Summary: My version of The Lost Tribe - where the control room doesn't get destroyed, Sheppard isn't just a pretty face talented pilot wondering if Larrin 'likes him' (you're HOT - of course she likes you!), there are no evil Asgard, and Jennifer doesn't crush Ronon's hopes at the end.
Pairings: Very minor hinting at Ronon/Keller.
Spoilers for: blink and you miss it spoilers for SG1 Season 9 Beachhead, SG1 Season 10 Unending, SG1 Season 2 The Fifth Race, SGA Season 1 Before I Sleep, SGA Season 5 Quarantine. Big honking spoilers for SGA Season 5 First Contact.
Disclaimer: In an alternate reality I do own SGA ... it’s a thriving enterprise contracted to appear every week for the next five years and I’m writing all the scripts ... Oh – and there are movies too – in my reality we get both! In this reality? Well you know the drill!
I am unfortunately not associated in any way with the creators, owners, or producers of Stargate or any of its media franchises. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, equipment, etc are the property of whoever owns them. Any original characters, plot, settings, and anything else I made up are the property of me, the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Copyright (c) 2008 ShaViva
Last time on Stargate Atlantis ...
Daniel and Rodney had just been stunned by unidentified aliens after Rodney tried to deactivate the Attero device, Ronon and Jennifer were trapped in an area of the Daedalus after Todd took control of the ship thinking Atlantis was to blame, and Radek and Sheppard were about to get blown up by a malfunctioning Stargate.
... and now the conclusion.
Act 1: Where Sheppard is very glad he made no promises ...
“Come on, you can do it, Radek,” Sheppard encouraged, hovering as Radek tapped furiously at his keyboard. He glanced up at the glowing yellow ball that radiated where the Gate should be. “It's going down ... we're gonna make it.”
“No,” Radek shook his head. “It's not enough. The shield will collapse before enough energy has dissipated.”
“Is everyone out of the tower?” Sheppard asked urgently.
“Yes,” Radek replied in relief after quickly checking the life sign readings for that area.
“You’re sure we can’t ride this out?” Sheppard grimaced when Radek shook his head grimly.
“I managed to buy us more time but we still only have 45 seconds ... maybe a minute before the strain on the shields blows all the emitters,” Radek reported.
“Can we shift the shield around the Control Room instead?” Sheppard suggested.
“Maybe,” Radek thought quickly. “The emitters will last longer if the shield doesn’t have to contain all the energy still radiating from the Gate. But it may not be enough.”
“Have you got a better idea?” Sheppard demanded. “We’re running out of time here.”
“There will be a slight delay when I make the switch,” Radek warned. “The blast will expand rapidly without the shield holding it in ... it may get here before I can raise the shield completely.”
“Do it,” Sheppard looked down at the Gate ... a small sun already gone super nova but still deadly.
Faster than his eyes could track the shield containing the explosion dropped. Fiery energy flashed out in all directions, burning its way towards them. The wall of the shield shimmered up in front of Sheppard’s eyes an instant before the energy struck the barrier. Sheppard watched in sick fascination as fire swirled and pulsed against the shield while around them the Gate Room ... hell that entire level of the Tower ... was blown apart in the massive explosion.
Seconds later it was over. Sheppard and Radek looked at each other in dumbfounded disbelief. They were still alive.
Radek lowered the shield and they both stepped up to the edge of the undamaged Control Room. Below them was devastation ... windows gone, equipment destroyed, walls singed to blackness.
And in the middle of it all was the Stargate ... surprisingly from this distance it looked undamaged. Sheppard vaguely recalled a mission report from SG1 about a Stargate that had withstood the detonation of a naquadria-enriched nuclear warhead ... the same one that had destroyed the atmosphere of that entire planet.
Sheppard stood there dismayed at the scope of the damage. Woolsey was gonna be pissed ... he’d said no promises to not blowing up the city while Woolsey was gone but he’d meant it as a joke. He looked to the heavens with a grimace - someone up there was laughing their arse off right about now.
“What went wrong?” Sheppard turned back to Radek. “Why that particular wormhole?”
“I don’t know Colonel,” Radek replied, rubbing his eyes tiredly.
“Well find out,” Sheppard demanded, turning and tapping his earpiece. “Teyla, you guys okay?”
“We are all well,” Teyla’s tone swelled with relief. “It is good to hear your voice John ... when we heard the explosion we feared the worst.”
“We’re still here,” Sheppard dismissed her concerns lightly. “The Control Room came through okay but the rest of this level is toast. Get Banks to organise cleanup crews – we need to work out how bad it is.”
Turning away, Sheppard returned to his inspection of the Gateroom, his thoughts racing. The timing was what bothered him ... a strange ship appears out of nowhere, flies right through the shield like it isn’t even there, scary armoured aliens take a device along with McKay and Jackson and then before they can follow the Gate malfunctions? And not just any old malfunction ... the mother of all Gate related malfunctions! The answers were here ... Radek would find out what happened to the Gate which just left Sheppard to work out the rest. First stop ... Janus’ secret lab.
Act 2: In which Daniel and Rodney discuss unforeseen side effects ...
Rodney’s first conscious thought was that he was really, really tired of being stunned. Wincing at the headache throbbing behind his eyes he turned his head, looking for Daniel.
“I’m here,” Daniel’s tone was resigned and long suffering. “I’m guessing they didn’t want to leave any room for you to switch that thing off again. Did you ...?”
“Ah no,” Rodney admitted. “There wasn’t enough time for me to shut it down ... no point really because they’d just threaten to kill you again until I turned it back on. I did manage do something else though.”
“What?” Daniel asked curiously.
“Turned the subspace beacon back on,” Rodney said smugly. “Admittedly there’s no unit back on Atlantis anymore so it’ll still be a miracle if they actually pick it up. If Zelenka managed to track the transmission we were sending out from Atlantis to this part of space and they’re actually looking in this direction we might get lucky. But ... better than no hope at all right?”
“That’s pretty clever Rodney,” Daniel congratulated.
“Yeah well that’s why they pay me the big bucks,” Rodney quipped, adding under his breath, “although apparently not as big as they’re paying you.”
“Rodney,” Daniel said in exasperation. “Enough with the competition. What did you find out about this side effect?”
“The sub-space static affected the Wraith hyperdrive frequency just as Janus expected – made it completely unstable,” Rodney explained. “But some of the static bled over to surrounding frequencies causing unpredictable results.”
“You said it was going to affect the whole galaxy, Atlantis included,” Daniel reminded him.
“Everywhere with a Stargate,” Rodney clarified. When Daniel just looked at him waiting for more Rodney sighed. “Look, I don’t need to explain to you how the Stargate works, right?” Daniel shook his head, starting to have an inkling of where this was going. “I told you hyperdrive technology allows us to travel great distances by accessing sub-space. Wormhole travel is very similar. Every wormhole connection creates a defined pathway through sub-space to enable almost instantaneous travel.”
“And this machine is going to affect that?” Daniel asked.
“Unfortunately yes,” Rodney had a ‘shall I panic now or later’ look on his face.
“How?” Daniel demanded.
“Hard to say,” Rodney admitted. “Obviously bad enough that Janus was forced to shut down his experiment as soon as the effects became known. There’s no way of knowing what static bleed will do to an established wormhole.”
“Then speculate!” Daniel urged in frustration.
“Inside subspace itself the static could destabilise the wormhole ... redirecting it or completely disintegrating it.”
“So anyone travelling by Stargate could end up somewhere else or just not arrive at all?” Daniel queried. “That’s bad but it’s hardly a disaster of galactic proportions.”
“Oh it gets worse,” Rodney continued. “The event horizon of an established wormhole is a doorway. It’s capable of drawing energy from within sub-space itself ... enough static and it most certainly will ... to the point that it’ll reach critical overload long before it disengages.”
“And that’s a bad thing,” Daniel said dismally.
“Very bad,” Rodney agreed. “The resulting explosion would be the equivalent of multiple nuclear warheads - enough to level any structures on the surface and render a planet uninhabitable. Millions of people will die if we can't convince these people to switch that thing off.”
“That's some side effect,” Daniel muttered.
Act 3: In which Sheppard does some dumbing down of his own ...
Sheppard stood in the middle of Janus’ lab, looking around with some vague hope that a starting place would occur to him. Walking over to the console Rodney had been working at he tried to recall what Rodney had said. Something about multiple levels of encryption ... math ciphers and Ancient knowledge puzzles.
Rodney had joked about the Mensa thing and Radek had assumed he knew nothing about that Babai guys work. In fact Sheppard hadheard of computational complexity theory and combinatorics ... more than just heard of actually but it suited him to let everyone believe otherwise.
Now however Sheppard had a reason to put all that aside. Rodney wasn’t here to work this out – for once he was the one who needed rescuing. Letting out a resigned breath Sheppard sat down in front of the console and brought up the first stream cipher.
“Colonel Sheppard?” Radek spoke uncertainly, having stopped abruptly only a couple of steps inside the lab.
“Radek,” Sheppard swivelled to look at him. “Progress?”
“Some – I can tell you what happened, just not why,” Radek admitted. “Sub-space close to the point of entry for the wormhole because unstable ... the wormhole is capable of drawing energy direct from sub-space which is what happened here. The energy had nowhere to go so ...” he waved his hands to simulate an explosion.
“And we don’t know what caused the instability?” Sheppard asked.
“Unfortunately no,” Radek replied, pushing his glasses up his nose impatiently. “It will take time to gather more information. The good news is that communications inside the Control Room should be restored soon ... as for the Stargate, it appears undamaged.”
“Much good it does us,” Sheppard commented, turning back to his screen. “Until we work this out we can’t risk dialling out again.”
“No," Radek agreed. "I took the liberty of removing the control crystals to prevent anyone from dialling in as well."
"That's good," Sheppard acknowledged. He waited for it, knowing Radek wouldn't be able to resist questioning him for much longer.
"What are you working on?” Radek finally asked, stepping up behind him and looked over his shoulder curiously.
“Rodney said this system is heavily encrypted,” Sheppard commented casually. “I’m just having a look ... seeing if I can get us in.”
“The encryption methods are likely to be extremely complex,” Radek said uncertainly, clearly not wanting to insult Sheppard but at the same time feeling he should stop him from wasting his time.
“I know ... but we need to know about the device those armoured Aliens took. It’s what started this whole thing,” Sheppard explained. “If we can work that out it might explain the rest and lead us to Rodney and Jackson.”
“I can get someone down here to work on this,” Radek offered.
“I got it,” Sheppard glanced up fast enough to see the stupefied look on Radek’s face. “The first level was just a simple stream cipher ... a symmetric pseudorandom one at that. Pretty easy to break with the right program. Now the three levels after that? They were hard.”
“You know about encryption?” Radek asked weakly.
“Wanted to be a spy when I was a kid,” Sheppard quipped. “Don’t worry about it Radek ... I’ll get us inside the system and then we can go back to dumbing down the explanations.”
“I never meant -,” Radek began uncomfortably before Sheppard cut him off.
“This place works the way it does because everyone has their role,” Sheppard looked at Radek seriously. “I don’t have a problem with that ... just ... once we’ve got Rodney back let’s keep this to ourselves.”
“Of course Colonel,” Radek replied graciously. “I will return to the Control Room.”
“Lorne’s in charge up there but if you need anything, let me know,” Sheppard responded. He’d already lost himself in the next puzzle before Radek made it all the way out of the room.
Act 4: Where we find out what happens when Rodney is hungry and Daniel curious ...
“Did I mention how bored I was?” Rodney asked from his position lying flat on the floor of their laser light cell.
“Only about a hundred times,” Daniel’s tone was beyond resigned. If he’d had a weapon he was pretty sure he would have used it on McKay hours ago. The guy never shut up, alternating speculation on their captors with gloom and doom predictions of the various ways they and everyone they knew on Atlantis were going to die.
“Well I hope they feed us soon, otherwise you’re going to find yourself the cell mate of someone in a hypoglycemic coma,” Rodney muttered.
As if their captors had heard his words the cell door opened a moment later to admit one of the Aliens carrying something that looked a lot like those water delivery systems serious cyclists strapped to their backs. Without a word he lowered one section of the laser wall and thrust the bag out to Rodney. When Rodney remained where he was the Alien growled before tossing the bag to land down beside him.
“Sustenance,” his voice rumbled distortedly.
“Oh,” Rodney sat up weakly, looking at the bag in sick fascination. “What is it? Because I’m allergic to citrus and -,”
“Pure liquid nutrients,” the alien broke in. “It will not harm you.”
“We’re used to a diet of solid foods,” Daniel spoke in a friendly tone. “But I guess eating as we know it would be impossible with those suits on. Do you ever take them off?”
“Our suits are of no concern to you,” the alien turned abruptly and strode from the cell.
“Not exactly the talkative type are they?” Daniel glanced at Rodney who was holding the nutrient bag in one hand as though it might bite him if he wasn’t careful. “But they gave away something with their mode of food delivery.”
“What, the fact that they lack imagination because it’s apparently liquid and completely non descriptive?” Rodney countered.
“No, the fact that they obviously have no interest in solid food, or food at all,” Daniel retorted. “The only reason I can think of for that is that those suits are permanent.”
“What like Darth Vader?” Rodney asked incredulously. “How would they sleep in those, let alone do any of the sixty other things I can think of that would be incredibly awkward in a metal suit?”
“I imagine they’ve got a whole infrastructure to support existence in those suits,” Daniel proposed. “It makes sense ... obviously they weren’t born that way though. I wonder what happened to force them into that kind of existence.”
“I’m guessing it wasn’t falling into a molten river like Anakin Skywalker,” Rodney said sarcastically. “And it doesn’t help us work out how to get out of here.”
“No, but learning more about them might help us appeal to their better side,” Daniel replied.
“I don’t think they have one,” Rodney muttered, looking back down at the ‘food’ they’d given him. “Do you think this is safe?” he asked. “I wasn’t joking about the coma but ...,”
“You don’t want to be poisoned either,” Daniel finished.
“The nutrients are safe for your consumption,” a disembodied voice rumbled through the room, making both men jump.
“I guess they were listening,” Daniel frowned.
“Great,” Rodney muttered. “We can’t talk about our great escape and they probably know about the ... ah, you know ... the thing.” He hesitated to mention the beacon just in case they hadn’t been listening the entire time.
“Drink the nutrients,” Daniel advised. “Atlantis will be looking for us. I wouldn’t want Sheppard to arrive and find I’d let you collapse.”
“Oh har har,” Rodney muttered, looking back down at the bag the Alien had given him distastefully. Shrugging philosophically he raised the tube to his mouth and sucked some of the liquid into his mouth, grimacing before forcing it down.
“I’m guessing that doesn’t taste like strawberries,” Daniel quipped.
“Not so much,” Rodney agreed. “Your turn.”
“Why did I think I could come to Atlantis without anything going wrong?” Daniel muttered under his breath, taking the bag reluctantly.
“I don’t know,” Rodney grinned suddenly. “You’ve tried to come here more times than you’ve died ... from all accounts.”
“Oh shut up,” Daniel couldn’t help but grin in return. Maybe Rodney wasn’t quite as annoying as he’d first seemed.
Act 5: In which we find out once again how much Ronon dislikes captivity of any kind ...
“Is there a way to get out of here?” Ronon paced impatiently within their bulkhead prison aboard the Daedalus, cursing the fact that he'd let Woolsey talk him into leaving his weapon in the armoury.
“Don’t ask me,” Jennifer retorted. “I’m a medical doctor remember, not an engineer.”
“Where’s McKay when you need him,” Ronon muttered under his breath, barely able to contain the emotions that had him desperate to go out and kill some Wraith.
“Back on Atlantis ready to come find us when we don’t check in,” Jennifer said hopefully. “They know that Woolsey is obsessed with on time scheduled contact ... it won’t take long for them to get worried.”
“And then what?” Ronon grumbled, coming over to slump down on the floor next to where Jennifer was resting.
“And then they send a team in a Jumper,” Jennifer said uncertainly. “How far from the nearest Stargate do you think we are?”
“You’re asking me?” Ronon’s tone was incredulous. “Give me someone to shoot and I’m there ... I leave all the other stuff to McKay and Sheppard.”
“You survived for seven years by yourself,” Jennifer countered. “I hardly think you did that on the strength of your gun alone.”
“Maybe not,” Ronon grinned. “Doesn’t hurt my reputation if people think so though.”
“Men,” Jennifer muttered under her breath, leaning her head back against the wall with closed eyes.
Silence reigned for a few minutes before Ronon got up and began pacing again.
“Can we communicate with the others?” he asked, reaching back to tie some of his hair back from his face.
“Todd knows enough about Earth technology to be monitoring the channels,” Jennifer shot that idea down. “If people are trapped like us then it won’t do much good for us to know about it.”
“Guess not,” Ronon slammed a hand against the nearest surface. “I hate this!”
“Me too,” Jennifer agreed, getting up and dusting off the back of her pants. She’d already walked the space and found nothing to inspire an escape idea. Looking up at the ceiling again she frowned. “I wonder ...,”
“What?” Ronon demanded, looking up too.
“If the bulkheads extend to the inside of the access shafts,” Jennifer finished her thought. “Lift me up.”
Act 6: Where we find out the identity of the Lost Tribe ...
It took time ... more than Sheppard was comfortable with given how long Rodney and Daniel had already been gone. And it took brain power ... the likes of which he hadn’t expended since he’d played around with maths during college. And it wasn't just the maths ... Sheppard had to use everything he'd learnt about the Ancients and their language to solve all the puzzles.
Finally though he broke through the last level of encryption and found himself with access to everything Janus had been working on. Scrolling quickly through the schematics of various projects Rodney would have been salivating over Sheppard found a diagram that struck a chord with him.
He’d been leaning back in his chair with his feet on the console but what he read as he drilled down had him dropping his boots to the floor as he sat up abruptly.
“Holy crap,” he muttered, hardly able to believe the scope of what he’d discovered. “No wonder those Aliens wanted that thing.”
He read on.
“The project was called Attero,” Sheppard sat at the head of the conference room table, uncomfortably aware of how bothered he was by his audience. Teyla was there of course but ... as the faces of Lorne, Zelenka, and Banks stared back at him he couldn’t help but think this was like working with the b-team. Mentally berating himself over that uncharitable thought (who was he to talk anyway ... after all wasn’t he the b-team leader?) Sheppard tried to refocus on the matter at hand. He called up the diagram, waving a hand at it as he explained. “I’m pretty sure I saw one of these things in that lab before McKay and Doctor Jackson were taken. It’s not there now.”
“The device is familiar to me as well,” Teyla spoke up. “It could be the object I saw one of the thieves clutching.”
“What was it?” Lorne asked.
“Something to impair or destroy the ability of the Wraith to travel through hyperspace,” Sheppard revealed. “It basically jams the sub-space frequency Wraith hive ships use. Rodney would call it an endgame machine ... because if this thing did what it’s hyped up to do the Wraith would be dead in the water.”
“But it doesn’t work,” Radek concluded.
“No,” Sheppard agreed. “The thing those Aliens stole isn’t the device. Janus had a remote lab hidden away where he created the actual device – our bit was just the key needed to make it run. I’m guessing those Aliens took the key back to that lab ... along with Rodney and Jackson.”
“Why would Janus return here with the key?” Teyla asked.
“Because he wanted to ensure the device couldn’t be activated again. He conducted a trial of Attero for three days and then he shut it down because of unforeseen side effects. Sub-spaceside effects.” John looked at Radek pointedly.
“Ah yes,” Radek agreed. “Something that operates to destroy a specific sub-space frequency could have run on affects for neighbouring applications.”
“Like the Stargate,” Sheppard announced. “Janus obviously hadn’t given up hope that he could fix the problem ... he must have set up the sub-space beacon that lured the bad guys here to alert him if anyone found his lab.”
“And instead he alerted them to Atlantis,” Lorne shook his head at that thought. “For a guy who was apparently so smart that was pretty dumb, Sir.”
“Yes Major,” Sheppard agreed. “Whoever these Aliens are they obviously used Rodney to help them turn it back on again. End result - our Stargate blows up. It's a pretty sure bet that it won't be the only one either - and no one else has a shield like we did.”
"The magnitude of an uncontained explosion fuelled by the naquadah in the Stargate is ... unimaginable," Radek said weakly. "Millions of lives will be lost."
"We need to find that device as soon as possible and shut it down," Sheppard announced grimly.
“This information helps us find Rodney how?” Teyla queried in confusion.
“By itself it doesn’t,” Sheppard replied. “But I did find something else that could be a clue. Janus talks about a race with advanced technology on M5L 384 ... allies of the Lanteans,” Sheppard explained. “Janus mentions the planet in his records on the Attero experiment because apparently it disappeared.”
“The entire planet?” Lorne asked incredulously.
“Without a trace,” Sheppard confirmed. “That’s the last entry Janus made about his project ... it seems to be what prompted him to shut it down.”
“Why is this planet significant?” Teyla asked with a puzzled frown.
“There’s record in the Ancient database of Janus travelling to M5L 384 often,” Sheppard revealed. “Coincidentally the Stargate there is the closest to another planet of interest ... M6H 987.”
“Ah ... the other side of the sub-space beacon link,” Radek raised a brow in surprise. “It certainly lends credence to Rodney and Doctor Jackson being on that planet. Janus travels to this M5L 384 by Stargate in a Jumper and then flies the remaining distance to his secret lab.”
“Great, and how do we get there Sir?” Lorne asked.
“I’m glad you asked Major,” Sheppard grinned. “It’s a shame Rodney isn’t here because he’d really like this one.”
“Colonel,” Teyla said reproachfully.
“Okay okay,” Sheppard relented. “We take Janus’ time travel Puddle Jumper back just far enough to use the Stargate safely and Gate to the closest planet to the Daedalus. We use the time until we’ve caught up on the here and now to fly the rest of the way and then continue with the original plan.”
“Didn’t the elder Elizabeth tell us that Jumper was destroyed?” Teyla frowned.
“She did,” Sheppard agreed. “But you forget the first rule of business Teyla – why build one when you can build two at twice the price?”
“There’s another Jumper with a time travel module?” Lorne asked incredulously.
“There is indeed Major,” Sheppard replied smugly. “And thanks to Jackson’s discovery of Janus’ secret lab I know exactly where it is.”
“Did the records happen to mention who those allies were?” Radek asked curiously.
“Yeah ... the Furlings,” Sheppard revealed. "By all accounts they disappeared from the Milky Way around the same as the Ancients. I guess now we know where they went!"
Act 7: Where we find out how Todd knew about the Attero device ...
“You don’t have to do this you know,” Woolsey said weakly, resisting feebly as the Wraith guards dragged him back towards the Bridge. “I’m happy to talk to your leader.”
The Wraith guards remained silent which was pretty much par for the course. Woolsey cooperated, coming to an undignified stumbling halt a few paces from where Todd stood staring out the front view screen.
“Tell me how you came upon the Attero device,” he demanded in his grating Wraith voice.
“As I tried to tell you before you stunned us we had nothing to do with your ships being destroyed,” Woolsey said insistently.
“There can be no mistake,” Todd countered grimly. “The Attero device was designed to do exactly what we witnessed ... stop Wraith ships from entering hyperspace.”
“That doesn’t mean we played a part,” Woolsey protested.
“The device is of Lantean design,” Todd said sinuously. “No others know of its existence ... and you occupy the Lantean city ... you hold the key.”
“I know of no such key,” Woolsey denied. “We came here in good faith to progress a plan wedevised,” Woolsey said earnestly. “Why would we bother if our intent was only to destroy your ships?”
“Without the key the device cannot be activated,” Todd said impatiently. “If you did not set it off yourselves then you provided the means for others to do so.”
“How is it that you know so much about a Lantean device?” Woolsey asked with a frown.
“Because this is not the first time it has been activated,” Todd responded grimly. “Ten thousand years ago there was a time when our ships could not travel through hyperspace without destruction. We lost many Hives before our scientists traced the problem back to an uninhabited planet many light years distant. But we were unable to travel there, even through the Stargate, and were forced to languish helplessly in space, convinced we would not survive.”
“What did you do?” Woolsey asked, interested despite his fear that he wouldn’t be able to talk Todd out of suspecting Atlantis as the perpetrator.
“After three days the problems disappeared - we were able to travel through hyperspace again,” Todd revealed. “We went to the planet and discovered a small Lantean vessel already in residence. We were in time to witness someone escaping, carrying a small device from the building. Our scientists were able to access enough information to ascertain that it was one of two keys needed to reactivate the device.”
“Surely you destroyed the outpost then,” Woolsey commented incredulously.
“We intended to,” Todd agreed. “But before we could proceed the outpost disappeared.”
“Cloaked?” Woolsey asked with a raised brow.
“No, it was just ... gone,” Todd corrected. “We attempted to capture the lone Lantean but he made it back to Atlantis before we could. Our siege of the city was in part motivated by our desire to prevent the Attero device from being activated again.”
“You were there at the outpost?” Woolsey asked incredulously.
“I was,” Todd replied as if being present for something that happened 10,000 years ago was an every day event ... which to the Wraith it probably was.
“Oh,” Woolsey gulped nervously, feeling the full force of Wraith attention upon him. “I don’t know about the last two days but when I left there were no keys to Ancient devices just lying around.”
“We shall see,” Todd growled. “Our course will take us to that same planet. If the outpost is there then we will have our answer.” Motioning to one of the guards he made a shooing gesture. “Take him back to the holding cell.”
Woolsey moved slowly as the guard dragged him away.
“Have you located the Satedan or Doctor Keller?” he heard Todd demanding of the other guard.
“No,” the monosyllabic reply sent a bemused smile to Woolsey’s face. Maybe there was hope for them yet.
Act 8: In which Rodney and Daniel talk about the fine art of negotiation ...
“You might as well talk to us,” Daniel called out to the room at large. “Unless you’d like to let us go of course.” He sighed when there was no response.
“Do you think that’s wise?” Rodney queried from his position still lying on the floor.
“Probably not,” Daniel replied. “I was hoping they’d talk to us so we could find some common ground.”
“Between us and the full metal men?” Rodney spluttered. “I hardly think that’s likely!”
“And yet you’ve found common ground between you and the Wraith,” Daniel pointed out. “When you first got here you wouldn’t have thought that was possible either.”
“Yeah but that was because Sheppard almost got himself killed,” Rodney protested. “I wouldn’t recommend it as a negotiation tactic!”
“I’ve seen a few of those kinds of negotiations,” Daniel returned. When Rodney raised an eyebrow in surprise Daniel laughed. “General O’Neill was renowned for baiting the enemy with smart arse remarks. He often paid for it ... physically.”
“Must be an Air force required course,” Rodney quipped. “Sheppard does it too.”
“They know the device is doing damage,” Daniel abruptly changed the subject. “Why would they risk the entire galaxy just to take out the Wraith?”
“Maybe they want the whole galaxy for themselves,” Rodney suggested.
“Or maybe this is bigger than just the Wraith,” Daniel returned. “Maybe they need the device to achieve something that goes well beyond taking out a few Wraith ships.”
“Yeah but what?” Rodney asked impatiently. “And how is this helping us to win our way out of here?”
“It’s not,” Daniel said complacently. “We still have more questions than answers but I’m convinced it’s all tied in to those suits.”
“So no progress then,” Rodney commented wearily. “Did I mention that I hate sitting around?”
“Yes!” Daniel rolled his eyes impatiently.
Act 9: In which Sheppard explains flux capacitors and the Grandfather paradox ...
“The sub-space beacon is broadcasting again,” Radek told Sheppard excitedly. He’d called John up to the control room only an hour after the meeting with a discovery. “If I hadn’t been looking specifically at M6H-987 I would never have seen it.”
“Rodney!” Sheppard said incredulously. “They’re there.”
“Looks like it,” Radek agreed. “That still leaves us getting there ... not to mention making our way through whatever defences they might have.”
“Lighten up Radek,” Sheppard slapped him on the shoulder. “Imagine the gloating rights you’ll get over McKay when we rescue them.”
“I don’t get it,” Lorne muttered to Radek as they made their way down to Janus’ lab. “If we’ve got a time machine why don’t we use it to go back and stop those Aliens from stealing the key in the first place?”
“Two reasons,” Sheppard spoke unexpectedly from behind them, making Lorne jump imperceptibly.
“Sir?” Lorne waited for the explanation.
“Firstly because of the Grandfather Paradox,” Sheppard saw Radek nodding and Lorne frowning in confusion. “It basically says you shouldn’t mess with time because you can’t predict the effect and you could end up creating a paradox – for example killing off your own grandfather meaning you don’t get born and yet there you are. It just means we need to minimise our impact on the time line.”
“And the second reason?” Lorne asked curiously.
“Because we already did it this way,” Sheppard said casually, steering them down another corridor near the hidden lab.
“What?” Lorne was seriously wondering if Sheppard had finally lost it.
“There was an unscheduled dial out five days ago at 3:17 am accompanied by a blip in the power output,” Sheppard reminded them. “Rodney even said that if he didn’t know better he’d think someone had stepped through the Gate even though there was no evidence to support that.”
“And you think this blip was us?” Radek asked thoughtfully.
“Yes,” Sheppard said easily. “We load up the Jumper with enough supplies, make our way to the Daedalus and get that ride to M6H 987.”
“How is it possible for us to have left last week but still be here?” Lorne was stubborn about trying to understand what was going on.
“It’s all to do with causality Major,” Sheppard explained. “The whole idea that there’s a necessary relationship between an event that leads to another event as a direct consequence.” When Lorne looked at him blankly he waved a hand dismissively. “Just trust me ... it makes sense.”
“If you say so Sir ... although I don’t know what class they taught that in at the academy,” Lorne muttered.
“I took a few extras,” Sheppard admitted with a grin. Stepping up to the wall they’d just arrived at he threw a challenging look to his companions before pressing the lights to set off the required tones and then stepping through.
“Great, another hidden room,” Radek muttered, adding a few words in his native language Lorne was grateful not to understand. Lorne activated the same tones and then motioned for Radek to get moving. Together they stepped through the wall into a larger room that seemed to contain only one item.
“This is it?” Lorne said reverently, looking at the Puddle Jumper with awe even though it looked the same on the outside as all the other Jumpers.
“Wanna have a look inside?” Sheppard grinned when Lorne immediately moved towards the rear hatch. “The interior's pretty similar to our Jumpers apart from one addition – the flux capacitor.”
“The what?” Radek queried.
“You know, from Back to the Future,” Sheppard explained weakly. “The flux capacitor ... the thing that makes time travel possible.”
“That is a ridiculous movie,” Radek muttered like the idea of quoting it insulted him.
“Can you check out the systems, make sure she’s ready to fly?” Sheppard asked Radek seriously.
“Of course,” Radek stepped fully into the rear and got to work immediately.
“Lorne, check out the supplies and stock anything else you think we’ll need for a 5 day stay,” Sheppard ordered.
“Yes Sir,” Lorne moved into the Jumper to get started.
Sheppard put a hand on the outside of the Jumper, wondering what stories it could tell. He was apprehensive about undertaking such a mammoth task without Rodney there checking his maths.
This better work or he’d never live it down.
Act 10: In which Ronon gets to play with explosives ...
“They were allies!” Daniel suddenly announced incredulously.
“Who were?” Rodney blinked, rubbing his eyes tiredly. Sitting around surrounded by laser walls with nary a tool to even attempt an escape was seriously exhausting him.
“These guys and the Ancients,” Daniel explained. “I mean think about it. Sheppard would have raised the shield as soon as that ship appeared, right?” Rodney nodded reluctantly. “So they must have just flown right through.”
“The Puddle Jumpers do it by resonating the right frequency,” Rodney explained. “It’s possible the Ancients gave their allies a way to do something similar.”
“Did you hear that?” Daniel directed his words to the captors. “If you were allies with the Lanteans then you’re allies with us because we’re their descendants.”
Around them the laser walls began to glow brighter ... in an ominous way.
“I’m guessing that was the wrong thing to say,” Rodney remarked, moving into the centre of the room.
Before Daniel could reply the laser walls pulsed sharply sending out a wave of energy, stunning them both and sending them crashing to the floor.
“It’s got hyperdrive?” Sheppard asked Radek incredulously.
“I’m not sure I understand how Janus did it, but yes Colonel,” Radek replied excitedly.
“So we could just take the Jumper up and open a hyperspace window to the Daedalus?” Sheppard suggested. “Cut out the whole time travel angle.”
“I would not recommend it,” Radek shot John’s idea down with a worried expression. “Everything we know so far suggests it is sub-space itself that has been damaged by the Janus device,” Radek explained. “It would be unwise to reply on sub-space transportation to get us to M6H 987.”
“So it’s still the flux capacitor,” Sheppard quipped. “Okay, let me know when the Jumper’s ready to go.”
Jennifer was cursing herself for coming up with an idea that now had her squeezing herself down a narrow access tube on her way to the armoury. She just hoped Ronon was right about where they were in relation to that room or this was gonna be a wasted trip.
Finally after too long in the darkness Jennifer spotted a grate sending light into the tunnel ahead. Scrambling forward she got as close in as possible and squinted into the room on the other side.
“Thank you Ronon,” she muttered under her breath in relief.
Pushing hard against the grate she sent it crashing to the floor. Fearful the noise would alert the Wraith Jennifer moved quickly into the room and began searching for the items Ronon had said he needed. Wrapping them up in her jacket she tied the sleeves together and pushed the whole bundle back up into the access tunnel. Jennifer then pulled herself back up to the opening and made the slow trip back to Ronon.
“Okay we have weapons,” she announced once back on the ground. “Now what?”
“Now we bust out of here,” Ronon replied with a feral grin.
“That’s your plan?” Jennifer said in dismay. “We don’t know how many Wraith Todd brought on board ... how do we know they won’t overpower us before we can do anything useful?”
“What’s your plan then?” Ronon demanded.
“We find Colonel Caldwell and the others,” Jennifer proposed. “They were on the Bridge with Todd so he probably put them in the brig. Maybe they’ve got a suggestion for disabling the ship so the Wraith can’t take us somewhere we don’t want to go.”
“Oh,” Ronon looked at Jennifer, obviously considering her idea. “Okay ... but if we come across any Wraith I’m shooting them.”
“I never for a moment doubted it,” Jennifer said wryly.
Ronon moved to the barricade that would put them closest to the brig and started laying his charges.
“I hope this works,” Jennifer muttered.
“Yeah ... better than the oxygen tanks,” Ronon reminded her of the last time they’d been trapped in a room together.
Motioning for Jennifer to duck down in as protected a corner as they were gonna get Ronon held out the trigger and counted off.
“Three ... two ... one,” Ronon pressed the button and detonated the C4.
Act 11: In which we take a leap back in time and forward in understanding ...
“Are we ready to do this?” Sheppard turned from his position in the pilot’s seat to look at his team. Teyla sat in the seat next to him ... behind her sat a nervous Doctor Zelenka. Major Lorne was in the seat behind John. They’d decided against taking anyone else ... the Daedalus had plenty of personnel if they changed their minds about the whole ‘going in with force’ option. Besides they didn't really have any seats for anyone else and it was going to be a long week!
“Ready as we’ll ever be Sir,” Lorne quipped.
“Remember, think about that specific time and date,” Radek advised for the hundredth time, worried that Sheppard would get them lost by accidentally sending the Jumper too far back.
“I got it Radek,” Sheppard drawled. “3:16am 5 days ago.”
Closing his eyes he concentrated on that alone, fixing it in his head before he accessed the time travel circuits. It seemed as though the air pulsed even though the scene in front of them remained the same.
“Dial the gate,” Sheppard told Teyla.
Radek had disabled the automatic systems so that John could ease the Jumper down manually already cloaked.
The Gateroom appeared in front of the view screen ... pristine and fully operational.
“Okay so that bit worked,” Sheppard offered quietly.
“The wormhole has been established,” Teyla advised.
“Shield is down,” Radek added.
“Okay,” Sheppard sent a thought to the engines, firing the Jumper rapidly into the event horizon.
Milliseconds later they emerged into space, exactly where they’d intended. Of course it was deserted ... the Daedalus was still back at Atlantis getting ready for her journey.
“And now we go for a little drive,” Sheppard said quietly.
“Ow,” Rodney put a hand to his aching head as he slowly came back to himself and remembered what happened. “Good one Danny!”
“So, not allies,” Daniel replied. “Or more accurately – no longer allies.”
“You’ve got an idea haven’t you?” Rodney squinted up at Daniel suspiciously.
“Ever hear of a race called the Furlings?” Daniel asked curiously.
“One of the four races of the Ancient alliance?” Rodney queried. “Sure ... but that’s about all we know isn’t it?”
“Thor gave us the entire Asgard repository,” Daniel reminded him. “He and many of the other council members felt that as the fifth race we should know about that alliance. To be honest the Asgard didn’t know what happened to the Furlings because they just disappeared ... much like the Ancients actually. But everything in their records suggests the Furlings were a formidable race with technology on a par with the other three races.”
“But no-one’s ever seen one,” Rodney protested. “Surely the chances that some of them are still around is remote. And wouldn’t the Asgard records have mentioned it if they were getting around the Milky Way in those suits?”
“No one’s ever seen one until now,” Daniel stated firmly. “And I think the suits are a more recent addition."
"Good because the last thing I'd expect from a race that call themselves 'fur' anything is a bunch of guys running around in metal armour!" Rodney said sarcastically.
"Actually racial names are usually linked to places of origin," Daniel corrected. "The 'fur' in Furling must have something to do with the location of their original home planet."
“And you’re suggesting the Furlings left there - came to the Pegasus galaxy with the Ancients and then what? Had a falling out?” Rodney scoffed in disbelief. “Not that I don’t think the Ancients could do something to incite a feud ... most of what we find tips the scales from the remarkable side to beyond annoying. I’m all for wacky theories but I’d rather not be part of your latest one thanks very much.”
“It explains everything,” Daniel defended. “How they knew this lab was here and what that device was, how they were able to grab us out from under the Atlantis shield. I’m right aren’t I?” he called out the last part. “Come on ... give me a sign here.”
The doors opened a second later and one of the full metal men appeared. Pressing a device on his chest he made the laser wall in front of them disappear. Rodney took a step forward until the stun gun in the Aliens hand was levelled at him.
“Just you,” the alien intoned, gesturing for Daniel to step forward. Daniel glanced back at Rodney trying to put a reassuring expression on his face.
“It’ll be okay,” he said confidently.
“I could come too,” Rodney suggested weakly, taking a small step forward. The laser wall rose up in front of him again, putting an impenetrable barrier between him and Daniel. "Or I could stay here ... staying here is good." He watched sickly as Daniel disappeared out the door, followed by the alien. “Great,” he muttered. “Let’s add stranded in a jail cell alone to the list of this week’s ills.”
Act 12: In which two ships pass in the darkness of space ...
“So you like all that maths stuff Sir?” Lorne and Sheppard sat in the front of the Jumper playing what seemed like their thousandth game of chess in the last four days. The Jumper was on an assigned course ... meaning there was no need for either of them to be actively flying it.
“It comes in handy sometimes,” Sheppard said lightly, making his next move.
“I guess,” Lorne responded with scepticism, frowning at the board as he realised he was only two moves away from losing ... again.
“Colonel,” Radek’s voice issued from the seats behind them. “I’m picking something up on long range sensors.”
“What is it?” Sheppard queried.
“Three hive ships and the Daedalus,” Radek replied with a smile.
“Okay, we let them do the meet and greet and then we make contact,” Sheppard decided.
Silence reigned in the Puddle Jumper as the four team members waited as patiently as they could.
“Oh,” Radek looked at his screen in disbelief. “Oh my.”
“What?” Sheppard demanded.
“Two of the hive ships attempted to enter hyperspace,” Radek reported. “They were destroyed.”
“Crap!” Sheppard said angrily. “I thought we’d have time to warm them - they’re supposed to be here for the next couple of days. Any response from the Daedalus?”
“No ...,” Radek paused, scanning the information before him intently. “Wait ... something is happening.”
Sheppard brought the HUD up just in time for them all to witness the Daedalus cruising towards them before opening a hyperspace window and disappearing through it. The image of the lone Hive ship floating in space was all that was left behind.
“I’m taking us closer,” Sheppard manoeuvred the controls and sent the Jumper into motion. Once they were close enough he turned back to Radek. “You picking up anything?”
“Nothing,” Radek said weakly. “No energy readings, no subspace residual ... no way to track the Daedalus.”
“Hail that Hive ship,” Sheppard ordered. “We need to find out where they were going.”
“It won’t do any good,” Radek countered. “There’s nothing over there – including life signs.”
“The Wraith abandoned ship?” Teyla asked in surprise.
“We can only hope so,” Sheppard said grimly. “Because if they didn’t the Daedalus has a serious problem.”
“As do we Colonel,” Radek reminded him they’d needed the Daedalus for a reason. “They’ve proven Asgard hyperdrives are immune from the effects of Attero. Without them we might as well be back on Earth for all the chance we have of getting to Rodney.”
When the dust cleared Ronon and Jennifer peered around the corner expectantly.
“Finally,” Ronon rumbled when he caught sight of the big, still smouldering, hole in the wall. He grabbed the P90 Jennifer had gotten him, all the while wishing for his own gun. “Let’s go.”
They’d only gone a few metres when they were confronted with another bulkhead blocking their way.
“This isn’t going to work,” Jennifer watched as Ronon set up the next C4 charge. “We’re making so much noise we might as well send the Wraith an invitation to come and capture us.”
“You got a better idea?” Ronon motioned Jennifer to take cover before he set off the next charge.
“We need to get these bulkheads up,” Jennifer pointed out. “Maybe engineering?”
“Through there,” Ronon motioned to the bulkhead that stood in their way. “Shall I?”
Jennifer waved a hand in resignation, putting her hands over her ears as the charge blew. Once everything had settled they moved through the hallway and on to the door that led to the engineering Control Room. Ronon was all set to lay down another charge when the doors suddenly whooshed open.
“Was that you making all the noise?” Doctor Novak gestured them inside before closing the door behind them.
“We need to find the others and it seemed like a good idea at the time,” Ronon excused.
“Colonel Caldwell and all the command staff are locked in the brig,” Novak reported. “I was lucky enough to be here – they tried to shut down functions from the Bridge but I have enough to keep an eye on things. The rest of the crew is scattered throughout the ship, trapped like you were. No one else has broken out the C4 though.”
“Where are we headed?” Jennifer asked.
“Impossible to tell,” Novak said simply. “We won’t know until we break out of hyperspace.”
“Can you raise these bulkheads?” Ronon demanded impatiently.
“Ronon,” Jennifer shared an apologetic look with Novak who shrugged in reply. “We’d like to talk to Colonel Caldwell ... find out if they’ve got a plan for getting out of this. Do you think you could get that working so that Todd won't be able to listen in?”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Novak turned back to her console determinedly.
Act 13: Where we discover how the Lost Tribe became lost ...
“Oh come on,” Rodney shook his injured hand as he danced away from the laser wall. He’d been attempting to interrupt the signal at one end in the hopes of creating a gap big enough to dive through but had only managed to singe his shirt and all the fingers of one hand. Muttering under his breath about the sad state he found himself in Rodney went back to considering the lasers.
“Doctor McKay,” the same disembodied voice as before interrupted Rodney’s internal complaints. “We require your presence ... please follow the corridor to your left.”
Rodney looked up in disbelief as the laser wall disappeared and the door opened. Looking around cautiously he took the direction indicated and walked slowly down the hall.
“Stop,” the voice commanded. Rodney couldn’t help but freeze, wondering what he was in for now. A doorway appeared in the wall to his right – looking nervously inside Rodney could hardly believe his eyes.
“Daniel?” Rodney was unaware of his feet carrying him into the room. “What ... huh?”
“Rodney, meet Aeneas, joint leader of the Furlings,” Daniel said pleasantly, gesturing to the only other occupant of the room – one of the armoured Aliens. Rodney was sure it was the one who’d threatened to kill Daniel if he didn’t turn on the device although he couldn't tell for sure.
“Um ... hi,” Rodney looked at Daniel uncertainly. “Not meaning to sound ungrateful here because I am really glad to be out of that cell but ... are you out of your mind?”
“Doctor McKay has a hard time trusting anyone,” Daniel said companionably to Aeneas. “Too many years battling the Wraith and the Replicators.”
“Both ‘gifts’ from the Lanteans,” Aeneas still managed to sound mocking, even with the electronic quality of his voice.
“As far as history accounts it, yes,” Daniel agreed, “although to give them their due they never set out to create such formidable enemies.”
“Just because intent was not present does not make the result any less criminal,” Aeneas retorted. “What are we but a living example of that?”
“What does he mean?” Rodney muttered under his breath, slumping down in the chair next to Daniel.
“Unforeseen side effects,” Daniel replied. “The Furling’s home planet here in the Pegasus galaxy suffered a catastrophic event because of the Attero device.”
“Two things,” Rodney replied. “I’m assuming by Attero device you mean that machine I switched on?” Daniel nodded and Rodney continued. “Two - if their planet was destroyed when it was turned on last time why would they be stupid enough to turn it on again?”
“Our planet was not destroyed,” Aeneas clarified. “A window to subspace was opened in the lower atmosphere above my planet at the instant a wormhole was established in the Stargate below it. A pocket of sub-space began to emerge into normal space between the two unstable events, growing exponentially until it was large enough to engulf the whole planet. When Janus turned off his experiment that pocket of sub-space was returned to its place of origin ... along with everything contained within it.”
“Your whole planet was shifted into sub-space?” Rodney asked incredulously. “In tact?”
“Sub-space turbulence ravaged the surface but the planet remained whole,” Aeneas responded in a tone that was lifeless beyond the mechanical nature of his voice.
“The planet’s been stuck in sub-space for ten thousand years,” Daniel skipped abruptly to the conclusion. “Who knows what that would have done to an essentially humanoid body. The people in the major cities were protected by shields but ... everyone else had no choice in adapting to their new environment.”
“So you need those suits to survive here in normal space?” Rodney was fascinated now at the idea of anyone surviving in sub-space.
“We are no longer one people,” Aeneas replied. “Our shielding technology is beyond anything you would have seen ... we have protected a large proportion of our population and enabled them to lead lives similar to what they would have experienced anyway. As Doctor Jackson said, we could not protect everyone ... and so a second race evolved on our planet, able to survive without the shields. In later years as we worked on a way to undo what had been done we realised we would have to move around in normal space to achieve our aims. These suits enable us to do so.”
“And you can’t take them off?” Rodney confirmed.
“They provide protection for you as much as for us,” Aeneas revealed. “We carry a portion of sub-space within us – if this were to be exposed to normal space the consequences would be ... unpredictable. Each suit has a self destruct mechanism designed to consign our essence back to sub-space in the event a suit is breached.”
“Wow, that’s ... that’s amazing,” Rodney said in wonder. He frowned as a thought occurred to him. “But that still doesn’t answer my second question. Why start the Attero device again? Surely you realise you risk the same thing happening to someone else’s planet?”
“Our scientists worked out the only way to bring our people back into normal space is through the static created by that device,” Aeneas explained. “We have developed machines designed to harness that static within sub-space itself. When they reach critical levels our planet will traverse the barrier between normal and sub-space. As soon as this occurs we will shut down the device and destroy it.”
“And I thought Sheppard came up with some wacky plans,” Rodney muttered weakly.
Act 14: In which we demonstrate again that humans are indeed an inexplicable race ...
“We have to risk using the hyperdrive,” Sheppard decided abruptly.
“No, no, no,” Radek protested in a panicked tone. “We have no way of knowing if Lantean frequencies are far enough away from Wraith ones to avoid the consequences.”
“We don’t have the supplies to get us back to the nearest Stargate,” Sheppard pointed out. “We’re running practically on empty right now. If we don’t try the hyperdrive we’re all gonna die of dehydration anyway.”
“Not your most compelling speech ... Sir,” Lorne said under his breath.
“The Daedalus may be overrun by Wraith as we speak,” Sheppard retorted impatiently. “We’ve got who knows how many unpredictable sub-space events taking place all over the galaxy with possibly far reaching consequences, not to mention the Stargates that might already have exploded. And Rodney and Jackson are right at the heart of it. We’re doing this.”
Not waiting for any further protest Sheppard threw himself back into the pilot’s chair and powered up the engines. A hyperspace window appeared in front of them. Sheppard hesitated for a moment. “Here goes nothing,” he muttered under his breath, sending the little ship through.
“This is taking too long,” Ronon complained impatiently.
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Novak had relaxed somewhat after an hour of the big Satedan pacing around behind her. “The Wraith have seriously limited what I’ve got available to work with ... hang on I think I’ve got something.” Novak pressed a button on her console and cleared her throat nervously. “Colonel Caldwell, this is the Control Room. Please respond.”
“Novak?” Caldwell’s incredulous voice came through loud and clear.
“Yes Sir,” Novak said with a relieved smile. “I also have Doctor Keller and Mr Dex with me. We were all wondering Sir if you had a plan for retaking the ship.”
“Sit tight,” Caldwell ordered. “That goes for you too Ronon. Mr Woolsey has already spoken with Todd and assures us that once the Wraith realise we had nothing to do with their ships being destroyed they’ll turn the Daedalus back over to us voluntarily.”
“And you believe that?” Ronon asked grimly. “After every betrayal you trust them?”
“No,” Caldwell admitted. “At this time I don’t see we have a choice. I’d rather hold your skills in reserve in case we really need them. For now no one is in danger so I say again stand down until you receive orders from me.”
“Yes Sir ... Control Room out,” Novak answered for all of them, watching worriedly as Ronon turned away and slammed a hand against the nearest surface angrily.
“Ronon,” Jennifer approached him warily and laid a hand over his forearm.
“What?” Ronon turned to her with anger seething behind his eyes. “I don’t understand your people ... you trust and get betrayed but still come back to be betrayed again.”
“Colonel Caldwell didn’t say we wouldn’t do anything,” Jennifer reminded him. “We just have to wait until the timing is right.”
“I hate waiting,” Ronon’s body language showed that he’d relented somewhat in his hostility and frustration at what he saw as human weakness.
“Me too,” Jennifer said softly. “But Atlantis will notice soon that something went wrong.”
“Again I don’t want to seem ungrateful but why are you suddenly talking to us?” Rodney asked sardonically. “Ten minutes ago we were your captives ... and I’m pretty sure only a step away from execution.”
“Because the Asgard refer to you as the fifth race,” Aeneas replied. “Our respect for their ancient race is boundless. We are saddened to hear of their passing.”
“Oh ...,” Rodney was speechless for a moment before reality kicked his brain back into gear. “So what now? You let us go and return your attention to possibly destroying every planet in the galaxy?”
“You know much about Ancient technology?” Aeneas questioned abruptly.
“More than most people,” Rodney said somewhat smugly. “Doctor Jackson is the expert on the Ancients as a race though.”
“Thank you Rodney,” Daniel looked over at the other man, surprised that he’d throw around the praise so freely. Well ... actually he wasn’t really that surprised at all. Rodney gave a good act at being petty on the surface but Daniel had already discovered that there was a lot more to the scientist that what his surface suggested.
“The Attero device is not the only thing Janus left behind,” Aeneas revealed. “It is only recently that we have been able to access the facility ... prior to this Janus kept it hidden in a way that we could not penetrate, despite our knowledge that this place was the source of our problems. We would appreciate your opinion on what the second device is designed to do.”
“And I suppose then you’ll let us go on our merry way?” Rodney said sarcastically.
“Once our planet returns to normal space you will be free to deactivate the device,” Aeneas said simply.
"And how long is that gonna take?" Rodney asked impatiently. "You do realise that possibly millions of lives have already been wiped out right?"
"It should not be long now," Aeneas said blandly. Rodney honestly couldn't tell if the Furling leader was bothered by the level of destruction he was causing ... but it was pretty clear nothing Rodney was gonna say would change their minds. He had to come up with a plan for getting back to the Attero lab ... and play along with Aeneas in the mean time.
“Wait a minute,” Daniel frowned at what was obviously an unpleasant thought. “What about you and the others like you? If your planet returns, aren’t you consigning yourselves to live in those suits forever?”
“The suits were not designed for long term occupation,” Aeneas’ tone was matter of fact, as though he was discussing the weather instead of his own less than rosy future. “I and the rest of my kind are resigned to our fate ... without our planet there will be nowhere for us in sub-space. And so we will live amongst our people as we are ... for as long as we are able.”
“And how long is that likely to be?” Rodney demanded, suddenly put out at the injustice that had just been revealed.
“Your reaction surprises me,” Aeneas said in a puzzled tone. “We kidnapped you and threatened you so that you would help us. And yet you sound ... insulted that the plan of my people consigns us to death.”
“Yeah well we’ve always been contrary like that,” Rodney said sarcastically. “It’s part of our charm.”
“You are a strange race,” Aeneas’ mechanical voice was as close to amused as either man had heard so far. “Come, let me show you Janus’ second device.
Act 15: Where we learn that not all wrongs need remain uncorrected ...
“Look, in the interests of interracial cooperation I think I should admit that I reactivated the sub-space beacon just before you threw us back in that cell,” Rodney said quickly. “Our people could be arriving here any minute now.”
“We are not concerned,” Aeneas replied, leading them down a long corridor heading further into the facility. “As long as you allow the Attero device to continue operation until we have achieved our aim.”
“How many people live on your planet?” Daniel asked curiously. Rodney did a mental smack to the back of the head – it was an obvious question that got at the whole ‘needs of the many versus needs of the few’ philosophy.
“We were a planet of millions,” Aeneas replied sadly. “Even with the disasters we have suffered we still number close to five hundred thousand.”
“That’s ... more than I was expecting,” Daniel said in surprise.
“As I said, our shield technology is beyond your understanding,” Aeneas explained. “We do not condone the sacrifice of even a few lives to save so many ... but we have no other choice. Our people must be returned to normal space and this is the first time in ten thousand years where it is possible we can succeed.”
Not waiting for Daniel or Rodney to comment on that Aeneas urged them into a room that looked very similar to the control room for Attero.
“This is the device I told you about,” he motioned for Rodney to step closer. “We were able to activate the Attero control console even without the activation gene but this one refuses our best efforts to do likewise.”
“It’s the same on Atlantis,” Rodney said distractedly, looking down at the console curiously. “Let’s turn it on and see what we’ve got.”
Rodney touched the equivalent of the on switch, expecting the usual power on response. Instead a circle of light appeared on the floor in front of them, raising a curtain of light up to man height. It shimmered for a moment before morphing into the figure of a Lantean male.
“I am Janus,” the hologram greeted them. “The presence of our descendants announces that the time for reparation is at hand. I have created the device you see before you to undo a wrong done to allies who deserved only our support and admiration. Moros would have me believe that it is dangerous to set out deliberately with the aim of altering time. Causation is not to be taken so lightly, he would say. In this case I believe causation takes on a whole new meaning. It was my actions that caused the destruction of an entire planet and the millions of lives it supported. By creating this device perhaps I can cause a much more favourable outcome. I ask that you activate it in good faith and allow a foolish inventor the chance to assuage his guilt.”
The hologram flickered and then went out.
Rodney and Daniel looked at each other in amazement. Aeneas’ reaction was a little more extreme ... on the negative side.
“Janus!” he growled when the hologram appeared, pacing in agitation the whole time Janus was speaking. “He is mad to think we would trust him again.”
“Wait a minute,” Rodney protested. “He came back here and created ... whatever this is ... solely to fix things. Don’t you want to at least check it out before you write it off?”
“He destroyed our world!” Aeneas yelled, making Daniel wince.
“And by all accounts he regretted it for the rest of his life,” Daniel said gently. “Obviously this device represents the work of years. Let Doctor McKay assess it ... see if it is capable of doing what Janus says.”
“Do as you wish,” Aeneas snarled, turning abruptly and abandoning them to the device.
“Not the reaction I would have expected,” Rodney commented wryly.
“They’ve gotten used to seeing the world one way,” Daniel explained. “To live without hope for themselves but only for their people? Receiving hope now ... so late in the game ... it’s a cruelty I can’t imagine feeling.”
“Fine, fine,” Rodney agreed impatiently. “They’re used to the death sentence. I’m more concerned about what we should do if it turns out Janus was right and this thing can erase everything that happened to them.”
“We activate it,” Daniel frowned across at Rodney like that should have been obvious.
“Do we?” Rodney returned. “We have no way of predicting what that will do to things in the here and now. At the simplest level we’re back on Atlantis sitting in Janus’ secret lab comparing salaries which would be great because we can stop worrying about all the planets being destroyed by exploding Stargates. At the worst we resurrect a Wraith so evil he succeeds in wiping out humanity long before we arrive in the Pegasus galaxy.”
“Janus talked about causality,” Daniel reminded them both. “Perhaps he accounted for all of that. We should at least find out before we make any judgements.”
“Fine,” Rodney muttered, bringing up the first batch of information about the device. “Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Act 16: In which Rodney gets to evaluate the Daedalus weapons capability ... up close and personal ...
Rodney spent hours on the temporal device, aided by Daniel's ready translations of the background text.
"Well I know how Janus hid this lab for so long," Rodney reported a short time later. "He literally shifted it here temporally. One minute it was there ten thousand years ago - the next it was here."
"He knew when Atlantis would be occupied again," Daniel commented. "Elderly Elizabeth said as much ... in fact Janus has already demonstrated his talents with the whole time thing when he saved Atlantis from flooding."
“Janus was definitely on the crazy side of genius,” Rodney looked up from his console, “but in this case I think he might have actually gotten it right.”
“Really? How does it work?” Daniel asked curiously.
“In simple terms it creates a space time rift where the Furling planet should be right now, linking the planet in sub-space with its original location and time,” Rodney explained. “Big burst of energy from here to then and voila – one planet back where it belongs. Aeneas may take some convincing because before we can activate this device we have to switch off the other one. If it doesn’t work then they lose the chance to fix things their way.”
“And those consequences you talked about?” Daniel queried.
“We can minimise them,” Rodney offered. “First up the original activation of the Attero device has to stand. It wiped out dozens of Hive ships and there’s no telling what effect it would have to restore them. That being the case the Furling planet would be in danger of the same catastrophe.”
“So what’s the point in restoring it?” Daniel said in irritation.
“Janus thought of all this,” Rodney countered. “Obviously we can’t arrange an evacuation of millions of people so quickly, even if we can somehow give them advance warning. That planet disappeared ... who knows how important that is in the whole scheme of things. Janus must have thought it important enough that he worked out a way to preserve that by delivering them somewhere safe.”
“The whole planet?” Daniel asked in surprise.
“Yes,” Rodney said impatiently. “The rift delivers the planet to the correct time and place long enough to restore it and everyone on it but instead of dissipating the rift bundles the whole thing up again and sends it ... somewhere else.”
“Where?” Aeneas drew attention to his presence suddenly, startling Rodney into jumping up from his seat.
“I don’t know,” Rodney admitted. “I think that’s deliberate ... Janus is both protecting the time line andgiving your people the chance to be free from the Wraith ... to develop like you should have if he’d never created Attero.”
“I will send a ship to discuss this with our brother race,” Aeneas decided. “In the meantime you should be aware that your ship has just exited hyperspace and taken up orbit around this planet. You may open a channel and report on everything you have learned here.”
Rodney and Daniel followed the Furling leader to a control room of sorts. Daniel stood in front of the view screen with Rodney a step behind and motioned for a connection to be made.
“This is Daniel Jackson calling the Daedalus. Please respond.”
The view screen flickered to reveal the person at the other end of the line.
“Doctor McKay,” Todd the Wraith growled, spotting Rodney immediately and clearly being angry about it. “So it is true - you havebetrayed us. If you do not turn off the Attero device immediately we will destroy you.”
“That’s not Colonel Caldwell,” Daniel quipped to Rodney.
“No it’s not,” Rodney agreed. “The Wraith must have discovered the effects of the Attero device during the meeting with the Daedalus. Typical Wraith overreaction they assume we had something to do with it.”
“I think this thing just went from bad to worse,” Daniel said grimly.
“I grow tired of your posturing,” Todd snarled again. “Turn off the device.”
“Ah .. we can’t,” Daniel replied. “At least not yet. There’s more at stake here than you realise. Just give us a chance to explain and if you still want to assume the worse, go right ahead.”
“There is no time,” Todd retorted. “Even now more Hive ships may be attempting to enter hyperspace. I say again ... deactivate the Attero device.”
“No,” Rodney said mulishly. “You know me ... enough that you should be able to trust my word. We can fix this ... if you just give us time.”
“Bah,” Todd turned away angrily, motioning for one of his underlings to cut the transmission.
“That went well,” Rodney muttered weakly.
The lab shaking with the first blast from the Daedalus spoke to how well. Another blast quickly followed but the shields held.
“I can’t believe we’re being attacked by our own ship,” Rodney complained in a panicked tone. Turning to Aeneas he begged “please tell me you upgraded the shields on this place?”
“We did,” Aeneas agreed without concern. “There will be time to implement either course of action.”
Act 18: In which the battle is joined ...
Sheppard braced himself for an explosion that never came ... they'd entered hyperspace successfully. Breathing out a sigh of relief he settled in for the journey to Janus’ lab.
“We need to plan a strategy,” he told the others. “We'll land at the lab so I can try and reach McKay and Jackson. Major Lorne – you’ll pilot the Jumper and use the drones to take out weapons and shields on the Daedalus.”
“Yes Sir,” Lorne replied confidently even though they’d never tested the Daedalus defences against Ancient drones.
“Teyla – you’re with me,” Sheppard continued. “Radek – you’ll stay here and assist the Major.”
Everyone sat back, each thinking about the role they were to play.
“Attero” Sheppard commented to Teyla softly. “It means impair, I guess because it's affecting the Wraith ability to travel great distances but ... it also means destroy.”
“Do not worry John ... we will succeed,” Teyla promised confidently.
A short time later the cloaked Puddle Jumper exited hyperspace just in time to see the Daedalus open fire on the lab.
“Crap,” Sheppard said angrily. “They didn’t waste any time.” Piloting the shuttle quickly down to the lab he activated the radios not really expecting a reply. “McKay this is Sheppard ... do you read?”
“It’s about time you got here,” Rodney said bitterly. “Todd’s in charge on the Daedalus and he’s not in a good mood. I don’t know if Ronon and Keller ... or any of our people up there ... are okay.”
“Are you okay Rodney?” Teyla asked in concern.
“Daniel and I are fine,” Rodney replied impatiently. “I’d like to stand around and catch up on the gossip but we’ve got a situation here.”
"Can you turn off the Attero device?" Sheppard demanded, honing in on their current top priority.
"If things go according to Janus' plan we can go one step better than that," Rodney said cryptically. "Just get down here and I'll explain everything."
“I’m landing just outside your door,” Sheppard announced grimly. “Send out the welcome party.”
Sheppard brought the Jumper to the ground and opened the rear hatch. Motioning for Teyla to follow him he turned back to the rest of his team.
“Good luck Major ... don’t let Radek talk you into anything crazy,” he quipped.
“Yes Sir,” Lorne replied with an amused smile. “Tell McKay we said Hi.”
Grabbing their weapons Teyla and Sheppard ran out into a winter landscape, gasping at the bitter cold. Struggling against the forceful winds they made slow progress towards the labs entrance.
“Come on,” Rodney rubbed his hands up and down his arms, both impatient and cold as he waited for Sheppard and Teyla to get inside.
“Nice to see you too Rodney,” Sheppard offered sarcastically, brushing the snow out of his hair.
“It is good to see you well,” Teyla smiled graciously.
“Ah ... you too,” Rodney said uncertainly, shaking himself before continuing. “We don’t have a lot of time - let me fill you in on what’s happening here.”
“Doctor Novak,” Caldwell’s voice demanded immediate attention. “Tell me we’re not firing on that planet.”
“I can’t do that Sir,” Novak replied reluctantly.
“I didn’t think so,” Caldwell said grimly. “Can you raise the bulkheads?”
“I’ve been working on it since they lowered,” Novak reported. “I think I’ve got it ... shall I -?”
“Do it,” Caldwell ordered.
Novak activated her commands ... there was a moment where everything seemed frozen and then the bulkheads slowly retracted back into the ceiling.
“Well done Doctor,” Caldwell said. “Ronon – I’m sending a team of marines to the Bridge. I trust you’ll join them in taking back my ship?”
“Thought you’d never ask,” Ronon grabbed his gun and turned to head out. Pausing at the door he turned back to Jennifer. “Stay here.” Not expecting a reply he ran off down the corridor.
“Sometimes I hate that man,” Jennifer muttered under her breath.
“And the rest of the time?” Novak put a startled hand to her own mouth, clearly wanting to pull those words back unsaid. “Sorry.”
“To tell you the truth I don’t know,” Jennifer smiled ruefully.
“Are you ready Doc?” Lorne glanced at Radek and was pleased to see the man’s nerves had settled now that he was engaged in the task at hand.
“Target coordinates have been transferred to your console,” Radek reported briskly.
“Targetting weapons and shields,” Lorne announced. “Lowering cloak ... Firing drones.”
They waited as four glowing yellow bullets hurtled towards the Daedalus. Lorne guided their passage as they slammed with force into the shield.
“Shield has weakened but is holding,” Radek announced.
“Let’s go again,” Lorne sent out another batch of drones.
“We have incoming,” Radek reported urgently. “Two missiles locking on.”
“Drones are on target,” Lorne divided his attention between guiding the drones and taking evasive action.
One missile skimmed the left engine and exploded harmlessly some distance away, doing no more than rocking the Jumper.
The drones Lorne had sent reached the Daedalus, only this time they passed through the weakened shields and hit their marks.
“Weapons and shields are down,” Radek reported with relief. “Damage to the rest of the ship is minimal.”
Lorne focused completely on evading the second missile ... this time he wasn’t so lucky. The weapon impacted the left engine, wreaking havoc on the Jumper.
“Hull integrity has been compromised,” Radek yelled over the sudden screaming of alarms and warnings. “Sublight engines are down. Hyperdrive is inactive. We are venting oxygen.”
“Daedalus this is Major Lorne, authorisation Alpha Charlie Bravo Niner Six, requesting immediate two person beam out ... I repeat this is Major Lorne requesting immediate beam out.”
“They’ve stopped firing,” Rodney said in surprise.
“Lorne and Radek took the Puddle Jumper back up there,” Sheppard replied. “Took out weapons and shields. Should give Caldwell’s people the opportunity to take back the ship.”
“And you’re just telling me this now?” Rodney demanded.
“You said we didn’t have time to gossip,” Sheppard retorted. “Focus here Rodney ... what do we have to do to fix this?”
“Janus wanted us to activate his temporal device,” Rodney summarised the situation. “I’ve checked it out and it should work. Aeneas, the leader here, wanted to check with his people first.”
“Okay then,” Sheppard relaxed. “Did he say how long that was gonna take? I’d like to shut this thing down before any more Stargates blow up.”
“More Stargates?” Rodney honed in on that part immediately.
“Long story, no time,” Sheppard said evasively. Before Rodney could protest Daniel returned with Aeneas in tow.
“My people are in agreement,” Aeneas announced. “We want you to activate the temporal device.”
“And you realise I’ll have to turn off Attero first,” Rodney checked their understanding of what was at stake.
“We understand the risks,” Aeneas replied easily. “Whatever happens ... we thank you for overlooking the method in which you arrived here to help us.”
“Ah ... you’re welcome?” Rodney said it almost like a question. Sheppard smirked in amusement as his friends usual lack of diplomacy skills.
“Let’s get this show on the road,” he urged.
They all followed Rodney back to the Attero control room and watched silently as he deactivated it. The last of the sparking blue lights travelled up the rods in the adjacent room and disappeared into silence.
“Okay, now for the temporal device,” Rodney led the way again, this time into the heart of the facility.
Act 19: In which the fate of many is decided ...
Ronon raced through the corridors of the Daedalus taking out Wraith before they knew what hit them. A short distance from the Bridge he met up with Caldwell’s marines. Motioning for each to take a specific target they stormed the Bridge as a unit.
Ronon took out two guards and then concentrated on Todd.
“This time Sheppard isn’t here to save you,” he gave the feral grin that said he was really enjoying himself.
“You are too late,” Todd did the classic Wraith head tilt and snarl. “The Attero device has been switched off. Two Hive ships are already on their way.”
“Not in time to save you,” Ronon said grimly, firing successive kill shots into Todd’s chest. The Wraith leader toppled slowly to the floor, eyes open and lifeless.
“Ronon,” one of the marines had sat down at a console and accessed sensors. “Two Hive ships have just exited subspace.”
“Weapons?” Ronon knew the answer but asked anyway.
“Shields and weapons are down,” the marine replied. “We’re also getting a distress call." He pressed a button and they all heard Lorne requesting an immediate beam out.
“Do it,” Ronon ordered.
“Two people have been beamed direct to the Infirmary,” the marine reported a second later.
“They get to live another minute,” another marine quipped. “Lucky them.”
Colonel Caldwell arrived on the Bridge bearing evidence that he’d met a bit of resistance on the way there. “Status?”
“Two Hive ships are bearing down on our position ... shields and weapons are still down.”
The Daedalus shook with the first shots, sparks flying as consoles shorted out.
"The Asguard core is offline," one of the Bridge crew reported. They weren't running out of there.
“Novak,” Caldwell contacted the scientist directly. “Can you restore shields?”
“Maybe,” Novak replied. “Can I restore them before those Hive ships fire more shots? Probably not.”
"And the beaming technology?" Caldwell asked, even though he already suspected the answer.
"Inoperative," Novak killed the hope of evacuation for the crew with one word.
“Do what you can,” Caldwell sat down in the command chair grimly expecting the worst.
Ronon sprinted from the Bridge without a word, quickly making it back to the Control Room. "Jennifer," his voice rumbled as he looked at her, everything he was feeling blazing from his eyes.
"Ronon," Jennifer rushed to him, letting him gather her up into a desperate embrace. Somehow it made a difference that he was there ... that they would face their fate together.
It didn’t take long ... the Hive ships sent forth a volley of fire power that tore through the unprotected hull. Everywhere was a confusion of sparks and smoke as destruction ran rampant throughout the ship.
In the infirmary Lorne and Radek lay on their beds, staring up at the ceiling as they perceived the irony of surviving the destruction of their Puddle Jumper only to have the Daedalus destroyed because of the damage they themselves had caused.
On the bridge everyone seemed frozen while in the Control Room Novak spent her final seconds frantically trying to restore the shields but knowing they were out of time.
A moment later the Daedalus burst into a fiery ball, taking all hands with her.
“Oh no,” Rodney looked up at Sheppard with a horrified expression. “Two Hive ships just appeared above the planet ... with the Attero device deactivated their hyperdrives are back in action.”
“Then hurry it up McKay,” Sheppard urged.
“Oh God,” Rodney’s eyes were transfixed on his screen. “The Hive ships have opened fire. Without weapons or shields ...”
“They’re sitting ducks, I know,” Sheppard moved to put a hand on Rodney’s shoulder. “Don’t think about them ... if this works it won’t matter.”
“You’re ... you’re right,” Rodney gave a grateful nod. Neither man commented when the display showed that the Daedalus had been destroyed.
“Uh guys ... you better hurry this up,” Daniel urged. “They’re firing on us now.”
“We know,” Sheppard and Rodney chorused together as the lab shook from the impact of multiple hits against the Furling enhanced shield.
“Okay, we’re ready,” Rodney looked to Sheppard to do the honours.
“Here goes,” Sheppard closed his eyes and put a hand down on the console.
At the point in space where no planet would ever be blue lights swirled and pulsed and grew at an enormous rate. The shape of a planet ravaged by ten thousand years in sub-space pulsed into view for a microsecond before it disappeared. And then space returned to darkness and silence.
Ten thousand years in the past and across an entire galaxy a planet appeared where no planet should be.
Act 20: And all’s right with the galaxy ...
Sheppard stood in the middle of Janus’ secret lab looking around in amazement as Rodney talked about what they’d found so far.
“There are levels of encryption on all the data here that even the most paranoid N.S.A. agent wouldn't use,” Rodney told Sheppard. “I mean, it is deep.”
“Some of them are straight-up math ciphers while others are Ancient knowledge puzzles,” Daniel added.
“And until we start deciphering, there's no way to tell what any of this stuff does,” Rodney finished.
“Sounds like you guys make a good team, though,” Sheppard smirked at the looks of discomfort on both faces. “Well, I guess I'll go back to being the boss.”
“How's that going?” Rodney asked curiously.
“Pretty boring, actually,” Sheppard admitted.
“Well, you're more than welcome to help us crack this first stream cipher,” Rodney quipped, glancing across at Daniel. “You know, he could have been in Mensa.”
“Why don't you contact me when you two geniuses have a breakthrough?” Sheppard glared at Rodney as he and Daniel both laughed in amusement.
“Will do!” Daniel said with a sunny smile.
Sheppard walked back to the door, past a table where a small device sat. On its surface a red light pulsed at regular intervals ... unnoticed.
Light years away an Ancient device sat gathering dust. On it's control panel a red light flashed to the same regular pattern ... into a lab deserted and lost for millennia. There would be no one to notice.
Movies I quoted or alluded to:
Darth Vader suit/Anakin Skywalker river of lava comments - Star Wars Episode 3 Attack of the Clones
'Taste like strawberries' - Goldeneye
'Flux capacity - the thing that makes time travel possible' - Back to the Future
'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few' - Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan
'Why build one when you can build two at twice the price' - Contact
I used Gateworld transcripts for the last part that came straight from the actual episode. The minor details on maths concepts, especially the stuff about that Babai guy Radek mentions all came from research on Wikipedia.
I decided on the Furlings as being lost because they are mentioned in SG1 but we never meet them ... plus the idea of the full metal men being something that sounds so ... fluffy, was amusing (to me at least).
Having Evil Asgard just totally doesn't work for me. Neither does John and Radek miraculously surviving that explosion with so little damage and then being able to set up another control room so easily. And what was with Sheppard trying to find out if Larin 'likes him'? They've made him a bit juvenile and 'kirkish' in the past but this was just silly - especially in the middle of a big crisis involving millions of lives, including 3000 Travellers already dead! The writers missed a great chance to show how smart Sheppard is - something they allude to but never deliver on!
How did Todd know about Attero and that the Ancients didn't have the stomach to continue using it when it was supposedly one of Janus' secret projects?? If he knew enough to know what it was then surely he'd have known where it was too! How did Janus get away with three days of Attero running - did planets get destroyed and if so why wasn't that in the Atlantis database? If the other Lanteans found out, why was his lab still secret and the key still hidden?
Was Jennifer talking about Rodney at the end there as the one she likes or just putting Ronon off because he's pretty full on and a bit scary too? Not that I mind Rodney 'getting the girl' because they have lots in common but I do mind Ronon being hurt by it and it looked like he was. Bad writers!