Atlantis

Disclaimer: not owned by me, no money being made, etc.

Summary: A wonder-weapon that actually works without whumping the good guys? But clichés are clichés because they're true…like things that sound too good to be?

Rating: T…oh angst, baby, angst…lightened by, hopefully, healthy dollops of light relief and badinage.

NB – Set Season 5 to post Season 5 I guess, probably seriously AU depending on Season 5…

BURN OUT NOT FADE AWAYChapter 1

"Maa'Kaay," John switched from Rohd-knee to the surname to indicate his increasing exasperation and added a little snap to convey that special 'Colonel-speaking-here-so-in-charge-of-you' authority.

"What is it now?!" Unfortunately after 5½ – nearly 6 – years as part of 'SGA1' Rodney seemed to remain stubbornly oblivious to his subordinate place in the team's command structure and, as usual, sounded off as if he were a busy parent being pestered for attention by a spoilt child.

Nearby, Ronon's eyes gleamed momentarily as the big Satedan stood watch near the entrance of -

This glorified hole in the ground. John knew his scowl bounced right off Ronon, but he didn't try it on the fourth member of their team, standing watch so she had the Stargate in view at all times, because he was just so glad Teyla was back.

Not permanently, not even semi-regularly. Her priority, as he understood, was her little son. Regardless of the bizarre and extraordinary circumstances of Tagan's conception and gestation, the boy was…okay, adorable, though that was a word a man used sparingly even inside his own head. This "mission" was little more than a quick field-trip to a nearby world (Gatewise) to Atlantis's new planetary home.

"Quick" being the operative word, one that their resident genius was not operating to. Teyla had learned that the Wraith had targeted this purportedly never-populated planet in attempt to locate some legendary 'weapon' of great power allegedly hidden there. Many treasure-seekers and Wraith-haters had visited the planet, all to no avail. Temperate climate, no seriously large or dangerous life-forms, lots of forests and rolling hills – and absolutely no signs of any artificial constructions, or clues to some buried treasure.

Teyla had suggested checking it out using their/the Ancients equipment as a final measure, but doubted the story was remotely true. As she had admitted wryly, virtually every planet in Pegasus had it's own mythology of secret super-weapons, hidden in improbable locations that could be found by following implausible clues, capable of annihilating the Wraith wholesale – it was everyone's foremost fantasy.

But they'd been given a go, and for Teyla to come, if she wished, by Woolsey – Dr Richard Woolsey – John consciously made the correction in his head, aware of the dangers of himself especially, as the SGA's chief military officer, making a slip out loud, like Corporal…what was his name…Dunn?…who'd unwittingly referred to the man as Dr Woolly in front of Major Lorne and been sternly told off for it. There was also the fact that Woolsey had shown a marked preference for one particular puddle-jumper (nobody was sure why) and that had birthed some sort of bewildering joke the British members of the SGA Expedition found highly amusing for some reason, calling the craft a 'woolly-jumper'.

Carson, who as a Scot qualified as British, explained that in British English – or what they snootily called real English, a 'jumper'1 was another word for a 'sweater' – Carson had no idea why and no interest in enquiring. The Brits were always weird with the etymology, after all, who else but the British would give the front of a car a sissy name like 'the bonnet' instead of something suitably masculine, such as 'the hood'?

So far, they had found exactly what John expected them to find – diddly-squat! Mr 'Just-let-me-check-this', however, seemed to have decided he was believing in fairy tales this week as he persisted in widening their search area -

Which brings us back to glorified hole in the ground. John eyed the opening with disfavour. It was more of a crack in the rocky hillside, a narrow, high gap that led into a small very roughly rectangular cave about the size of a double-wide service elevator you found in the big hotels. There was no sign whatsoever the cave was man-made or had ever been touched by either Neolithic chisel or Ug's bored descendant with a pound or so of C4.

And…yes, those were now rain-clouds forming directly overhead; at this rate they would have a nice walk through the afternoon drizzle back to the 'Gate.

"Enough, McKay," his impending case of 'drizzle-hair' made him snappish and he stepped inside the entrance, preparatory to frog-marching the Annoying One out if necessary. "There's absolutely nothing here. Nada, zip, zilch, nought, zero."

"In a minute." Rodney didn't even look up as he flapped a hand in the general direction of his superior.

Oh if I could put you on half-rations and a week in the guardhouse. Right. "In a now…"

John took another step forward towards Rodney as the scientist took one towards him with an expression that boded he was about to let rip with some angry invective. John felt his boot dip down slightly as the floor failed to give the resistance to his weight that it should and there came a loud, distinct ker-dunk sound that made both of them freeze solid.

A section of the back wall – six feet long by three feet wide - flipped over to reveal some sort of console with various large push buttons and dials. Centre-point were two narrow crystals protruding out of the console, one blue, one yellow, that looked as if they had each been filed to a sharp point, but despite this, the set-up didn't look Ancient, although it looked…ancient.

"Don't move!" Rodney raised a finger warningly.

Instantly John tensed and scanned the floor and immediate vicinity for threats. "What's wrong?"

"You mean other than the secret panel that's just flipped out of the back wall…actually nothing…I'm just taking a moment to gloat."

"Rodney!"

"'Nada, zip, zilch, nought, zero'" his ex-friend sing-songed.

"M'Kay, remember which one of us has the P-90," John growled. "Ronon! Teyla!"

"We are here, John – " both experienced warriors, they had moved instantly upon his call, but Teyla broke off and exchanged a mutually astonished look with Ronon as they took in the cave, and specifically the new, snazzy interior décor.

"Can you move?" Ronon took in their rigid stances and the slight depressions in the rocks beneath one each of their boots, his 'without bringing several tons of roof down on top of you?'clearly heard though unsaid.

As always, the two men effortlessly switched to a complete mental synchronization with each other when any situation got 'real', in a manner that would have absolutely astonished those on Atlantis who had only ever seen the two men snark and snarl at each other like two rambunctious Rottweiler puppies after the same bit of steak.

Their eyes met and an entire conversation passed in a silent second.

Me? John offered by quirking his eyebrows.

No, Rodney vetoed, you're nearest the opening; I'm nearest the controls to the Batcave.

So?

So, Col-o-nel, if you move and the roof caves in, we're both pancake here. If I move and the roof does a walls-o'-Jericho, you'll be able to dive out the opening and only one us will be good to flip in a frying pan and serve with lemon juice and sugar –

Rodney -

Get ready to tuck and roll, Sheppard…On three?

Nah…those sneakers are Nike®, right?

Yes, but I hardly think this is the time to be critiquing my sartorial choices!

Don't you watch TV McKay? Nike®…'Just Do It'.

Oh…

© 2008

C.D. Stewart a.k.a. The Cat's Whiskers

To be continued…

1 To those unfamiliar with British (i.e., proper) English, a 'jumper' in the UK can refer to, amongst other things, what in American English is called a sweater – long-sleeved thing with V- or round-neck that Princeton type males often wear in American TV shows like a shawl with the arms tied in front while they traipse off to play tennis or squash. They seem to be usually rose-pink or lemon-yellow for some reason. Anyway, made out of wool, or cashmere etc.