"I regret it's come to this, Colonel. To be completely honest, I've always admired you…but now you've crossed a line that I simply cannot condone," Woolsey said with a tone of finality as he and Sheppard stood in front of the gate in Atlantis's control room. An active wormhole back to Earth shimmered ominously large in front of them.
"You're breaking my heart," John said sarcastically as Ronon eyed him from afar. He knew his friend was spoiling for a fight, and subtly waved him off with a downward flick of his bound wrists.
Ronon sneered in disgust, but his movements seemed to settle down. He knew there was nothing that he could do for Sheppard, but that didn't mean he wasn't willing to go down fighting for his friend.
"If there was any way to make this more pleasant for you, I would…"
"How about I punt your dishonorable ass back through the gate instead," Sheppard countered, clearly agitated.
Woolsey stiffened. "You can rest assured that will not be happening." He purposefully turned and looked at the open gate. "Once you step through that gate I doubt you'll ever lay eyes on one again. I hope it was worth it for you." Woolsey nodded to the security guards. "Send him through."
The SFs took Sheppard by the elbow and dragged him forward.
"John!" Teyla yelled out, not knowing what else to say...or do.
Sheppard dug his heels into the ground three feet from the puddle and turned to look back at her. He gave her an unconvincing smile before he was dragged into the event horizon.
"Donnor, Davis, watch the gate," Colonel Morris barked out a few minutes after SG-14 arrived on the previously unexplored world through the stargate for the second time in three days…this time with an archeology team in tow. "Stevenson, you and me are on patrol. Take the southern ruins that we didn't get to last time, I'll take the plaza then escort the egg heads around. Report anything interesting."
"Roger that," Stevenson said, turning south through the decaying remains of an Ancient city. Though mostly made up of abandoned buildings and crumbling infrastructure, a few pieces of ancient tech had been discovered on their first trip through the gate.
Nothing groundbreaking had been found, but the fact that some tech remained suggested that the planet hadn't been scavenged by the Goa'uld or others…and that meant there might still be something worthwhile lying around.
Captain Ryan Stevenson, fresh off a stint with SG-7, had been reassigned less than a week ago after personally requesting General Landry to move him to one of the teams tasked with exploring the remaining gates on the SGC's galactic list that General O'Neill had provided them with years ago. After an hour of debate, and a check of his medical records, Landry somberly granted his request and moved him into an open slot on an exploration team that a recently pregnant Lieutenant had vacated.
After half an hour of meandering through the ruins with nothing but rubble to report, Stevenson checked in on his radio and headed back to the main structure where the stargate was located. It was one of the few worlds that the Humans had explored that had the gate indoors, which suggested to the experts back in the SGC that the planet might hold a greater significance than other Ancient sites previously discovered.
There was even some scuttlebutt back in the SGC about establishing a permanent base in the ruins. While some of the buildings seemed intact to Stevenson, they weren't what he'd call livable. Most had holes of some sort in them, and the oppressive jungle surrounding the site had managed to invade every crack and crevice that it could, creating a hybrid city/forest that would require camping equipment in order to inhabit.
But that didn't really matter to him. He and his team would be moving on to the next address on the diminishing unexplored list within a few days. He hoped they'd be able to finish off the uncharted gates in the Milky Way before he was deemed unfit for duty.
Stevenson wound his way through the western edge of the ruins that he'd spied from afar earlier. There were several statues and large columns that seemed slightly out of place from the rest of the structures. They were clearly Ancient in design, but their coloration and placement suggested they weren't part of the original architecture.
As he walked down a wide corridor and past the foot of one large female statue Stevenson jerked his P-90 up in response to movement on his flank.
He lowered the weapon when he recognized the source…a section of the pedestal had jutted out towards him.
A memory from his initial SGC training clicked and he reached for his radio. General O'Neill had encountered this technology twice during his tour on SG-1.
Stevenson's finger froze over the radio's call button as another thought struck him. He felt a flicker of hope bristle through his skin before his mind quickly dismissed the illogic of it. O'Neill had nearly died both times.
Without thinking his hand retreated from his radio. He looked down at it in wonder, realizing his instincts were disagreeing with his logic. Stevenson looked up at the partially deployed Ancient Repository of Knowledge and swallowed hard.
"I'm dead anyway," he said to himself. "Million to one is better than no odds at all."
Stevenson pulled the green cap off his head and closed his eyes. He sucked in one last breath and stepped forward.