Jumper 3 hovered into position and quickly put down near the tree line. As soon as the door was on the ground, Dr. Keller came running towards them with her medical bag slung over one shoulder. She noticed Ronon stoking the small fire near the other three and nodded to Colonel Sheppard and Teyla as she knelt beside Rodney.

To her surprise Rodney was still conscious, albeit a bit out of sorts. His eyes were lined in pain, the heel of his left leg was digging into the ground and his hands trembled as he clinched and unclenched them trying to occupy his mind to deal with the unbearable pain.

Keller reached out and grabbed a hold of his right hand, which caught McKay by surprise. "Rodney what happened to you?" she questioned but it was of the rhetorical kind.

Rodney cracked his glazed eyes and sought out Keller's face, "please help me." His whispered plea was nothing like Rodney to say and was a testament to how awful he felt.

Dr. Keller looked up into John's face, one that was full of empathy for his friend in need. As she did this, Rodney kept whispering pleas to give him something, make the pain go away, please…please…all between hiccups of pain.

"Were you able to find anything to give him in the last thirty minutes?" Keller needed to know, as she didn't want to overdose him on anything.

She didn't get an answer from John right away as he looked down on his friend. "John."

"No. We had nothing left to give him…just, just help him."

Keller lifted a hand and squeezed the Colonel's arm. "Don't worry we're here and he's going to be ok."

And with that she dug out a vial of morphine and injected it into his left thigh. Rodney began to relax after a few minutes. It was enough to swiftly look over his wounds. She noticed that a fresh bandage had been tied over the cut to his right thigh and passed over it for now to get a look at the splinted part of his leg as she wanted to be sure it was stabilized as much as possible before moving him.

"How did this happen?" Keller asked the three team members as she worked at easing around the broken limb to survey the damage.

"Earthquake," came from Ronon.

Knowing Keller would need a better description than the one-word answer that Ronon provided, Teyla stepped up seeing that John was not focused enough to help either.

"We were making our way through a boulder pass heading back to the jumper when the earthquake hit. We got separated as the ground began to shift, during that time Rodney was struck by a very large rock. Beyond the obvious broken leg and gash on his thigh, he also has scrapes and deep bruising on his lower right arm. He also complained of his right hip, but there is no external signs of injury."

"What about this?" Keller pointed to her eyebrow.

"Rodney fell during our traverse towards the distress signal location." Teyla noticed that that eye was swollen, not so much to close the eye, but the bruising was now taking on a few shades of yellow and purple around the edge of the bandage.

"He's certainly not having a very good day." Keller said as she continued examining the leg.

"Lorne, can you bring the stretcher over?"

Keller didn't want to try and remove the existing splint, but she did take additional steps to bind another standard split around to shield it from further knocks as he's transported back to Atlantis.

Meanwhile, Rodney was in the arms of Morpheus, sleeping soundly and removed from the pain.

As Lorne, Ronon and Teyla got ready to transfer Rodney to the stretcher, she noticed John was now massaging his temple where the rock had glanced off of him. "Dr. Keller, you should also know that Colonel Sheppard was hit with a rock also…on the head."

John looked betrayed, dropped his hand and delved into helping move Rodney.

"Colonel, I'd like you to stop lifting anything heavy at this time. If you hit your head then I don't want to take any chances of you passing out on us."

"I'm fine," John said defiantly, "I've carried Rodney all this way, I can do it a bit more." Till he swayed, "…or not."

"See," Keller grabbed his arm, "let us do the work and I want to examine you in the jumper."

John took a few steps back, bringing his hand to his head again to continue abating the sudden headache. He watched as Keller guided the splinted leg while the rest of the team placed Rodney on the stretcher and made their way to the jumper.

"That's it, just put him down on the floor," Keller told the team then pointed at Sheppard, "and you please sit so I can have a look at where that rock hit you."

Sheppard complied but kept his gaze on his friend. He felt guilty that he was being looked at while Rodney was the one who needed her attention the most.

"I know what your thinking but this will just take a second and then I'll get back to Rodney." Keller's words broke his gaze as he turned to her crooked heartfelt smile. "Now let's have a look."

She examined the area and found deep bruising but no open wounds. She continued by bringing up the penlight and flashing it in his eyes. "Did you lose consciousness at any time?"

"No, it just dazed me for a bit…nothing more."

"Well Colonel, I think you got very lucky. I don't see any signs of severe damage, but I still want to run a scan once we're back at Atlantis. Here take these." He took the Tylenol and washed it down with large mouthful of water from his canteen.

Keller, satisfied that the Colonel was ok for the most part, she again returned her attention to Rodney. Noticing the fine tremors coursing through his body, she knew that his sugar was bottoming out. She also began to peel back the bandages from his thigh. Keller almost gasped as she looked at the wound, but instead just sucked in a breath between her teeth.

The wound was definitely showing signs of infection. Red, puffy skin tinged the area around the jagged opening and when touched the wound expelled yellow pus. Keller cleaned the wound as best she could with what she had and rebandaged it.

With low blood sugar and infection Keller swiftly started an IV the back of Rodney's left hand. She also took out a couple of ice packs, cracked one and placed over Rodney's right eye then. Keller then took a bag stuffed with blankets and elevated the broken leg. She covered the leg with a cloth and cracked two more ice packs placing one right below the knee and the other on the ankle to reduce swelling.

Once all the immediate tasks had been completed she took Rodney's pulse, finding it somewhat fast but considering he seemed to be hanging in there ok. She then sat back, let out a sigh and noticed everyone looking at her, even Lorne who was flying the jumper.

"I've done all I can do for now. Once we're back to Atlantis I'll have to get him under a scanner to see the extent of the damage to the entire leg."

With that she looked up at Sheppard and nodded her head acknowledging that he would soon be back home and on the road to recovery.

Sheppard ran his hands through his hair, and then let out a sigh, feeling a burden disappear at the knowledge that Rodney would be home soon and on the mend.


TBC – almost there…almost home…