Episode 11 – Contact Part 3

162 days in Hoag's Object.

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A/N: This Episode features a…surprise. I expect a few squeals of "WTF!?" :P I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

This Episode is also much more serious than most of the others. It's winding down the action of the previous episode while finishing off this trilogy. (Although there is still PLENTY of action in the first half)

It's also a fair bit longer than other episodes. Blame my brain dammit, it all just spewed out! (especially the second half which I actually wrote first. Go figure.)

Big thanks to Alx, TheLegate, and especially TheIceMenace. Each played a significant role in how I structured this episode and Ice did the proofreading (she's a bit of a grammar nazi and I'm glad I'm out of physical range of her as I'm sure she'd love to chase after and physically abuse me for all my punctuation errors *which i completely admit i don't care nearly enough about*)

Make sure to check out Ice's "Chuck's Canadian Crime Connection" for a good hard laugh. And for unbelievably in-character and deep Lantean history, check out TheLegate's "Stargate: Aurora". Ice is hilarious and I can almost guarantee laughter, while TheLegate has a way with atmosphere and words that I envy. (I'm learning though!)

So enjoy! Tell your friends! Take a minute from the 20-30 so minutes it took you to read to review! Throw a coconut at me! Whatever! :P just enjoy!

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Aulus Centaurus: "You are mad to go after them; The Shade will destroy you and hardly notice."

Alicia Vega: "I'd rather die than live knowing I was too spineless to go!"

Menalus Relatae: "She goes for her mate Aulus… primitive woman are not a rationa…" *THWACK*

Alicia Vega: "That comes from every woman on this base! You should sterilize this asshole if you worry so much about your goddamned genetic purity!"

Aulus Centaurus: "For one as advanced as she is, she certainly acts on her more primal instincts."

Larrin: "Keep talking and I'll set the real savages loose on you."


Consciousness slowly came back to Sam, for a moment she wondered if this was the afterlife, but tasting the distinctive mix of copper and dirt in her mouth, she spit it out knowing that the fall had been real.

Lifting her head, Sam took in her surroundings. The dull gunmetal of the walls told he she'd fallen into one of the Olim Sublevels. She wasn't too far from the gate, but looking up the hole she'd fallen through, she realized it'd be impossible to climb back up even at peak physical condition.

Sam tested her appendages one by one, and when she tried to move her right leg the searing hot pain of broken bone tearing muscle. She grimaced and clenched her jaw to keep from screaming. The possibility of any Olim surviving in the area was unlikely.

That's when she noticed it had gotten cold… very cold. She was dressed relatively lightly and wished she could have brought the same style of leather jacket John had worn.

Now fully aware, Sam realized her left leg was pinned underneath a pile of dirt and rubble. She wasn't about to give in though and gently pulled herself with her arms to free herself.

Wincing from the pain in her right leg, Sam slowly pulled out from under the rubble. It proved too much after getting free and Sam flopped to the floor, now free and clear.

Taking a few deep breaths, Sam started to think about what to do. The lights were still on, though flickering, so it was possible she could find an elevator to get out.

Logic began to invade her mind, and Sam made a conclusion based on what Aulus had told her. She was trapped, and even if she could crawl back up to the top ground, it was unlikely she'd be able to survive in the cold. The Shade weren't going to make it any easier either.

Cold hard fact hit her, she was dying. Her leg was likely bleeding internally, if she were lucky no arteries were nicked, but she had no way of knowing until it was too late. The rest of her body was sore and bruised, and she likely had a concussion. Atlantis might try and send a rescue party, but trapped down here they'd never be able to find her. She doubted her subcutaneous transponder would be able to penetrate the alloys of the sub-levels along with all the dirt.

Her own stubbornness had gotten her into this position, and Sam found herself fighting back tears. What was this? She'd been wounded before and that never brought her to tears. Sad realization came over her that this wasn't like those other times. She'd always had her team to watch her back and pull her out of those situations. SG1 would have never allowed her to do such a reckless thing.

Sam had been stabbed, shot, injured, hunted, even smacked around like a ragdoll by a Kull Warrior… but only once before had she been convinced that she was going to die.

Cameron Mitchell wasn't here to keep her going though, and Sam sobbed softly as she wiped her eyes of the tears.

She'd been so concerned over her mission that she'd let herself take on too much vulnerability…she should have gone on the Jumper. She should have been worried about her survival as well. That was sloppy, and she'd only done it because she was so sure that she'd be okay…except her team wasn't here with her.

Sam let her head fall back to the ground, and found herself needing comfort. Her right leg throbbed painfully and she grimaced in anguish. With no one but freezing corpses around though, she turned to the last thing she could draw comfort from. "God… please… please God…."

To her complete shock, a voice replied. "Well, I wouldn't call myself God, but I can see how some people might get confused."

Sam gasped, and she turned to look. His gentle smile, the care and concern in his eyes, the probability of him actually sitting there beside her was so astronomical that she just couldn't make the figures. "R-R-Rodney?!"

The man sitting there shrugged and seemed genuinely happy. "Nothing but." He looked at himself. "Hmm…forgot what it was like to have a shape like this…did I really have this size body?"


John gasped as he viewed the devastation of the planet. Not even 20 minutes ago there had just been the beginning of a snow storm, but now the area didn't even look the same.

If it wasn't for the broken and still smoking husk of the Olim ship crashed off to the side ,barely visible through the falling snow and sleet, John would have assumed he was on the wrong planet.

Just as he reached for his radio, a voice in his head said. "Radio uplink established."

John crouched down next to the broken remains of the DHD and muttered. "Wha-? Larrin was that you?"

Another voice, this one definitely male. "Sir? It's Chuck, We didn't say anything."

Blinking once in confusion, then shaking it off, John spotted the Olim HQ in the distance. "Uhh okay… Could swear I heard a voice."

Again, the female voice spoke "Alcaeus Armor Virtual Command Prompt. Analyzing User Physiology."

Halo was the first thing that came to mind. "Cortana?" Admittedly, it was a gut reaction.

When the voice didn't reply, John shook off the momentary distraction and moved forward. The ground ahead of him had been torn apart as if something had used giant claws to scratch at the planet. This complicated matters. Sam could be stuck in one of those fissures…John would have to check each one.

"Analysis complete. Warning, User Physiology below recommended levels. Recommend Physical and Mental training before attempting to operate advanced functions of Alcaeus Armor."

Feeling insulted, John spat back as he jumped up onto a new small cliff of rocks. "No time Cortana! Just… Just tell me what you can do!" It felt so stupid, and John knew that when the day was over he'd likely go insane.

"Alcaeus Armor will respond to "Cortana" Call sign. Cortana is capable of augmenting user strength and speed through magnetic field control of Liquid Trinium. Temperature is maintained at 22 Degrees Celsius via Trinium friction created by magnetic field."

Raising his eyebrows, John realized that he was actually quite comfortable despite being in the middle of an ice storm. "Okay… I'm looking for someone in this storm. Can you help me with that?"

"Affirmative, Cortana can track any artificial signal or thermal and radiological emissions."

Hearing it call itself Cortana and even now morph into the voice from the game was disturbing to say the least. John figured that the suit was just adapting to fit his thought pattern. Another disturbing thought that the suit was probably laughing at.

John realized that it was the damn eyepiece. It was linking to his brain somehow along with the backpack. These Olim were supposed to be different from the Lanteans, but for them to follow a similar yet very different path of technology gave John the willies. "Okay… signal, signal… Oh, uhh in my right arm, there's a subcutaneous transponder, the person I'm looking for would have one as well with a slightly different frequency; can you lock onto it?"

John heard a snarl come from ahead and crouched as he ran along the top of the hillcrest. He wished for some kind of offensive protection but at the same time wanted to be stealthy. 'Cortana' replied. "Ice Storm and terrain limit effective detection range to 50 feet. Scanners activated."

The snarl from up ahead grew louder, and John realized he'd have to either fight or run. "Weapons! Do you have any weapons?" John was ready to fight hand to hand as he'd seen the Olim do, but the further he could stay from the Shade the better.

"Alcaeus Armor is equipped with Magnetic pinch device. Sufficient for stun or kill purposes."

Ahead of John, a smaller shade came into view and smashed its forearms into the ground tearing up the loose dirt and rocks. John froze for a moment and curled his fists. "How do I use it!?"

"Subject must concentrate on shooting and aim arm towards target. Projectile will fire from palm."

Screaming now as the Shade lunged forward at him, John whipped his hand in front of him over and over again. "Fire fire fire!"

The Shade jumped up and aimed for John's head.


"Don't look so surprised, I ascended, I didn't die."

Sam closed her eyes, shook her head and had to laugh at the situation. She decided to be blunt as there just wasn't time for pleasantries. "So what…? Are you here to offer me ascension as a way out?"

Rodney shrugged and wiped some dirt away from his shoulder. "Well…that's really a last resort. I know the Other's would be pissed off if I did that and I'm already on their ignore list."

Shaking her head, Sam scoffed. "Then what are you doing here? Why now? Why not any other time?"

Moving to the side so Sam could see him better, Rodney answered succinctly. "I'm here because you asked."

Realizing he was talking about her near delirious cry to the heavens, Sam scoffed loudly. "You are not God Rodney…"

The ascended man before her looked wounded. "I never said I was!"

Sam looked at him with disbelief. "I thought you were the smartest man in 2 galaxies! Ascended you should be like a Q!"

Again shrugging, Rodney scratched his chin. "Yeah, I always did wonder where Roddenberry got the idea for that…"

Hating that Rodney was being so easily distracted, Sam bucked up her courage and yelled. "McKay! Are you going to help me or not?"

Rodney refocused and nodded. "Well... yes! That's why I'm here!"

"Then help me!" Sam motioned to her leg, winced as she tried to move it just a tad to get him to see, then barked. "Well then use those ascended powers! Give me a jacket! Build me a transporter from nothing! Carry me if you have to! Just…" She took a deep breath trying to push the pain far enough away for her to concentrate. "Come on, Rodney. I don't have all day!"

Instead of moving, Rodney simply stayed in position, his voice trembling like Sam had never heard before. "I…can't."

Sam groaned loudly in frustration, "Why? Dammit I know it was you who stopped the Superhive! If you can do that then why can't you just help me now!?"

Rodney gulped. "The Others won't let me…"

Wincing hard, Sam realized that she'd have to do this on her own. "Then what good are you? Did you just come here to say hi right when I'm about to die?"

"No! I've been around…I kinda have to be around actually."

He was speaking in circles, and Sam didn't have time to argue with an ascended Rodney. She pulled her collar towards her teeth and bit down. Mustering her strength, she pulled her left leg forward and nearly screamed at the agony in her right as she dragged herself.

The broken femur had likely nicked a few blood vessels. She needed immediate medical attention. The cold was starting to bother her as well; she could see her breath misting in front of her.

After about 20 feet, the pain proved too much and she needed to rest. Flopping down on the floor, she whimpered softly before muttering. "You know…I actually do appreciate you being here…because I'd rather grit though this pain and try and make it out then listen to your insane ascended ramblings!"

Rodney groaned softly and got up. "Well, then good! Because unfortunately that's pretty much the extent of how I can help !" He sighed and rubbed his face in the most human gesture. "Listen, Sam, you need to focus. They're coming for you but you need to get topside. They'll never find you down here."

Sam stopped as she rolled over and stared at him. "How do you know?"

Rodney simply smiled and motioned with his head. "Follow me."


Still a little dazed from breaking the smaller shade in two with the magnetic whatchamacallit weapon, John continued to move out in a search pattern hoping this armor could detect Sam's subcutaneous transponder.

Groans from around as well as the sounds of the wind passing by made it hard to tell what was real and what wasn't. The snow storm was getting worse as well and visibility had dropped significantly.

The armor had worked around it though, and used a strange radar system to map out the terrain into a HUD that was overlaid on his vision.

John continued moving forward with a purpose, hiding inside the torn ridges of dirt, using a zigzag formation to search for Sam. "Cortana?"

The…well whatever it was that was speaking to him, replied. "System Ready for Input."

"Uhh…what exactly are you?"

John pulled himself up one of the torn rocks and vaulted onto it. "Alcaeus armor mental interface."

Hearing a loud crash from ahead, John saw in his hug a blip appear ahead for a few seconds as he muttered. "Alcae… A A M I… Amy?"

To John's surprise, the armor replied. "Call sign now expanded to include "Amy". Situational awareness subroutine has detected heightened Shade activity. Sensors have detected Gauss weapons technology and marked HUD. Recommend immediate retrieval."

John clenched his jaw for a second as he looked around. He had no clue what he might encounter, and time was still short. He winced and murmured, "Yer gonna have to teach me to use it, but lead the way."


"You know, I always… was curious… what it'd be like…to ascend…" Sam grimaced as she clawed her way through the broken halls, her fingernails bleeding from the exertion, "If it means... you have to stand there… and watch your friends in excruciating pain… and shivering from the freezing temperatures…" She gasped and resisted screaming as she pulled herself up the wall to hit the door release. Sam made sure her tone of voice was just a little south of bitter. "…then I'll be more than happy to fade into nothing when I die!"

Rodney groaned and spoke as he walked through the now open door. "I can't do anything, Sam! There's so many issues that you don't know about. I broke the rules saving Atlantis and ever since I've been chained down!"

Sam let her body fall to the ground again, dragging her limp right leg as she used her arms and left leg to crawl along the ground. "And I appreciate that! Really, I do!" She shivered as the pool of ice she was on rasped against her skin. "…but right now what I'd really appreciate is a freakin' jacket!"

"Sorry. You know I'd help you if I could, Sam, especially after everything that's happened."

Having a conversation with a man that wasn't there seemed oddly familiar to Sam, and she just decided to run with it as she had before. "Everything that's happened?"

Rodney nodded, and he motioned for Sam to take the right hallway. "That way…and yes, I've seen everything that's happened. I saw the Wraith, I saw the Asurans, I saw the coup, I've even…" Rodney twitched suddenly, and he looked up with his hands defensively up. "Okay okay! Sorry."

Sam stopped in her tracks. Her fingers had turned into claws from the cold and rubbed them together to get warm. She looked up to Rodney and muttered. "What? Who are you…?" She realized something as she sat there, suddenly feeling a lot more exposed. "Hey, wait a second! You've been watching me!?"

Rodney turned from looking up and gave her the wounded expression he knew so well. "What? No! Well… Yes, but not the way you're thinking! I'll admit, I kept an eye on you and Sheppard after and…" he shrugged around a bit. "… I may have seen a thing or two I wasn't expecting,"

Sam shuddered thinking about everything she'd done since arriving in this galaxy. "Thanks, that's exactly what I need to worry about now! I'll never take a shower in peace again!"

Rodney got a shocked expression as he turned to Sam. "Sam! I would never do that!"

Sam scoffed and shivered, the cold was getting worse and her arms were trembling to try to keep her warm. "Oh I'm sure you've never peeked once!" Rodney was blushing now, Sam called him out instantly. What kind of Ascended being blushes? "You HAVE peeked!"

Defending himself with words was the only thing left to Rodney. "I have not!

Sam scoffed and continued moving. "Yes, you have!"

"Have not!" spat Rodney.

"Have!"

"Have not!"

"Have!"

"Have not!

Feeling ridiculous, Sam ended it with two words. "Prove it!" She felt oddly proud for having beaten an ascended being at a word game… even if it was just McKay.

Seeing that he'd have to put up or shut up, Rodney groaned and pointed down the hallway. "I have not! Moreover, how exactly am I supposed to prove it? You'll just have to take my word as an honorable being of unimaginable power." Sam scoffed and groaned as her leg sent a stabbing pain up into her torso. "But you've got to keep going! The elevator's that way!"

Sam growled irritably and kept on crawling. "I swear Rodney…when I get back to Atlantis I'm convincing Daniel to ascend and kick your ASS!"

Rodney scoffed and muttered incomprehensively before answering. "I'd be more scared of Sheppard but he's got his own problems right now."

Sam flopped down onto the floor, cursed whatever hell spawn had decided to tease her with Rodney being a cheerleader and nothing else, and began to crawl again despite the haziness in her vision. "His own…?" As she crawled, the realization came to her. "…goddamnit… he's coming after me, isn't he?" Sam stopped, not only because of the epiphany, but also because she'd hit a fork in the road.

Rodney nodded. "Did you think he wouldn't?"

Sam thought about it, John had been the one who forced her to let him go for Cadman's team on Larrus, what were a couple of hostile silicon based life forms compared to the war machine of the Genii? It was a safe bet he'd be coming for her and Sam had only just realized it.

Sam was about to ask Rodney where to go when the ascended man continued his speech. "He's Sheppard… it's what he does. Granted he's a little more suicidal nowadays but I think that's mostly because he doesn't really know what to do. In fact…"

Feeling the aneurysm begin, Sam snapped at him. "McKay!"

"Yes?"

Sam gritted her teeth as she motioned down the hallways. "Which way?"

Realizing they'd been standing there for several seconds, Rodney pointed to the right hallway. "That way! It'll take you right to the elevator."

Muttering under her breath as she dragged herself across the floor, Sam wished for that skateboard she knew John kept under his bed.


A rock flew past John… a rather large rock. He ducked and rolled as the suit's warning began to beep. "Take Evasive Action, Class Two Shade Creature approaching from rear."

Running became much more important and John was glad he maintained his runs with Ronon. The large Shade behind him seemed to just appear from out of nowhere since visibility was so short ranged. It landed right where John had been standing and dug a large crater with its forearms.

John could see what Cortana or Amy or whatever the hell this thing was calling itself was telling him about. It was a downed Olim ship that had crashed and rolled over onto its side. Large gaps and torn open hull sections appeared highlighted in his vision.

Spinning his arm around, John used the Magnetic Bubble weapon the Alcaeus Armor was equipped with. He spun his hand underhanded and a small piece of the liquid Trinium armor solidified and spat out at supersonic speed from the high-powered and very controlled magnetic pulse.

It smacked against the Large Shade creature stunning it momentarily. A divot was shattered off its exoskeleton spraying out like a bullet impact.

John made it to the ship and hopping up, managed to climb into the torn craft. He grimaced slightly at the condition of the 20 or so bodies that lay sprawled about, but he had no time for that and ran to where the marker was pointing.

It was a small armory, and one item in particular seemed to stand out. "Hey! How do I use this thing!?"

John picked up and held the rather large weapon on his shoulder. It seemed to be arm mounted and had a large barrel with coils around it. The interface replied. "Insert hand into trigger guard and initiate hard line link."

Somewhere in the back of John's head he understood that that meant he needed to be physically touching the device in order to fire it. He flipped it around and stuck his hand in what looked like a likely hole.

A loud groan that seemed to be a cross between a scream came from outside, and a large section of the hull tore apart and came loose exposing the Shade creature behind it. "Oh, shit!"

Holding it in the most natural way he could, John aimed the bulky looking weapon. He braced himself and waited till the creature and torn a large enough hole in the 20 foot high hull for it to move through.

Thinking about firing, John aimed hastily using the reticule the eyepiece put over his head; for a second nothing happened, but a sudden staticy wash came over John and a tingling sensation.

The coils of the weapon charged with enough energy to glow, and what looked like a railway spike shot out faster that just about any weapon John had ever used. He realized now it was an arm-mounted railgun that rivaled those of Daedalus.

He felt a slight push, and the suit alarm beeped again. "Warning, replace power pack at earliest convenience. 20% power remaining."

John didn't pay too much attention as he surveyed the damage caused by the surprisingly low recoil weapon. It had broken a hole through the creature's left forearm, and punched through its thick crystal carapace body. Boiling fluid seeped out and sizzled as it howled and thrashed about as if in great pain.

Worried now that the suit was telling him it was running out of power, John tossed the gauss cannon to the floor and grabbed one of the more sensible looking rifles. He quickly slung it around his back and ran through the downed ship.

It was roughly the same size as the nose section of the Daedalus, and quickly John scurried through the blackened halls to the other side. Another fissure in the hull gave him a quick way out.

He'd evaded this Shade, but as John looked to the map in his HUD, there were still places to look, and with the terrain so different it was difficult to figure out a proper search pattern, let alone a safe one.

Now armed though, he forgot about stealth and began to run. The Olim HQ was the best place to look, so that's where he trudged now, hoping, praying that somehow Sam had survived this massacre.


"What do you mean he's gone?"

Chuck looked a little nervous as he replied, he'd heard that Alicia was a force to be reckoned with when angered. "He took the armor we confiscated from Aquilina and…" Chuck motioned to the still open wormhole.

Alicia winced and cursed under her breath. She should have seen this. Dammit, she of all people should have seen this coming and… and she wouldn't have done a thing to stop him. "Goddamnit!" She turned and stomped over to where Larrin was in Sam's office arguing with the Olim leaders. It was obvious she wasn't having a good time.

Breaking through the crowd of Olim. Alicia interrupted the discussion (i.e. Argument) and scowled at the Olim. "You bastards! This is all your fault!"

Menalus growled loudly and faced off with Alicia. "Our people have suffered even more than yours and you dare accuse us? Colonel Carter knowingly did what she did and for a primitive she has certainly earned my respect."

Aulus held his hand up and separated the two of them. "Major is it? I grieve for your loss. Colonel Carter was much more than any of us expected. She has shown the mettle of your people and I am ashamed of our behavior. I do not know what drives Colonel Sheppard, but we are not to blame for this."

Alicia growled angrily and turned to Larrin. "I'm taking a Jumper and I'm going after them!"

Larrin narrowed her eyes in surprise, but after a moment's hesitation nodded. "Take some bigger guns. You'll need em."

Aulusraised his eyebrows in shock. "You are mad to go after them! The Shade will destroy you and hardly notice."

Turning and ready to spit acid, Alicia barked. "I'd rather die than live knowing I was too spineless to go!"

From behind Alicia, Menalus muttered over her shoulder to Aulus "She goes for her mate, Aulus… primitive woman are not a rationa…"

*THWACK*

Had there been a camera in Sam's office, Larrin would have reproduced the video of Alicia's eyes going wide, and her fist curling as she spun.

A slap would have been appropriate, a punch deserved. But the cruel backhanded strike that knocked Menalus across his jaw hard enough to send him onto the couch behind him was exactly what Larrin thought he needed.

Her hand sore, Alicia snarled at Menalus. "That comes from every woman on this base! " She then turned to Aulus and put the same hand's fingers up to his face as she pointed to Menalus. "You should sterilize this asshole if you worry so much about your goddamned genetic purity!" With that, she pushed her way out of the room and headed towards the Jumper Bay.

Aulus looked over to Menalus and sighed. He then turned to Larrin and said. "For one as advanced as she is, she certainly acts on her more primal instincts."

Larrin had never felt prouder. "Keep talking and I'll set the real savages loose on you."


"You have been spying on me!"

Sam's teeth chattered as she hauled herself up to the elevator. The temperature was dropping fast and it wouldn't be long before she started feeling the effects of hypothermia. Her fingers were already frozen claws as were her feet that she could hardly move.

Rodney remained by her side the entire time, perfectly comfortable in his… well what did an ascended wear? "No! No I never even peeked in your quarters! I…I just happened to see you and Sheppard that night after Proculus and…"

Feeling very embarrassed now, Sam just tried to concentrate on the elevator ahead of her. "So you saw…?" She left the question hanging. A lot happened that night.

"Well…yes…and a few things here and there in the 2 months after… "

"Doesn't matter… doesn't matter." Sam felt so cold now, the frost had permeated her clothes and her entire body was trembling. In the edges of her vision, she could see her lips had begun to turn blue.

Rodney groaned softly and leaned back on the wall. "Of course it matters! I'll admit I never saw it coming which in itself speaks volumes to how much I actually didn't know compared to what I did know back then…"

Even ascended, Rodney still babbled. Sam rolled her eyes and tapped the Up button on the elevator shutting the door on Rodney.

She let herself fall back to the floor, repressing a scream as her leg cried out. Sam closed her eyes and winced hard, feeling whatever elevated this car up to the main floor. This wasn't the same elevator she'd taken down the control room, and she prayed that it would be easier to get outside.

Not surprisingly, Rodney's voice remained with her. "You know, it's not nice to close the door on people."

Sam blinked away the tears in her eyes, felt the moisture begin to freeze in the cold and blinked it away. It was getting harder and harder, each breath drew cold air into her lungs that constricted and hurt her insides. "It's also not nice to refuse to give your jacket to a lady if she's freezing to death!"

Rodney groaned softly and sat down across from Sam. The elevator was moving slowly, as if low on power. "Oh, come on! I am helping you as much as I can…you're halfway there."

Sam grimaced and whined. "Are you serious!? I-I can't do this!" She bowed her head and wrapped her arms around her head. "I-I can't, Rodney..." Sam whimpered as her leg cried out again. The dull throbbing had grown to a much stronger sharp pain, probably from crawling almost a hundred feet through freezing metal, dirt and ice.

Rodney got up and said. "No, Sam! You-you can't give up now! You have to go! You can't stay here!"

Sam winced to hold back the sob, the elevator kept moving slowly and now she just felt exhausted. "Rodney…I'm just so tired…I just-I just want to sleep."

"No no no! You…you have to stay awake!" Rodney moved in front of Sam and put his hands mere centimeters above her shoulders. "Sam you have to keep going!"

"Why?" Sam whimpered. She just wanted it all to end. Even if she survived, even if the others came for her and she actually survived, the numb feeling in her hands told her frostbite wasn't far off. "Did you mean it…could you help me ascend?"

Rodney pulled back and sat down. "… Yes…yes, if you were dying and there was nothing that could be done…yes, I could help you ascend."

Sam felt the elevator come to a halt, and the door opened enough for her to squeeze through, ice crystals broke and fell as the door moved, and Sam could even feel the moisture in her nose and mouth start to freeze up. "….I think you might have to…I…"

Rodney shook his head and pointed out the door. "No… no! The Sam Carter I know wouldn't give up this easily! She wouldn't think of ascending when she knew there was a chance of survival!"

"She's…gone. Rodney…gone…"Sam figured if Rodney was going to speak in riddles, so would she. "She died in Pegasus… I am all that's left."

Now frowning, Rodney glared at her. "No! Sam, you have to know…there's, uhh…" Sam couldn't help but smile as Rodney quickly invented something. "You, uhh, you have a, uh, destiny! You're not supposed to die here Sam! As an ascended being, I can look into the timelines and I can see you have to live! There's a lot waiting for you and-and you have to live for a really, really long time!"

Sam started laughing. It was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard. "Ascending hasn't made you a better liar…" She sniffled, and winced as she felt the ice trickle into her sinuses. "I'm so cold Rodney… I'm losing too much blood and-and I'm freezing!

Please…please help me ascend. Don't let me die here alone on this goddamn frozen rock. I don't want to die, Rodney…" Her voice cracked as she let a single sob out. She'd prayed to God for a miracle and here it was standing before her. Maybe not the miracle she would have wanted, but better than nothing.

Rodney winced and clenched his fists in frustration. He'd shown up to help his friend survive and if necessary, help her to ascend, but he wasn't going to do it if it wasn't the last resort. "Sam… listen to me… you're right, I am lying. But, you know you have a life out there… The Sam Carter I knew didn't die in Pegasus… she's right here…"

Finally, since appearing to her almost 20 minutes ago, Rodney leaned forward with his hand and pressed it against her chest right below her neck. Sam gasped as she felt his warmth in her throat, permeating it. "Rodney?"

Rodney sighed and kept his hand where it was. "You're still in there, Sam. You've just forgotten. You need to have a reason to keep fighting. Don't give up now." Rodney winced and removed his hand, the warmth from his touch spread and Sam felt a little stronger. "I shouldn't have done that…the Others will come. I want you to promise me you'll climb out of this hole and start living again."

Sam took deep breaths, the cold air warmed in her throat and her lungs got new life in them. "… I was never really alive to begin with…" Sam realized what Rodney meant by 'living again'. She'd tried and failed, because her methodology was wrong. She was trying to replace a variable that she thought was a constant.

"That may be true, but you know what you have to do Sam." Rodney paused for a moment and winced. "They're here…" Rodney put his hand on her back this time as Sam began to crawl to the elevator. "Swear it Sam! Swear you'll crawl out of this godforsaken hole and start living again! Sam, please!"

Sam whimpered as her leg throbbed again, but her back felt warm suddenly, her muscles gaining new strength. '…I-I swear."

Pulling herself through the door. Rodney's voice faded as he spoke. "I'll always be around Sam! Atlantis is my home! Make it yours!"

Falling onto her side and rolling, Sam watched as tendrils of energy seeped down through the ceiling and grabbed onto Rodney who began to glow. "Rodney!"

His face seemed reluctantly nervous, and Rodney cried out one last sentence. "Go Home, Sam! Go home!"

With that, Rodney was gone.