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This is it folks, the last chapter. Enjoy.


"Rodney, snap out of it."

The boys were back in their chairs on the bridge of the Daedalus, just as they had been when they had started the last bout. This time though Rodney had failed to move so much as an inch while John leapt out his seat. The Lt Colonel was now shaking his friend trying to snap him out of the obvious shock he was.

They'd been at this for two minutes now and at this point the only thing that was stopping John from slapping him was the fact that he had just witnessed a terrible event. It didn't matter that it hadn't been the real Jennifer, the image itself was still enough to cause mental trauma and it seemed to be doing just that. It was time to try a new tactic.

"Rodney, that wasn't her okay. It was just her image. The real Jennifer is still out, she's still alive and she is waiting for you. Think about how you feel buddy, because if you don't make it out of here she is going to feel a hell of a lot worse."

It was a cruel thing to do and he knew it. But he also knew that if there was anything that would bring Rodney back it was the thought that he would be keeping her from suffering if he just sat there and did nothing.

It seemed to have the desired effect as Rodney visibly shook himself and seemed to regain some focus. But his voice was still unusually quiet as he spoke.

"Okay Sheppard I got it." And with that Rodney slowly rose from his seat, still shaken but alert.

"My, my how touching. But are you sure you want to get up Doctor McKay? Do you really want to walk down that corridor and watch her die painfully and be forced to just stand there and watch unable to lift a finger to stop it?"

Standing once again in the middle of the bridge was the viruses avatar, wearing an ear to ear sneer. At first John thought the words would emotionally shatter Rodney to pieces and reduce him to the same state he had been in just a minute ago. But when he turned to look on his friend, instead of the look of sorrow that he expected to see, he was surprised to see him livid with barely controlled fury. Fury that had no trouble reaching his voice.

"What did you do? What rule did you invent that meant I couldn't help her?"

Now your run of the mill real world villain would have stayed mum and allow the victim to remain bewildered in addition to their current suffering. In this case however the arrogance of the Goa'uld that seemed to have been built into the virus coding itself won over and it decided to gloat. Besides, it reasoned, it's much more fun to see the horror on their faces once they realize the terrors that await them.

"Oh it is quite simple Doctor McKay. This is, like everything else in hear based on your real world. A world which you will never see again by the way. Whenever one of you would normally be stunned they are out of action and unable to help with whatever crisis you seem to have gotten yourself into, I have merely taken it to the next level. Now whenever any character in this game gets stunned their interactions are locked out of the system until it resets."

Both of their faces were grim, they knew that this thing was making sure that Rodney would end up suffer the most from this round. The electric shocks were barely registering anymore. It was the psychological damage that was taking its toll.

In the face of this Rodney's reaction was to turn around and walk off the bridge. To the credit of his programming the avatar, and John, both showed surprise at this unexpected reaction.

"Well, that was unexpected." And with those final words the avatar vanished.


John was left playing catch up as he ran off the bridge and down the corridor after Rodney.

"Rodney, wait up."

Rodney didn't even turn around.

"I can't slow down now. I have to find Jennifer."

"Rodney we need a plan. You can't just charge off on your own."

"I'm working on a plan. The first stop is the armoury, then I am going to find Jennifer"


After a record breaking pit stop in the armoury the two of them were once again roaming the halls looking for Jennifer.

"Rodney you found her yet?"

"Yes she is around the next corner."

"Wonderful, so what's the plan?"

"I'm still working on it."

"Work harder."

"I intend to, but first we need Jennifer."

They rounded the corner and Jennifer turned to face them.

"Rodney, thank goodness."

Sheppard turned to Rodney.

"Okay we've found Jennifer, what's the first step."

"This." He pulled out a stunner and shot Jennifer.

Her face was a mask of surprise. Even more so when she realised that she wasn't unconscious despite having just taken a stun blast to the head, instead her entire body just turned ghostly. While she was still struggling to accept what had just happened John rounded on Rodney.

"Rodney what the hell do you think you're doing, we're supposed to be protecting her."

Rodney's response was to hold a finger as he said, "Wait for it."

A second later their world went white and when their vision cleared they were back on the bridge. The jolt from the reset hadn't even registered, at least not mentally, the shock over what just happened taken priority.

"Huh, there's a delay." He was speaking almost casually.

"Rodney, what the hell was that?"

"Yes what was that Doctor McKay?" The avatar had made his traditional appearance.

Rodney was wearing a very familiar smug look on his face.

"I figured if I stun her then I won't have to see her suffer."

"So what now Doctor, you just give up." It was almost possible to detect a note of hope in those words.

"No I just stun her if it looks like she'll be fed on. In the meantime I am going to figure out how to beat you."

The virus was clearly irritated at having its master plot treated like a mere hindrance.

The avatar grinned with malice as it spoke. "We shall see Doctor, we shall see."

"Yes we shall." And once again Rodney strode off the bridge leaving John to play catch up.


"Rodney, you better have a better plan than this one." By the time John had reached the armoury Rodney had been and gone. The guy was spending less time in the armoury in virtual reality than he did before missions.

Rodney was indifferent to Sheppard's disapproval of his master plan. "I only have this one Sheppard and I need your help with it."

He grabbed Rodney by the arm grinding them both to a halt. "Rodney, tell me you haven't given up."

Rodney turned to face him, his expression deadly serious. "I haven't given up."

"Good." He looked around. "Well this corridor looks familiar, Jennifer's round the corner I'm guessing."

"Yep."

"Okay then lets do this." He drew his stunner out and Rodney did the same.

They ran forward, about to turn the corner, when they screeched to a halt to avoid running into the Todd avatar.

"Greetings gentlemen."

Sheppard had, up to this point, been containing his anger. Now some of it leaked out.

"What the hell do you want?"

The avatar merely smiled. "Rebalancing the field of play."

With that the avatar dispersed into mist before reasserting itself into a ball of smoke. The ball was the size of a pumpkin and sported the Halloween pumpkin features that were being lit up by an inner red light.

The smoke creature flew around the corner with the boys chasing after it. It crashed into the back of the waiting Jennifer seemingly going into her. The impact was enough to shake her and she almost collapsed before reasserting her balance. She turned around and they were shocked to see a sneer on her face.

"Time for your dose of suffering. Catch me if you can." And with that she turned and ran.

Rodney was quick to react, "After her."


They were running flat out through the ship trying to keep up with a seemingly possessed Jennifer.

"Rodney what is going on?"

"The virus has used her as its new avatar. It'll be going to the nearest drone it can find, we have to stop her. You get a shot you take it."

"Rodney, are you sure about this?"

Rodney's face was set with determination, "It's the only way."


The two of them ran round a corner following her when they saw what they had been dreading. Jennifer was standing in front a drone and it was about to press its feeding hand to her chest.

The two of them didn't even hesitate. They raised their stunners and fired. Jennifer took two stun blasts to the head. Surprisingly she collapsed to her knees as her body turned ghostly. Jennifer's voice was fluctuating as she spoke, changing between human, Wraith and the deep tones of the Goa'uld.

"What is this? What's happening to me?"

Rodney strode forward, ignoring the drone that had frozen before them.

"Anyone who gets stunned cannot interact with the system until the scenario resets. That means you're out of commission."

"But only until the game resets. Why? Why hasn't the game reset?"

"Because of the delay. If I hadn't shot Jennifer I never would have found out about it, it was necessary. You are a better part of the system and those pieces are now none functional." The ship shook violently.

Her voice sounded pained. "But it's not that simple."

"You're right it's not that simple, it's created a paradox in the system. The entire program is degrading. But that doesn't matter because with you frozen we are free to leave without consequence."

Sheppard chose that moment to cut in. "Rodney time to go."

Rodney merely nodded and turned to leave. When they rounded the corridor Sheppard asked the question. "Where to?"

"Airlock, we use it we get out of her."

They didn't say a word. They just ran as the ship fell apart around them. When they finally entered the airlock they looked back at the ship with finality before they disappeared.


Rodney opened his eyes. He looked down at himself and saw that he was strapped into the VR chair. In front of him, smiling, with tears in her eyes was Jennifer, the real Jennifer. Her voice sounded angelic when she spoke.

"Welcome back."

He turned his head and saw that John was strapped into a similar chair. His friend smiled at him.

"Good plan buddy."

Rodney smiled back. "Thanks for trusting me."

John leaned back into his chair and closed his eyes, ready to finally rest after the ordeal. Rodney turned back to Jennifer and knew that he was safe. He closed his eyes as he felt strong hands unstrap him from the chair and rest him on a medical gurney. As his back hit the soft surface his eyes briefly fluttered open and he saw the medical staff was doing the same to John while Jennifer gave instructions. He smiled. They had made it back. He had made it back to her.


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