Disclaimer – All I own is the plot of this story. Alas.
Summary – John and Teyla accidentally activate an Ancient device with unusual results…
This is set about five months after the Season Three finale.
"How much longer?"
John picked up a loose piece of marble from the floor and flicked it away as if he were skimming a stone. It skipped once on the floor and skidded into the corner of the corridor. He looked round at Ronon, who had spoken. The Satedan was leaning back against the wall a few feet away. Teyla sat on the floor next to him. She was aiming a torch at the wall opposite them, providing light for Rodney who was fiddling with the crystals in the control panel next to a door.
He had been playing with that thing for almost fifteen minutes, and the door was staying obstinately shut.
Rodney completely ignored Ronon's question, seeing as he had asked the exact same thing only a minute before. Ronon did not like sitting around doing nothing.
John wasn't having much fun either. They were in an unexplored part of the city, by the Northern pier which they had been exploring it for three hours, and had found nothing. This part of the city was mainly residential, but according to the schematics there had been a large lab complex here as well and this was the room they were trying to get into. Rodney couldn't detect any energy readings coming from inside the room, and seeing as they couldn't open the doors John was seriously considering giving up and going back. He picked up another piece of marble and skimmed it across the floor to join the other five he had thrown.
Suddenly the control panel turned blue and the doors to the lab opened, expelling a cloud of dust. Rodney's cry of triumph turned into a cough as he swallowed it. Ronon pushed himself away from the wall and thumped the wheezing scientist on the back, peering into the dark room he had opened.
"Well done McKay," he said. "About time too."
Rodney gave one last cough and glared at him. "Thanks for all your help," he said sarcastically.
"Alright, alright," John said, stepping in between the two men. "Let's just have a look around, shall we?"
He switched on the torch on top of his P-90. Teyla and Rodney did the same, and Ronon pulled out his handgun. The four of them cautiously made their way into the lab.
It was very dark, and all their small torches told them was that it was very large. John took a couple of steps to the left, near to where the light controls were usually situated. Unlike other rooms in Atlantis, though, this one did not activate when it felt his presence. John shone his torch at the wall, at the light control. It was there, but it didn't do anything, even when he waved his hand over it.
"Rodney, do you think you can get the lights working?" John asked.
Rodney walked over to him and peered at the control. "I'll try," he said in a long-suffering voice.
John left him to it and rejoined Teyla and Ronon, who were walking forward into the darkness. After a few steps the light from their torches shone on something in front of them – some kind of raised platform in the centre of the room. The three of them approached it cautiously, eyes and ears peeled for any sign of movement.
There was nothing. They reached the platform. It was about four feet high, and there were three sets of steps leading up onto it – one in each corner, and one in the middle. The corners were more circles than angles, and the steps led onto these. John shone his torch onto the platform but he couldn't see anything; it just seemed to go back, like a stage.
John smiled slightly at the thought that maybe they had found Atlantis' theatre. He shone his torch to the left and skirted round the circular corner of the platform to look at the side of it. It seemed to be made of the same kind of marble as the rest of the city, and he couldn't see anything to identify it as anything other than an ordinary stage.
He went back to the front of the platform. Teyla was climbing the steps at the other corner circle. John thought for a second of telling her to climb back down, but it looked like whatever was on this platform was a long way back.
Teyla got to the top of the steps and stood on the circle, shining her torch at the floor.
"Anything?" John asked. His voice echoed loudly in the empty room.
"There are lines scratched into the stone," Teyla replied. "I think it is just decoration."
Ronon was walking towards the steps in the centre of the platform. The steps up to the other corner circle were right next to John, so he started to climb them. He shone his torch at the floor which was, as Teyla had said, carved with fine lines that didn't form any symbols he recognised. He stepped carefully onto the platform.
As soon as he had both feet on the platform John realised that it was definitely not a stage.
Blue light snaked along the lines they had taken for carvings, seeming to originate from under his feet. The light spread outwards towards the edge of the circle quite slowly, like water in between paving slabs. John tried to get back to the steps but found that he couldn't move his feet. And it wasn't as if his shoes were simply stuck to the floor. It felt as though his legs underneath his knees had been set in concrete.
John's head whipped round to look at Teyla. The circle she was standing on had also lit up, and judging by the way she was swaying she was held by the same invisible force as he was.
"What the hell!" Ronon exclaimed from where he stood on the steps in the middle of the platform. He jumped off of them as soon as he saw what was happening.
"What's going on up there?" Called Rodney's voice from by the door.
John looked back down at his feet. The blue light had reached the edge of the circle, which was now starting to glow with a white light slowly growing in intensity. John looked over his shoulder in Rodney's direction.
"McKay we could use some help over here!" He called.
"What – hang on, I think I've got the lights –" Sure enough the lights came on and John could see the rest of the room and what they were dealing with. Not that it helped them much.
He could now see that the platform stretched back a good thirty metres. It was completely level except for a metre high block near the back that looked almost like an altar. A large diamond-shaped piece of glass set into the front of it was glowing blue.
John looked over at Teyla just as she looked at him. He could see how panicked she was, though she was trying to appear calm. John shared her feelings – who knew what this machine was supposed to do.
The white light in the circle at Teyla's feet started to move up, almost like a mist. It snaked up past her knees and hips. Teyla was still staring at John – or rather his waist. He looked down himself and saw the light at his feet had done the same to him. It didn't hurt at all – it didn't feel like anything. The light continued to move up his body, past his chest and neck. As it moved past his face and obscured his vision he heard Rodney's voice from next to the platform.
"What did you do?"
"Nothing!" John yelled indignantly. "Will you turn it off?"
"How did you turn it on?"
"I didn't!" The light was now completely surrounding him, and starting to move inwards.
"I can't see a control panel – it must have reacted to your gene…"
The light was very close to him now and he had to close his eyes against it. Then, suddenly, it was gone, and John felt his legs suddenly released. His knees shook and he swayed back, but managed to regain his balance before he fell. He looked across at Teyla. She was crouching on her own circle, looking shaken but physically fine.
John looked down at Rodney and Ronon, but neither were looking at him. They were watching the platform light up.
Two strands of white light were running across the front of the platform towards each other. They met in the middle, above the middle steps. The two strands of light formed one blue strand and raced towards the altar thing at the back of the platform. It hit it and the diamond-shaped glass glowed white.
Then all the lights on the platform went out.
"What the hell was that?" Rodney exclaimed.
John ignored him. "Teyla are you okay?" He asked, looking across at her. She stood up, nodding. "I am fine," she replied. "Are you?"
He nodded. "Whatever it was, it didn't hurt," he said. "Maybe we should get out of here."
He had only taken one step when he heard a noise from the back of the platform. He quickly pointed his P-90 in that direction. Teyla and Ronon followed suit.
"What is it, Colonel?" Teyla asked.
"Didn't you hear that?" He said, staring at the diamond glass. It was no longer lit up, and he could see that it was a frosted white colour. But some parts of it seemed darker than others.
The noise came again. He lowered his gun slightly, frowning. Teyla said what he was thinking. "It sounds like a… child."
It had sounded distinctly like a whimper. But how could there be a child in this room?
Suddenly, the whimpering started again, and there was no mistaking the sound. It was a baby crying.
Teyla was on the platform before John could stop her. Nothing happened though, and he quickly followed her. The baby was still crying, and it was clear that the noise was coming from the block at the back of the platform.
Teyla got there before John did and crouched down in front of it. He saw that the dark areas on the glass were moving and he realised that the baby was behind the glass.
Teyla was trying to pry the glass out of its frame but the edges were very smooth.
"Are you sure we should be opening that?" Rodney asked from behind them. He and Ronon had climbed onto the platform behind them. John was inclined to agree with Rodney, but Teyla glared at him.
"It's a baby, Rodney," she said. "We can't just leave it in there."
"It's survived for ten thousand years," Rodney said. "A few minutes won't hurt it."
Teyla's glare deepened and she went back to trying to open the glass. The baby was still crying.
John sat back on heels, trying to decide what to do. Obviously this baby had been frozen or something and that light that had surrounded him and Teyla had woken it up. It was only a baby – he could see its silhouette through the glass. They had no way of knowing, now that the freezing… thing… was switched off, how much oxygen the baby had or anything.
They couldn't leave it in there.
John took out his pen knife and flipped it open. He wedged it in between the glass and the stone, but as soon as he placed his other hand on the block to get some leverage a crack appeared down the middle of the glass and it slid open.
It was a baby girl, lying naked inside the block, her little face screwed up tight as she cried. She had dark olive skin and a mop of black hair, and was only a couple of months old at the most.
Teyla reacted first. Making calming noises, she placed her hand on the baby's chest. It kept crying.
"We have to take her to the infirmary," she said, looking at John.
He nodded, and quickly unclipped his P-90 from his vest so that he could remove it. He took off his jacket and handed it to Teyla, who placed it round the baby as she carefully lifted her out of the block.
John pressed the activation button on his radio. "Sheppard to Carter."
"Carter here. Found anything interesting, John?"
"Yes, actually. We found a baby."
"She seems to have been in some kind of stasis. We think the room sensed my gene and used me to wake her up."
"And she's alive?"
"Can't you hear her?"
It was only then that John realised the baby had stopped crying. He looked round and saw that she was still awake but now staring up at Teyla as she held her close against her chest, wrapped in John's jacket. Teyla was smiling down at her with what John thought was a very maternal smile.
"Yes, she's alive. We're going to take her to the infirmary."
"I'll alert Dr Kellar and meet you there. Carter out."
John nodded to the door of the lab. "Come on, let's go to the infirmary," he said.
"Maybe I should stay here and see if I can find anything out about this thing," Rodney said as John and Teyla stood up.
John nodded. "Yeah, okay, Ronon stay with him," he said.
Ronon nodded. John picked up his vest and P-90, gestured to Teyla and the two – well, three – of them started to walk across the platform.
"McKay to Zelenka…"
John let Teyla go down the steps in front of him and then followed her out of the lab.
More to come soon - any feedback is appreciated.