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[personal profile] kisahawklin posting in [community profile] prospectus
I started a fic for my [community profile] sgareversebang, but I couldn't get through it. I know there's no way I'll ever finish, so I'm just putting these words here to get them off my flashdrive. If anybody feels like taking this and running with it, you have my blessing.

John's never been the nervous type. He doesn't have any phobias that he knows of; okay, he hates bugs, but he's not irrationally afraid of them – he's got perfectly rational reasons for his fear. He's never really understood phobias of things that can't hurt you – public speaking, the number thirteen, small spaces. He'll never give Rodney a hard time about his claustrophobia again, though.

Twelve, fifteen, eighteen hours in the jumper, that's all cool. He's done that a bunch of times, and it's not even a stretch if he has someone like Rodney with him, chattering away. Come to think of it – Rodney's claustrophobia hadn't even set in until they'd hit the second day, shortly before John discovered small spaceships made him antsy on long trips. It's like a light switched on in his brain; all that's keeping me from the vastness of space, from a thousand different deaths is the jumper. The thin not-glass of the viewscreen. The thin not-metal of the back hatch.

He sleeps in the pilot's chair. They're on autopilot, heading to the next planet over from the gate. They look like twins, except the first planet had a large, swirling mass of clouds on it, and a large chunk of it is covered in white. The database talks about moving the people from the planet with the ice age to the planet next door, but it's not clear whether the people themselves had the technology to do it or if the Ancients ferried them.

Their objective is to make nice with the people first, then poke around the ice planet (Hoth 3, Rodney's geeks have already named it, much to John's chagrin) to see what kind of Ancient technology might be around under all that ice.

The fifty-seven hour jumper ride is tougher than John was expecting, though, and he makes a mental note to bring sedatives next time.

"Rodney," Teyla says. "Why don't you come meditate?"

Yes, Rodney, John thinks, go meditate.

Rodney shakes his head, staring out the viewscreen, not really looking at anything.

John's been wracking his brain, trying to come up with anything to distract them. They've played all their made up games already, challenged each other with random trivia from their childhood Saturday morning cartoons, and even played several games of chess.

Rodney's manic chattering had been a little annoying, but it basically told them he was okay; this new, tense silence puts them all on edge. John only dares to nap when Rodney drifts off. If he falls asleep while Rodney's awake, he'll shake John hard enough to give him a concussion. John's good at power naps, twenty minutes here or there, and he knows he can do it for up to four days without too much loss of coherency. He doesn't usually have to keep his team together under those conditions, though, and sometime around hour thirty-seven, John hears the distinct sound of Ronon's gun powering up, and before he can do more than blink, Ronon stuns Rodney, moving in with two quick steps to prevent him from falling out of his chair.

"Sorry," Ronon says, before John can even get it together to yell at him for shooting a teammate. "He's making us all crazy."

John glances back into the hatch where Teyla and Ronon'd spread out the cushions and thin, wool blankets they kept in the storage bins several hours ago. The bags under Teyla's eyes make it clear they haven't been sleeping, or even resting successfully. Definitely sedatives, next time, he thinks, as Ronon carries Rodney to the back and settles him between them.

Unfortunately, stunning the only other person who can fly the jumper means that John still won't get any sleep, so he drifts, mostly resting and sometimes sleeping, jerking himself awake anytime his thoughts dip into dream territory. The chair is uncomfortable enough that he probably won't be able to truly fall asleep until he's exhausted, and he's not there yet.

Teyla wakes after six hours of sleep looking well-rested. She joins him in the front, distracting him with car ride games that she must have gotten off of one of the scientists she hangs around with. "I spy with my little eye," she says, and the laughter hidden in her voice does him more good that a full night's rest, "something that begins with C."

Ronon wakes up after another hour and a half - John knows he generally sleeps in Earth cycles, about eight hours at a shot. Rodney usually sleeps for about four hours a night until he runs himself into the ground; then it takes two or three nights of ten to twelve hours to recharge his batteries. John's a six hour sleeper himself. If Rodney wakes up without any ill effects after twelve hours, John can get in enough hours to make him presentable to the people on the planet.

Rodney wakes up slowly, first flailing a little, then rolling over several times until his face is mashed into the seats in the back of the jumper and finally sitting bolt upright and looking around the cabin for Ronon. "You shot me!"

Ronon grins, and John waits to hear the rest of the diatribe. Once Rodney's gotten it out of his system John can commandeer him to watch the jumper and go lie down for a while. Rodney doesn't say anything else, though, yawning and stretching instead. "Actually, I feel pretty good," he says. "But no more shooting! We don't know the long-term effects of that gun."

"It's fine, McKay," Ronon says, going into the back to help Rodney up. This actually means yanking Rodney up by the arm, which means Rodney squawks out a protest.

"Hey! I'm not your luggage. I can get up on my own."

"Rodney," Teyla says gently. "John has not slept yet, and you are the only other person who can fly the jumper."

Rodney protests just enough to let them know he's okay, and after elaborate stretching and complaining, he comes over to stand by John's chair. "Go," he says, nodding toward the blankets and cushions all piled up in the back. "Sleep the sleep of the just."

John gets up, letting Rodney settle into the pilot's chair and watching him check the instruments and pull the HUD up to verify they're on course. Ronon gives John a shove and says in Teyla's direction, "I spy with my little eye something that begins with M."

John grins, knows that Ronon spies a mother and drops onto the nearest pile of cushions, asleep before he can pull a blanket over himself.

Ronon's debating whether or not he thinks the ritual is dangerous – any time it involves the Ancestors, there's a chance that Sheppard's gene will set something off and that only works in their favor roughly half the time – but the temple seems boring enough. Familiar, for some reason, though he can't place how, exactly. It's a tall, round structure with a modest dome, made of the familiar blue-grey metal and big enough to fit them all comfortably. It hums as they enter - the priest first, so that's probably just one of those things that was initialized a long time ago and now works for everyone. Probably harmless then.

The priest says a prayer and several doors that Ronon had thought were just archways close around them. Ronon puts his hand on his gun and a movement behind him makes him turn around just as a panel on the wall opens up. Suddenly the familiarity snaps into place - it's a transporter. The acolyte that opened the panel touches it lightly before Ronon can say anything, and the expected blinding flash of light makes him squeeze his eyes shut quickly. He's wary, but only a little because the priest and the acolytes are with them; if they're transported somewhere, they'll all go, and that's got to be part of the plan.

When the light clears and he opens his eyes, he sees the empty air where Sheppard and McKay were standing. He draws his gun on the priest, who looks as shocked as he feels. "They are chosen," the priest says, looking scarily delighted. The acolytes all seem to share his zeal, and not one of them seems to mind Ronon's gun pointed in their direction. He lowers it, clicking his radio. "Sheppard. McKay." There is no answer.

They sit down with the priest, tea and crackers served to them by acolytes that Ronon has to control the urge to throttle for being so calm. "It has been a long time since anyone was chosen," the priest, Hralb, says. "The stories say that someone from nearly every trading party and half the children of the village used to be chosen when it was their time, but we have not had anyone chosen from the village in living memory."

Ronon nods. Teyla's gotten pretty good with technology. Maybe if they can go back to the transporter, she can figure out where they went, or find a way to fix it so it takes them too.

"What happens to the chosen?" Teyla asks calmly, sipping the tea. He appreciates her calm, the kind of self-control it takes to appear unruffled when you're furious or afraid.

"We do not exactly know," Hralb says, and Ronon lets his eyes close slowly and takes a deep breath. The priest stutters and continues to talk, prodded by Teyla's steel gaze, no doubt. "Most return to the village after several days, weary and torn, having completed the purifying journey."

Ronon snorts; Teyla kicks at his leg. "Which direction do they come from?" she asks, and Hralb points at the mountains to the west of the village. "Most of them from that direction," he says. "But sometimes from the sea as well."

Teyla gets them some time in the jumbo transporter. The acolytes come with them, looking concerned. "I would like to see the..." She hesitates and indicates the panel where the map of Atlantis would be, in one of their transporters.

One of the acolytes accompanies her and touches the cover; the panels pull back to reveal a random-looking shape. "It's the continent," Teyla says. "I recognize that shape from the HUD." There are three dots, one silvery that indicates their present position and two red, one on a peninsula to the south and one to the west, probably in the mountains Hralb talked about. There is also an Ancient up arrow; she presses it and a different shape appears. Another continent, Ronon realizes.

"Thank you," Teyla says, smiling tightly at the acolytes. "We will need to discuss this alone for a moment."

The acolytes nod and bow and leave them alone as they walk away from the village, toward the cloaked jumper. Teyla says nothing, so Ronon follows her, silent as well. As soon as they enter the jumper, she starts pushing buttons, bringing up the HUD. She touches a few more things and then Ronon can see the map Teyla was talking about, four amber dots blinking on the screen. Two where the silvery dot was, and two in the west, in the mountains. "We're lucky they weren't sent to the south," Teyla says. "Desert – one that would kill them before Atlantis got here."

She hits the button for subspace communications – even Ronon knows that one – and says, "Teyla to Atlantis."

"Good to hear your voice," Amelia says, and Ronon can't help the flicker of a smile. "You all okay out there?"

"I am sorry, but no," Teyla says. "Ronon and I are fine, but Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay have been transported many miles away on the main continent and we have no way of reaching them or bringing them back. Please send another jumper immediately. We will do what we can here to reach them from here."

"Yes, ma'am," Amelia says. "Major Lorne is on standby, they'll be through the gate and on their way to you in ten minutes."

"Thank you," Teyla answers. "Don't expect us to be on the radio again; we will likely be quite far from the jumper and the colonel and Dr. McKay are out of comm range."

"Noted," Amelia says. "Good luck."

"Thanks," Ronon says, just so Amelia can hear his voice. "See you in a few."

"Yes, sir," Amelia says, curt and official, but Ronon knows what a smile in her voice sounds like.
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pro⋅spec⋅tus: [pruh-spek-tuhs] --<i>noun</i>

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