Another Way

Authors Note: This is a short AU ending for the Stargate Atlantis Season Five episode The Lost Tribe.

Doctor Rodney McKay fumed silently as he glared at the control console for Janus' device, the damned renegade Asgard had taken the control key. There was no way for him to shut the subspace antenna down without it, which meant that even as he and Daniel Jackson stood here helpless more Stargates around the galaxy would be overloading and exploding as the denizens of the Pegasus Galaxy attempted to use them.

Inwardly he shivered. Being as familiar with the workings of the Stargates as he was he knew just how devastating a Stargate overload would be. While the gates could and did hold massive amounts of energy the radiation being generated by Janus's device as an unintended by-product of the Wraith hyperdrive destroying subspace static would quickly overwhelm the energy storage capacity of the Stargates internal capacitors – supercharging the highly refined naquada of which the gate was made to the point where it would become unstable and detonate in a monstrous thermonuclear explosion. An explosion whose force would be in the thousands of megatons range; an explosion that could kill everyone on the planet the gate was located on, either by vaporising them outright in the nuclear firestorm or by slowly killing them afterwards as the planets biosphere fell apart from the intense radiation burst of the detonation.

The thought that so many people could be dying because of the rogue Asgard being so callous so uncaring of the consequences of their actions sickened him. It was a betrayal of everything the Asgard race they had known had believed in and stood for, these Asgard were behaving more like Goa'uld than the wise, benevolent aliens Thor, Freyr and the others had been. He was also worried about John, Teyla, Ronon, Radek, Jennifer and everyone else in Atlantis, knowing what could possibly happen to the city if they dialled the Stargate. He knew that there was a very real possibility that Atlantis could be gone and that everyone there was… No don't even think that, Rodney, he told himself firmly, John and the others will be alright you'll see.

He shook off his increasingly bleak thoughts about what could have happened or be happening to Atlantis when he heard Daniel's voice. Though he didn't exactly hear what the American archaeologist/anthropologist/linguist said.

"Sorry what did you say," he asked.

"I said what about pulling the plug on the whole facility," Daniel said not minding repeating himself. He'd seen the look in Rodney's eyes he was worried about the rest of his team and everyone else back in Atlantis. It was a sign of how much Rodney McKay had changed from the brash, arrogant man he'd been when Daniel had first met him. The arrogance and egotism were still there but now he'd got a few glimpses of the good man underneath – the real person hidden behind the defensive shield of arrogance and egotism.

Rodney frowned. "We can't do much more than turn the lights off without that control key from here," he replied looking over at the window into the shielded chamber where the subspace antenna itself was located surrounded by a glowing blue nimbus of charged particles and flinging off massive bolts of lightning. That things got to be taking an awful lot of power since its broadcasting subspace static throughout the galaxy, he thought, and Daniel said earlier that this facility has a massive power generating capacity. We should at least be able to cut main power to the entire facility by shutting down the power source. And there is only one thing that could be providing this place with the amount of power it requires to do its thing.

"Wait a minute there is away to shut the power down if I'm right," he said moving to the other control panel in the room and operating it, his hands dancing across the console, while he couldn't shut down the device without the control key he could still access the Ancient datastream and get information on the rest of the facility. He was vaguely surprised to find that despite the thick Asgard armoured suit he was wearing his sense of touch was unaffected. The holographic display screen flashed and obediently pulled up the facilities schematics which he carefully began to scrutinise.

"What are you looking for," Daniel asked, reading the Ancient script on the screen though not really understanding what it was going on about though he knew what the words meant. Having been an Ascended Being on two separate occasions and a Prior of Ori once he was fully conversant in both the written and spoken version of Ancient. All he could tell was that Rodney had accessed the schematics of the facilities power distribution grid.

"As you said earlier this place has a massive power generation capacity, it would need it to be able to generate and broadcast subspace static field strong enough to affect the whole of the Pegasus Galaxy at once," Rodney replied. "There is only one Lantean power source I know of that could provide the necessary power to that thing in the other room and provide the necessary power to keep this place in a stand by state for ten thousand years."

Daniel's eyes widened as the realised what Rodney was saying. "A Zee-PM," he said.

Rodney nodded as he found what he was looking for and his eyes widened slightly. If this was right Janus' device – according to the datastream Janus had called it the Attero Device – was even more of a power hog than he had originally believed it to be. He was right in his guess that this facilities power source was a Zero Point Module, but there was more than one of them.

"Bingo," he said. "I've found them. All we need do is get down to the power room and pull the Zed-PMs. Without them this place will be left with only its emergency capacitors and those aren't enough to power the device, even if the Asgard shut down the rest of the facilities systems they won't have enough energy to even begin powering the Attero Device back up."

"Attero Device?" Daniel asked.

"Apparently that's what Janus called that thing in there."

"An apt name considering the term attero means to weaken or to destroy in both Latin and Ancient," Daniel said. "But we need to focus on shutting that thing down, before it kills anymore people. Where are the Zee-PMs?"

"They'll be in the main power room," Rodney answered giving another command to the datastream, bringing up a completely different set of schematics, these showing the precise internal layout of the facility. "That's two levels down at the core of the facility," he continued as he read the schematic. "There is an internal transport station just down the corridor from the power room, shouldn't take us to long to get there from here."

"Then lets go," Daniel replied going back to the other console, picking up the helmet of his suit and putting it back on. Rodney did the same and the two disguised Humans looked at each other, each only seeing a armoured figure surrounded by a green aura and reams of data – naturally written in the runic language of the Asgard – on there HUD built into the helmets.

"Lead on, Rodney," Daniel said his voice sounded deeper and more resonant coming from the helmet speaker.

"This way," Rodney replied leading the way out of the control room, into the rest of the facility.

They encountered no other Asgard as they made there way through the corridors of the facility to the nearest transporter booth. As he walked slightly behind Rodney Daniel could only wonder where all the Asgard soldiers were. Surely if this facility was as important to their survival as their leader had indicated to him then the facility should have been crawling with soldiers to protect Janus' device. So where were they? He could only assume that they were either distracted by something or as Rodney had said something had spooked them; making them leave the facility, and take the control key with them. Maybe the Daedalus is here, he thought, but if they are why haven't they beamed us aboard yet? Unless there engaged in battle with the renegade Asgards ships and thus can't lower their shields long enough to bring us aboard.

The transporter booth ahead of them opened and one of the Asgard appeared, pausing in surprise seeing them. Not giving the startled armoured alien a chance to react Daniel yanked out his armours pistol and fired – a dense bolt of golden light struck the armoured figure and it crumpled to the ground unconscious or dead.

"Come on there is bound to be more of them," Rodney said hopping over the downed alien and into the transporter, Daniel followed – holstering his weapon as he did so. As soon as he was inside Rodney touched a glowing dot on a map of the facility on the opposite wall. The transporter doors closed and for a moment everything went white and Daniel felt the familiar sensation of being transported, a feeling that he could only describe as being like pins and needles racing through his body though it was not painful at all.

The sensation faded with the light and the doors opened again revealing yet another corridor, though this corridor looked somewhat different to the other corridors they'd been in. Whereas those corridors had been brightly lit with light grey or tan walls and inset with the normal elegant Lantean decoration this one was darker. The lighting much more muted and the walls made of a darker brownish metal and covered in thick panels, panels that could be removed to reveal the technology hidden behind. All in all this corridor had a much more industrial look to it.

"The power room should be just down this corridor," Rodney said recalling the base schematics.

"Then let's get there and pull the Zee-PMs," Daniel replied stepping out of the transporter and heading down the corridor with Rodney following. "How many are we talking about here, Rodney?"

"If I read the schematics right three," Rodney answered and even though his voice was distorted by the helmet Daniel clearly heard the glee in the Canadian scientist's voice. It was understandable with three Zero Point Modules they would be able to bring Atlantis to full power and still have a spare ZPM left over to be assigned to one of their warships – like the Daedalus allowing the Asgard systems to be used to their full capacity like they were on the Odyssey.


"Yeah, Janus' device is a real power hog," Rodney agreed. "But then the Ancients were never concerned with things like energy efficiency and power conservation, not surprising when they could seemingly produce Zed-PMs from thin air. Wish I knew where they made those things, would make life and battling the Wraith so much easier."

Daniel nodded in agreement. "Plus we'd be able to use the legacy the Asgard we knew left us at its full capabilities," he added. "At the moment we can only do that on the Odyssey."

"True," Rodney agreed knowing that a great many of the advanced systems given to Earth by the Asgard before they committed racial suicide and destroyed Orilla – taking two Ori motherships with them – had massive energy requirements. Energy requirements that they weren't able to fully match with their existing naquada reactor/generator technology, which meant a lot of the Asgard technology didn't work at its full potential.

Further conversation was cut off as the arrived at the power room, to find that in a sign of overconfidence on the part of the rogue Asgard it was deserted. Design wise the room was typically Lantean and very like its counterpart deep in the bowls of Atlantis. Roughly circular there were two large consoles on either side of the entrance, crystalline control surfaces glowing softly. Hanging above the consoles – seemingly suspended in midair – were the familiar Ancient holographic display plates, themselves glowing blue and showing the familiar rapidly moving characters of a datastream interface. Smaller consoles were spaced around the edges of the room facing display screens set into the wall, screens that were alive with graphs and other graphic displays showing the flow of power through the facility. Dominating the centre of the room was a large triangular console, into which were set the familiar shapes of three ZPM's – glowing with a soft golden light and giving off a soft humming sound as the highly advanced power sources fed equal amounts of energy each into the facility.

For a moment the two armour-clad Humans stood gazing at the active ZPM's in awe, both fully conversant of that fact that even one of the devices produced enough power to run every house, every business and every vehicle in the whole of the United States continuously for a hundred years. Since the defeat of the Lanteans and the destruction of Asuras it had become rare to see these many ZPM's altogether at once. The moment passed when Rodney shook himself and went to one of the main consoles.

"Okay," he said softly putting his hands on the console. Due to the armour he didn't feel the systems the way he did in Atlantis; he was going to have to operate this system entirely by manual input commands as opposed to the far more efficient method of just giving the system a command with his mind. After a moment of wracking his brain for the correct sequence to trigger ZPM withdrawal he started feeding in commands.

For a few moments more nothing happened then abruptly the main lights overhead died and decreasing humming sound could be heard throughout the facility as all but a few systems powered down. Dull blue emergency lights came on as the three ZPM's stopped glowing and rose out of their console recesses.

Grinning behind his helmets opaque faceplate Rodney walked up to the console and picked up two of the ZPM's and gazed at them in satisfaction. These two could change everything for Atlantis as there were still so many systems in the city that they hadn't been able to power up due to lack of energy. Atlantis was after all designed to run off three ZPM's and not just one – albeit one supplemented by a dozen Mark-II naquada generators. Who knew what they would find if they could bring Atlantis to full power.

"Daniel get the other Zed-PM," he said turning his attention away from the two modules he was holding.

"Already got it, Rodney," Daniel replied as Rodney looked at him, to see the ZPM cradled gently in Daniel's armoured hands, "now what do we do?"

"Um I'm…" Rodney's words died on his tongue as the world around him turned into a brilliant light, the power room of Janus's facility dissolved away like an ice cube put in boiling water. For a moment all he saw was the brilliant silver-white light. He got the impression of moving at tremendous speed while being insubstantial, then the world reformed at the light dissipated. They weren't on the planet anymore instead they were in the Daedalus infirmary with Doctor Jennifer Keller, Richard Woolsey, Ronon, a small posse of nurses and two armed marines waiting for them.

"Doctor McKay, Doctor Jackson," Woolsey asked uncertainly though his – and everyone else's – eyes were on the three Zero Point Modules they were holding.

"That's us," Daniel replied putting his ZPM down on a conveniently placed bed and taking off his helmet. Rodney did the same – though he put his ZPM's carefully down on the floor before taking off his helmet.

"Is the device deactivated," Woolsey asked pulling his eyes away from the ZPM's.

Rodney nodded. "Without the Zed-PMs the facility only has emergency power," he said. "That's not enough to run the device."

"That's good but not good enough for me," Woolsey replied before toggling his earpiece, opening a communications link to the Traveller ship. "Colonel Sheppard, we have Doctors McKay and Jackson, unfortunately our weapons are not operational can you please make sure we never have to deal with the Attero Device again."

"I've locked onto the facility," the female voice of the Traveller captain responded.

"Opening fire," Sheppard added before going quiet for a moment. "Target destroyed, the facilities been completely levelled."

"Good," Woolsey replied. "Head back to Atlantis, we'll see you there."

"Understood, are McKay and Jackson alright," Sheppard asked.

"They appear to be fine though Doctor Keller will be sure to give each a thorough examination."

"Okay," Sheppard replied sounding relieved. "Katana just told me were ready to enter hyperspace, we'll see you back at Atlantis. Sheppard out."

As soon as Sheppard signed off Woolsey operated his earpiece again this time calling up to the Daedalus' bridge. "Colonel Caldwell, we have Doctors McKay and Jackson and the Attero Device has been destroyed," he said. "Please take us back to Atlantis at your convenience."

"That might not be for awhile, Mr Woolsey. Novak is running complete diagnostics on all systems," Caldwell replied. "Ronon really did a number on our primary systems and I'm not willing to trust the repairs the Wraith made as far as I can throw them."

"Given what we've been through with Todd I don't blame you. I'll send Doctor McKay to assist as soon as Doctor Keller clears him and Doctor Jackson."

"Understood," Caldwell answered before signing off. Woolsey glanced back at the two marines behind him.

"Take the ZPM's to a secure storeroom," he ordered. Both marines nodded in agreement and darted forward to pick up the precious Lantean power sources and convey them to one of the areas on the ship were sensitive equipment and weapons – like their nukes – were stored.

While the marines carried out their task Woolsey turned his attention back to Daniel and Rodney, to find that both had gotten out of their armour while he'd been talking. Both were still fully clothed – thankfully – and were being led to beds by Keller and a team of medics. The two armoured suits now stood silent sentries in the middle of the room.

"I take it you now know who our mysterious antagonists are," he said.

Daniel nodded. "There Asgard," he said.

"What? How can that be? The Asgard committed racial suicide."

"I know I was there remember, though apparently not all the Asgard died with Orilla," Daniel replied. "These guys split off from the ones we knew ten thousand years ago, they came here during the Ancient-Wraith war to perform experiments on Humans without the Asgard High Council interfering. They were counting on the war to keep the Ancients distracted and off their backs. The war ended sooner than they thought and the Wraith found them. There intergalactic ships were destroyed, they were forced to abandon their settlements in this galaxy and retreat to a planet with a toxic atmosphere. That's where they've been for the last ten thousand years."

"Sounds nice," Ronon said.

"Certainly looks like you and Dr McKay will have interesting reports to give me," Woolsey said. "I look forward to reading them. Doctor McKay as soon as you've been cleared you'll need to head down to engineering and help Novak with repairs."

Rodney sighed. "Do I need to ask what happened," he asked.

"Todd took over the ship," Ronon answered. "Me and Keller stopped the ship, temporarily."

"Let me guess you shot out the control crystals."


Rodney sighed, rolled his eyes and muttered something about 'blaster loving cavemen' and said caveman 'spending to much time with Sheppard' under his breath. Ronon chuckled at the familiar look of exasperation that appeared on his teammates face. He gave a feral grin back before leaving the infirmary.

"I'll leave you be," Woolsey said before leaving the infirmary and the two scientists to the tender mercies of Doctor Keller and the medical staff.

A Few Hours Later

Rodney sighed in relief as the Asgard computer console in front of him spat back the latest diagnostic results. All systems on board were back operational – at least as much as they could be, a number of the ships external sensor pallets and some of the weapons mounts had been ripped off by the violent, unshielded nose dive into the upper atmosphere.

"Last results are back," he said looking over at Novak. For the last three hours the two of them and a few others of the Daedalus' engineers had been crawling through the ship, repairing systems damaged by both Ronon and the Wraith, and bypassing those that could not be repaired. At least not outside of a shipyard or the more advanced repair facilities on Atlantis – systems that unfortunately included all but a handful of the ships railgun turrets, every other weapon from the four plasma beam cannons to the sixteen VLS missile silos were currently to damaged for them to repair, oh the missile launchers themselves were operational but all the silo doors were sealed shut where metal had melted then cooled again.

"And," Novak asked.

"Everything is operational," Rodney replied with a soft, tired smile. "Or at least as operational as we can make it without doing some EVA work on the damaged sectors of the hull."

"Thank God for that," Novak replied before toggling her earpiece. "Colonel Caldwell we've completed our final diagnostic checks. Doctor McKay and I agree that everything is as operational as we can make it short of landing the ship and doing repair work on the outer hull."

"That's good to hear," Caldwell answered. "What about anomalous programming?"

"Caldwell its McKay," Rodney said toggling his own earpiece. "I had the Asgard computer run a full diagnostic and antiviral sweep. There is no anomalous programming detected, doesn't look like Todd left any nasty surprises behind when he abandoned the ship. I didn't think there would be considering he was going to crash the ship into the Attero Device but better to be safe than sorry."

"Thank you doctor, now would you be kind enough to bring the hyperdrive online?"

Rodney smiled slightly as he turned back to the Asgard console and moved some of the control stones to another position on the console before pressing a set of runic symbols. Immediately the screen over the console reported back.

"Hyperdrives online," he said.

"Thank you, doctor, Caldwell out."

Rodney relaxed slightly, feeling an incredible tiredness drop on him as the familiar sound of the hyperdrive powering up began to sound throughout the engineering control room. A faint vibration began to be felt in the deck plates as the ship began to ease out of orbit of the snowball world that had been home to the Attero Device. Rodney looked over at Novak and gave a tired little grin.

"If you don't need my help anymore I'm going to head off to the mess hall for a bite to eat, I'm starving."

"Sure go on," Novak replied and watched as the loud, somewhat arrogant Canadian genius left the room to head up a few decks and a few tens of metres forward to the mess hall for something to eat. After a moment she turned her attention back to the main console – where Hermiod had once been stationed – she really did miss the little guy, he'd grown on her after awhile – as the Daedalus made the transition into hyperspace, bound for Atlantis and a much needed rest.

Moments after the Daedalus vanished into a hyperspace window, space over the icebound world warped and distorted. A dozen hyperspace windows burst into existence and emerging from them came a dozen small, black hulled ships. There sublight engines glowing with a brilliant yellow light the ships moved into the traditional battle phalanx formation of their kind before gliding into high orbit.

Sensors reached out from the assembled ships and probed space with invisible, questing beams of energy. They revealed nothing beyond small amounts of debris, drifting steadily through space – the remains of two of their companions destroyed earlier and some small pieces of an unidentified trinium-based alloy. Satisfied that there was no immediate threat to them in orbit the ships powered down their weapons systems and dropped their shields before turning there sensors on the planet.

Aboard the lead ship a single Asgard clad in the armoured exoskeleton that had kept the Vanir tribe of Asgard safe for the last ten thousand years, scowled as much as his species biology would allow as the initial scans of the planet came back. It was as he had feared the Attero Device facility had been completely destroyed, blasted to rubble that would soon disappear beneath the incessant snowfall of the ice world. The blast patterns observable in the remains of the facility were consistent with an orbital bombardment. The residual radiation of the weapons used to destroy the facility from space matched what they knew of Traveller weaponry.

Had he been a Human the Asgard commander would have raged at the destruction of such a vital facility. But he wasn't Human so he just observed with a cool sense of detachment. The loss of the Attero Device was unfortunate – it was going to make the task before them that bit more difficult as the Wraith would now continue to be a factor. But the possibility of the devices loss had been anticipated and would not have a negative effect on their long term plans.

What had not been anticipated was the interference of the Travellers – possibly at the behest of the Atlanteans. That had been a most unwelcome surprise, as had the nature of the Atlanteans. If anything his conversation with the one called Daniel Jackson had revealed that the new Atlanteans didn't approve of his kinds actions even though he apparently understood why they were doing what they did. The Atlanteans would have to be watched very closely – the fact that there Ida galaxy brothers had seen fit to call them allies alone necessitated that they observe them carefully. If it became necessary they would have to remove them as a threat, something that would be… difficult to say the least considering that the Atlanteans had access to the technology of the Ancients.

"Order the fleet to break orbit," he ordered to an underling. "Set course back to the sanctuary."

"Yes commander."

Silently the twelve small Asgard built vessels broke orbit of Attero. Powering up their hyperdrives the ships disappeared into hyperspace bound for the remote, toxic world that had been their sanctuary for the last ten thousand years. The defeat they had suffered this day was troubling and had cost them a number of lives and two ships – ships that would be very hard to replace – but it was only a relatively minor setback. They had other plans for dealing with the Wraith, plans that would take more time to put into practice.

And time was something that they had precious little of.

The End