Title: Night Falls Fast
Category: gen, h/c, crossover, action/adventure
Feedback: All comments are appreciated.
Warnings: crossover, some violence, mild horror
Disclaimer: It's their universe, not mine.
Summary: Tempus Fugit
A/N: Crossover with Earth Final Conflict. Set in the second season of Stargate: Atlantis right after Trinity. Spoilers for SGA seasons oneandtwo up toTrinity and EFCgeneral spoilers for season one, but no specific episodes.
The Pegasus Galaxy
"Can't you put just a little more speed in it, Colonel?" Rodney asked from the back of the Jumper. He sounded like he was speaking and eating at the same time.
"You should know it, McKay. I'm flying as fast as it goes. You'll be home in the lab with your reactor in nine hours and fifty-six minutes. No actually, it will be a bit longer. I'm not sure this thing puts in the delay for dialling the gate."
"Well, thanks for nothing." Rodney sounded, genuinely pissed, but maybe it was just that they had been away from privacy, a good night's sleep and real food for a bit too long.
"I thought you with your super genes could maybe get some extra speed out of the Jumper. I mean, the Ancient technology almost begs you to use it when you just think at it," Rodney accused, still munching on something.
John turned around. The Jumper was pretty much flying itself. Rodney sat on one of the benches in the back, a laptop standing on the floor next to him; he was holding what looked like a PowerBar.
Teyla was lying on the opposite bench, arm thrown over her head. She'd decided to try to get some sleep a few hours ago. John couldn't imagine anyone actually getting some sleep with Rodney never shutting up for more than ten minutes, but if anyone could do it, Teyla could.
"Believe me; I want to get back to Atlantis. Elizabeth will have us both for being two days late. But at least I can finally have a shower," John said. He could feel every one of the last five days.
They had been on a mission to Karas, a planet they had discovered several weeks ago. The native people called themselves the Kara and were a very simple people, or as Rodney put it, primitive. The only reason there had been a second mission to the planet, were the rich Naquadah deposits close to the surface. Naquadah was scarce metal, not found on Earth, but found on planets in the Milky Way.
The visit with the leader of the Kara had gone over better than expected. Rodney had kept to himself and they had all smiled their way through the three days. Only Ronon had refused to smile or say anything more than was necessary. John had left both men in peace and had left most of the talking to Teyla, who at the end of the three days had gotten Mallin, the leader, to agree to a geological survey.
They could have been on their way home, hungry and aching, as the food had been sparse and the mattresses non-existent, but on their way home. Then a shower of asteroid fragments had hit the Jumper.
"Admit it, you liked that guy's twin daughters," Rodney teased John playfully. After the stiff negotiation talks with the Kara, they all needed to lighten up.
"I have no idea who you mean." John leaned back in his chair.
"Please. Blonde, tiny leather skirts. They kept refilling your cup."
"Indeed, Ojala seemed to be infatuated with you," Teyla said. "I'm sure she is a lovely woman."
"Space Bimbo." Rodney grinned.
"What's a Space Bimbo?" Ronon asked.
"Uh..." Rodney was saved by an alarm wailing through the ship. John whirled around to the controls.
"What's happening?" Rodney shouted.
"Hold on to your seats. Something headed right for us." John had hardly time to finish the sentence when the Jumper was struck, rocking the occupants hard.
"What was that?"
The Jumper took another hit, sending off another alarm as a shower of sparks shot from a console.
"Ow. Fuck!" John cursed, pulling his right arm to his chest. "The controls have been hit and I think the dampeners are gone. It's going to get rocky."
John called up a star map of the nearest solar system. It looked like they had to make an emergency landing on a nearby planet.
"Rodney, I could use a hand here. It looks like we need to set down here somewhere."
Rodney quickly switched places with Ronon and took the controls. His glance fell on John's right arm, still held to his chest.
"You all right?"
"Not now. Rodney, find me a planet where we can land," John ground out, trying to keep a reign of the Jumper's controls. While he normally flew the craft with ease, his connection with the system had been hindered.
Rodney forced himself to look away from the shreds of burnt uniform hanging from John's forearm. He let his hands fly over the consoles, teasing the information from the Jumper's systems.
"Closest solar system is about three minutes away. The sixth planet from the sun is inhabitable, but no Stargate. We can be there in four minutes," Rodney said, while still working furiously.
"That's good. How far to the nearest Gate? I don't want to be stranded out here," John asked, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his arm. It was his job to land the Jumper safely. He could worry about his injury later.
"Why do you think we flew all the way to Karas? There are no Stargates between Karas and P4Y-512. And we are still almost 20 hours away," Rodney snapped.
"It's not that we are going to crash, but the controls have taken a blow when we got hit... with whatever we got it. I'm reading some pretty strong power fluctuations. We could be headed for on overload. I'm going to set us down," John announced and set the course for the solar system.
The tiny ship swerved like a car on an icy mountain road and without the inertial dampener, the passengers felt every turn and twist. Rodney's knuckles were white from gripping onto his seat with all his strength and even Teyla started to look a little green. Ronon just looked angry and John was too busy trying to keep control of the craft.
"It might get a little bumpy now, guys, so you better grab onto something. I'm trying to bring as down slowly, but the ride through the atmosphere could get a little...heated," John said.
"Are you kidding? If we go down too fast we could literally burn up!" Rodney yelled. "Slow down!"
The Jumper shuddered. Loose metal was scratching against something. It was becoming warmer inside the ship as they fell towards the surface. They cleared the layer of clouds and were now hurtling towards a mad collage of green and brown swatches.
"Rodney, move back! This could get ugly." John pushed Rodney back from the console, knowing that they'd impact with the ground in a matter of seconds. John did all he could to control the wayward ship's descent path. Images of the planet's surface flipped through his mind as he struggled to guide the ship to a safe landing spot. Trees, fields, rock and water flashed by as the Jumper zoomed to the ground. John made the move for an open spot, just as they were about to crash.
The Jumper impacted into a large lake where it skimmed on the surface for a few hundred feet before slamming into the shoreline.
"Sheppard!" Someone was hitting him in the face. John tried to bat the hand away, but he couldn't move his arm.
"Sheppard! Wake up now!" Another slap hit him on the cheek. John turned his head away.
"Be careful, Ronon. He's injured." A familiar female voice came form the side.
"He's just knocked out," a man grumbled
John opened his eyes. Once they focused, he recognized two familiar faces.
"Ronon, Teyla. What happened?" He hurt all over, but the fact that he was alive and breathing was a good sign. Any landing that you could walk away from...
"We crashed," Ronon stated.
"You managed to land the Jumper on a lake. Dr. McKay is assessing the damage right now. How are you feeling?" Teyla leaned over him.
John processed the information. He noticed that his uniform was wet. "I have seen worse landings." He attentively moved his limbs and found that his team-mates had tied his right arm to his chest.
"Everyone all right?" He tried to sit up and Teyla hurried to help him.
"We are fine," she answered after she had helped him lean against the boulder. "It is only you who has been injured. You have burned your arm and I believe the bone has been broken. I brought the supplies from the ship."
Teyla opened the first aid kit from the Jumper. "Yeah, some Tylenol sounds like a pretty good idea right about now. I must have banged my head on something." John reached up to feel his forehead and encountered a painful spot.
Teyla helpfully started sorting through the kit and handed John the bottle and his canteen. "I believe you are looking for this."
John washed down two pills and handed the medication back to Teyla. "Someone should be with McKay." He was only now starting to take in their new surroundings.
"He's got the life sign detector with him. He said this planet was uninhabited. He insisted we take care of you first," Teyla explained.
"Well' I'm fine now. Ronon, go find Rodney. Teyla and I will catch up with you." John made an effort to get up as Ronon hurried off.
"Should we really leave our camp unattended?" Teyla asked. John looked around. His team-mates had brought him and most of their equipment to the mouth of a cave. From where he stood, he couldn't tell how deep the cave was, but it was clear why they had chosen this spot. The land in front of them was arid wasteland. The sun was standing low and the horizon now, but it was still hot enough for him to imagine that the heat could be quite oppressive during midday hours. The cave would provide protection from the sun.
"How far are we from the Jumper?"
"Not far, only a few minutes on foot. You chose a good spot to land. Dr. McKay is down at the shore examining the Jumper." Teyla supported him as they walked the slightly downhill way to the lake. John could already see the calm surface of the water in the distance and the Jumper lying on the shore like a beached whale.
When they approached, Rodney came crawling out of the Jumper. He looked sunburned, but not too unhappy.
"Colonel, good to see you."
"How's my ship?" John asked casually, surprised at how good the Jumper looked after the crash landing.
"Come on in." Rodney led the way into the crashed ship. The lighting inside was dim, but some of the consoles were alive.
"I was able to bring the central computer back online and run a diagnostic. I found out what hit us in the first place." Rodney paused. "Tiny asteroid fragments. I'm still working on it, but as far as I can tell, only the computer systems have been damaged." Rodney sounded excited at the prospect.
"That's good news? How?" John asked, his headache still making thinking difficult.
"The power-core isn't going to blow up from computer malfunctions." Rodney was smug.
"So, are you going to get the Jumper flying again?" John asked.
"Of course, I can fix it," Rodney answered. "But, I think we shouldn't leave this quickly. There is something on this planet, something that's emitting a very powerful energy signature."
Rodney moved his hands over the display and the HUD changed to a map-like view of the area.
"That's new." They hadn't seen this function of the Jumper before.
"Wait till you see more." Rodney did his magic and the display changed again to show them a small round citadel.
"That looks like what the 'king' did with the chair in the Tower," John commented.
"Neat trick, huh? The energy signature is coming from inside that building. Whatever it is, it is more powerful than a ZPM. We need to check it out." Rodney grinned.
"Are you sure it is safe?" John asked, realising the futility of the question. They didn't do safe for a living. Still, he liked to have some idea what he was up against.
"I don't see why not. There is no sign of the Wraith or anyone else and I'd be able to tell if the device was unstable or radioactive, if that's what you are thinking," Rodney reassured him.
"I'll bite, but keep it simple; my head is about to explode. Anything in the database about this planet?" John sat down on in one of the front seats.
"Well, as you know, the Jumpers aren't outfitted with the full Ancient database, but there is extensive information about the planets of this galaxy. At least the ones the Ancients have been to. This one isn't one of them. This makes sense, seeing that they haven't put a Gate anywhere near this solar system. Look, just send Ronon and me to check it out," Rodney pleaded with him. "It's only four kilometres away from here. We'll be gone and back in half a day."
John leaned back, trying to ease his pounding headache. "You know that Weir will be looking for us when we don't show up tomorrow. We can't exactly go on a treasure hunt without telling her. I guess we are out of radio reach?"
"There is a hyperspace beacon on board each Jumper. We think it's for locating the Jumpers in case of an emergency. The problem is that the Wraith will pick up the signal as well. But as I said, barring any unforeseen problems, I should have the Jumper up and running again in a day or two. Luckily, the Ancients packed some spare parts in the trunk." Rodney grinned.
"All right, we'll check it out. But you are staying here. We need you to repair the Jumper. Ronon and I will check out this energy source and Teyla will cover your back here. Just in case." John agreed.
"You really live in your own world, don't you? You think you are invincible! Or did you just hit your head a little bit too hard?" Rodney suddenly snapped without warning.
"What?" John asked, puzzled, wondering whether he really had hit his head too hard. He rubbed his throbbing head, carefully avoiding the gash on the left side. He wasn't sure what track Rodney was on now.
"You just crash-landed a space ship, you idiot. It's a wonder we didn't all die! Just...just go back and lie down." Rodney turned and stomped back into the Jumper.