Disclaimer: I do not own or have any rights to Stargate Atlantis or its characters.

Spoilers/Timing: This takes place shortly after Sateda and contains several small spoilers.

Act of Desperation – Chapter 1

John Sheppard studied the knife in his right hand, gently rubbing his thumb against the hilt. He let his gaze wander beyond the knife to his right leg, huge rocks covering it from the knee down. Taking a deep shuddering breath, he told himself once again that this was the only way for him to survive. His strength was waning and it was pretty much now or never if he stood any chance of making it back to the jumper. He could do this, he just had to be strong and focus.

Lifting the leg of his pants, he cut through the fabric as far as he could, pulling the two edges apart to reveal the flesh just above the knee. He figured he could go in above the knee and then angle down under the kneecap to go between the femur and tibia. Coming up from below the kneecap would be easier, but the rocks were too close and he couldn't get to that area of his leg. This would have to do. Watching his hand shake, he focused on gaining some sort of control. He would have to be swift and firm, wholly dedicated to completing the task. The worse thing he could do would be to wimp out in the middle. Closing his eyes, he took several deep breaths, trying to calm his nerves. His dry, chapped lips reminded him of how dehydrated he was, at the way he would die if he didn't get out of here now.

Opening his eyes, his resolution firm, he picked up the small stick he had previously wrapped in cuttings made from his shirt. He pulled the tourniquet at mid thigh tight and placed the stick between his teeth. Without hesitation, he pushed the knife into his leg and watched the red blood begin to flow sluggishly out around it as he sliced through the skin and into the tissue below, biting down hard on the stick as he tried to keep from passing out.