The first draft of this story is finished (some 8000 words), so you can expect regular updates (with reasonable certainty). I'm so sorry for all the grammatical and other errors! When I read it, it sounds like perfectly fine English to me, but I'm sure there must be horrible crimes against the English language in my stories.

Mea culpa. Will fix if told...




- 1 -

"Pull it! Damn it, McKay, put some effort into it, you lazy son of a bitch!"

Aiden Ford wasn't a happy camper.

He had all reasons not to be. He was wet, cold and aching all over. High drops into frigid rivers tended to make your mood plummet faster than bird shit.

Hence, Aiden felt perfectly entitled to be cranky, the absence of Major Sheppard and the very real possibility of impending death prompting him to swear violently in a way that he would never even consider under normal circumstances.

Feeling slightly guilty, he figured most of the cussing wouldn't reach the shore anyway, drowned out by the roaring of an uncomfortably close waterfall. So, if it helped keeping him from freaking out, yelling at a fumbling McKay sounded like a pretty good idea right now. After all, the scientist was safe, and dry, on the river's bank, while he, Aiden, was paddling furiously in the turbulent stream, clinging to a rope for dear life, and to an unconscious Teyla for her dear life.

McKay shouted back, obviously peeved: "I'm working on it! Just hang on!"

"That's the only thing I can do, you genius! I can't just swim against this current, never mind while dragging Teyla along…" Aiden wanted to yell out across the Pegasus galaxy, but settled for saving his breath to keep afloat. But his thoughts on their geeky team member were none too kind. What had ever possessed Major Sheppard to ask a scientist on his elite team? In Aiden's opinion, scientists in general were physically and emotionally too inexperienced to be put on a field team. They were vital to the expedition, but made the greatest contribution when tucked away safely in some lab, working miracles with incomprehensible alien technology. They were the brains of the operation, and the military was the scull and body: protection and field work.

Very few scientists were notable exceptions to that rule. Major Carter came to mind first. Lovely but lethal. Smarter than McKay, and with considerably more hands-on experience. Then again, she was military, and trained extensively in combat. Aiden had always had the impression she was an officer first, and a scientist second.

No, then Doctor Jackson might be a better example. The man was a living legend at the SGC. Living proof that geeky scientists could successfully survive years and years of gate travelling on a first line team. Or, well, survive, die and return. But he was an easy-going fellow, adapting quickly to the harshness of off-world missions, bouncing back so many times it had taken on epic proportions. He was young and flexible, had honed his physical skills to the point he could rival with many marines, and his talent to charm even the most murderous natives had defused many an explosive situation.

Quite the contrast with the arrogant, self-professed know-it-all McKay, who had become rusted in his old age, was liable to get a heart-attack after running 100 feet and generally caused the explosive situations by pissing of perfectly friendly natives…

It was only by sheer dumb luck that, this time, the scientist hadn't been the one to anger the primitive tribe they had approached as possible trading partners.

Uncharacteristically, that role had been played by their charismatic team leader, who had smiled at one of the towns' fairest maidens with a tad too much charisma. Her fiancé had turned out to be quite the suspicious and resentful type, and on top of that the only, spoiled rotten, son of the town's resident Lord.

They sure took avenging honour seriously on this planet.

Not that a sword could do much against their automatic guns, but 100 swords backed up by some 20 crossbows sure as hell could.

So, Sheppard had gracefully accepted to duel.

Aiden had, just as gracefully, sprung his unfortunate leader from the dungeon they had tossed him in overnight. With, admittedly, a little help from McKay in the lock-picking department.

Things had turned decidedly less graceful when several villagers had spotted them sneaking out of town. Just Sheppard's luck to get nicked by an arrow, before Teyla had managed to shoot the son of a bitch. At the forest's edge, by Sheppard's order, they had split up, with Aiden and Teyla distracting their pursuers while Sheppard and McKay had taken a more direct route to the gate. And at the ravine, things had plummeted fast, literally…