Feelin' Hot Hot Hot
Content Warning: Minor character distress/illness
Season: Season 3, after 'McKay and Mrs Miller' and before 'The Return Part 1'
Summary: ""Danger comes," the chorus of voices echoed in Sheppard's head, calling him partially back from the darkness." An incident at an Ancient outpost gives Sheppard the means to save the city when disaster threatens. Sheplantis – big dose of Shep with some McKay friendship thrown in. Nothing to do with my Fortunate Journey Sabina series.
Classifications: Adventure, Drama, Team Friendship
Spoilers for: Nothing really – very very minor references to The Brotherhood and Epiphany.
Disclaimer: The Stargate characters, storylines, etc aren't mine – I'm just playing with them for my own, and hopefully your enjoyment. I am unfortunately not associated in any way with the creators, owners, or producers of Stargate or any of its media franchises. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, equipment, etc are the property of whoever owns them. Any original characters and plot and anything else I made up are the property of me, the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Copyright (c) 2008 ShaViva
Chapter 1: Let's take a minute before we leap in
Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard was having a good day. That in itself was cause for concern because Sheppard would be the first to admit that most of his off world missions had an element of ... bad day ... about them. Still, M4R-133 had so far failed to deliver on the bad and Sheppard had decided he might as well enjoy the good while it lasted. It was a nice sunny day, the trees they were walking through were at least as attractive as the thousands of others he'd seen on other similar worlds, and the walk had proved just strenuous enough to have him feeling nice and limber.
"McKay?" Sheppard glanced over his shoulder to Dr Rodney McKay who was stumbling along behind him, eyes more on his data pad than the ground in front of him. "How much further?"
The team had been trudging through the trees for almost an hour, following an elusive power signature Rodney had picked up moments after they'd gated in. The mission had been planned in advance based on intel from another planet that suggested a 'source of Ancient power'. Sheppard had tried to reign in Rodney's enthusiastic assumption that they were about to find a ZPM but Rodney wouldn't be swayed, his certainty powering him through the trees without the usual complaints about sun exposure, insects, or tasks beneath the genius of the great Rodney McKay.
"Another 5 kilometres," Rodney called out. "There's some kind of structure at the end of this path - the power signature's emanating from there."
"Ronon, Teyla, anything?" Sheppard checked in with the other members of his team who were bringing up the rear.
"There are still no signs of occupation," Teyla responded, her appearance calm and serene as she kept a watchful eye on their surroundings.
"No signs of anything," Ronon complained. These types of missions were not his favourites - he preferred the ones with a bit more ... action.
"Well, keep your eyes open," Sheppard ordered, resuming his role in the lead position.
They walked on for another twenty minutes in silence. Sheppard knew when they were getting close, even before Rodney told him. His skin began to tingle as though in contact with a small electric charge and he perceived a faint humming sound inside his head. It was something he'd become accustomed to after more than two years living in the Pegasus galaxy - how the Ancient technology called to the Ancient within him. That awareness didn't come with any cool powers or extra abilities, beyond his ability to control the Ancient technology, so he'd never mentioned it to any of his team, to anyone at all. He'd never heard anyone else with Ancient genes speak of any special awareness and Sheppard had decided very quickly after arriving in Atlantis that drawing attention to himself would not be a good idea. After doing the mercy kill with Colonel Sumner and having to take command of the military contingent it became even more important that he not give anyone reason to doubt him.
"Another one hundred metres that way," Rodney said, pointing in the direction Sheppard had instinctively turned. Rodney didn't notice, frowning at his screen as he tried to zero in on the power signature.
Minutes later they broke from the cover of trees into a small almost circular clearing. In the centre of the clearing was a rounded structure that looked like an upright storm cellar door. Whatever they'd found, clearly it was going to involve going underground.
"This is it," Rodney walked forward eagerly. "The power signature's coming from somewhere under us."
"Hold on McKay," Sheppard put a hand on Rodney's shoulder to halt his progress. "Let's take a minute before we leap in."
"There's nothing to indicate any kind of problem," Rodney argued impatiently. "It's a simple door leading underground."
"And the doorway to the Sanctuary was just a simple cloak," Sheppard replied, grimly reminding Rodney of the last time they'd blundered in without fully considering all the available information.
"Fine," Rodney muttered, moving away from the door to scan the surrounding structure. "I'm not picking up any evidence of power usage up here," he reported a few moments later.
"Okay," Sheppard agreed, having done his own walk around the structure and found nothing that seemed suspicious. He motioned for Ronon to take position on one side of the doorway, Teyla on the other, while he stood in front ready to open it. Rodney stood crowding behind him, impatient to see what was behind the door. "On my count," Sheppard said softly, "three ... two ... one." He swiped a hand over the door control, raising his P90 and shining the torch through the now open doorway. "Clear."
Ronon entered first, then Sheppard, Rodney and finally Teyla covering their backs. The path leading down put Sheppard in mind of a large well with a spiral staircase constructed against its walls. Ronon continued to shine his torch forewards as they made their way down slowly, their steps echoing back up the shaft.
"How deep are we going?" Sheppard's voice sounded loudly in the gloom.
"Ah ... 100 feet," Rodney said, his face illuminated by the screen of his data pad. His breath hissed in and out, reminding Sheppard that Rodney suffered from mild claustrophobia. Being down a darkened well would not sit well with him but it was amazing what Rodney would put up with in the name of science.
Ronon reached the bottom of the stairs, moving through to the large circular room that seemed to be the only destination. The others followed silently behind him until they all stood gathered just inside the door.
"What is this place?" Sheppard asked Rodney, trying to see more within the semi darkness.
"I don't know," Rodney admitted, holding up his data pad and moving it slowly in front of him.
"I guess we should take a closer look then," Sheppard strode forward confidently. As soon as he'd taken a few steps a faint hum sounded and the room was bathed in familiar blue white light.
"What did you do?" Rodney asked, quickly stepping around Sheppard and heading for the console that was now revealed on the other side of the room.
"Nothing," Sheppard said irritably. "This place must be like Atlantis ... automatic lights and power ups when it detects the presence of the Ancient gene."
"Colonel Sheppard,' Teyla spoke softly, drawing Sheppard's attention to where she was looking.
The walls of the chamber were carved with Ancient symbols. The floor had also been decorated ... the large ornate circle carved a couple of steps into the room must have been the cross over point for detection of the Ancient gene because Sheppard was pretty sure the lights hadn't come on until he'd been standing inside that circle. Another smaller circle, about the width of a man with arms fully outstretched, had been carved to enclose the centre of the room.
"McKay, scan the walls," Sheppard ordered. "We'll get someone to translate the text when we get back to Atlantis."
"Mmm," Rodney said distractedly, bent over the console with his laptop at the ready, about to plug into the console.
"Should you be doing that?" Ronon asked, walking over to stand next to Rodney.
"Why don't you worry about security and let me worry about the science," Rodney suggested sarcastically.
"McKay," Sheppard's voice held an unspoken warning.
"If we want to find out what this place does then I need to plug into the system," Rodney said impatiently, looking expectantly at the Colonel. When Sheppard gave a faint nod he turned back to the console and connected his laptop, tapping away at the keys and watching the readings that appeared. "This is interesting ..."
"What?" Sheppard demanded, walking over to where Rodney was standing. As soon as he passed into the centre circle everything changed.
Blue beams shot out from ceiling height, four of them, one for each occupant of the room. Sheppard tried to move but found that the beam was holding him immobile. The faint hum and tingle he'd pushed to the background grew stronger and stronger as the beam held him in place. Grimacing in pain Sheppard tried to check on his team mates - he couldn't shift his head enough to see Teyla or Ronon but Rodney was right in front of him.
Unlike John, Rodney seemed undisturbed by the beam, looking down at the console curiously as the light encased him. The faint hum had become a droning high pitched squeal that reverberated through Sheppard's head painfully. His skin crawled with an electric charge that felt like a million earwigs digging tiny pinchers into him.
And then it got worse - Sheppard groaned and struggled, desperately torn between wanting to tear at his skin and clutch at his head simultaneously. He couldn't curb the need to scream at the pain, hardly aware of his surroundings or the condition of his team. Before he lost consciousness Sheppard felt a shift, as though the reality he knew had been altered in some fundamental way.
"Oh what now?" Doctor Rodney McKay grumbled, stepping away from the console the moment the beam released him. "Sheppard?"
"The Colonel is still enclosed in the beam Doctor McKay," Teyla reported in concern.
"I can see that," Rodney said impatiently. Turning back to the console he frowned. "This makes no sense."
"Do something McKay," Ronon demanded, standing in front of Sheppard whose expression gave clear evidence that the beam was inflicting more than a little pain.
"I'm trying," Rodney complained, punching keys on his laptop looking for some kind of off command.
"Rodney," Teyla's urgent tone drew Rodney's attention back to Sheppard. The beam blocked out sound but it didn't take a genius to work out from sight alone that Sheppard was screaming in agony.
"Arg," Ronon growled, dancing away from the edge of the beam he'd just tried to punch through.
"That's not gonna work," Rodney said irritably. "Did either of you experience any pain, or notice anything that could tell us what that beam's trying to do?"
"I experienced a slight feeling of warmth travelling over me," Teyla said thoughtfully, "not unpleasant and certainly not painful."
"What she said," Ronon grumbled, still shaking his hand to get the feeling back as he paced back and forth in front of Sheppard.
"Mmm," Rodney thought quickly, moving to the console and kneeling down to open an access panel.
"We don't have time for you to work this out," Ronon said impatiently. "Shut it off!"
"That's what I'm doing," Rodney grumbled back. "I'm gonna pull one of the control crystals ...," Rodney added, reaching into the device.
With a clatter of limbs and equipment Sheppard crumbled to the ground, freed from the beams power.
"It worked," Teyla announced in relief, moving quickly to check Sheppard's condition. "He is unconscious but his pulse is strong."
"I didn't do anything," Rodney looked across at the others in confusion. "It must have finished whatever it was trying to do."
"We need to get Colonel Sheppard back to Atlantis," Teyla said urgently. "There is no telling what that machine may have done to him."
"You're right - you and Ronon start back now," Rodney ordered. "I'll finish scanning the walls here so we can work out what the hell just happened."
This is my first attempt to write in a different style (i.e. third person instead of first person) so some feedback would be most appreciated.
For those of you who are interested, I'm still planning to start posting Fortunate Journey Season 3 in a few days ... just needed to take a break and clear my writers eyes so I can actually see the errors that will be right in front of my face the moment I post something!