Chapter Eight

Ronon used his instincts to easily maneuver his way through the ventilation shaft, though the size of his body was proving a tougher issue with the narrow space than he had earlier surmised. More than once he became unmistakably wedged and had once stopped so suddenly that is caused Rodney to slam his head directly into Ronon's upright backside.

"McKay!" Ronon snarled angrily trying to turn his head around to glare at the scientist.

Rodney made a gagging sound and made a quick mention of the fact that he may in turn vomit.

Teyla stopped them both, her smooth voice echoing strangely against the surrounding metal as it drifted from the rear.

"Please lets focus. Colonel Sheppard is counting on us and we are not even sure where he is being held." She paused. "Ronon, are you able to move?"

After a significant amount of groaning and straining, Ronon managed to wiggle himself free.

"We can't stay in here much longer, " Ronon said. "I can't see down the vents enough to be able to tell if Sheppard is in any of the rooms. Next empty room, we're getting out."

"Oh thank God..." Rodney whispered, his eyes trying to focus on anything besides the only view he had which was regrettably still Ronon's backside.

Teyla rolled her eyes and the three of them continued inching forward.

It wasn't long before they encountered another empty room. Teyla thought it strange at the fact so many rooms were barren and unoccupied.

Ronon slammed the adjoining grate from the wall with one swift punch giving them a wide hole to work with. He began to shimmy himself out of the dark shaft and into the dimly lit room below.

After less than a minute, Rodney was doing the same with Ronon's assistance guiding him down. The room was small, no larger than the inside of a Puddle Jumper and its only occupants were a small table covered in dust and cobwebs and an old worn mattress lying in the corner; its unmistakable blood stains catching Ronon's observant eyes as he aided McKay in his descent.

The room held a small window with reinforced black bars crossing both directions making escape an immediately mute option. Only small shafts of firelight echoed in as dancing shadows fell across Ronon's face. A strong sense of wariness crept inside him.

McKay had finally joined Ronon, feet firmly planted on the dirt trodden ground and Teyla was only just approaching the hole.

She had placed herself to send her feet and legs through first but a loud smash sent her reeling back into the shaft.

Ronon and Rodney turned immediately behind them. Ronon unholstered his gun aiming directly towards the sound.

The rickety old wooden door had been wailed upon by something or someone strong; strong enough to splinter most of the frame and everyone knew only one more well-placed blow would send the door to its miserable death, leaving them exposed to whoever would enter.


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