The Doom! It Impends!

FORESTED AREA ON PLANET ARGOS

"And if Taggart and his men get to the shock field generator before we do–" Carson was gasping for breath under the weight of his heavy pack.

"They can overwhelm Chaya's ability to defend the population of Proculus. The shock wave would kill her and most of the humans -"

"- Leaving Taggart's people free to mine the rich resources of the planet," finished Sheppard. "Well, I always dreamed of growing up and going hunting for a shock field generator in an alien forest."

Sheppard yelped in sudden pain, twisting around to look accusingly at his rear. A buzzing round object was attached to him and bearing down with a formidable collection of teeth, growing a brighter yellow as blood started to flow.

"Well? Get it off me!" he growled at his companions, wondering if he would ever get used to the endless procession of creepy. "Faithful leader being bitten in the ass by creepy yellow bug, hellooo…"

"Ah – yes. Right away," said Carson, unshouldering his medical kit and starting to fish for supplies. The creature, looking more like a happy yellow 8-ball with teeth by the moment, shook its prey and elicited another violent complaint from the colonel.

"Hold still, John," said Teyla, raising her banto rod and taking careful aim. Her blow failed to stun or dislodge the creature, whose toothy mouth simply angled downward in a pout. Ronon glanced at Teyla in irritation and drew his gun, firing at the creature just as Sheppard turned to speak.

"What the – owwww! Stop trying to help meeeeeee!" Sheppard grabbed Ronan's gun. A fain sheen of sweat was just visible on his face. "I said get it off, not 'please shoot me in the ass because I'm not in nearly enough pain as it is.'"

Ronan grinned and holstered his gun. "And now I get to tell everyone I meet about the time I shot my commanding officer in the back. Side."

Rodney poked at the wound with his finger. "It's only a graze. You'll be fine."

"Rodney, you just poked my ass! Do you have any idea how not fine that is?" asked Sheppard, more for the amusement value of watching Rodney's reaction than anything else.

Rodney's face went slightly pale and he backed away with his hands in the air. "Trying to help – trying to help….."

"All things considered, I think I prefer Ronon's way of helping me," muttered Sheppard. Ronon fingered his gun speculatively. "Carson! Would you get this damn thing off me before I get killed by my own team?"

"Why is Carson the only one who can get it off?" asked Rodney. "His degree is in medicine, not killing esoteric off-world fauna. That really is Ronon's line of expertise."

"Well, for one thing, he doesn't shoot his patients or hit them with big sticks," said Sheppard.

"Hey, did I whine this much when I got shot in the gluteus maximus by an arrow?" asked Rodney. "I think not. I was brave and stoic and –"

"Yes, you did," corrected Carson, standing with several syringes and bandages in his hand.

"You whined for weeks," said Ronon, grinning.

McKay's response was cut short by an angry buzzing in the distance. More of them. "We are so screwed."

"Don't talk to me about screwed," said Sheppard. "I'm getting bitten in the ass by a smiley-face!"

"It does – somewhat resemble a smiley-face, didn't it?" said Rodney, giving it a speculative look. A grin spread across his face. "You're being attacked by the internet!"

"What do you mean?" asked Ronon. "The bug-thing, it's called an internet?"

Rodney sighed. "No, the creepy-toothy-bug thing is a – smiley face. The internet is an earth thing. Trust me, you're better off not knowing. It can be scarier than – well, pretty much anything we've encountered in the Pegasus galaxy."

Sheppard groaned. "This is so not a good start to the day. Anyone else sense impending doom? I think there's impending doom."

FIELD GENERATOR SITE, PLANET ARGOS

Rodney's upper body was under the field generator, and the others were on guard for Taggart's men while they tried to ignore the buzzing of smiley bugs in the forest.

Sheppard kept fighting the urge to place a hand protectively on his posterior every time he heard them.

Finally the scientist sat up. "All done. But we have a couple of problems."

"Of course we do," said Sheppard, rolling his eyes. "Just once, I'd like to hear 'everything's fine, we can all go home now,' Rodney. Once!"

"Perhaps this is where the impending doom comes in," suggested Beckett with the faintest hint of a mischievous smile.

"Okay, first problem," said McKay. "The fire control unit is much larger and heavier than I anticipated, and I can't disable it with the equipment we have here. I was able to get it disconnected, but it's going to take at least three people to carry it to the gate."

"Okay, on a scale of one to ten, I'd say that's a two as far as problems go," said Sheppard. "Next?"

"Even without the fire control unit, this device can be operated by anyone with the ancient gene. All Taggart has to do is find someone with the gene."

"Okay, so we blow it up," said Sheppard. "Simple enough."

"Ah." Rodney held up a finger. "Already thought of that. But if we destroy this device, the people of this planet lose their only protection from the wraith. What we need to do is come back with the proper equipment and reprogram it so that the device can only generate a shock field large enough to protect this planet, and not be used to harm Proculus."

Sheppard scratched his head where something had fallen from one of the trees above. "All right, let's move out. We'll get the fire control back to Atlantis, then come back with a team of marines to reprogram the thing."

.5 KILOMETERS FROM THE SHOCK FIELD GENERATOR, EN ROUTE TO STARGATE

Sheppard raised up briefly to return fire from behind the rock. It wasn't going well. His team was running low on bullets, and Taggart's men seemed to be fanning out, surrounding them.

Time for a new plan.

He retrieved his one remaining grenade and knelt beside Teyla. "I'm going to sneak out of here, come around behind them, and create a diversion. You guys get the control unit back to the gate. I'll be right behind you."

He was heading back to the gate when the crack of gunfire sounded, and his left leg unexpectedly gave out, sending him sprawling face-down on the forest floor.