A/N: This story is part of my Crossed Swords Alternate Multiverse and a sequel to "There and Back Again." You don't need to have read that story to understand this one, though, but there are a few references to the earlier adventure here and there. I've also tried to provide enough description for fans of one show but not the other to keep up. I do actually know where I'm going with this one, but I can't promise how regular updates will be.
More notes after the chapter!
Jeep Jockey Jumper
By San Antonio Rose
The Only Motel in the Combat Zone
The night of October 1, 1944, found the men of Stalag 13 hard at work in their tunnel system, preparing for what appeared to be another routine assignment. USAAF Sgt. Andrew Carter and RAF Cpl. Peter Newkirk had changed out of their uniforms into the black pants and turtlenecks they wore for night reconnaissance and were blacking their faces as they walked into the map room, where USAAF Col. Robert Hogan and ALA Cpl. Louis LeBeau were double-checking coordinates.
"All set, sir," Newkirk stated.
"Good," Hogan replied without looking up. "Yeah, here it is, just off the Barnsdorf road, about two miles from here."
"Any idea what it's about, Colonel?" Carter asked.
Hogan shook his head. "No, all London said was to meet the courier and bring him into camp. He'll probably brief us on the mission when he gets here."
LeBeau looked at his watch. "It's 2200 hours, colonel."
Hogan checked his own watch and nodded. "Okay, let's go."
The four airmen made their way to the emergency tunnel, where USAAF Sgt. James "Kinch" Kinchloe had taken his station at the periscope, checking for patrols.
"How's it look, Kinch?" Hogan asked.
"Somethin' just landed in the brush a minute or two ago," Kinch reported. "It's about twenty feet from the tunnel entrance."
"What sort of something?"
The black radio man turned away from the periscope. "I dunno. I can't see it. It's big, though."
"It's big, but you can't see it?" LeBeau repeated.
"You mean the light's bad?" Carter frowned.
"No," said Kinch, "I mean I can't see it. It's invisible."
The other men exchanged a glance.
Kinch turned back to the periscope. "Hold on, there's somebody out there now--huh."
Another shared glance. "Don't tell me the hobbits are back," Hogan said.
"No... but it's almost as strange. Here, see for yourself."
Kinch stepped aside, and Hogan looked through the periscope just in time to see a large goateed man with dreadlocks kneel down in front of the viewing can, look at it quizzically, and tap on the lens. The stranger then motioned to another man in black, and Hogan turned the periscope slightly--just enough to catch the American flag on the second mans left sleeve as he moved into the light.
"Carter, get 'em down here fast," Hogan ordered.
Late in 2009, after the Earth expedition to Atlantis had returned the flying city to its home in the Pegasus Galaxy, chief scientist Dr. Rodney McKay had finally decoded enough of Janus' research to find that the Ancient scientist had left a copy of his time-travel data behind in his secret Atlantis lab. The International Oversight Agency promptly insisted that USAF Lt. Col. John Sheppard and his team bring the data and their experimental Puddle Jumper back to Area 51 to try to recreate the time-travel drive; the Jumper recovered from Arkhan's planet had narrowly escaped destruction in the Wraith attack on Earth earlier that year, and the IOA was loath to risk losing the technology to another attacker. McKay sent the data ahead to Dr. Bill Lee, Stargate Command's chief scientist, and gave him a month to make the drive before the team, accompanied by Drs. Radek Zelenka and Carson Beckett, returned to install and test it. Physicist Zelenka came along as the resident Jumper expert, and physician Beckett came "in case anything goes wrong"--chief medical officer Jennifer Keller's words, not his, spoken before something else went wrong in Atlantis and expedition commander Richard Woolsey refused to release her from duty while she still had patients.
The team soon discovered that they should have either given Dr. Lee two months or called in McKay's sister Jeannie, one of only two women who were smarter than the smartest man in two galaxies.
The drive was waiting for them when they arrived, but Lee admitted they hadn't finished running simulations on it yet. But the IOA representatives were insistent, and for once neither McKay nor Sheppard was willing to put up with their whining. As soon as Lee and Zelenka got the drive installed, the Lanteans took the Jumper on a test flight.
Somehow the drive malfunctioned and took navigation with it. Sheppard lost count of how many times they jumped before he was finally able to bring the ship under control and cloak it. Once he did, he attempted to find a likely spot to land, a tricky proposition in a wooded area at night. He made it, though, and everyone aboard breathed a sigh of relief.
"Rodney?" Sheppard asked.
"I don't know," McKay replied, prodding his tablet PC.
"You don't know what?" prompted Ronon Dex.
"Anything he might ask about," the Canadian clarified. "Where we are, when we are, how long it'll take to fix the Jumper, anything."
"Perhaps we should try to find other shelter for the night," Teyla Emmagan suggested.
Zelenka looked up from his own laptop at that, then came forward as a searchlight swept across the windshield. "That looks like a prison camp," the Czech stated, pointing.
"Yeah," Sheppard agreed. "Probably no houses around for miles." He mentally pulled up the Jumper's Heads-Up Display to confirm his conjecture. There were numerous life signs in the camp and a few scattered outside that appeared to be guards and dogs, but no others were visible inside a three-mile radius.
"D'ya mind?!" McKay groused.
"Rodney, it will take several hours to go through that data, even if we work together," Zelenka replied. "Right now we have no way of knowing whether the cloak has been affected. And we didn't bring any food."
Sheppard frowned and shifted the HUD's display to elevation. "That's odd."
"What?" McKay and Zelenka chorused.
"Look." Sheppard pointed to a number of life signs below ground level throughout the camp.
"Escape tunnels?" Beckett wondered.
"Like in The Great Escape?" Ronon frowned. Both he and Teyla, being Pegasus natives, had little context for Earth history apart from the movies they watched with Sheppard and McKay.
"Aye, could be," nodded the Scot.
"Could be... but what are the odds...." Sheppard left his sentence unfinished as he ran a hand through his unruly hair and stared at the camp thoughtfully.
"Colonel?" Zelenka prodded.
"Patches on, everybody," Sheppard ordered abruptly, taking the Velcro-backed identifying shoulder patches out of his pocket and mentally thanking Woolsey for insisting they break protocol and have the patches handy in case of emergency. When the career bureaucrat broke the rules, Sheppard knew it was for a good reason. "Ronon, you take McKay's jacket; Teyla, you take my spare flag. I don't want to risk us being shot as spies if we're captured."
"What's the plan?" McKay asked, following suit.
"We're gonna make a break for the tunnel."
The others slapped on their flags and expedition patches, gathered their gear, and followed Sheppard out of the Jumper. No sooner had they hidden themselves from another searchlight sweep than Ronon spotted something that looked like a soup can on a pipe poking out of a clump of bracken. When the light passed, he hurried over to it, tapped on the glass front of the can, and motioned Sheppard over to him. The thing moved as if looking at Sheppard.
"Looks like a periscope," Sheppard whispered. The thing disappeared into the bracken.
"A what?" Ronon frowned.
"It's a device for seeing above a barrier."
Just then the top of a tree stump flipped open and a man's head popped out. "Hey! Over here!" the man--an American--stage-whispered.
Team Sheppard hurried toward the stump. "Is this Stalag 13?" Sheppard whispered back.
"Sure is," came the reply. "C'mon down."
Sheppard sent Beckett down the ladder first, then McKay, Zelenka, Teyla, and Ronon, and finally followed himself. As the trap door closed over him, he heard a guards footsteps approaching.
"Hi," said a vaguely familiar voice when Sheppard reached the bottom of the ladder. "Welcome to Stalag 13."
Sheppard turned and saluted the man he knew as General Robert Hogan. "Sir. Lt. Col. John Sheppard, United States Air Force." Hogan returned the salute and shook his hand, and Sheppard gestured to his companions as he introduced them. "Dr. Rodney McKay, Dr. Radek Zelenka, Dr. Carson Beckett, Ronon Dex, and Teyla Emmagan. Sorry to drop in on you like this, but we had to make an emergency landing outside the camp, and we need a place to stay until we can get her fixed."
"Of course," Hogan nodded.
"I'm glad someone knows where we are," McKay grumbled. Ronon swatted his arm.
"Our navigation went out," Sheppard explained.
"Maybe we can help you fix it," Hogan offered. "But in the meantime, you're welcome to stay here. It's humble, but it is home."
"I'm afraid our craft is experimental and highly classified," Teyla replied in her most diplomatic and apologetic tone.
"These guys do have pretty high clearance," Sheppard told her.
"What, you think they can help us? McKay asked snidely. "I seriously doubt they have the technology--I mean, look at this place!"
"Rodney," Beckett and Zelenka cautioned at the same time Ronon rumbled, "McKay...."
"I'm just sayin' that the classification isn't the problem here," Sheppard returned.
"Neither is the fact that only one of you seems to know you've landed in the middle of World War II," Kinch observed.
He received three incredulous stares, two confused frowns, and one look of mingled gratitude and curiosity.
"Look, four months ago we had an elf, a dwarf, a wizard, two knights, and four hobbits in this tunnel," Hogan stated. "Alternate realities are nothing new to us."
"Hobbits?!" McKay's eyes threatened to pop out of his head until Ronon smacked him again. "Ow! Would you stop that?"
Sheppard ignored his chief scientist. "Nothing as elaborate as that in this case, sir. The Puddle Jumper's fitted with a time travel device. That's what went out first."
"That would explain the uniforms," LeBeau nodded.
"You're never Canadian," Newkirk said to Ronon.
"Might be," Ronon shrugged. "You haven't asked what year were from."
"Might as well ask what planet you're from," Carter remarked, finally taking his eyes off Ronon's dreadlocks to glance at his watch.
"Sateda," came Ronon's honest answer.
Now it was McKay's turn to smack Ronon.
"What?" Ronon frowned down at his teammate.
"All right, all right, fellas, knock it off," Hogan said. "We can catch up on details later. Sounds like that invisible plane isnt going anywhere for a while."
McKay chuckled at that. "Makes us sound like Wonder Woman."
"It may not be invisible much longer, Colonel," Zelenka said. "The cloaking device may well have been damaged."
"Sir?" Carter interrupted. "We're supposed to meet that courier in fifteen minutes."
"Right, and it's a two-mile walk," added Newkirk. "We'd best get cracking."
The Lanteans exchanged a look.
"Something wrong?" Hogan asked.
Sheppard took a deep breath and let it out again. "Sir, there's nobody out there but guards."
The five prisoners frowned. "What do you mean?" Hogan pressed.
Sheppard looked at McKay and nodded.
"When we landed, we used the Jumper's sensors to try to locate a place to spend the night," McKay explained. "Apart from the guards and the people here in camp, there are no life signs within three miles."
"Are you sure?!" LeBeau demanded.
At another nod from Sheppard, McKay pulled up the sensor readings on his tablet and handed it to Hogan. The other prisoners crowded around to compare the data with the map. Newkirk broke the stunned silence with a curse.
"What do we do now, Colonel?" Carter asked.
"I dunno," Hogan replied.
With a sigh and a shake of his head, Kinch went back to the periscope.
"Sir, like Zelenka said, we don't know how long the Jumper's cloak is going to hold," Sheppard said. "We need some way to make sure the Germans don't get their hands on it."
Hogan shrugged. "We can take it apart, bring it down in the tunnel."
Zelenka let out a short laugh.
"That's going to be a little difficult," McKay agreed.
"Not only that, we're out of time," Kinch called. "Langenscheidt's dog just picked up your scent. He's keeping away from the tunnel entrance, but he could lead Langenscheidt right to your plane."
Hogan looked at the Lanteans. "How's your German?"
Sheppard, McKay, and Zelenka shrugged. "Okay...." "Tolerable." "Ausgezeichnet."
Beckett, Teyla, and Ronon just looked at each other in confusion.
Hogan turned to Newkirk and LeBeau. "Luftwaffe, defector, collaborator," he said, pointing to Sheppard, McKay, and Zelenka in turn.
"Right," Newkirk nodded. "This way, gentlemen." And he and LeBeau herded the three newcomers into the costume room.
"Carter, get that tent we used for the Valkyrie," Hogan continued.
"You're gonna cover it with a tent?" Ronon frowned.
"For now," Hogan nodded. "And tomorrow we'll have the Krauts bring it into camp.
Cpl. Langenscheidt could not for the life of him figure out what Wolfgang was up to. He wished there were snow on the ground so he could see any tracks in the area the dog kept sniffing. As it was, the night blindness that had relegated him to life as a Luftstalag guard rendered whatever it was well nigh invisible, and going in circles left him dizzy and disoriented. A couple of times he thought he caught a brief glimpse of a crazy-looking Quonset hut, and once he felt like he'd almost run into something when there wasnt even a tree in front of him! But Wolfgang was not a dog to chase red herrings, and Langenscheidt was afraid of what Col. Klink might say if he pulled Wolfgang off the trail only to find out too late that a prisoner had escaped.
Wolfgang was snuffling in the brush and Langenscheidt had just put a gloved hand to his aching head when he suddenly heard something behind him.
"No, trust me, we're not going anywhere tonight," said an American-sounding male voice.
"Well, we're as safe here as we would be back at the base," replied a Czech. "The Allies would never bomb a POW camp."
Guard and dog turned in unison to see a Luftwaffe officer and two civilians coming up to them. Langenscheidt snapped to attention and saluted. "Guten Abend, Herr Oberst.
"Good evening, Corporal," said the officer in German, returning the salute. "I am Oberstleutnant Johann Schäfer, Luftwaffe Intelligence, and this is Dr. McKay and Dr. Zelenka. We were testing a new experimental aircraft this evening but were forced to make an emergency landing outside the camp here. I need to arrange security for our craft until it can be repaired. Bring me the sergeant of the guard at once."
"Jawohl, Herr Oberst." Langenscheidt saluted again and hurried away, Wolfgang bounding alongside. He just missed the cloak fritzing again.
As soon as Langenscheidt left, the tree stump opened again, and Carter bundled the tent out with McKay and Zelenka's help. The other members of both teams followed in short order, and between them they managed to get the tent up in record time. Sheppard and Ronon made sure to anchor one corner among the tree stumps so that the tunnel entrance was hidden by the tent. Hogan had just given the three disguised Lanteans a thumbs-up and disappeared back into the tunnel when the cloak failed completely. Seconds later they heard Langenscheidt calling to Sheppard.
"You guys ready?" Sheppard asked softly.
McKay and Zelenka nodded, and all three of them stepped out of the tent to find Langenscheidt leading two figures toward them, not one.
"I apologize for the delay, Herr Oberst," Langenscheidt said, saluting. "Sgt. Schultz wanted Kommandant Klink to come with us."
"Thank you, Corporal. Colonel, Sergeant." Sheppard, Klink, and Schultz exchanged salutes. "Oberstleutnant Johann Schäfer, Luftwaffe Intelligence. My associates, Dr. McKay, Dr. Zelenka."
"Welcome to Stalag 13, gentlemen," Klink replied. "I understand you have some trouble with your airplane?"
Zelenka, whose German was strongest, spoke up. "Yes, Colonel. The navigational system has gone out, along with several of the experimental systems we have been testing. We have not yet assessed the extent of the damage; I am afraid it will be several days before we can get it flying again."
"I see. I should be happy to call a truck to transport your plane back to your base...."
"That is out of the question, Colonel," Zelenka interrupted. "Even the shape of the craft is highly classified. It cannot be moved, not even into the camp."
"What is so different about the shape?" Schultz frowned.
"Schultz!" barked Klink.
"We know Stalag 13's record of safety and efficiency," Sheppard stated smoothly. "Had we any other choice, we would not have disturbed your excellent security routine. But Dr. Zelenka is correct; we must leave the Pfützespringer where it is until we can repair it."
"Pfützespringer?" Klink repeated, confused. "Oh... oh, of course. Well, gentlemen, I am afraid our VIP quarters will be needed for another guest the day after tomorrow, but you are welcome to stay in my quarters until your plane is repaired. Schultz, please show our visitors to my quarters. Langenscheidt, you will remain on guard here until I assign someone to relieve you, then return to your patrol."
"Jawohl, Herr Kommandant," Langenscheidt and Schultz chorused.
"Thank you, Colonel," Sheppard nodded.
"And, ah, I do hope you'll mention my name in your report?" Klink asked with obviously feigned humility.
"Of course," Sheppard deadpanned.
"Thank you! Good night, gentlemen." Klink turned and hurried away to his office.
"This way, gentlemen, if you please," Schultz said genially and led the Lanteans around to the front gate and thence to Klinks quarters. Sheppard's peripheral vision just caught another soup-can periscope poking out of a rain barrel in front of one of the barracks, and he deliberately looked away from it.
Schultz gave the three men a quick tour of the quarters and informed them that he would be on guard outside if they needed him.
"Just see that we're not disturbed," Sheppard stated.
"Jawohl, Herr Oberst. Guten Abend." And Schultz left.
McKay waited three seconds after the door closed before turning to Sheppard. "Pfützespringer?!"
"Hey, Torschiff sounds just as stupid as Gateship."
"And not as a very good code name," Zelenka agreed.
"You do have a point there," McKay conceded. "So, who gets the bedroom?"
"You do," Sheppard and Zelenka said at the same time.
McKay was stunned. "I do? Really? Why?"
"You've got the bad back and you snore," Sheppard remarked dryly. "I'll fight Zelenka for the couch."
Zelenka poked at the couch and grimaced. "I think I would prefer the floor."
McKay started to object that he did not in fact snore, but he realized that he really shouldn't complain about getting the only bed and a private room. "Right. I, um... guess I'll go get settled."
"And I... will raid the fridge, 'cause I'm hungry and you probably need to eat, too," said Sheppard, tossing his cap and coat onto the couch.
Kinch was first down the ladder into the tunnel, and no sooner did he reach the bottom than the radio began to beep. He ran to the radio room and tapped a quick acknowledgement. The others followed him and exchanged worried looks when Kinch's face grew even more serious as he wrote. Kinch then shut off the radio and handed the clipboard to Hogan.
"'Pass intercepted, player ejected,'" Hogan read with a frown. "'Will attempt new play as soon as possible. Do not acknowledge--maintain radio silence effective immediately. Coach.' Our courier must have been caught by the Gestapo."
"How do you figure that, sir?" Carter asked.
"Radio silence means they think there's a radio detector unit in the area," Kinch answered. "And a radio detector means Gestapo."
"Do you think they'll send someone without sending a radio message first?" LeBeau wondered.
"It's possible," Hogan nodded. "But that limits their options to people we know or agents already in the Wehrmacht." He sighed and set down the clipboard. "Guess we'll just have to keep our eyes open."
"How can we help?" Ronon asked.
"We'd be happy to make oursel's useful," Beckett added.
"I appreciate it," Hogan replied with a shake of his head, "but until we get that message from London, we won't know what we might need you guys to do. In the meantime, you can just relax down here while we figure out how to fix your plane."
Just then USAAF Sgt. Olsen poked his head over the edge of the bunk frame and called down to the radio room, "Colonel! Schultz just brought a Luftwaffe officer and two civilians into camp!"
"We know, they're on our side," Hogan called back. "Where are they?"
"Thanks, Olsen." Hogan turned to his other guests. "We're in luck. We have a tunnel entrance in Klink's living room."
"Dr. McKay will likely not be able to sleep tonight if we do not bring him his computer," Teyla observed.
"Might not be able to sleep if we do," Ronon countered.
"Aye, but at least he'll not bother the others if he has his data," Beckett returned, picking up Zelenka's pack and handing McKay's to Teyla. "Colonel, could you show us how to get there?"
"Sure," Hogan nodded. "Come with me."
Ronon turned just in time to catch LeBeau and Newkirk watching Teyla's departing figure appreciatively. Both men quickly found themselves on the receiving end of one of the Satedan's patented big-brother glares and smiled nervously.
Kinch cleared his throat. "So... Ronon, is it?"
Ronon looked at Kinch and quirked an eyebrow. "Yeah?"
"Have you eaten dinner? LeBeau here's an excellent chef; I'm sure he'd be glad to fix something for you."
Ronon shrugged. "It's been a while."
Grateful for the out, LeBeau scurried up the ladder without another word.
"I'd better go and 'elp 'im--wash the dishes and whatnot," Newkirk said by way of excuse and followed LeBeau as quickly as possible.
Ronon snorted and relaxed a fraction. Kinch managed not to sigh in relief.
"Hey, you want me to show you where you're gonna sleep?" Carter asked. "We can find a separate room for Teyla if she'd rather."
The corner of Ronon's mouth quirked upward. "Sounds good." He scooped up her pack and Beckett's. "Lead on."
McKay and Zelenka had just begun sparring over the merits of rye bread vs. wheat bread when Sheppard suddenly noticed the wood-burning stove across the room turning. His hand flew instinctively to his Luger, but the cover stopped him long enough for the top of Hogan's hat to appear out of the hole in the floor. Sheppard blew the air out of his cheeks and leaned back in his chair.
"Hi," Hogan said as he climbed into the room.
"Your tunnel leads here?" Zelenka frowned.
"Has its uses," Hogan replied, turning around to take McKay's pack from Teyla.
"They work with the Underground," Sheppard explained.
McKay set down his sandwich. "Is that...."
"That one's yours, Rodney," Teyla called up to him.
McKay hurried to take his pack from Hogan, and Sheppard and Zelenka followed. "I'm wishing now I'd brought a change of socks," Sheppard joked.
"Oh, you can borrow a pair of mine," McKay said absently, digging for his tablet. Then remembering himself, he looked from Sheppard to Hogan to Teyla. "Oh, uh... thanks."
"Hey." Sheppard touched McKay's arm as the physicist found his tablet. "Finish your sandwich."
"Oh, right. I'll just, um...." McKay set his pack beside the couch and took the tablet back to the table with him.
"Radek, here is yours," Teyla said as Beckett handed up his burden.
"Thank you," Zelenka nodded.
"I'll brief the men tonight," Hogan told Sheppard. "We'll talk Klink into bringing your plane into camp tomorrow."
"Can't let the Krauts get that close, sir," Sheppard replied.
"It's that classified?"
"It's that classified. Sorry we're blocking the tunnel."
"That's all right--sounds like the courier we were supposed to meet got picked up by the Gestapo, so we shouldn't use it anyway."
"Klink said something about another guest needing the VIP quarters day after tomorrow."
"Oh, great. Just what we need. Even with you here, Klink'll tighten security to show off."
"Anything we can do, sir?"
Hogan sighed. "I'll let you know. Main thing is, get that plane fixed before the Gestapo gets curious."
"Yes, sir." Sheppard stepped over to the hole and looked down. "You guys okay down there?"
"Peachy," Beckett called back, which made both Sheppard and Teyla smile.
"We will be fine, John," Teyla added. "We will be here should you need us."
Sheppard's smile softened a bit. "Okay. Take care."
Teyla backed down the ladder, and Hogan followed. Sheppard studied the stove for a moment before kneeling to move the base. It slid into position easily.
A glance at the table told both Sheppard and Zelenka that they'd get no more conversation out of McKay, who was absent-mindedly eating the sandwich that was in one hand while the other danced across the screen of his tablet. They shared an amused smile before Zelenka asked, "By the way, Colonel, where did you learn German?"
"Oh, it was required for science majors at Stanford. And I spent a couple of years at Ramstein in the mid-'90s, before I married Nancy...."
USAAF: United States Army Air Force (the WWII designation)
RAF: Royal Air Force (UK)
ALA: Armee l'Air (French Air Force)
IOA: International Oversight Agency
USAF: United States Air Force (the current designation)
Ausgezeichnet = excellent
Pfützespringer = Puddle Jumper
Torschiff = Gateship (from SGA ep. 1, "Rising": Ford: "It's a ship, it goes through the [Stargate]...." Sheppard: "Oh, okay. It's official. You don't get to name anything, ever.")