Doctor Radek Zelenka, the Czech second-in-charge scientist of the Atlantis expedition, continues working at his new undamaged Command Center computer console with Major Evan Lorne leaning over his shoulder. Gateroom technicians, Jennifer Johnson and James Robbins, sitting quietly at their stations, like they have been this entire time. They’ve been with the Stargate Program long enough to know when to stay where they are, keep their heads down, and stay out of the command personnel’s ways, only dodging the odd exploding interface when the occasion called for it. They’d jumped when the first computer console blew, but thank God that only the back half of the room’s consoles, those on the second tier, blew and not the front half, their consoles. Richard Woolsey continues to pace up and down the center of the room. When Doctor Jennifer Keller, Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore, and Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard push Doctor Rodney McKay’s bed into the room with Teyla Emmagan helping Ronon Dex walk in right behind them. Zelenka, Lorne, and the technicians look up. Woolsey turns around to look at the group coming in.
“What is this,” he demands.
“He insisted on coming,” Sheppard says with a smile.
Rodney, his bed supporting him sitting in an upright position, waves weakly at them. And no sooner have they got the bed stopped then he’s reaching out towards Radek. Jennifer runs around behind Radek and Lorne, goes to another undamaged computer console, grabs the turned off, unused, and unhooked up computer tablet that had been left abandoned laying there during the evacuation, and runs it back to Rodney’s waiting hands. She waits at his side as he activates it. He hands her its jack and she runs it over to the nearest computer console, Johnson’s, and plugs it in. Rodney taps the tablet a few times then looks up at everyone…
“So, what are we doing,” he asks as cheerfully and loudly as he can muster. Which wasn’t much. It was taking a lot out of him just letting the most uncomfortable gurney in two galaxies help him sit up. Not to mention being unconscious for so long had formed a really uncomfortable cramp in his left butt cheek.
Woolsey, Radek, and Lorne just stare at the ailing theoretical astrophysicist.
“Are you sure he’s okay,” Lorne asks.
“I’m fine,” Rodney belittles the major.
And for further effect he starts to try and get out of the bed. Jennifer immediately puts a gentle but firm hand on the center of his chest and pushes him back in.
“He’s fine,” she says with her usual brilliant and charming smile bringing up the corners of her mouth. He is fine.
The three men still stare at Rodney. Rodney rolls his eyes with an exasperated sigh and repeats himself… like he always hates having to do with the little people who couldn’t catch on as fast as he did.
“So what are we doing,” the tone of his voice telling them to move it along here. They were running out of time after all and, Dear God, if he has to snap his fingers, there was going to be hell to pay…
“We, we,” Zelenka stumbles while reaching back out to his console’s control panel, should the city need him to defend it against the diseased addlepated mind of a jacked-in computer tablet wielding Rodney McKay, “have Anubis trapped in a section of the corridor on level…”
“Well I can see that,” McKay cuts him off snippily, “what else are we doing?”
With an exasperated sigh and a roll of his eyes, Radek leans slightly over to Lorne.
“He’s fine,” he tells the major quietly.
“Well whatever we’re doing we’ve got to get Anubis out of the city. We can’t just keep him trapped there forever,” Sheppard interrupts the let’s-put-Rodney-through-his-snarky-paces portion of their little reunion.
Kenmore’s head shoots up.
“Trapped… that’s it. We can’t let him leave the city.”
Sheppard turns and looks at her, “What? You’re not serious. He can’t stay here.”
Kenmore starts nodding emphatically, “Yes he can. Yes he can.”
Kenmore suddenly races out of the Command Center, bolting down the stairs into the gateroom. Taking them a highly erratic and hazardous at her speed two at a time. Sheppard follows her to the top of the stairs and yells after her.
“Where are you going? The city isn’t safe.”
Kenmore calls back to him as she runs out of the gateroom.
“He’s trapped in a hallway. The rest of the city is safe.”
Sheppard yells after her again.
“Not from power surges.”
But she’s already gone.
* * *
The door bearly has time to open enough before Kenmore bursts into her quarters and runs over to her desk, thankfully right beside the door—of course Kenmore already had this room, especially, all laid out in her mind in the darkness of night whether moonlit or moonless, her haunted sleepless nights didn’t give a damn—, piled high with unopened files covered by opened ones. She begins frantically searching through them.
“C’mon, you’re here. I know you are. I read you a few days ago.”
Her earpiece radio crackles on in her ear…
“I don’t know where you are, but you get your ass back here right now,” Sheppard snaps.
Kenmore taps her earpiece with one hand then continues her search with both…
“I’m looking for something… Ah-hah.”
She found the file she was looking for.
“What did you find,” he asks her. Probably worried at how loud her ‘ah-hah’ had been, it had come out of her a lot louder than she’d expected it to. She actually scared herself a bit.
Ursula immediately opens the light gray file folder and slides her finger down the report trying to find the passage she’s looking for.
“It’s a mission report, well not ‘mission’ report, I read a few days ago. You remember when you first got to Atlantis and Halling’s boy, Jinto, got lost in the city?”
* * *
Sheppard does remember the report she’s talking about. Everyone does except for Ronon, who hadn’t been here at the time, and, maybe, Woolsey and Lorne; although John doubted that either one them would not have ever read that file for themselves. Rodney realizes where she’s going with this. Weakly he tries to snaps the fingers of his freehand repeatedly in rapid succession, but it was like getting molded gelatin to be coordinated when wiggling.
“But that machine wasn’t holding an Ascended Being, fallen or otherwise,” he says
“But it was a great big shadow of energy, wasn’t it,” Kenmore comes back, apparently Rodney had managed to say it loud enough for Sheppard’s radio to catch him, “Ha, here it is. Yes it was. It was a great big shadow of energy. I don’t see why we can’t make use of something now that worked for so long in the past.”
Sheppard looks over at Rodney. Could this work?
“But the Ancients created it, wouldn’t Anubis have the knowledge to be able to open it,” Woolsey asks.
“He hasn’t had much success with most of the systems similar to that so far,” Zelenka interjects, “He can’t touch them.”
“The electrical,” Ronon states simply, now sitting in a chair next to Johnson with Teyla dutifully at his side.
“And did not dealing with that energy creature require a personal shield,” the Athosian leader adds.
“We don’t need a shield, we’ve got forcefields,” Kenmore’s voice says over the radio.
John keeps looking at Rodney, the expression on his face still begging the question. Could this work?
“I don’t see why it wouldn’t work,” Rodney tells him.
“But didn’t it require a lot of power for what you guy’s had back then? We’re kind of still in the same boat here. We don’t have that much to work with,” Lorne interrupts.
“You forget that the machine has its own power source just like the jumpers do. We can do this, it can work,” Rodney clarifies, “but someone has to prep the machine.”
And there was the catch, John knew it, there is always a catch.
“I can do it,” Radek says raising his hand.
“No, Doctor Zelenka, you’ve been the one handling the forcefields this far. You’re the quickest. McKay, you up for it,” Kenmore’s radio voice asks from Sheppard’s earpiece.
Rodney holds up his hand to block Jennifer’s objections before her voice can even begin to issue them.
“Yeah, I think so,” he says.
“Specialist Dex, you up for standing in a room and shooting anything that comes through the door,” Kenmore asks next.
“I’ll go with them,” Sheppard says before Ronon could even voice his reply. He knew his friend and teammate well enough to know the answer is ‘yes’. For something like that, it will always be ‘yes’.
“Me too,” Jennifer quickly adds, “Just in case… for Rodney.”
“Teyla, you stay here and guard Zelenka and Woolsey with Lorne in case this doesn’t work,” John orders.
Teyla nods at him.
“Wait. He’s not going to fall for us just opening up a path straight there with forcefields. He’ll know it’s a trap,” Lorne throws the quintessential SGC ridiculously giant wrench in the plan.
“What’s the one thing he desperately needs right now,” Kenmore’s voice pipes up in the silence that followed his words.
“You can’t lead him there,” Rodney tells her strongly.
Aw shit, John thought there was more to her running away from them than just looking up some stupid mission file that he was sure either Radek or Rodney could have brought up on one of their computers up here.
“Who better than an Ancient, well at least a half a one,” Kenmore’s voice fires back, “Anyways, I prefer to be bait on my own terms.” That was a little dig at Woolsey.
Sheppard nods, he’s already known her long enough to not argue with her damn personal command decisions—Jesus, I hope she gets out of this one too—, and goes over to help Jennifer help Rodney out of his bed. In the laboring silence that ensues and the fact that he’s noticed Sheppard’s forgotten to deactivate his earpiece, another opportunity has opened up and this time Ronon takes it…
“Yeah,” her voice asks over Sheppard’s earpiece radio.
She sounds like she’s distracted. Doing something else on her end.
“I should’ve earlier but…”
…Ancestors, this is hard.
“Specialist, I really don’t have time to coddle you right now,” Kenmore’s voice over Sheppard’s radio cuts him off sharply.
And Ronon shuts his mouth. After a moment of silence…
“Ronon,” comes her voice again, in a far kinder voice. Saying his first name for the first time. It reminded him of how tender her bedside manner touch had been on his cheek back on the Goa’uld mothership. Peppermint and salt…
He stays silent.
“Thanks,” she says.
Ronon nods then bows his head, trying to hide the effects on his face of what’s just transpired from everyone else in the room’s eyes. Sheppard and Teyla smile.
“Let’s get to work,” Woolsey says and there’s definitely relief in it, although his words and voice are straight to the point and all business sounding. The man looked relieved.
At his words, the others continue to go ahead with the plan. Teyla and John rush down to the locker areas, Teyla retrieves her gear as well as her P-90 and a Wraith stun pistol and John retrieves both his gear and Lorne’s as well as their P-90s, a couple of Wraith pistols, and Ronon’s gun. Jennifer unplugs Rodney’s tablet and Robbins and she push Rodney’s bed to the nearest transporter on this level as Lorne stands guard at the top of the stairs eyeing both Jennifer and Robbins’ exit as well as Teyla and Sheppard’s. Zelenka informs Kenmore that he’s establishing a forcefield ‘cage’ around her including her quarters and the part of the hallway immediately in front of it to secure her just in case Anubis managed to overload his own trap while Johnson and Woolsey help Ronon carefully out of his chair. Ronon tried to shake them off, he didn’t see why he’d need their help now when he’d practically thrown himself out of his own medical bed when he saw the lightning bolt coming towards him, but they weren’t going away, maybe they thought he’d torn open some stitching or aggravated his healing internal injuries some. In fact, Jennifer Johnson took it personally; she knew he’d been avoiding her since she’d been put in charge of this station, replacing Amelia, his ex-girlfriend, but she hadn’t thought that he would try to shake off her help when he was so badly injured. By the time John and Teyla came back into view and race to the top of the steps, Lorne takes his gear from Sheppard, Johnson and Woolsey have walked Ronon to the Command Center’s entrance and Robbins is returning with Rodney’s empty medical bed. He tells Sheppard that Keller and Rodney are waiting at the transporter. John slips on his tacvest, puts his Wraith pistol in the holster strapped to his thigh, and hands Ronon his own blaster. Ronon takes the weapon and Johnson and Woolsey pass him over to John and the Colonel slips under his friends arm and wraps one of his own around just above the man’s still tender and healing torso. The two men head off the way Robbins had just come, under Teyla and Lorne’s watchful eyes as Teyla and Lorne slip on their own tacvests and see to their P-90s and Wraith pistols. Johnson, Woolsey, and Robbins head back into the Command Center.