AN: This is the spin-off To Find the Truth, telling what happened to fRodney. I had to get this first chapter done before I could start the next chapter To Find the Truth. I've been slow with updating most of my work because work has been extremely busy and killing a lot of my creative energy. I hope that I will have the next chapter of Truth out in the next few days. Thanks for reading. Please leave a review.
The Exalted One
Chapter 1- Down the River
Jennifer left the missing briefing feeling as if her head was going to explode. The initial search of the riverbanks was called off because of bad weather. She knew that made the likelihood of Rodney being found alive slim to none, but the woman felt that she would know if her other half was dead. Her heart was telling her that Rodney was still out there. He may be hurt, but he was alive somewhere and in need of help.
"Jennifer," John jogged to catch up with the woman. "Wait up a second." She continued to walk away at a brisk pace.
The distraught blonde chose to ignore the advancing Colonel. "I don't have time for you, Sheppard," her tone was one of anger mixed with fear.
"We are not calling off the search for good. It's just until the weather clears. We can't see anything with all that rain," John tried to reason with Jennifer. He as much as anyone wanted to still be out there, but he knew any search attempt would be futile.
"I don't want to hear it," Jennifer stormed off, not wanting to hear any more excuses. "I thought you were his best friend!" she yelled as a parting shot before she disappeared around the corner.
John winced at the painful words because they were the truth and he knew they still should be out there, but Woolsey had pulled rank and temporarily called off the search. He shook his head as he walked away and headed toward Teyla's room. He knew they should never have left the planet without trying at least one last time to find Rodney.
Jennifer returned to her quarters and found it oddly cold. Just twenty-four hours ago she was having dinner with Rodney in the mess hall. She had not been happy having Valentine's Day dinner with the rest of the base and had hoped he had something more planned. Her hopes dashed when he passed out and their evening was over. Despite what happened, the physician was upset that her boyfriend had forgotten what the day was. Now she might never see him again and it did not sit right that their last words exchanged were tense. "Where are you? Hold on for me, okay? Jennifer spoke to the empty air.
The longer she was in the room, the more she paced. Sitting still caused Jennifer imagine the worst possible fates for Rodney, some made her cringe at the horrific thoughts. "Left your jacket out," the CMO picked the garment from the back of the chair. She was about to hang it in the closet when something fell to the floor.
"What's this?" Jennifer picked up the small velvet box. He didn't forget after all. She was curious what Rodney had bought and why he did not give it even after he passed out. Those questions were answered when she opened the box and saw an engagement ring. The reason for his behavior became obvious; he panicked. "You should know by now my answer would be a thousand times yes," she sighed heavy as she closed the box and held it close to her chest.
Helplessness settled in, knowing there was no way Woolsey would allow her off world to search for her missing love. There had to be something she could do. Someone had to be able to help her and before she could come up with an idea, her feet were already taking her toward Rodney's lab. "Radek, I need your help." There was no time to waste with greetings and she was sure he was used to behavior like this from Rodney.
"Umm, okay. What is it? I don't know when Rodney is coming back," Radek had been so tired up in his work that he had not heard what happen on the mission.
"You haven't heard," Jennifer realized she was still clutching the ring box. She gave him the short version of what happened. "That's why I need you to lock on his subcutaneous transmitter signal. If we had an exact position to search, Woolsey would authorize a team to get him."
As much as Radek wanted to help, there was nothing he could do. "I can adjust the long range sensors and try to pick up his signal. From here I could only tell you if he is on the planet. We'd need to be a lot closer to get an exact location."
Jennifer let out a sigh of frustration, "Does anyone but me care that he could die? Can you at least try?" She needed something...anything that could give her hope at this moment.
The Czech heard the desperation in her voice and nodded, "I will see what I can do, but I have to go to the control room to do it."
Twenty minutes later Radek cursed at the screen in his native tongue, "I can't pick up the signal."
The physician did not know what that meant in terms of Rodney's fate. "Does that mean he is dead?" The idea was tough for Jennifer to think about especially since she had been mean to Rodney the last time she saw him.
"Not necessarily. The transmitter does not stop transmitting even when someone dies. This means that something caused the signal to stop transmitting or it is out of range," Radek knew he had to be honest and anything but the truth and the CMO would hound him just as his missing boss would. The Czech had noticed that some of the positive aspects of Jennifer's personality rubbed off on Rodney just as some of the negative parts of his rubbed off on her.
"When can you tell me anything for sure and not just taking guesses?" Jennifer could not contain her frustration over the lack of information.
"As soon as Woolsey clears us to return to the planet," Radek sighed when he saw Jennifer clutching the ring box. The ring was all Rodney had talked about to him since its arrival two weeks ago. "We'll find him."
Orinanya enjoyed playing in the rain and she screamed when she saw a body tangled in the branches behind the inn her parents owned. "Papa. Papa," the child screamed.
"What is it little one?" Leonids rushed out as soon as he heard his daughter scream.
"Someone in the water," the terrified child pointed to the river as the rain poured around them.
The man squinted a few times to see where the girl was pointing and finally saw what his daughter saw. "Anya, get inside now," the man ordered his daughter as he ran toward the river. It took several minutes to untangle the body from the branches and drag it to the riverbank.
Leonids face creased with concern at the man's appearance; many cuts and bruises covered the exposed skin that felt like ice. The night had been quite cold as was the water he had pulled the barely alive man from.
"Darling, what is Anya chattering on about?" Yuka asked her husband before she saw him knelt next to the body. "Did you pull him from the waters?" she covered her mouth and paled as if she had seen a ghost.
"I did," he replied.
"Could he be the one the Ancient Text speaks of? Is he alive?"
"He is alive, but just barely. Go fetch Johas. He will be able to tell us if he is The One. I will bring him inside, out of the rain and cold," Leonids peeled open one of the unconscious man's eyelids. "His eyes are blue like the water he came from."
"Praise that he be The One," Yuka could not contain the excitement as she ran to get the village elder.