Look Back in Anger
By Leesa Perrie
(Set after The Return, so probably AU when Part 2 is finally shown.)
AN: I have used David Hewlett's year of birth (1968) as being Rodney McKay's. However, Kate Hewlett's year of birth (1978) didn't quite fit my story, so I have made Jeannie's year of birth 1976 instead. Just in case you are wondering!
The title is the same as a 1956 play by John Osborn - but I was actually inspired by the Oasis song 'Don't Look Back in Anger' (which I believe was in turn inspired by the play!!)
"And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand…"
- Lyrics from 'Iris' by the Goo Goo Dolls
Chapter One – So, two scientists and a pilot walk into a building…
Also known as 'Mud Ball' to the team that first went there. A name that stuck.
Lots of rain, lots of mud, no trees. Just lots and lots of muddy plains as far as the eye could see. No mountains or hills in sight. Just grass and low lying plants, and mud. Lots and lots of mud.
The only thing that could be seen in the miles of plains around the gate, other than the gate itself, was a building. Tall but squat, it lay one mile from the gate. It looked innocuous, bland, grey and featureless.
But inside, there was a room with technology. A plain room with many consoles around the edge, and one in the centre. Not Ancient, not Wraith. Whoever was responsible for it, they were clearly long gone.
Major Lorne's team had found the building, but none of them knew what it was for. They filmed and photographed everything that they could and returned to Atlantis.
There, Dr McKay and his team watched and looked and learned what they could. There were a few ideas, but the only way to really know would be to go back to check the place out.
With the intergalactic bridge working, and Atlantis now firmly back in their hands, after kicking the replicators out, travel between Earth and Atlantis was much, much easier.
Colonel Samantha Carter was visiting Atlantis at this time. And when she heard that Colonel Sheppard and his team were going to check out this mysterious new building, she asked to go along. As much to annoy Rodney as to satisfy her curiosity.
In the end, Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon, McKay and Carter were given the go ahead to check it out, taking a jumper. More scientists would join them once they were certain the technology was not going to 'bite them in the ass' as Colonel Sheppard put it.
As their luck would have it, it did; bite them in the ass. Figuratively speaking.
Rodney and Sam were checking out the consoles, whilst Teyla and Ronon checked the outside of the building. Sheppard kept watch inside the building. It was large. But only one room, which seemed odd to him. No little side rooms, not even any bathroom facilities. Just one large room, with the consoles, and apparently little else.
He wandered over to McKay and Carter after checking the room out.
"So, any idea yet what this might be?"
"Not bored already, are we, Colonel?" came Rodney's snide response.
"Yep," Sheppard replied happily. "So, what's this thing do?"
"We'll need more time," Carter said.
"Yes, yes, it's not like it comes with an instruction manual," Rodney muttered. "Why don't you go do soldier-y things…preferably elsewhere."
"Nah, I think I'll stick around here and annoy you."
There was a heavy sigh, followed by some under breath cursing. Carter smiled at Sheppard, and returned to checking the main console. Sheppard grinned, wandering over to one side, having spotted some markings in the floor.
"What are these?" he asked, looking at the oblong shapes. "You think they might be trapdoors?" There was an impatient sigh from McKay.
"It's possible," Sam jumped in, "but even we need more than twenty minutes to work out what this does, Colonel."
"Ah, you're spoiling it," John moaned, though with no real animosity.
"It's a game the team plays…"
"Yes, it's called who can annoy McKay the most. The Colonel here's the reigning champion," Rodney muttered with a scowl.
"Oh," Carter grinned. "Sorry, I didn't know. Can I join in, or is it a team only event?"
"Well, seeing as you're on the team for this mission, feel free to join in."
"Oh, great," McKay moaned. "You do realise I'm trying to work, here, right?"
"Hey, you're the guy who claims he can multi-task," Sheppard answered. "So multi-task."
There was a loud noise, followed by a curse from Rodney.
"What have you done?" Carter asked, looking over his shoulder.
"Nothing. I didn't do anything."
"You sure, McKay?" Sheppard moved towards them.
"Yes, I'm sure. I didn't touch anything, I was too busy talking to you," he looked at Sheppard, annoyed.
"Well, something's happening," John replied.
There was more noise, a mechanical sound this time, and the five oblongs that John had been studying moved. The metal within the oblongs slid back, and five chairs rose up. There was a click as they settled into place. At the same time, a force field surrounded the console and the chairs, effectively trapping them.
"No, no, no, no, this isn't good," McKay turned back to the console, frantically checking it over.
"Choose subject," a disembodied female voice directed.
"Shit," Carter was also looking over the console. McKay pulled open a panel, looking at the circuitry inside. "Crystal technology."
"Yeah," McKay agreed, "but not Ancient design."
He probed carefully, as the female voice reiterated its direction to choose a subject.
"I hope you can figure this out," Sheppard said, "'cos I have to say, I have a bad feeling about this."
"You're not the only one, Colonel," McKay muttered.
"It's definitely not Ancient design," Carter said. "Less complicated, actually."
"Yes," McKay pointed to one of the crystals that had started glowing. "If we can disengage that one…"
"It might shut the whole thing down," Carter agreed. "Worth a try. It looks like that might be the connection…"
"Yes, yes, I know," He took a breath. "Okay, here goes nothing."
He reached in to cut the connection, but before he could do so, the crystal glowed even brighter and a light from the console flashed out and hit him. He yelped in surprise and pushed away from the console.
"Subject had been chosen. Choose watchers," the voice said.
"You okay?" Sheppard asked, beating Carter to the same question.
"Hmm, yes, I think so. It didn't hurt, just caught me by surprise."
Another light flashed out from the console, this time hitting Carter and Sheppard. They both jumped as it hit, but like McKay, it didn't hurt.
"Watchers have been chosen. Be seated."
"Hell, no," Sheppard said, eyeing the chairs suspiciously.
"I agree," Rodney said, turning to go back to the console with Sam. However, the force field moved, cutting them off from it.
"Well, that's not good," Sheppard stated.
"No," Carter said. McKay looked round, wildly.
"Is it just me, or are the walls… sorry, the force field, moving in? Because, I have to say, this is not a claustrophobe's best dream…"
"Keep it together, McKay, at least the walls are see through."
"Oh, that so does not help, Colonel. Really, it doesn't."
"The force field is backing us towards the chairs," Sam said, "maybe if we do what the program wants…"
"I'd rather not," Sheppard replied, "but it doesn't look like we have much choice."
Carter was right, the force field was pushing them back towards the chairs. And McKay looked on the verge of a major panic attack.
"This is not happening," McKay closed his eyes. "Not happening. I'm in a wide open field…" his eyes shot open. "Oh, who am I kidding?"
Sheppard grabbed Rodney, pulling him towards one of the chairs and pushing him into it. The force field stopped its encroachment. He looked to Carter, and nodded towards a second chair, to the left of McKay. She nodded in response and sat down. He then followed suit, choosing a third chair, to the right of McKay.
As soon as all three were seated, visors lowered over their faces….