about Allina and then that god damn Genii soldier, Commander Kolya had turned up locked us in an ancient pit and taken McKay and Allina on a little trip to find the Z-PM. Once we had got the situation under control again and retrieved the Z-PM, I had once again had the opportunity to kill the Genii soldier. After our last encounter with the man I definitely feel that he deserved it. In the long run I will probably regret not pulling the trigger because Kolya definitely had it against me and no doubt sparing him was not going to stop Kolya from once again coming after me or my team. Damn my conscience not letting me kill an unarmed man. It was a shame that the last time I had shot him that I didn't aim for Kolya's head then none of what happened on Dagan would have happened. Sadly though, that was not the only thing that had gone wrong. Finally relaxing we were making our way back with the Z-PM in hand when all of a sudden we are surrounded by people with guns. Apparently McKay had opened his mouth a little too much once again and Allina wasn't going to let us take the Z-PM because we weren't actual Ancients. To be fair I can't really blame McKay though. He couldn't have known what was going to happen. But even that wasn't the worst part of the day. No, that would have been too easy. Once we had finally got back to Atlantis Doctor Weir and Doctor Zelenka inform us that they have found Deep Space sensors, much to McKay's surprise and that there were three Wraith Hive ships on their way to Atlantis, which would be here in two weeks and that a Wraith Dart had flown over the city and that Sergeant Markham and Smith were killed trying to attack in a Jumper. Sometimes the burden of command wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. And although I know I don't share that burden alone, Elizabeth is the Commander of the base and knows how I feel but its never easy losing good men, especially when I had no idea what was even going on. And God now we only have a week before the Wraith show up and blow us out of the water … or eat us depending on what type of fight we put up and right now that isn't looking too promising BUT as I told Steve I must stay positive

John smiled to himself trying to think positive and was brought out of his rambling thoughts by the look McKay was currently giving him.

"What?"

"What could you possibly be smiling about at a time like this?" Rodney asked him irritated.

"I'm just thinking positive thoughts."

"Oh yes of course Major John "Positive" Sheppard," Rodney answered back snippily "I can think of a hundred positive things right now."

"We still have time McKay." Lieutenant Ford interjected walking up to the DHD in order to locate the point of origin before they went anywhere.

Teyla walked over to stand next to the Major with a smile on her face. In truth, being around her teammates and friends and hearing the usual bickering was comforting. Teyla had grown up fearing and running from the Wraith so unlike her friends she was used to this but even in her lifetime she could not remember so many Wraith being awake at the same time. It was almost suffocating. Atlantis was an amazing city with wondrous technology and the people that had come from Earth were very good but she did have her doubts. The Ancients in the end could not continue to defend Atlantis in all the time that they inhabited it. Her and her Earth friends had only been living in the great city for nearly a year and hadn't even scratched the surface. It almost seemed impossible to be able to survive this attack. But the Major's positive attitude was contagious and she found herself thinking positive, Like Aiden had said, they still had time. Where there is time there is hope.

John just shook his head as McKay moved away from them, muttering to himself. He understood that McKay was scared; hell he was worried as well. John just hid it better. But maybe this planet would be a good discovery. They were hoping to find an advanced society. Well that's what the Ancient Database had indicated. At least they knew there was some power source on this planet, so even if they didn't find an advanced society they might have left something behind that might be useful for defending Atlantis. Or if worse comes to worse a new Alpha Site. Anything would help.

The opening around the Stargate wasn't big enough to bring a Puddle Jumper through so they had all come through on foot and according to what the MALP had told them there were some power readings coming from straight ahead. Seeing that his team seemed ready, John decided they should head out, after all time was running out.

"Okay boys and girls lets get a move on shall we," Sheppard said moving forward, walking into the tree line "and McKay no wandering."

"What? Why does he always say that to me?" Rodney complained as Teyla walked past him and smiled.

Looking behind him he noticed that Ford hadn't budged, waiting for McKay to move so he could bring up the rear. That's the way they always worked it. Someone on point, someone on their six and McKay and someone in the middle. Sighing Rodney moved to catch up to Sheppard and Teyla.

"Rodney, are you picking up any life signs?" John asked from the lead.

Rodney took out his life signs detector "Not really."

"What does not really mean?" Ford asked him from behind.

"It means not really. There are lots of animals scattered around these woods but I highly doubt the major meant them." Rodney snapped.

"So I guess we won't fine a live civilization then." Ford sounded disappointed.

"Gee really? What makes you think that? Could it be the lack of life?" Rodney answered back sarcastically.

"Anything could be out there! We could come across a hibernating Wraith ship. They don't register on the detector when they're hibernating."

"Well isn't that just a comforting thought. Thank you, Lieutenant, for your brilliant insight."

"Okay you two knock it off." Sheppard growled getting irritated.

"Yes Sir."

After seeing that McKay wasn't going to say anything else he turned around and continued walking in between the trees. McKay and Ford seemed to be snapping at each other a lot more than usual over the past two weeks. McKay had been more on edge and Ford had always bitten easily to McKay's abrasive attitude. The kid had to learn to ignore McKay's attitude more. But first they needed to get past the impending attack.

Ten minutes later the four teammates came across a stone alter in the middle of the woods. It was at least 7 ft and had two clear crystals sticking out of the middle of it.

"Well this is different." John commented walking up to the Alter.

"I have never seen anything like this. I don't believe it is Ancient." Teyla told them studying the Alter.

"It's not." McKay piped up, walking over and holding his scanner close to the Alter, taking some readings.

"What is it?" Ford asked.

"I …" McKay began but was cut off from a look from John, warning him to be nice.

"I'm not sure but I think we should be careful."

Rodney took his pack off and retrieved his data pad out of it and when he looked back up he saw Sheppard reaching up to touch the crystals. Before Rodney was able to tell the Major off for touching the unknown he saw a bright light and then nothing.

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Doctor Elizabeth Weir ran her hands through he short brown curls. She was extremely tired. She hadn't slept well since finding out about the Wraith Hives on their way to Atlantis. She doubted anyone in the city had slept well. She was sure Rodney only slept when he really needed to. She knew that Rodney felt like he should be able to find a way to save the city from the coming onslaught. Rodney acted like he didn't care but inside he seemed to take everything on his shoulders. Only his close friends like herself and Major Sheppard knew what was going on in that head of his. The Major was another issue. He rarely slept either. Unlike Rodney, the Major didn't have anything he could work on that could make a difference. All he could do was prepare his soldiers. Doctor Carson Beckett had been nagging them all to look after themselves but in a way he was just as bad as the rest of them and didn't always take his own advice. Doctor Radek Zelenka had also been working around the clock, working close with Rodney, even receiving an electrical shock and a burnt hand for his troubles but no matter what they did, without a Z-PM she was afraid they would not be able to power the cities defenses no matter what they tried. Elizabeth had had Sergeant Bates and his team looking for possible Alpha sites incase evacuation was needed, so far they hadn't had much luck in the endeavor. The Wraith were everywhere and the uninhabited planets were often uninhabited for good reasons. Not only would everyone in Atlantis have to evacuate but also all the Athosian's on the mainland. Elizabeth knew though that if they decided to stand and fight when the time came that the Athosian's would stand beside them in defense of the city. One of the harder decisions was to destroy the city, should they abandon it. They couldn't chance the Wraith getting their hands on Ancient technology and a way to Earth. Destroying all that knowledge would be hard to do but in reality they had no choice. Sergeant Bates distrust of Teyla and the Athosian's in general was not helping matters. Elizabeth had been going through the reports on the planets that had recently been checked out by the SGA teams for the last two hours and thought she needed a break because the words were all starting the blend together. Maybe she could convince Carson to join her for lunch. He probably needed a break just as much as her.

She stood up from her desk in her office and looked out over the walkway towards the control room, watching the technicians and scientists working away all looking very determined. They were all working with a great bunch of people and she hoped that eventually one day she would be able to inform Earth of all the great work her expedition members had done. She took one last look at the data pad and then made her way out of her office. When she walked into the control room Doctor Peter Grodin looked up from the console he was working at and gave her a small smile. She smiled back and made her way out of the control room and started towards the Infirmary, where she new their Scottish Doctor would be.

When she walked into the Infirmary it was strangely quiet. But then maybe it just seemed quiet because whenever she was in here it was because either Sheppard or another member of his team were in here for one reason or another and when one of them was in here there was bound to be another one of them standing vigil. She found Carson in his office staring fixatedly at his laptop.

"Carson?"

Carson jumped and then relaxed when he realized what had interrupted the silence. "Elizabeth I didn't see you there." He explained

"Sorry I didn't mean to startle you," she apologized "what are you working on?"

"Just looking over the findings and results from the drug we … I … helped the Hoffan's make." He told her self consciously.

"Your not still blaming yourself for that, are you?" Elizabeth asked getting concerned; she knew that the Hoffan mission had disturbed the good Doctor a great deal.

"Aye, I played a part in it, but I just thought maybe if we missed something, we could perfect it. It's an extreme long shot and we'd never really have enough time to work on it anyway not with the Wraith being here in a week. I guess I was just dwelling lass." Carson told her looking sad and shutting down the results page on his laptop.

"Well it's good that I came by then." She announced, smiling.

"What do you have in mind?"

"Lunch, if I look at another report of another useless planet I think I might go insane or go blind so I thought you might like to join me for lunch." She offered.

Carson sighed then decided that he could use a break from the quiet infirmary and the reports. "Aye, that would be good." He agreed getting up and let Elizabeth lead him out of the Infirmary.

The two friends made their way to the Infirmary hoping to relax even if it was short lived.

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Major John Sheppard awoke with a start and the first thing he realized was that they weren't in the woods anymore. The second thing he realized was his gun was missing. The third thing he realized was that he was the reason they weren't in the woods anymore and that he was bound to get a tongue lashing from Rodney. Speaking of the devil … he heard the scientist come awake with a moan. John looked around at his surrounding while waiting for Rodney to come to his senses and start to abuse him. They were in a medium sized room with four beds in it. Although John wouldn't exactly call them beds they felt more like metal slabs than a bed. Teyla and Ford were on a bed each on the other side of the room; McKay was on the one next to him. He couldn't see their weapons anywhere.

"Oh god," Rodney exclaimed and put his arm over his eyes.

Here we go John thought as he swung his legs over the side of his slab bed.

"Major?" Rodney asked slowly sitting up and looking around.

"Yep,"

"Why is it that whenever we are studying some alien device YOU get us into trouble?" Rodney accused glaring at his friend.

"I don't always get us into trouble … you have caused your fair share. Besides you don't know we are in trouble."

"Yes. Yes Major I have caused my fair share of problems but I always manage to get us out of these problems."

"I have saved our butts just as much as you have." John counted.

"And here we go again you sounding like a ten year old."

"Oh yeah and you sound so much more mature."

"You both sound as bad as each other." Teyla said slowly sitting up letting her friends know she was awake.

"See." John said looking smugly at Rodney.

Rodney just rolled his eyes and walked over to the only door in the room. Pulling on it a couple of times confirmed that it was locked, but that didn't exactly surprise anyone.

"Where are we?" Ford asked also sitting up and taking a look around the room.

"Oh yes it says here, you have been put here because Major John Sheppard cant keep his hands off alien devices," Rodney answered him sarcastically " how the hell should I know?"

"McKay we're not going to go through this again and it was a good question." John scolded, getting up and walking over to a window.

"You really need to calm down McKay."

"I'm calm."

"Sure."

"There looks to be a city outside this room." Teyla interrupted their sniping as she joined Major Sheppard at the one window in the room.

"Is there anyone out there?" Rodney asked coming over to the window.

"Yeah there's some people out there." John answered him.

"Ah guys!" Ford called as the door to the room opened and a man walked in who looked to be in his 30's, about 6 ft 1 with brown hair and green eyes.

Sheppard, Teyla and Rodney all turned from the window to see their visitor. The man had a huge smile on his face and John just got an uneasy feeling.

"Greetings I am Miln Hamil of the Saiban." Miln introduced himself

"Major John Sheppard," John greeted holding out his hand to Miln who just looked quizzical at it, so he pulled his hand back and introduced his team. "This is Doctor Rodney McKay, Lieutenant Aiden Ford and Teyla Emmagan."

"It is a great pleasure to have more friends." Miln said still with a big smile.

"Saiban is the name of this planet?" Ford asked

"Saiban is where we live."

"Right why did you have us locked up?" Rodney cut straight to the point. "And where are our weapons?" John added.

"It was just to give you some privacy and a chance to re-energize. No harm was intended and your weapons were put away for safe keeping for you. They are of no use to you here. If you wish I will have them brought back to you."

"Yes thank you" John answered back, he didn't like being weaponless in a strange environment.

"Why did you knock us out and bring us here instead of just saying hello?" Rodney asked.

"We did no such thing. You all appeared in the circle of life. We brought you here to re-energize." Milln assured.

"We thank you for your consideration. May we see this circle of life?" Teyla asked with a smile on her face, ever the diplomat.

"You do not know of the circle of life?" Miln asked clearly confused.

"Would we …" Rodney began only to be cut off by Sheppard once again.

"Rodney." John warned.

"Forgive us. We have come from far away and would like to learn of you." Teyla told the man in front of them.

"Very well, if you are re-energized you may follow me." Miln told them and then turned and headed out the door.

Teyla and Ford headed out the door Sheppard following after them. Rodney had an uneasy feeling about this but walked a little faster to catch up to the Major.

"What's with all this re-energizing stuff?" Rodney whispered to Sheppard as they followed Miln through the city.

"I have no idea maybe It's just the way they speak." John whispered back.

"Doesn't he seem a bit off to you?"

"Something feels weird I just haven't worked out what that is yet. Until then I think we should play along and see if we can find out where we are and if these people can help us at all", John replied quietly sparing a glance at Rodney.

Walking alongside Rodney, Sheppard was taking a good look at the sites. The buildings looked a lot like buildings you might find Earth maybe even more advanced. There were a few people around doing what looked like normal daily things one did. One thing he did notice. Everybody here looked perfect all fair skinned and extremely fit. He took another sideways glance at Rodney and noticed that the man had noticed the same thing and was currently looking very appreciatory at some of the women as they walked by. John smirked, it didn't matter where they were, Rodney still found the time to have a good perve at the opposite sex. Not that he, himself didn't find these women attractive. Suddenly the group stopped causing, Ford, Rodney and John to run into the back of Teyla, who turned and looked at them annoyed. She knew exactly where their minds had been. But in their defense it wasn't their fault that all the women were great looking and wore some very nice attire.

"Major, Lieutenant, Doctor are you okay?" Miln asked seeing how they had been distracted.

"We're fine." John assured him, walking to the front of the group.

"This is the circle of life." Miln told them gesturing to the circle of stone that was one the ground.

"And you just found us here?"

"The creators send us friends to the circle of life, although they have not done so in generations."

"The creators?" Teyla asked.

"The creators are the ones that create us and give us life." Miln said looking more and more concerned that these knew friends didn't know about the circle or the creators.

"Ah yes the creators. Of course we know who they are it's coming back now." John said getting strange looks from his teammates.

"Of course that is understandable." Miln said understandingly.

"Now that you have arrived feel free to go where ever you want and mingle with your new friends. When you feel the need to re-energize you have been assigned the quarters where you woke up." Miln told them then bowed and left.

"What the hell was that about Major?" Rodney hissed as soon as Miln was out of earshot.

"Look the guy was starting to look a little worried about the fact that we didn't know about his creators and the damn circle I thought maybe we should play along until we know what exactly going on."

"What should we do? Do we even know where the Stargate is?" Ford asked.

"Well this city or village or whatever it is wasn't anywhere near the gate and Miln said that we just appeared in the circle so I'm going to assume that we have been transported to another part of the planet."

"Makes sense," Rodney agreed.

"Well thanks for agreeing Rodney." John said sarcastically.

"Your welcome but now what do we do?"

"You're going to find a way to get back to the gate."

"Why me?"

"Because you're the scientist and you were the one who was bragging how you always pull our butts out of the fire so here's your chance to save the day again McKay." John told him slapping him on the back.

"Great. You do realize that we don't have time for this."

"What do you want us to do McKay slow down time?" Ford sniped back.

"Look the point is we need to find a way back soon. We are already late for our check in. Perhaps Doctor Weir has already sent a search team." Teyla suggested.

"Teyla, Ford go have a talk to some of the locals, but stay together I want us to at least stay in pairs," Sheppard ordered them "I'll stay with McKay and let him take some readings maybe we might be able to use their circle to get back to the Alter."

"Yes Sir."

"Meet us back in our room in one hour."

"We will see you then." Teyla said and walked off in another direction with Lieutenant Ford hot on her heels.

"Well McKay lets see what we can find out." John said looking at his friend and rubbing his hands together.

"Great. Just great, I don't even have the right equipment here; most of what I need was in my pack, which if you have noticed is missing at the moment." Rodney grumbled as he reached into his vest for his data pad and diagnostic equipment.

"Look, just find out what you can with what you got, I'm not asking for a miracle … just yet."

"Oh well how nice of you." Rodney bit back as he turned to look at the stone circle.

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Elizabeth and Carson sat contently in the Commissary eating their respective meals. It had felt good to sit and eat a meal with a friend and temporally forget what was going on. Elizabeth noticed that Carson was starting to look a little less stressed and if nothing else at least she had accomplished that. They had been sitting in the Commissary for almost an hour. Just enjoying the meal and the friendly conversation, which ranged from Atlantis to people and things they had left behind at home.

"Well Carson I have to say that I'm glad we did this." Elizabeth told him when she realized how long they had been sitting there.

"Aye, it was good to get away from the infirmary for a bit, but I think we should head back, they might be sending out search teams if we don't." he joked as he stood and picked up his tray.

Elizabeth followed him and they both deposited their trays when their radios came to life.

"Doctor Weir, come in please." They heard Grodin say.

"Weir here, what is it Peter?"

"Major Sheppard's team is now an hour late for their check-in. I just thought you'd like to know."

"Yes thank you Peter I'm on my way, Weir out."

"Well that doesn't sound good." Carson observed.

"No it doesn't. Especially because it's Major Sheppard's team and you know how they tend too attract trouble."

"Aye," Carson sighed "Only too well. Call me if you need anything."

"Thanks I will." Elizabeth answered and then they both headed in their own directions.

Upon reaching the control room Elizabeth saw that not much had changed and she hadn't heard the Stargate come to life, meaning that SGA-1 had not contacted them yet. Why was it always that group of people that attracted the most trouble? They were the best she had out in the field yet sometimes it felt like they couldn't have one mission without running into some trouble.

"Peter any change?" She asked coming to stand next to Grodin.

"No Ma'am I thought we'd wait till you got back here to open the gate to try and contact them."

"Good. Very well Dial it up." She ordered.

Elizabeth stood there watching as the chevrons locked into place one by one. Once they had a connection Grodin brought up the MALP's telemetry and video. Looking at their computer screen the planet still seemed to be peaceful enough but there was no sign of Major Sheppard and his team. Not that she was really expecting there to be.

"Major Sheppard this is Doctor Weir, do you read me?" she asked into her radio.

Her hail was met with silence. She tried a couple of more times to no avail and then asked Grodin to shut it down. She stood for a moment thinking about what to do.

"Doctor Weir?" Grodin asked her obviously waiting for her to give him orders.

"Get Sergeant Bates and his team and Doctor Kavanaugh to meet me in the briefing room."

"Yes Ma'am." Grodin replied and watched as she made her way to her office.

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Teyla and Ford walked around the small town for a bit, just observing and Teyla couldn't help but notice the strange looks they were getting. On one hand it seemed like it was nothing out of the ordinary to have people just appear in the village yet on the other hand the people were staring at them like they had never seen other people before. She wondered whether Major Sheppard and Doctor McKay were experiencing the same thing. The village itself did not look that technologically advanced and Lieutenant Ford had mentioned how the buildings looked similar to that of the buildings built on Earth. So far nothing suggested that these people possessed weapons of any kind that could help them.

"Well I guess we should talk to some people." Ford suggested bringing Teyla out of her thoughts.

"Yes."

They saw a man and a woman coming their way so walked up to them. Both plastered smiles on their face to look welcoming.

"Hello my name is Teyla Emmagan and this is my friend Lieutenant Aiden Ford." Teyla introduced them.

"Nice to meet you Teyla, Lieutenant. My name is Salina and this is our friend Malphew." The woman told them, nodding in greeting.

"You are the friends that came through the circle of life are you not?" Malphew asked them looking at both Teyla and Ford like he was studying them.

"Um … Yeah news travels fast around here, doesn't it?" Ford answered getting uncomfortable with all the staring.

"Yes, this is only a small village and we have not had friends brought to us in so long and never ones with such dark colouring." Salina told them with a smile.

"Dark colouring?" Teyla asked.

"Yes the colour of your skin and eyes is most intriguing. We have never seen such a design." Salina answered again, with Malphew looking at them strangely.

"How long have your people been here?" Teyla asked thinking maybe it was time to change the subject, since Ford and Malphew now seemed to be in a staring match.

"We have been here for many centuries."

"And the Wraith have never attacked you?" Ford piped up.

"What are these Wraith?" Malphew asked suspiciously.

"The Wraith are just these pasty looking alien guys that suck the life out of you with their hands." Ford told him.

"That sounds horrible but we have never encountered such beings before, besides we have enough energy stores and could never run out of life."

"You do?" Ford asked looking at Teyla seeing that she was as confused as he was.

"Where are these energy stores and how do they work?" Teyla asked Salina.

"You do not know?"

"No we do not."

"You have one in your quarters I will show you." Salina told them heading in the direction of their rooms.

"Okay" Ford agreed motioned to Teyla that they should follow.

Malphew looked at the departing group with growing suspicion. It was strange that the newcomers did not know things that should be obvious. Every friend that had been sent to them through the circle had automatic knowledge of such things. These newcomers were not who they appeared to be and he planned on telling Miln his thoughts as soon as possible.

Ford and Teyla entered the room after Salina and watched as she walked to the head of one of the beds and opened a panel that showed two handprints.

"This is what allows us to re-energize and provides more life for us. We put our hands on the prints and the energy is transferred." Salina explained, as she placed her hands on the prints while still standing up.

Salina stood there with her eyes closed and the only sound that Teyla and Ford could hear was a slight humming sound coming from the panel. A moment later Salina opened her eyes and stood away from the panel.

"See," she exclaimed happily "Normally one would do this for a much longer time at night to re-energize for the next day but it is available whenever you feel the need. Would you like to try?"

"Umm … I don't know about that Ma'am." Ford said uncertainly.

"But you must use it eventually. I promise you it is fine." She assured grabbing hold of Teyla's hand and placing it on one of the handprints.

Ford watched as Teyla's hand connected to the handprint. Almost immediately Sparks started to fly and Teyla's body started to convulse. Ford recognized that she was being electrocuted and immediately flew past Salina and yanked Teyla off the panel, sending both of them crashing to the floor. Yanking Teyla of the panel had caused Ford to receive a shock as well and the last thing he remembered before darkness claimed him was that Teyla was unconscious and Salina had run off yelling for help.

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Elizabeth watched as Sergeant Bates and his team walked into the briefing room followed by Doctor Kavanaugh and surprisingly Doctor Zelenka.

"Doctor Zelenka I wasn't expecting you here."

"Doctor Grodin informed me, there is trouble with Major Sheppard's team, yes? Is it okay if I join you?" he asked Elizabeth politely in his heavy Czech accent.

Elizabeth saw the worry in his eyes and nodded. Although Rodney was often quite rude to the Czech scientist and they often fought, they were still quite good friends.

"What have they done this time?" Kavanaugh asked sarcastically rolling his eyes.

"Doctor Kavanaugh I don't expect you to like it but I do expect you to do your best and make no assumptions, is that understood." Elizabeth said coolly, troubled by the fact that at the moment she only had Kavanaugh to work with.

It was no secret that the scientist and the head of Atlantis did not like each other but at the moment, with the Wraith on their way everyone was working on something extremely important for the incoming attack.

"Of course, Doctor." Kavanaugh replied with a neutral expression.

"Ma'am may I ask what we know?" Bates asked coming into the conversation.

"Major Sheppard's team went out to do a reconnaissance of PXR – 987. The Ancient Database read that there was an advance civilization there, or at least there was ten thousand years ago. Readings from the MALP also suggested that there was a power source of some kind, although we couldn't be sure of life signs because the MALP doesn't have a life signs detector. At the very least it looked like it might be good to use for an Alpha site. They are now currently over an hour late with their check in and I want you and your team along with Doctor Kavanaugh to go take a look at the planet."

"What if what happened to them happens to us?" Kavanaugh asked, alarmed.

"I want you to be extremely careful and don't touch anything if you don't know what it is."

"Why am I going along?"

"Because Doctor if you come across any type of technology there should be someone there that knows what he's doing."

"But …"

"It's not a request Doctor it's an order."

"Why can't you send Zelenka or something?"

"If you haven't noticed Doctor Zelenka isn't exactly fit for off-world work at the moment."

"We'll do what we can Ma'am" Bates informed her cutting off anything Kavanaugh had to say.

She could see that he wasn't thrilled at having the arrogant annoying scientist along with this trip but wasn't going to complain. She was actually surprised that the Marine hadn't automatically blamed Teyla for the team's disappearance. That was his usual way. The man had distrust for everything it seemed especially the Athosian's which often put him on the wrong side of Major Sheppard. Elizabeth didn't think that Bates had anything against Teyla herself but just had to have a reason for why things happen and Teyla happened to bare the brunt of his accusations. In the end though the man was a soldier and even if he were at odds with Sheppard a lot of the time he still respected his Commanding Officer and she was confident he would get the job done.

"Thank you Sergeant. All of you be ready to head out in half an hour and that includes you Doctor. You're dismissed." She ordered looking directly at Kavanaugh at the end of her sentence.

After everyone left she saw that Zelenka was still in the room. He rose to meet her as she was heading out.

"Do you think they are alright?" He asked her as they walked into the control room together.

"I hope so Doctor, I hope so." She sighed.

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Doctor Rodney McKay was frustrated. There was no readings coming from the circle and he didn't exactly have the right equipment with him anyway to conduct proper tests. Yet Sheppard expected him to be able to figure a way out of this mess. He hoped that Teyla and Ford were having better luck than what he was. He looked over at Sheppard, who was taking a good look around him, while chatting to a couple of the locals. What Rodney really wanted was his life signs detector. That gave a lot better readings than his Earth equipment, for some reason it wasn't with the rest of his gear. It must have been taken along with there weapons. All he had to work with was what was in his vest at the time, which didn't amount to much. Sighing he turned to face Sheppard again to tell him that it was useless and came face to face with a villager.

"Hello."

"Um … Hi and what do you want?"

"You are the friends that were sent through the circle of life?" the man asked looking intently into McKay's eyes.

"Yes, yes that would be us." He said gesturing to Sheppard who had just noticed someone talking to Rodney so came to join him.

"You are strange."

"Oh I'm strange and how do you figure that?" Rodney asked looking insulted.

"Only females have blue eyes. Men have green eyes. It has been this way always," he told Rodney "You are a man are you not?"

"Excuse me?" Rodney exclaimed "Of course I'm a man."

"My apologies it is just strange."

"Don't worry, Rodney has been strange as long as I have known him," John smirked coming into the conversation earning a glare from Rodney.

"My name is Calin. What are your names?"

"Major John Sheppard and this here is Doctor Rodney McKay." John introduced them as Rodney still seemed flustered at his manliness being questioned.

"It is a great pleasure to meet you. We haven't had new friends come here in a long time."

"Where exactly are we?" John asked him.

"We are in Saiban." Calin spoke as if it should be obvious.

"Yes, yes, yes but where is Saiban." Rodney asked impatiently.

"Saiban is here." Calin said smiling.

"Well yes of course it is here, how stupid of me."

"Rodney," John warned "Listen, Miln said someone was going to get our stuff back for us."

"Oh you would have to speak to Miln about that, he is our leader."

"Do you happen to know where he is?" John asked politely.

"Of course, follow me." Calin said indicating them in the direction he wanted them to follow.

"Why is it that your weapons are always you first concern?" Rodney whispered to John as they walked behind Calin.

"Because Rodney this place feels quite strange and I would like a bit of back up incase shit hits the fan and oh by the way, don't feel so bad that he questioned if you're a man." John told him snickering.

"Oh he could have easily asked you …"

"Green eyes," John said smugly.

"Well how nice for you." Rodney snapped back which only made John's smile grow.

They were halfway across the yard when they heard a commotion. A woman ran out into the main yard yelling for help. Rodney rolled his eyes when John started heading towards her. him and his damn hero complex he thought as he joined Calin in following Sheppard.

"Salina, what's wrong?" Calin asked once he was closer.

"I was showing the newcomers the energizer plates and something went horribly wrong. I have never seen anything like it." She told them quickly.

"Where are they?" John asked

"In your quarters follow me." She replied, then quickly sprinting off to their rooms, John, Rodney and Calin in hot pursuit.

John skidded to a stop just inside the room nearly colliding with Salina in the process. He looked down and saw that Lieutenant Ford and Teyla were both on the floor unconscious. He knelt beside Ford and Teyla and checked their pulses. They were both strong and he noticed that Ford was starting to come to. It was a good thing, because John wanted answers. He looked up when Rodney and Calin came barreling into the room.

"What happened? Are they okay?" Rodney fired at John.

"I haven't got that far yet Rodney, but I think Ford is coming to," he told Rodney, then looked back down at Ford and lightly tapped his cheek. "Lieutenant, wake up. Come on buddy."

Ford could hear people talking but couldn't make out their words. Suddenly someone was lightly slapping his face and the voice became a little easier to understand. It was telling him to wake up and sounded a lot like Major Sheppard. Always one to obey orders Ford slowly opened his eyes and found the owner of the voice staring down at him. All of a sudden he remembered what happened and remembered that Teyla had been electrocuted.

"Teyla!" he exclaimed sitting up fast making his head spin.

"Whoa there, Lieutenant," John said steadying him "What happened."

"Uh um … Salina put Teyla's hand on the panel and it electrocuted her so I pulled her off it. It must have transferred onto me." Ford explained groggily.

"I am sorry I did not know that it would do that. That panel in particular must be faulty." Salina said clearly upset.

"How could you not know that putting your hand on an electrical outlet would do that?" Rodney questioned her.

"The panel is only meant to re-energize not to overload. It was an accident."

Rodney was just about to launch into a tirade when they heard a groan from the floor. Looking down he noticed that Teyla was beginning to regain consciousness.

"Hey Sparky, how are ya feeling?" John asked helping her sit up.

"I am fine. Sparky?"

"That was just Major Sheppard's poor attempt at a joke." Rodney told her while lent Ford a hand up.

"I might suck at jokes but at least I'm not classed as a woman McKay" John teased back.

"That's funny, Major, very funny."

"When did McKay become a woman?" Ford asked thinking that sometimes this team could have some strange conversations.

"I'll explain later. Are you sure you're alright Teyla?" John asked extending a hand to help her up as well.

"I will be fine."

"Well I think you should rest all the same, you were electrocuted after all."

"I think that would be wise we will leave you alone now for you to rest." Calin said reminding the group that they were there.

"That would be good and about our things?" John asked again, he was getting the feeling that he was repeating himself a lot lately.

"Yes you shall receive them soon." Calin assured him.

"Good."

The team waited until Calin and Salina were gone before anybody said anything. John helped Teyla over to a metal slab which would just have to serve as a resting place for now. Once she was resting he turned around to find McKay already taking a look at the panel.

"Ford what did you find out?" John asked, his attention going to his 2IC.

"Well Sir they found me and Teyla to be quite interesting because of the colour of our skin and our eyes. Also apparently according to Salina, they use those panels there to re-energize, as she put it. Like every night." Ford explained, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Rodney?" John asked turning to Rodney to see if he had any answers yet.

"Well Major I can tell you one thing. There is no way a Human being could use these things every night. Teyla only had her hand on there for a short time and it knocked her out."

"So you're saying these people aren't human?"

"If they are telling the truth then I highly doubt it."

"They look human to me." Ford said sitting down on one of the slabs

"Well something is definitely not right here," Rodney said, starting to pace the small room. "I mean how many times have you asked for our gear back Major? Too many times and we still haven't received them yet."

"I know what you mean and also I was speaking to some of the villagers while you were fussing with the circle and none of them new what a Stargate was, let alone where it is." John informed them.

"Which means we could be anywhere," Rodney whimpered.

"Well what should we do?" Ford asked looking both between the Major and McKay.

John seemed to think about this for a moment. All he knew is that something was definitely off and that they needed to get back to Atlantis.

"I'm going to go talk to Miln. You guys stay here!" he told them heading towards the door, only to be stopped by McKay's hand on his shoulder.

"Wait a minute Major I thought you said we should stay in pairs."

John sighed, he had said that. "Okay Ford your with me."

"Shouldn't Ford stay with Teyla incase something goes wrong? She'd be safer with him." Rodney argued looking determinedly at his friend.

"I'll be fine." Teyla piped up earning three heads to turn her way.

"I thought you were supposed to be resting." John said walking over to her.

"How can anyone sleep with you three talking so much?" Teyla teased him.

"I still think its better if I go … we could find something on the way and I should be there to have a look." Rodney continued.

John rolled his eyes making Teyla smile. "Okay Rodney I get your point," he told Rodney and then looked back at Teyla "And I want you to rest, it was quite a shock you got there."

"I will try, be careful." She warned him and then closed her eyes.

"Alright let's go. Ford keep watch hopefully we wont be too long." John ordered and then motioning Rodney out the door with him.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sergeant Bates came out of the wormhole and strolled down the steps to the DHD as the rest of his team plus Doctor Kavanaugh came through after him. Once everyone was through, the gate shut off and he addressed his people.

"Okay we have to check in, in one hour so Harper, secure the gate and we will radio you when it's time for check in. if anything happens radio me immediately. Johnson, Wills and Doctor Kavanaugh, you're with me."

"Um Sergeant shouldn't we have more men with us? I mean what if something happens to us like Major Sheppard's team?" Kavanaugh complained looking completely nervous off-world.

"Doctor for a start we don't know exactly what happened to SGA-1 and secondly we'll be fine."

"That's easy for you to say." Kavanaugh murmured loud enough for Bates to hear.

"Yes it is isn't it? Let's move out." Bates told him with a smirk on his face and pointing in the direction which SGA-1 had went.

"How do we even know that we are going the right way?"

"Because that is the way McKay said he was going before we lost contact and because Johnson is a tracker and knows where we are going. Anything else you want to complain about Doctor?"

"Lot's,"

"Well don't. Now let's move it please." Bates said irritably.

He was never going to complain about Doctor McKay again. That man was a piece of cake to work with compared to this guy. No wonder mostly everyone on Atlantis didn't like him. He'd especially noticed the tension between Doctor Weir and Kavanaugh. He remembered hearing that she had balled him out right in the control room and rightly so apparently. He considered Doctor Weir a pretty fair leader so if she balled him out it had to have been for a pretty good reason. Bates had a feeling that this was going to be a long day.

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John and Rodney had stopped and asked for directions to find Miln and found out that he had an office of sorts near the centre of town. Since a lot of the buildings looked the same it took a couple of wrong rooms to finally find the right one. They found Miln sitting at a desk talking to someone so John held up a fisted hand that told Rodney to be quiet. Thankfully Rodney was getting better at reading hand signals and did as he was told. John strained his ears and tried to hear what they were saying.

"I met with two of the newcomers today Miln and I do not trust them." The strange man Miln was talking too said.

"Malphew the newcomers came through the circle of life. Why would you not trust them?"

"They ask strange questions, questions they should already know the answer to. All friends that have come before them have been programmed with the knowledge. Also I have never seen friends come through the circle to be of such colours like the ones called Teyla and Lieutenant. Also I was told that one of the males has blue eyes and that colour is strictly a female eye colour."

"Maybe because it's been so long since our creators have sent us any new friends they have simply forgotten these details or thought it was time for a change." Miln told him

"Something is not right here Miln. I know you have sensed it too. What about what Salina told us. How the female reacted badly to the re-energizers and I know you know that the panel used was in perfect working order."

"Yes that was strange." Miln sighed.

"There was a time when the creators sent through different creatures through the circle for us to study and learn from. Maybe that is what this is. Maybe these newcomers are organic creatures in our form and have been sent to us to further our knowledge and education."

"They look just like us Malphew."

"I think we should keep them confined to their quarters until we know otherwise."

"Okay I will send someone to …" Miln began when he was interrupted by the door opening.

Miln and Malphew both looked up and saw two of the newcomers pushed in by two of Miln's guards.

"They were sneaking around on the other side of the door Sir." The guard holding John told Miln.

"We were not sneaking we were eavesdropping, that's two different things." Rodney corrected, while trying to shrug off the hold his guard had on him.

"I told you they were not who they seemed to be." Malphew said looking at Miln.

"I see, but are they organic as you claimed?"

"There is one way to find out," Malphew replied with a smile beginning to spread across his face. "If they are like us then repairs will be easy. If they aren't then we'll have 3 left to play with."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Rodney squeaked.

"Hey I thought we were supposed to be friends and all. We only came here to talk." John protested and then looked slightly alarmed when Malphew brought one of their Beretta's out and pointed it at him.

"This is not what I meant when I asked for our weapons back." John said getting nervous.

"I am truly sorry if you are one of us." Malphew said as he unclipped the safety on the gun.

"Wait how the hell do you know how to use our weapons?" John asked really not liking where this was heading but it was better that the weapon was pointed at him and not McKay.

"We have already tested them out Major." Miln told him as Malphew cocked the gun.

John swallowed hard. This day was just getting better and better.

"Look you really don't need to do this." Rodney said hoping that he could persuade them not to shoot the Major.

"Yes we do. Organics are nothing more than creatures to be experimented on and you four are even more special, since you were made in our form." Malphew said taking aim once again and shot the Major in the stomach.

McKay thought it was strange the sound of the gun was so loud in his ears and then the sound of the Major's pain as the bullet entered him. He watched and was amazed that Sheppard was still conscious but was being held up by his guard since his legs had given out on him. Blood was starting to flow through the fingers that he had clutched tightly to the bullet wound in his stomach. The Guard dropped Sheppard and the Major grunted with pain as he hit the hard floor. Malphew walked over to the fallen man and pried his hands away from the hole in his stomach.

"I guess that answers our question." He said smiling to Miln.

"We have not had creatures to study for so long I thought the creators had forgotten about us."

"You Son's Of Bitches!" Rodney screamed and started struggling again to get out of the guards grasp and over to where his friend was gasping in pain on the floor.

"Take him back to the others and lock them in and then dispose of this one." Miln ordered.

"No wait!" Rodney yelled. "He's not dead yet. At least let him die with his friends."

Both Miln and Malphew stared at him like he'd gone mad. They both seemed to consider this.

"It is of no consequence to us. Throw them both in the room then and tomorrow we can have our fun."

"Yes Sir" Sheppard's guard said then picked him up by the back of his jacket, making the Major yell in pain and then dragged him out of the room, McKay being dragged out of the room protesting to the Major's treatment.

"Finally the creators have given us another challenge, who could have known there were creatures out there in our image. This shall be truly enlightening." Malphew said and then smiled at Miln as he left the room.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Are we there yet?" Kavanaugh complained.

It was alright for these stupid marines, he was the one that was carrying all his equipment. How long was this going to take anyway?

"We've only been walking for barely ten minutes Doctor." Bates told him impatiently and he continued walking.

"Sir I think I see something up ahead." Mills informed his C.O.

"Actually there are some readings indicating a power source coming from straight ahead of us." Kavanaugh said looking at his hand held scanner.

Sergeant Bates stopped next to Wills and looked up at the stone alter that stood in front of them.

"Now nobody touch anything until I know what this is, who knows what could happen." Kavanaugh ordered earning him a look from Bates which clearly said, who are you to order me around?

"Well?" Bates asked the Doctor impatiently.

"Well these are definitely the same power readings that the MALP detected; I'll need to study it a little bit more to come to any conclusions."

"Okay well I'll leave Will's here so you can do your work. Johnson, you're with me. We are gonna take a look around just incase this alter has nothing to do with Major Sheppard's disappearance." Bates ordered following Johnson further into the woods.

Kavanaugh began to go through his pack for the equipment he would need. He couldn't believe that he was off-world with a small amount of grunts looking for the most troublesome team Atlantis had. Quite frankly he had better things to do. Besides McKay thought he was so smart why couldn't he figure out his own way home? If he managed to pull this off he was going to rub it into McKay's face for as long as he could.

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Major Sheppard and Doctor McKay hadn't been gone all that long when Ford heard footsteps coming towards their room and if he wasn't mistaken it sounded a lot like McKay yelling and complaining. Ford inwardly sighed. Why couldn't anything work out nicely? He walked over to where Teyla was lying down and shook her awake.

"Teyla wake up. I think trouble is coming."

"Lieutenant?" she asked groggily.

"I think the Major and McKay ran into some trouble. I think I can hear them coming back and McKay doesn't sound happy." Ford told her as she sat up.

As Teyla gradually woke up a bit more she realized she too could hear McKay complaining. They were getting closer. On the bright side, she was feeling much better even though she had only had a short rest. She jumped when the door to the room slammed open and Major Sheppard was thrown into the room, causing him to yell out in pain followed by a very angry and scared Doctor Rodney McKay. The two guards left before anyone could say a word and they all heard the familiar sound of a locking mechanism from the door. They were being locked in. Both Ford and Teyla ran to Sheppard and McKay, McKay already kneeling next to Sheppard who was clutching his stomach as if he were in great pain.

Ford knelt on the other side of Sheppard and tried to get a good look at him. The Major's eyes were tightly shut and he was breathing heavy, once again indicating he was in pain.

"What happened?" Ford asked trying to pry Sheppard's hands away from his stomach only to be appalled by the amount of blood already covering them.

"He was shot." Was all McKay said, he grabbed the jacket that Teyla handed him and started balling it up.

"What? Why?" Ford exclaimed.

"We need to stop the bleeding, move his hands." McKay ordered, concern flooding his eyes as he looked at the Major.

Ford was quick to comply and as soon as he had a hold of the Major's hands, McKay pushed Teyla's balled up jack against the wound to try to stop the flow of blood, causing the Major to groan out load.

"Ahh … what are ya doing?" Sheppard panted risking opening his eyes and looking at McKay.

"You need to stay still Major, we need to stop the bleeding." McKay answered him seriously.

"You're not that type of Doctor." he slurred.

McKay grabbed the Major's hands and placed them on top of the jacket. "I'm the only one you have right now Major. Hold this in place."

Sheppard put his head back laying it on the cold hard floor trying to control his erratic breathing. A bullet wound to the stomach was supposed to be a really painful way to die and right now he didn't doubt it. He didn't remember a lot about their trip back to the room. All he remembered was McKay shouting a lot and that his gut was on fire. It was hard to think and McKay's shouting wasn't helping his head. He had the distinct feeling though that this time McKay had a good reason to be going off. The trip was mostly a haze for John which came back to him in Technicolor when the guard through him in the room jarring his wound. And now he had Doctor Rodney McKay pushing down on said bullet wound making it hurt a whole lot more.

"Owe … stop!" he demanded.

"Tell yourself to stop bleeding all over me Major and I might stop." McKay joked, but then realized that he pad passed out.

Looking alarmed at the sudden change of events Ford quickly put his fingers on the Major's neck to check his pulse. It was still strong at the moment if a bit erratic, but it was reassuringly there. Looking at McKay, Ford noticed that the scientist looked almost as white as Sheppard did, which brought back the question of what happened.

"McKay, what happened?"

"Doctor McKay?" Teyla pressed when McKay had failed to answer Ford's question.

Rodney looked up surprised like he had forgotten that his other two teammates were there. He sighed. "We're in big trouble."

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Doctor Kavanaugh looked up when he heard Sergeant Bates and Johnson reappear out of the woods.

"You weren't gone very long." he observed distractedly.

"This is clearly where SGA-1's tracks end. Whatever happened happened here. You found anything yet?"

"Well we haven't been here even remotely long enough for me to find anything substantial," Kavanaugh complained "But it looks like its works similar to an Asgard transport beam. Similar to the one the SGC use on the planet K'Tau to contact the Asgard."

"It's Asgard?"

"No I said it has a similar function."

"Well do you think they were taken or transported themselves somewhere?"

"How am I supposed to know that? Most likely McKay didn't study the thing properly before he started fiddling with it and has got them who knows where."

Bates decided to ignore the comment about McKay. "Well can you get this thing to transport us to wherever Major Sheppard's team was sent?"

"I think that would be a bad idea. We don't even know where they were sent. They could be dead for all we know." Kavanaugh replied looking incredulously at Bates.

"Work on it some more Doc because we are not leaving our people behind if we can help it." Bates ordered getting irritated with the scientist, walking away.

"Fine" Kavanaugh snapped back and stomped back to his equipment.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Rodney sat watching Sheppard's chest rise and fall as he tried to think. They had gotten themselves in one hell of a mess once again. He could see outside the window that the sun was setting, which only brought tomorrow morning closer. Wondering about what was in store for them tomorrow only made it harder to think of a way out. Once they had stopped Sheppard's wound from bleeding they had moved him to one of the slabs and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. Although they had managed to stop the bleeding, the bullet was still lodged somewhere in the Major's gut. His attention back on his friend he noticed that he was shivering a little so took off his jacket and laid it over him, kicking himself for not thinking of that sooner. He looked over at his other two teammates and saw that Ford had followed suit and taken off his jacket and passed it to Rodney. He laid Ford's jacket over his own. Ford and Teyla had been quiet since he had explained what had happened and he was shocked back to reality when Ford spoke up.

"So what are we gonna do?"

"Why do I always have to have all the answers?" Rodney snapped at the young Lieutenant.

"It was just a simple question McKay, no need to snap!"

Rodney looked down at his hands that were stained with the Major's blood and sighed. "I know. Look I'm sorry I Just …"

"React to certain doom a certain way, we know, it's a bad habit." Ford finished for him remembering the scientist had told them that when they had been stuck in the back of the jumper, with the Eratus bug attached to Sheppard's neck.

"Perhaps we should see what we have with us to use?" Teyla suggested, grateful that another shouting match hadn't occurred between her two friends.

"Yes, yes of course." Rodney agreed picking up his vest.

They emptied the pockets of all four vests onto one of the other slabs to see what they had. Between the four of them they had 12 power bars, most coming from Rodney's vest, their radios, an earth made scanner, a flash bang, and a few field dressings that had already been used earlier when they had tended to Sheppard, a few other nick knacks that were entirely useless in their current situation. Rodney threw the empty vest on the floor in frustration.

"There's absolutely nothing here! We are so totally screwed right now."

"Rodney … we're not dead yet." Sheppard rasped, breathing heavy.

"Major!" Rodney exclaimed and moved over to his friend.

"Major, how are you feeling?" Ford asked coming up to stand behind McKay.

Sheppard chuckled at Ford's question and then winced when it caused him pain. "Stupid question Lieutenant."

"Sorry Sir."

"Where are we at?" he asked weakly.

"Well your dying of a bullet wound to the stomach while the rest of us have the pleasure of playing lab rat to these fine people. But then I wouldn't even call them people. I have the feeling that they are androids of some kind." Rodney rambled his explanation.

"First of all … I would rather you … not write me … off so soon," John rasped, his breathing becoming more labored the more he spoke.

Rodney looked a little guilty at his friend realizing that he had once again been on his certain doom rampage. He really didn't mean it. Since joining Major Sheppard's team he had tried not to let his fear overcome him and he was pretty sure that he had been successful. Besides his teammates knew just to ignore him when he got like that.

"From what McKay has told us these people like to experiment on organic creatures such as animals. Now they want to experiment on us especially since they have never seen organic creatures in their form." Ford explained.

"Which is why Doctor McKay believes, that these people are not human"

"I also found it strange that they could put their hands on raw electricity and still be alive." Rodney added.

"But don't worry Sir we are gonna get out of here." Ford assured his Commanding Officer.

Sheppard closed his eyes and sighed. "I expected nothing less Lieutenant."

"You should try and rest Major, your going to need it if we do manage to make an escape." Rodney told him and realized that the Major had already closed his eyes, all his concentration on breathing.

"We're gonna get you out of here Major, I promise." Rodney whispered as he watched the Major try to rest.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Elizabeth looked up when she heard the Stargate come to life. Bates and his team plus Kavanaugh had been gone for most of the day, with regular contact. Kavanaugh never really had anything more to tell them on the situation besides that he thought that the Alter they had found was similar to an Asgard transporter and that he firmly believed that SGA-1 was most probably dead. She didn't really think that the arrogant scientist would have anything different to say. She was seriously wandering why she had ever picked the man for this expedition, but it was too late to ask that because they were stranded out here. Elizabeth rose from her desk chair and walked into the control room and looked to the Canadian technician that was currently at the station.

"It's Sergeant Bates IDC Ma'am."

"Thank you."

Elizabeth stood in the control room waiting for Bates to send a radio transmission through but was surprised when she saw not only the sergeant make his way through the gate but Kavanaugh and the rest of the team. She made her way out of the control room and down the stairs to meet Bates.

"Sergeant what happened? Why are you back?"

"Doctor Kavanaugh seems to believe that there is no way to get to SGA-1 and that even if we could it would be useless since he seems to think that they are dead."

"Doctor?" Elizabeth asked looking directly at the weasel looking scientist.

"The fact is even when we tried accessing the crystals, which I believe are the mechanism used to transport, we couldn't get the Alter to send us anywhere. I think that the technology is extremely old and quite possibly broken."

"Which means what exactly?"

"It means that if they did somehow get the technology working they were most likely killed when the Alter tried to transport them."

"Are you absolutely sure?"

"In my opinion? Yes." Kavanaugh told her, irritated with her questioning his opinion.

Elizabeth sighed. She didn't want to believe that Major Sheppard and his team were lost to them. Especially in their current situation. With Sheppard and McKay gone she wasn't sure that they would be able to survive this attack. McKay was essential most of the time to the running of Atlantis.

"Okay. Thank you for your efforts, all of you." She told them sincerely.

"You're welcome Ma'am. I'm sorry we didn't have a better result." Bates told her and then left the gate room his team following close behind him.

Elizabeth looked once more at Kavanaugh and then made her way back to her office hoping that no-one was going to disturb her for a few hours.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Rodney, Ford and Teyla had exhausted all their efforts trying to find a way out if their room, which had quickly turned into their prison, with no luck whatsoever. Rodney didn't want to give these robots a chance to get their hands on them. The thought of being dissected made him feel sick. Plus Sheppard needed medical attention sooner rather than later. He sat down leaning up against Sheppard's slab and opened up a power bar, earning him a look from Ford.

"What? I don't think now would be a good time to go into Hypoglycemic shock!" he announced in explanation of his sudden urge to eat something.

"We should all eat something." Teyla suggested, picking up two power bars and handing one of them to Ford.

"Okay so there is no way we are getting out of this room." Rodney declared while munching on his bar.

"What if you played around with the energizing panels? Maybe we could get the doors to open through them. Not exactly sure how but that is generally your department." Ford said pointing at McKay.

"Huh! Why didn't I think of that?" Rodney exclaimed jumping up from his seated position, groaning when his knees cracked in protest.

Ford watched as McKay walked over to the panel above on of the slabs and began poking and fiddling with it with a couple of tools from their gear. He looked over at the Major and saw that his complexion looked a lot worse and his breathing was a lot shallower than before. They really needed to get out of here. If McKay couldn't get the door open via the panel then they were just going to have to try and rush their captors when they came to retrieve them and escape. That was going to prove difficult with Sheppard in the condition he was in.

"Is it possible Doctor McKay?" Teyla asked when all they had heard from Rodney was mumbling.

"Maybe, possibly, I don't know give me some time will you."

"Well McKay if you cant get the door open our only chance will be to fight our way out of here when they come for us in the morning and that's gonna be difficult with Sheppard." Ford warned him.

"No undue pressure or anything." Rodney responded sarcastically.

"No Doc, just the truth."

With nothing else left to do Ford sat down on a slab and watched McKay work as Teyla moved to sit with Sheppard, she proceeded to wipe the sweat that had accumulated on his forehead. Teyla was worried. Sheppard just looked worse and worse every minute they were here. She didn't know how he was going to go when they made their escape eventually. Knowing Sheppard he would pull through somehow. She wouldn't believe anything else.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Carson looked up when he heard someone walking towards his office and saw that Doctor Zelenka was making his way towards him.

"Doctor Zelenka! What can I do for ya lad?"

"I didn't want to disturb Doctor Weir but I was wondering if you heard news on Major Sheppard's team?" Zelenka asked clearly worried.

"No I'm sorry I haven't, But I'm sure there fine. You know Major Sheppard and his team they always get into trouble but they always come back … mostly in one piece."

"I hope you are right. I would never admit it this to Rodney but in all honesty he is important to the survival of this city and everyone in it."

"Aye I think we will keep that little admission to ourselves, must not feed Rodney's ego any more than it already is." Carson joked laughing.

Zelenka smiled they were only half joking. Zelenka knew full well that although Rodney was somehow his friend, admitting something like that to the scientist would make him unbearable to work with. The man's ego was big enough to put up with now.

"Doctor's, just the people I was looking for." Elizabeth said announcing her presence to the two men.

"Doctor Weir, you have news on Major Sheppard's team?" Zelenka asked hopefully.

Elizabeth looked at both men's hopeful faces and felt sad at bringing them the news she had, "I do," she nodded "But I'm afraid that it's not news that either of you are going to like."

"Oh No," Carson whispered, not really wanting to here what she had to say.

"I'm afraid that Doctor Kavanaugh firmly believes that Major Sheppard and his team were killed when the alien Alter tried to transport them somewhere."

"How did he come across this information?" Zelenka asked, for he didn't trust Kavanaugh as far as he could throw him. His abilities in the science field were clearly questionable.

Elizabeth sighed; she knew that these two men in particular were not going to take the news well. Elizabeth herself could hardly believe the news and in normal circumstances, with more time she could continue trying to find answers, but they simply did not have the time.

"Sergeant Bate's team and Doctor Kavanaugh stayed on the planet for a long time running scans and eventually trying to connect to the technology. Kavanaugh said it was a technology that we had never seen before and that he could not get it to work now even if he wanted to."

"Maybe if I went there and tried some more simulations, something. There must be something else going on here Elizabeth." Zelenka said trying to persuade her.

"I'm sorry Radek. Maybe if we survive this attack from the Wraith I'll send another team back there but right now we just don't have time. Believe me both of you when I say I don't want to believe this anymore than you do. I'm sorry." Elizabeth told them clearly upset, before dismissing herself and walking out the room.

Carson and Zelenka just looked at each other both having the same look on their face. Both men could not think of anything to say so they bid their goodbyes and went on with their work and prayed that the loss of their friends would not be their downfall.

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Looking at her watch, Teyla realized that it was not long after midnight Atlantian time and McKay had not stopped working on the energy panel. The fact that McKay had been working so long led her to believe that he at least believed it their escape was possible. Looking over at Ford, he looked anxious, bored and nervous all at the same time. Sheppard wasn't getting any better and morning was approaching, but neither Teyla nor Ford, were going to mention that little fact to Rodney. They were both sure that he was quite aware of how much time they had left. The only sound in the room was the sound of the Major's harsh breathing and the occasional muttering from McKay as he worked, so Teyla and Ford both jumped when blinds that they hadn't even realized the windows had came down cutting through the silence.

McKay abruptly stopped what he was doing and stared at the now closed window, "Hmm."

"Did you do that?" Ford asked hopefully.

"I think so," Rodney replied smiling then went straight back to the panel and a couple of seconds later the door to their room whooshed open. The three friends all turned to look at the door in surprise. "Oh thank God." Rodney breathed a sigh of relief.

Ford quickly moved to the entrance and took a quick peep outside. It was pitch black but he could see that no-one was out there. "Okay the cost is clear. We better get moving before they notice our escape."

McKay and Ford both moved over to the Major, grabbing an arm each and lifting him into a sitting position. Sheppard let out a gasp of pain at the sudden unexpected movement and opened his dazed green eyes. "What's going on?"

"We are getting out of here, that's what's happening." McKay supplied for him as he helped Ford to get the Major standing. Both had one of Sheppard's arms slung around their shoulder.

"Oh well that's good news … told ya … you … could do it." Sheppard panted out. Being on his feet was taking a lot of his energy.

"We must hurry." Teyla told them impatiently as she waited by the door.

The four teammates slipped out of their cell and started making their way as quietly down the vacant streets as possible. McKay was amazed at Sheppard's resilience. If it had been him with the bullet wound he would have been whining right now, but the Major was being quiet as he could be, save for the little whimpers that he couldn't help but let loose, but was trying so hard not to show.

The village was indeed small and it didn't take them long to get to the edge. Finding their way back was a problem that right now they would have to think about a little bit later. Their main priority at the moment was just to get a safe distance from the insane robots.

They had been walking for what Rodney was sure hours when Teyla motioned that they should stop. Sheppard was shivering uncontrollably now but was very hot to touch. All the moving around hadn't done any good for Sheppard's wound and McKay suspected that most likely infection had set in. Great that's all we need Rodney thought to himself as he and Ford both stopped their forward momentum.

"Do we even know where we are going?" Rodney asked in a hissed whisper.

"Not really," Ford admitted, "But if you'd like to head back and play guinea pig then be my guest."

"I'm just saying that we should try to work out where the hell we are instead of walking aimlessly."

"I think we need to stop for just a minute and get our bearings." Teyla told them trying to stem the argument that was no doubt going happen again.

"You're right Teyla. Maybe it might be a good idea to give the Major a rest as well." Ford agreed and went about setting Sheppard on the ground giving McKay no choice but to follow suit.

"Doctor McKay, I know you don't have your life signs detector but you do have some earth equipment that detects power readings?" Teyla asked trying not to look down at Major Sheppard whose pallor looked almost that of a ghost.

"Uh yes actually it does. They aren't as precise as the LSD but it could at least tell us something." Rodney said already pulling a piece of equipment from his vest.

Ford continued to crouch next to his commanding officer. The man was shivering but they had used all their jackets already. Ford put his hand on the Major's forehead and noticed that although he was shivering he was burning up. This new revelation only made their attempts to make it back to the gate even more important. He was afraid that if they didn't make it back Atlantis in time, the Major wouldn't make it. Looking up he saw that McKay had a look of interest on his face.

"What is it?"

"Well I am getting energy readings from back the way we came, which I'm sure we can all assume is coming from the village, but I am also getting some faint energy readings straight ahead of us."

"We should head straight ahead then." Teyla told them.

"It doesn't mean it's the right way to go … those energy readings could be anything." Rodney argued to make sure that they knew he honestly had no idea what they should do.

"Well we need to do something soon; the Major isn't looking to good." Ford interrupted.

"It's the only thing we have to go on. Do you have a better idea?" Teyla tried to reason with her friend.

"Okay, Okay I guess we will head towards the energy reading. But if we come across some more whacked out robots, I'm gonna blame you." He told her as he walked over and he and Ford lifted Sheppard up again as gently as possible, still receiving a moan of pain for their trouble.

Hours later Teyla squinted up into the sky. The morning rays were starting to shine through the trees. They had stopped a few times in order to rest and to give Sheppard a break. The man had woken up a few times but the wound and the fever had not made him very lucid. Suddenly Teyla noticed something shining in the distance and motioned for the others to stop.

"What is it?" Rodney panted. Sheppard might look light but the man was a lot of muscle and they had been basically carrying him for hours through dense forest.

"I see something up ahead. We should approach with caution."

The foursome moved forward again, making their way around trees and bushes until it was quite obvious what Teyla had found.

Ford squinted in the distance while shifting his holed on Sheppard trying to ease the ache in his shoulder "Is that what I think it is?" he asked.

"It looks like the Alter that transported us to the village." Teyla responded.

Rodney suddenly felt tense as if someone was watching him. He looked over at Teyla and noticed that she had felt it too. His suspicions were confirmed when he heard a noise behind them. "Did you hear that?"

"Yes. I believe we are being followed." Teyla stated calmly.

"How come we didn't notice it before?" Ford asked looking surprised.

Sheppard must have sensed that something was wrong as well because his body felt tense like he was trying to ready himself for anything that might happen. Rodney tightened his holed on his friend I don't know what you think you're going to be able to do in your position Major Rodney mocked in his head.

"Rodney?" Sheppard whispered.

Rodney turned his head to look at Sheppard's and saw that his eyes were open, if a little glazed.

"Someone is following us Major. We might need to make a break for it. Think you're up for it?" Rodney whispered back with a smirk on his face.

John snorted "Sure why not?"

"Good …" Rodney was interrupted by the sound of a bullet whizzing past his head. "Shit!" he hissed as all four friends ducked.

Rodney looked towards the Alter and saw something that he hadn't noticed before. The centre stone looked to be a different colour to the original Alter they had inadvertently used.

"Run for the Alter!" He yelled realizing that they didn't have a lot of time to dwell on the decision.

"What? Why it'll just send us back to that damn village." Ford argued obviously at odds with this decision.

"Look Lieutenant I don't have time to explain let's just move!"

"Do it Lieutenant!" Sheppard ordered quietly.

With Sheppard's order Ford made his decision and helped McKay get Sheppard up and running, with Teyla running ahead of them. The Alter was only ten feet away when Ford got clipped in the shoulder by one of their own bullets being fired by one of the robots that were approaching fast. He went down fast dragging Sheppard and McKay down with him. Teyla went to help them up but was stopped by McKay.

"Teyla we are close enough touch the crystal!" he yelled ducking every time he heard a shot ring out.

Teyla did as she was told and made a leap for the Alter stone and placed her hand on it. The last thing she saw was the Robot's approaching and she prayed that they weren't close enough to get caught in the wave. A blinding white light appeared and then she saw nothing.

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All Ford could feel was pain that felt like it was coming from his shoulder. For some strange reason he couldn't remember why his shoulder was hurt.

"Oh God please let this be over." McKay groaned from somewhere on his left.

Oh that's right the freaky robots and running for our lives Ford remembered. He winced bringing up his hand to feel the shoulder wound and then cautiously opened his eyes and was overcome with relief when he realized that they were all lying in the circle of life thing again but not in the village. That Alter must have transported them to another place. Ford looked down at his shoulder and although there was enough blood escaping the hand he had held over it, it was only a flesh would. He looked over at the others and saw Teyla had walked over to Sheppard who was out cold once again and McKay was already standing rolling his shoulders as if they were stiff and taking a good look at their surroundings.

"Well at least none of those terminator's came through the Alter with us." Ford commented earning a strange look from Teyla who obviously hadn't caught the reference.

"Oh that's very good Lieutenant." McKay responded sarcastically as he took out his earth scanner.

Ford rolled his eyes and then winced as he stood up "Well Major Sheppard would have appreciated that one."

"I do not recognize these surroundings." Teyla said bringing the men to the matter at hand.

"Neither do I," Ford agreed "What do you think McKay?"

"Wait!" he answered putting up one finger, his eyes never leaving the scanner.

Ford and Teyla just shrugged at each other, used to what McKay was like by now.

"I'm getting faint Naquada readings coming from just north of us." He told them looking at their faces with excitement.

"And?" Ford questioned not getting where the scientist was going with this.

Rodney sighed "Lieutenant what is the Stargate made out of?"

"Naquada …" Ford answered trailing off when he realized the significance of the Naquada readings.

"So the Stargate could be in the area?" Teyla asked to make sure she understood what they were talking about.

"Yes well it's our best shot at this point. We need to get Sheppard to Doctor Beckett as soon as possible. Our little use of the Alter doesn't seem to have helped him." He told them looking worriedly down at his friend who hadn't moved since the three of them had woken up.

"I agree. His pulse seems more thready than before." Teyla told them.

Ford bent down then to grab one of Sheppard's arms when Teyla stopped him.

"Aiden you are injured. Doctor McKay and I are capable of carrying him the rest of the way."

"Okay then. Let's get this show on the road."

Teyla and McKay lifted the Major up once again and they all headed in the direction of the Naquada. They had been walking five minutes when Ford gave an excited yell. "Yes!"

McKay and Teyla looked up to see the most beautiful sight they had ever seen. The Stargate stood tall in the small clearing. Both McKay and Teyla let out relieved sighs and they tried to hasten their pace without jarring their wounded friend. It didn't take long to reach the gate and Ford started dialing immediately but stopped on the forth symbol.

"What?" Rodney asked impatiently.

"Tell me one of us still has our GDO."

The three teammates looked startled for a minute before Rodney gave another relieved sigh "Sheppard always has his strapped to his leg underneath his pants."

"Oh good." Ford said as he knelt down in front of Sheppard and retrieved the GDO from his leg.

He finished the dialing sequence and typed in the IDC and waited for confirmation to come through. Only a few seconds later his GDO informed him that Atlantis had indeed received their code. "We are good to go." He told them with a smile.

The group wasted no time in walking to the gate and dragging Sheppard through the event horizon.

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Elizabeth was trying to listen. She really was. But she was finding it hard to concentrate. Her thoughts kept going back to her number one team that was more than likely dead if you believed what Doctor Kavanaugh told you. What was even more irritating to Elizabeth was the not really knowing what had happened to them. And even if they knew they weren't dead, they had no way to do anything about it. Again according to Doctor Kavanaugh the Alter no longer worked. She had been through a lot with all four members of that team and the thought of losing them all now was eating her up.

"As we were saying, with the amount of explosions being used it should have no problems destroying the city … once we're gone." Lieutenant Peterson continued talking oblivious to the fact that Elizabeth had only been half listening.

"That's good news thank you Lieutenant." She told him politely.

"Is there anything else Ma'am?"

"No thank you Lieutenant your dismissed." She said looking at the Lieutenant with a sad smile.

Before the Lieutenant had the chance to leave her office the Stargate came to life indicating an incoming wormhole. Elizabeth got up out of her chair and whizzed past a shocked looking Lieutenant. Elizabeth reached the control room in record speed. For some reason she just felt that whoever was on the other side of that wormhole was important. She looked down at the Canadian technician who was currently at the station. He looked up at her with the widest grin she had ever seen and she dared not hoped.

"We have an IDC Ma'am. It's Lieutenant Ford's."

"Oh Thank God." She said and made her way and breakneck speed out of the control room and down the stairs that lead right to the Stargate.

She couldn't believe the sight that greeted her. Ford walked through holding his right arm with his left. Right behind him Teyla and Rodney came through dragging an unconscious Major Sheppard with them. Elizabeth was shocked at their condition. Teyla and Rodney looked dead on their feet. Teyla's hair looked a little frizzled, Ford had a bleeding wound on his shoulder and Major Sheppard's stomach was soaked in blood and he looked white as a ghost. Rodney and Teyla laid their friend down on the hard floor and were about to call for a medical team but Elizabeth beat them to it.

"Doctor Beckett we have a medical emergency in the Gate room!" She called into the radio. "What the hell happened to you?"

"Alters, Villages, Nasty psycho robots, gunshot wounds, the usual." Rodney quipped plopping himself down on the ground next to Sheppard, tired now that the adrenaline had worn off.

Elizabeth looked at him incredulously but didn't get to answer him.

"He is not breathing!" Teyla told them alarmed.

"What?" Rodney squeaked and was pushed aside as Carson chose that moment to come charging into the gate room and running straight for Sheppard.

Carson was surprised to say the least when he walked into the Gate room and saw SGA-1 but he didn't have the time to stop when he heard Teyla exclaim that Sheppard was no longer breathing. He immediately raced to the Major and started to perform CPR. Sheppard's heart hadn't stopped beating yet and it only took a couple of tries before the man started breathing again, allowing everyone else in the room to release the breath they hadn't realized they were holding.

"What happened Carson?" Rodney fired at him as soon as he realized that Sheppard was breathing again.

"How long ago did this happen?" Carson asked as he and his team loaded Sheppard onto a gurney.

"He was shot yesterday afternoon, plus we just did a long hike through the forest." Ford supplied for him.

"Okay people we need to get him into surgery right now." Carson ordered and before anyone could blink everyone was in motion and Sheppard was being taken down the hall towards the infirmary, leaving his team standing in the gate room looking extremely worried.

"You should all get down to the infirmary and have your arm looked at Lieutenant," Elizabeth told them still a little shell shocked herself at seeing the people that only moments ago she was grieving for "You can fill me in on the way." She added.

"Yes Ma'am." Ford answered. The others following suit, all of them just anxious to get to the infirmary to see how their friend was doing.

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3 hours later …

Rodney sat in the waiting area of the infirmary extremely anxious. He had just finished pacing. He couldn't seem to sit still and only stopped pacing because he was receiving annoyed looks from the others in the room. Sheppard had not looked good and it had scared him when Teyla had announced that he wasn't breathing. To have made it all that way only to die once back through the gate was totally unfair and he was going to have to speak to Sheppard about his timing when he got better. Elizabeth was sitting waiting with them for news. They had told her their account of what had happened while on the planet and if Rodney was honest he couldn't believe that their rescue had been left up to Kavanaugh. The man in Rodney's opinion was useless and if they survived this Wraith attack he was going to go back to that planet and study that damn Alter more closely and see if the inept scientist had been right about the Alter being broken. He felt more than lucky that he had been right about the second Alter they had found. His decision had been made totally on a gut feeling that it wouldn't send them to that damn village, since he hadn't had time to find or read anything about them. Rodney looked down at his hands and saw that he was grinding them together and was about to get up and pace again but just as he stood up Carson came through the Operating room doors looking very tired.

"How is he?" Rodney asked straight away walking straight up to Carson.

"He's going to be okay. The bullet didn't hit any important organs and we got it out without any complications. What had us more concerned was the amount of blood loss and the infection that had set in."

"But he's going to be okay right?" Ford asked hopefully.

"Aye he is. We are giving him a blood transfusion and antibiotics to combat the infection. He'll be as good as new in no time." Carson assured them.

"That's good to hear Carson," Elizabeth gave him a relieved smile "You should get some rest."

"Aye I feel like I could use it, but I think I will stay around a touch longer just to make sure he's okay."

"Why did he stop breathing?" Rodney asked.

"I'm assuming that going through the gate might have caused that. Going through the gate on a good day can throw you; I can't imagine how it might affect someone in the condition he was in."

"Can we see him?" Teyla asked politely.

"Aye but be quiet and don't stay too long you all need rest." Carson ordered them.

Elizabeth and the three team members followed Carson to Sheppard's bed. Rodney found it a bit disconcerting that lately seeing a member of his team in the infirmary like this no longer surprised him. They just seemed to end up in here a lot and he aimed to speak to Sheppard about that little problem as well, when he got better of course. Teyla Ford and Elizabeth didn't stay long and Carson returned to his office leaving Rodney alone with his friend.

"Well that was a screwed up mission." Rodney commented to no-one in particular as he looked down at Sheppard.

"You can say that again." John whispered back so quietly that Rodney almost missed it.

"You're awake."

"No I'm talking in my sleep." John answered sarcastically and then decided since Rodney realized he was awake he may as well open his eyes.

Rodney rolled his eyes "How are you feeling?"

"I was shot and then made to go on a god knows how long hike, how do you think I feel?" John joked but then winced when trying to get comfortable didn't exactly make him comfortable.

"Well Carson says you'll be alright."

"Good to know."

Rodney watched as Sheppard yawned and was suddenly reminded how tired he was now that everything was going to be fine, for the next few days anyway.

"I'll get going and let you get some rest."

"Thanks Rodney you saved our butt's out there," John told him sincerely and then added "Now go get some sleep you look like shit."

"Well thanks a lot. You hand me a compliment and then bring me down again." Rodney responded and pretended to be hurt was secretly happy to receive the praise.

"Cant let your head get any bigger than it already is … but seriously thanks, you did good." John told him looking him directly in the eyes before closing his own eyes and indicating that he was going to go to sleep.

"You're welcome." Rodney smiled and then slowly backed out of the room and headed towards his quarters thinking that if it wasn't for those damn Wraiths he would sleep for a month.

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It had been two days since SGA-1 had come back through the gate and Elizabeth was glad to have them back. Rodney, Teyla and Ford had rested up and were now working on the matter at hand and Major Sheppard was recuperating in the Infirmary. The Wraith, according to their sensors, were due to arrive in Atlantis in two and half more days. They had had little success in finding a suitable Alpha Site yet. Elizabeth had just been called down to the labs by Rodney and Doctor Zelenka so started to make her way down there.

Upon arriving she was met by the two scientists arguing once again. So some things never change she thought to herself. It was amusing just standing there watching them but she decided she better intervene when their voices started getting louder.

"Doctors!"

"Doctor Weir."

"Elizabeth."

"What on Earth are you two arguing about?" She asked curiously, stepping further into the room.

"Rodney was going to suggest that we try to use the Ancient Satellite to defend the city."

"But I thought it was dead."

"Well yes but at the time, with Gaul and Abrams dying when we encountered that crashed Wraith ship, we didn't have the time to take an extra close look." Rodney told her quickly, ready to sell her his theory.

"Which is exactly why, we do not have enough time to try to get it up and running." Zelenka said talking directly to Rodney again.

"Maybe with you working it we don't but I am fairly confident I could get it working." Rodney countered raising his nose in the air in arrogance, which he did so often.

"Okay back peddle for me please … is this what you called me for?" Elizabeth asked trying to get the two men's attention back.

"Yes I believe that it is our best chance at defending the city and if Major Sheppard were here he would agree with me." Rodney told her seriously.

"Oh would he now?"

Elizabeth, Rodney and Zelenka all turned to the voice coming from the doorway and were rather shocked to see a pale looking Major Sheppard standing there.

"Major, what the hell are you doing here?" Rodney questioned looking concerned.

"It's nice to see you too Rodney." John joked and walked slowly into the room trying not to pull on the stitches in his stomach.

"What are you doing out of the Infirmary Major?" Elizabeth asked while giving him a look of disapproval.

"Beckett let me go since I was being a good little boy for a change. I have orders to do nothing strenuous. I just want to help in any way I can, like help find an Alpha site or something," he told them "I was coming to see you when they told me you were down here so I thought I'd come and see my favourite scientists while I was here." He continued, giving a smirk.

"Are you sure you should be up and around?" Rodney asked still not too sure about this.

"Yes. Carson is not happy about it but he said since I'd had no complications that he couldn't see why not. So here I am." He announced spreading his arms apart.

Rodney eyed him suspiciously. The Major had a bad habit of trying to escape the Infirmary whenever he was in there.

"So what was it that I would apparently agree on?"

"Oh yes. I believe that if we can get that Ancient Satellite working it might be our best defense against this impending attack."

"Yes which I have said would be nearly impossible to do on time." Zelenka added.

"Rodney do you honestly think that you will be able to get the satellite up and running before the Wraith show up there?" John asked in all seriousness.

"Yes. Yes I do."

"Of course he does." Zelenka muttered to himself.

"Well If Rodney is that confident then I don't think we have anything to lose, since we currently have no plan of attack." John said looking at Elizabeth to see what she thought.

"See I told you he would agree with me." Rodney stated smugly.

"Plus it's an even bigger advantage since the Wraith think that the satellite is dead. They won't be expecting it." John added.

"That's exactly my point." Rodney said also turning to see if Elizabeth was going to give him the go ahead.

Elizabeth appeared to be mulling it over in her head. Really there was no choice they had to try this and like John had said they currently had no other plans.

"Okay Rodney, you can go and take Peter with you. I'll arrange for you to have a pilot take you out there when the two of you are ready. In fact there is a briefing in a couple of hours we'll arrange it then."

"Thank you," Rodney said to Elizabeth and then turned to Zelenka who looked resigned "Come on Radek we have a lot to do." Rodney told him, motioning for him to follow him out of the room.

John sat down on the stool that was situated right in front of him. He looked up to see Elizabeth giving him a concerned look.

"Are you sure you're okay?" she asked expecting his usual reply.

"I'll be ready, don't worry, this place is our home now and we aren't going to give it up without a fight and I plan to be a part of it." John told her determinedly.

Elizabeth nodded almost sadly "I just hope it is a fight we can survive."

That said Elizabeth walked out of Rodney's lab leaving John to contemplate the coming Siege. If the Wraith thought it was going to be easy to take out Major John Sheppard and his surrogate family, they had another thing coming.

The End