Dr. Gyark rolled his eyes and nodded, agreeing with her. “You’re right, you’re always right. Please holy Goddess, give me the brain to keep up with you...” he said, sarcastically. “But it is rather different. Most of the time, the batteries don’t react like that. I take it they’re accepting the reality faster now?”
“May the Great Physician give you a second brain,” Dr. Sycorah replied dryly. “yes, they are accepting the reality now. Why? Because they are close.” She drew up another monitor, that showed a complex pattern of brainwaves and other graphs. “The moment we allowed them physically close, in the same tank, they calmed down and became immersed in the new reality, and look here - the power output their minds generate is substantially higher than any other we’ve had in here for a very long time.”
“Excellent,” Dr. Gyark said, ignoring her insult. “We’ve tried it with others... but it seems to be working with these two. This output is amazing though... I do have to admit that.... This could be the solution that we’ve been looking for. With this much power, we could probably keep them alive longer.”
“I am already working on that end,” Sycorah replied. “we’ll add more nourishment and regenerating substances to the tank’s balance, to keep their bodies viable as long as we can. The potential they have... it’s not to be squandered. It could boost our defences for a long time, if we do this right.”
Gyark grinned at her. “We will. Everything depends on this.”
Walter looked up the General as he came into the Control room. “Still no word from them, Sir,” he told him, wishing he had better information to give him.
General Landry frowned, he was used to delays, to a certain team being late and in trouble. But this smelled differently. “Re-call Teal’c from that conference,” he ordered. Dr. Jackson would have to do on his own there. “and have SG 11, 12 and 17 gear up for a search operation.” The planet was former Goa’uld territory, he remembered. Who knew what kind of legacy they had left on that world.
“Yes, Sir,” Walter told him, sitting up straighter in his chair as he alerted the teams and then called Teal’c.
Teal’c had taken the call from the SGC at once, while Daniel Jackson was still talking to several diplomats. He had heard of Colonel Mitchell’s vanishing already. “Was Colonel Mitchell located?” he asked, the fact that he did not wait for the other man to tell him why he was called betraying that the Jaffa was worried.
“I’m sorry to say he wasn’t. Not yet... General Landry would like you to return to help in the search,” Walter informed him. “Tell Dr. Jackson and Miss Mal Doran to stay there for the time being.”
“I will do so at once,” Teal’c replied, glad he could do something beyond waiting. He informed Daniel and Vala and then returned to speak with Walter about the quickest way to return to the SGC.
Walter made the arrangements to get Teal’c back to the base immediately.
Cam sat on one of the couches, knowing that Vet Affairs would be here today. He was dressed casually, finally breaking down and buying civies. Still missed his power armor.
Mr. Jatanski arrived at the house, a bit apprehensive. He had of course known that Colonel Mitchell had found a temporary home with John Sheppard. They were war-comrades after all and nobody could claim that John Sheppard did not care for his war-friends. Still, a home would be one of the things Vet Affairs should find quickly for the Colonel. A calm place, he could not handle stress according to the psych clinic. He hit the door chime and was surprised when John Sheppard opened and led him into the living room.
Cam smiled at the bureaucrat, standing up. “Mr. Jatanski. It’s been awhile. I hope you’re doing well?” he asked, seeing him seated.
“A lot of work, mainly.” Jatanski explained. “with the end of the war there is a lot of soldiers being released and integrated into civilian live again, which keeps me busy. How are you doing, Colonel?” he asked, genuinely interessted how the man was doing, it was important to know before they went on to plan his civilian future.
“Better. Take my pills everyday,” Cam told him, cheerfully. “I’m having a good time here. John needs me to tell him when to eat.”
To Jatanski’s surprise Sheppard smiled ruefully, ducking his head. The beaurocrat knew people well enough to tell that Mitchell had probably said the truth. The stars help him! He had never been surprised to note that Sheppard was on the light side of a male build, the man had a class-4 Enhancement implant in his brain-stem after all. Those ate you alive, if you were fortunate enough to survive them at all. But if bad eating habits added up to that strain... not good, definitely not. He managed a smile. “It’s good to see friends taking care of each other,” he said. “let’s get to business. The hospital informed us about your state and Vet offices is still looking for a home for you in a calm environment.”
John looked up. “That’s not necessary, he can live here. It doesn’t get any more calm than here.”
Cam looked at him, giving him a questioning look. “You sure you want me here, John?” he asked. Cam glanced at Mr. Jatanski. “Well... if it would help you, I could just stick here for the time being... then when John gets sick of me, we can look for something else.”
“I am sure, Cam.” John replied, a bit uneasy with Cam’s assumption he’d get tired of him sooner or later. Or had Cam noticed something and wanted an out?
Jatanski took some notes. “Well, Colonel, it would definitely help me out, that much is sure.” he explained. “I’ll list you as a longterm case, so we can look for the right place without hurry and will also list your residence for now here.” Which would actually allow them to work through the pile of other cases first and treat this case a bit more delicately.
“Well, problem solved,” Cam told him. “We have ice tea, if you’re thirsty...” he offered, having made some earlier.
“Thanks,” Jatanski politely took a cup, before turning to the paperwork. Mitchell had been discharged honorably, for medical reasons, with full pensions and health care. “I will need you to sign some papers, to get all the usual Vet Care under way.” he explained. “Do you have any questions?”
“Not really. I took a look over the stuff they sent home with John for me earlier. Do you have a pen?” Cam asked, looking around for a spare one.
Jatanski of couse had a pen, handing it to Mitchell, so he could sign the forms. “Ah yes... I remember that Mr. Sheppard contacted us, so your things could be moved quickly. If you need help in obtaining any other things that might be in storage somewhere, let me know.” Inheritances and the like often created such loops.
Cam chuckled. “I don’t have a family, Sir. I’ve lost more crap than I’ve ever had so I doubt there’s much except the clothes I have here... Or am I missing something?” he asked, glancing over to John.
John was not a man to squirm but Jatanski noted the man was a little uneasy. “The stuff from your place on Kholaver,” John said. “it should be on storage still.” They had been called out of Kholaver prematurely and things had been a mess. John had known Cam had not had the time to take care of his stuff, so he had seen that it was done.
Cam blinked. “Oh. I forgot all about that. I figured that was all sold off... Um, well, I suppose, Sir, that I have some things on Kholaver in storage. Do I need to fill out some other stuff for that?”
Jatanski procured another form, while Mitchell was filling it in his mind worked through what he had witnessed. The dynamic of both men was... unique. “It should not take long to actually expedite the cargo, a few weeks at most.” he said. He handed Mitchell his card. “If there are any things you need help with, or issues you have with other offices, give me a call. We’re here to help.” He did not do any ‘future profession’ talk with Mitchell, simply for the reason that the man was discharged on psychological reasons. A calm life on his good pension was probably the best for now.
Cam took the card, finishing filling out the forms. “Will do, Mr. Jatanski. Thank you for getting all this crap done.”
Jatanski rose, shaking his hand and then took his leave. John rolled his eyes. “Vet Affairs seems to be swamped with work these days.” he observed.
“Lots of knuckleheads like us getting out I suppose,” Cam told him. “War’s mostly over. They don’t need as many people...”
“I guess so.” John straightened up from his lazy posture. “I am glad you are staying here, Cam. I really am.”
Cam licked his lips. “I’m really glad too, John. Thanks for letting me stay... It means a lot.”
John rose. “How about we go outside? Take a look at all the nice grounds you can chase me over?”
Cam grinned. “Well, that depends. Do you have your compass? I know how you get lost,” he teased, getting to his feet. “Let’s go, walk the grounds.”
“I don’t get lost,” John pouted. “I take detours.” They went outside, the grounds around the lake were huge, with pathways winding up and down the hillsides. There was little in terms of other people here, the next houses were several miles away on the other side of the lake.
“Detours... right,” Cam scoffed at him as they walked together. “It’s... It’s nice. Here. When did you buy this?”
“Three weeks ago,” John replied honestly. He had bought it not long after the ceremony, after some search for a place that was calm, quiet, with little stress in terms of people. “a friend lives over on the other side of the lake and he actually told me the place was up for sale.”
“Oh. I see. Well, I want to thank you. For letting me stay here,” Cam told him, shyly. “Who is your friend?”
Inwardly john sighed, he was so happy to have Cam here and he didn’t want his friend to feel like he was burden. “Cam, I am glad you are here,” he said warmly. “I had hoped to find a place for both of us, or a place where we both might be staying somewhere close once you retired. It just came a bit earlier.” He looked out on the lake, for a moment hesitating to answer the second question. But he wouldn’t lie to Cam either. “Shaun Mahanay,” he admitted. “his house is over there at Siligan Point.”
“You know the author to the Gate books?” Cam asked, surprised. “That’s... That’s amazing. Wow... “
“His father and mine are friends,” John replied. “we’ve known each other since childhood.” He could guess what his friend worried about, he knew him well enough. “Shaun has no idea that his books figured into your collapse, nobody knows.” He told him.
Cam’s ears flushed. “Good... That’s good. Thank you for that. Although, I don’t know how that would even come up in conversation anyway... Still, that’s pretty cool. Do you think he based any of his characters on you?”
“On me? No... I doubt it.” John replied. “My father maybe, but me... nope.” He winked at Cam. “Or did you think he did?”
“The second leader. Michael... he seems a lot like you. Heroic, brave... a leader,” Cam told him, his ears flushing deeper red.
If he was brutally honest Michael had reminded John of Cam, a lot. But he couldn’t say that. Not after what happened. The way Cam blushed admitting that, made John smile though. It was one of those moments where it was so hard to resist to just wrap his arms around him and not let go again. Instead he just stepped a bit closer. “Now you are flattering me,” he told him. “but you were a fan of Michael Crighton... should I conclude you were one of me as well?” he asked, teasing him a small bit.
“I stayed in the Elites, didn’t I? Even after the disaster on Iolun Prime. I think I’m a big damn fan, my friend,” Cam told him. “If we’re comparing... I think I’m more like Gabriel Saxon of the Lost City series.”
The mention of Iolun Prime made John look down for a moment. “Forgive me, my friend, I shouldn’t have said that. You stayed, no matter what and I was very glad you did.” He looked up again. “Gabriel... maybe, but honestly, I think Dean Cantarre was more like you, a hero with your attitude.” And a hero John always had a weakness for.
“John... There’s nothing to forgive... I know how you meant it,” Cam told him. He grinned widely. “I’m nothing like that character... I mean, other than the obvious parts...”
John reached for Cam’s hand squeezing it lightly. “You are... but what’s even better: you are you. I’d miss you far too much, so never trade places with anyone, okay?” He said with a smile. Cam was important to him, and no one, no hero or legend could replace him.
Cam’s ears flushed again as John touched him. He smiled at him. “Hey... you remember that one time on Vark Prime?” he asked, trying to calm his heart down from pounding.
John blushed fiercely, remembering Prince Julian and all that had happened. He had been close to staying, he had liked Julian a lot but... but for one person he would have stayed. “How could I forget that?” he asked Cam, their eyes meeting and John’s heart jumped a bit. Cam had found a way for him to get out of being bonded...
“Have you considered returning to him? You seemed interested...” Cam asked, slightly testing the waters. “I got to thinking about that place just yesterday... and how that report must have made Landry’s blood boil...”
“Landry got all blushy and maybe hot and bothered,” John replied, amused at the idea what the report of their mission might have done to the General. “But no... I told Julian I was promised to another, so that we couldn’t be bonded.” He stepped closer and feathered a kiss on Cam’s cheek. “I wouldn’t break this promise to another for anything.” he said softly, before hastily stepping away.
Cam blushed, his ears turning bright red and his cheeks heating. He grasped John’s wrist, stopping him from stepping away. “Did you... Me, John?”
It took all John’s courage to meet Cam’s eyes. He’d have rather faced a whole Catharian army alone and laughed at the odds of survival, but the thought of loosing Cam’s friendship was one that made his guts curl. Still, he didn’t step away. “You,” he confirmed softly. “I love you, Cam. You are my best friend and.... you the one I love.”
Cam looked at him, astonished. “But... John... I’m not... Worthy. I’m me, John... and you’re too good for that... I’m not good enough for you...”
The words spoke of so much self-doubts, it shocked John a bit. Did Cam think so badly of himself? Or did he just think far too highly of John? The result was the same. He drew Cam a bit closer. “That’s not true, Cam.” he said gently. “You are you, and you are the only one I want.” He met his eyes, not sure how Cam felt about it. “Maybe you are the one I can’t have but that doesn’t change how I feel about you.”
Cam looked at him. “John... I...” he said, swallowing as he took a chance, knowing that his CO did want him and leaned forward, kissing him deeply on the lips.
John wrapped his arms around Cam, responding to the kiss passionately. His heart was dancing with joy in this moment.
Cam pressed his body into John’s, kissing him as he felt the rough skin of his jaw. This was far better than even he had imagined... This wonderful, wonderful kiss.
Their lips broke apart and John had a hard time to not gasp. Feeling Cam’s strong arms around him, he didn’t want to let go of their embrace. He tilted his head and captured Cam’s lips in a second kiss, slowly exploring those gorgeous lips with his tongue.
Cam kissed him again, his hands slipping down to cup John’s ass. “You’re... Amazing... Amazing.”
John moaned into their kiss, both his arms wrapped around Cam’s waist. “As are you,” he whispered against his lips. “as are you.” It seemed like a dream come true, much too good to be true. He reached up to cup Cam’s cheek with his hand, feeling the warm skin and the slight trace of stubbles under his fingers. “Maybe I should take a leaf out of Vark’s traditions and lure you to my den?” he asked, teasing him a little.
Cam chuckled. “I would like to be lured into your den... have you debase me...” he teased, grinning at him. “All sorts of naughty things to me.”
“Lots of naughty things,” John agreed, his arm still wrapped around Cam’s waist as they walked back towards the house. It was a slow march, because John couldn’t resist stopping to snatch another kiss now and then. When they reached the house again, he drew Cam close to purr into his ear: “I like naughty... naughty is always good and you are an expert at being naughty, are you?”
Cam gave him a smirk and kissed him deeply. “Yes, Sir. Definitely, definitely an expert at being naughty,” he said, his eyes dilating in arousal with John taking control.
It was not hard to read Cam’s reactions, John nibbled on his earlobe as they both ended up in John’s bedroom. Kicking the door close, John pushed Cam against the wall, his hand snaking down to his pants, rubbing against the hard bulge. “You are so ready...” he growled, rubbing him through the cloth. “trapped and all mine.”
Cam moaned, thrusting forward. “Yes.. I’m all yours, Sheppard. What are you going to do about it?” he challenged, only superficially resisting.
John stopped rubbing Cam for a moment to quickly open his pants and push them down. Curling his fingers around Cam’s hard dick he played with him, gingerly coaxing more moans out of him. “Maybe I should find some use for your insolent mouth?” he whispered, his tongue and lips tracing Cam’s throat.
Cam moaned out as John’s fingers wrapped around his cock. He panted and nodded. “I think that would be good idea, Commander...” Cam told him..
“Do you?” John lightly rubbed his thumb around the underside of the Cam’s dick before suddenly letting go and actually releasing him from being pinned. “Let’s see if you do,” he said, his tone a bit more like the Commander he had been to the Elites. “Undress and then get to your knees... show me you mean it.”
Cam shuttered, his cock going even harder as he rubbed the underside. When John let go, he exhaled sharply and immediately straightened. “Yes, Sir,” he told him, undressing as he kept his eyes on John. Cam stood naked, his cock hard and his glance hungry. He sank to his knees before him. Cam reached up, undoing John’s pants, pulling out his cock and started licking.
John licked his lips watching Cam undress, it took some control to just watch and not join him to pull off his clothes and kiss every inch of that warm skin. When Cam started licking his cock, John bit his lip to not moan out loudly. Instead he ran his hand through Cam’s hair, not really forcing anything but still there.
Cam glanced up at him as he wrapped his lips around John’s cock and started sucking up and down.
It was simply impossible to keep the moans back. John had a hard time to not jerk his hips forward. “Gods... such a talented mouth...” he moaned out, feeling the hot wetness engulf him. “such a hot, talented mouth...” it didn’t take him long to feel his balls tighten and to explode.
Cam swallowed his cock, deep throating his dick. As John ejaculated, he sucked it down, swallowing every last drop.
John panted, going limp. He grabbed Cam’s shoulders, drawing him up to kiss him fiercely, not minding his own taste on Cam’s lips. He made a point of licking them clean before gently pushing Cam down on the broad comfy bed. John shrugged off his own clothes and joined him, returning some attention to Cam’s leaking dick, by gently playing with his balls. “So ready...” he whispered, not quite relinquishing control, seeing how much it turned Cam on. “do you want to come?”
Cam kissed him back and then flopped down on the bed. He grinned, watching him undress, hissing and thrusting up as John touched him. “Yesss, so ready... Yes, Sir. I want to come. Please Sir... Please let me come.”
He was so ready but John wanted this to last a bit, so he leaned down, tracing his tongue over his balls, sucking them gently, playing with them before he did the same with the rock hard dick.
Cam shuddered as he gently sucked his balls. He hissed as he started sucking on his cock. “Yes, Sir... Yes, Sir. Oh fuck, John... Yesss.”
John took him down deep sucking on his cock, using his tongue to lick and tease the hard errection. One hand snaked up and rubbed Cam’s balls the same time. He loved to feel how Cam came apart with pleasure.
“John... John... I’m going to come...” he breathed out, panting as he got closer and closer.
Feeling that Cam was close John sucked him more intensely, doing all he could to push Cam over the edge, wanting him to loose himself to this.
Cam thrust up and shuddered, coming as he went limp. “Gods be damned...” he breathed out, laying on the bed.
John grinned as he lay down beside Cam, wrapping his arms around him. “Don’t care about gods.... not when I have you,” he said, kissing his cheek.
Cam smiled, relaxing into his embrace, falling asleep.
Dr. Sycorah walked into the center of the machine to check the systems. The poweroutput was staggering. Ever since they had placed those two into the same tank it was rising. She stepped close to the brightly lit tank. The two bodies inside were curled close to each other, holding each other while their minds were deeply immersed into the VR. A monitor above the tank showed the complex patterns that formed their dreamworld. Their minds were strongly interwoven, meashed in many places and the machine took that information to make the dream more real, more feasible. Something of course were based on assumptions. The dark one strongly displayed characteristics of the Ancients, which naturally meant that he was the leader, while the other was common baseline human.
She shrugged, so many things were assumptions when they were setting up a new powersource. But actually making the resets part of a nervous breakdown, of a delusion was genius, if she might say so. The concepts this one’s mind could not let go of were now part of their dreamworld, as something not real. This way his subconscious would hopefully stop to interfere. With that power output they would bring the defence systems up to maximum in no time.
It would be necessary to prolong their lives, Sycorah pondered. It would not do for them to die within a few months, not if they were such good sources. She would need to speak to the council to actually procure the resources to extend their lives, push back their expiry. For now she just could say everything was running smoothly.
Evan Lorne checked his rounds, glancing over to Teal’c as they got ready in the Gate Room. “How long did SG-3 wait to report back?” he asked, not liking that Colonel Sheppard was missing and still quite pissed about Atlantis being on Earth. But it wasn’t like it was Teal’c who made all those decisions.
“They searched for several hours, initially, then tried activating the obelisk on their own and ultimately reported back at their next check - in, ten hours later. The first search with several teams did not bring any other results, but a day was lost.” Teal’c informed him steadily, only his eyes betrayed the Jaffa’s frustration with the lost time. “The obelisk is the key to their vanishing but it will need activation through the Lantean Gene.”
Evan nodded tightly. “Which is what I’m here for,” he said dryly. “Let’s get our friends back, Teal’c.”
The Jaffa replied with a curt nod and took the lead through the gate. On the other side were two of the search teams which were back from their long and fruitless search in the hills. Except for some nods exchanged there was nothing else said as they headed out. Only when they were traversing the hilly grounds leading towards the stone obelisk, the Jaffa spoke again. “You seem angered, Major Lorne.” it was an observation he had made in the younger warrior’s demeanour, even as he tried to hide it.
Evan looked up at him. “That obvious?” he asked. “Sorry. I’m just aggravated at this entire mess, with Atlantis on Earth, our people getting reassigned... Plus, while he’s my CO... Colonel Sheppard is still a friend. I’m concerned about him-” he suddenly cut off, feeling something ache in his mind. “Whatever is here, is very, very loud...” Evan whispered, knowing Ancient Tech... and this was like someone screaming in his head.
Teal’c understood very well, to him Cameron Mitchell was a friend too, someone he’d not leave in danger. He had grown as close to him as the other team-members who had by and by been moving to take other tasks. He noticed the change in Lorne’s demeanour, only able to guess that it was something beyond his own sharp senses. “You can hear the obelisk already, Major Lorne?” he asked.
“Yes. It’s active and very much so. I’ve never had this much of a connection before... but it’s definitely Ancient Tech. John must be near it,” he told him, calming himself and insuring that he wasn’t a liability on this mission.
The Jaffa warrior took the information calmly, not rushing the Major. It was a mistake often made, pressuring those who had such skills into premature action. “Do not haste yourself, Major Lorne.” he said in his deep voice. “The obelisk vanished our friends, the more you understand it, the better we can find them.”
“There has to be something more... It’s active, whatever it really is...” Evan told him, grateful for the look of understanding Teal’c had. “Should we go closer... see what it is?” he asked, knowing that wasn’t the best course, but it was all they had.
The Jaffa inclined his head to the suggestion but slowed down his pace much, so Lorne could study the Obelisk better while they approached. To the Jaffa the Obelisk was simply that: a spire of dark stone, cut in geometric patterns that he had also seen on some walls in Atlantis, along with some writings on the polished surface. The writings were not deciphered yet, as they were no regular Ancient letters or language.
“It’s really strong here...” Evan said, feeling like he was trapped in a fog. He touched the Obelisk, seeing it light up under his hands as he pushed at it lightly, trying to figure out what the hell it did to Colonel Sheppard.
Teal’c stood close to the Major, ready to defend if necessary. Whatever this Obelisk had done, he doubted it was harmless.
Evan gasped as a white light hit them as they were transported into a lab of some sort. He felt dizzy and disoriented as he stumbled forward. “What is this place?”
The Jaffa felt the same dizziness but shook it off much faster, fast enough to use his weapon on the two attackers storming into the room. They were not human, or other species for that matter, they were machines. Silvery machines, hovering midair, armed and able to attack. The first gunshots proved only semi-efficient, but at least pushed them back long enough for the Jaffa to move closer and grab the first by one of it’s arms, smashing it into the second. They were not very durable, because several more hard contacts with the wall made them tumble down in demolished junk. Using the short reprieve they had Teal’c hurried back to his companion. “Major Lorne, are you alright?” he asked.
Evan looked around, his head much clearer. “I’m fine. Must be a temporary side effect. Gives them time to grab you...” he said, holding his weapon. “We’d better hurry. It won’t be long until they start the alarms blaring,” Evan said softly, cursing his luck that the other team didn’t get swept up with them.
Teal’c agreed silently. He was glad to see that Major had not suffered any damage from the Obelisk. With Ancient devices one never knew what they would do. Together they moved out into a long corridor of the same silvery metal. It twisted and they reached a junction just in time to evade a column of those hovering machines racing towards where they had come from. When they had passed them, as they crouched down in the side corridor, Teal’c turned to Lorne. “Colonel Mitchell and Sheppard are either fleeing or fighting as well,” he observed in a whisper. “we need to learn more about this place to find them.” The Jaffa was as calm and unfazed as always, the thought that they were only two in the middle of enemy territory did not shake him. He had a very competent warrior at his back, it was enough.
“Has to be,” Evan said, glad for his observation. “I hate to suggest this... but we could go the way they came... There might be a command center of some sort...”
Something akin to a smile broke the stern mien of the Jaffa. “It will be something they do not expect of their prey,” he replied, getting up. They followed the group of machines down the corridor back towards the room where the Obelisk had deposited them. Two were hovering near the entrance, the others were inside. Teal’c moved behind one of the hovering machines, to use it as shield as he grabbed the steel centurion's weapon’s arm and fired the gun on the next machine. The blue flash from the machine weapon proved much more efficient then their own guns.
Evan grinned. “Easy and even easier. Let’s hope they sent all their toys out already,” he told him as he opened the command center, slipping inside.
Teal’c took a closer look at the fallen machines and found that the gun could be removed from their hand. He aimed it at the one he had taken it from and fired, the blue flash melting the destroyed machine. He grabbed a second one from another wrecked machine for Lorne and followed him into the room. It was full of devices and systems that made little to no sense to the Jaffa. “Can you find their surveillance system?” he asked, hoping the Major had a clue what those systems were.
“I can try... but I’m surprised that there’s tech like this in Milky Way...” he said, heading to the console and holding the new weapon. Evan looked at the readouts, wishing he had someone more familiar with these systems with him. Luckily for him, he was pretty quick to pick up things. “I think I know why the Goa’uld never took this over... We’re in a protected city.”
Teal’c kept his silence, there had been a few advanced civilisations they had encountered in the Milky Way, so he was not too surprised to find another. “A protected city?” he asked. “Their technology was strong enough to resist the System Lords?”
“Their tech is strong enough that they can’t be found, unless the Obelisk allows them in. The only reason we got in was I activated it and you were close enough to get swept up in the teleportation wave. I think we might be somehow out of phase.. but I’m not sure. I only have a loose grasp of how this works here.”
The Jaffa took the information calmly. “It gives us a start, Major Lorne,” he replied. “Can you find out where Colonel Mitchell and Sheppard are?” They would need to find them first and then find a way to teleport out of the city again.
“I’m afraid not... but I’m still getting a sense of how it even works. Dr. McKay would cream himself to get to this...” Evan told him. “Or even Colonel Sheppard. He has a better genetic link than I do...” he said, focusing on Colonel Sheppard, wondering if that could help.
Teal’c shook his head. “But you are here, Major Lorne and they need you.” He said, then fell silent when he saw the Major focus on something not quite here. Suddenly a system flared up, a holograph showing a strange room full of tanks and tubes.
Evan looked at him, lowering his eyes briefly and nodded, pushing himself. He looked up and saw the holograph light up. “They’re there,” he said, trying to get the systems to give him more. “Map... We have a map!” he said with triumph as the map appeared beside the display.
“Well done, Major Lorne.” Teal’c’s eyes scanned the map, searching for the best way from their location to them. He suddenly frowned noticing the two shapes inside the tank. “They were put in that device, Major.” There was an echo of anger in the Jaffa’s voice, he did not allow himself to watch the picture further but went back to the map, quickly selecting the possible routes they could take.
Evan memorized the map then saw his CO trapped beside Colonel Mitchell as it magnified upon his intense look. “They’re hooked into it... What the hell are they doing to them?” he asked, seeing their nudity. “I think we should take this passage here... I might be able to sabotage the systems...” he told him, thinking destruct at the machines.
it didn’t need a genius to see some of the machines shutting down, others starting to work in erratic patterns. Agreeing with Lorne, Teal’c followed him down the passage they had chosen.
Cam felt the hairs on his head stand up. He rose from his bed, running down the halls. “John! Weapons! Now, Sir!” he yelled, trying to wake him up. Cam went to weapons cabinet, sliding his hand across it as he armed himself, cursing that there was something not right. Not here. Not now. “JOHN!” he shouted as weapons blasts started hitting the house. He got behind some cover and starting to fire back.
John had woken slower until the explosion shook the grounds. Blast it! Someone was attacking the city! He jumped up and joined Cam, grabbing guns. Outside he could see fires blazing, several buildings were aflame, and enemy troops were advancing towards their point. He could hear a hard, rattling gunfire that had to be the enemy weapons. “Cam, Sinorah barracks is about a mile from, we need to get there, join with the troops.” He said.
“Will they let us?” Cam asked, glancing at him, already working on gathering supplies. He spared a glance outside. “I think they’ve moved...”
“They will need every damned fighter they can get,” John could see that the city must be in dire straits because the main spire was ablaze, and other buildings too. Several battlegrounds, several fight groups attacking, but no clear aim to their target as of yet. They made it out of the house and in the cover of the fence towards the small wall by the road. John jumped across it, gunning down two attackers, who had been posted there, probably waiting for troops moving up the road. They wore strange uniforms of green and black.
Cam smirked. “Good point,” he told him. He covered John as they looked at the men. “What the hell sort of uniform is that?” Cam asked, frowning. Had... had he seen something like that before?
“No idea, unknown enemy, human classification,” John replied, quickly taking stock of the fallen invader. “Triangular symbol with a circle above seems to be their banner of sorts. I hope like hell, that intelligence knows something on them.” Another group was moving up the road and coming towards them. John raised his gun, using their position for an ambush.
“I didn’t piss them off this time,” Cam told him, falling back and flanking to protect their backs as more of the enemy came towards them. He aimed, carefully watching and looking for one that was in control.
It was not hard to spot the leader, a huge dark-skinned warrior who cut through several infanterists who had reached the road as well, with an ease and disregard that was frightening. John could see that this crossroads quickly became locked in a battle, as not only the enemy but also some of their own troops arrived, but their own people were much too quickly overwhelmed by the enemy.
Cam looked at him then to John. “He’s big... I think I can hit him,” he announced, glancing down his scope as he inhaled, firing as the lead soldier went down. The others started firing at them as Cam switched his weapon to rapid fire, killing more and more of them.
John grinned when the leader went down, firing as well. For a moment he saw one of their officers through his scope, a light-haired man that looked somewhat familiar... like someone he had seen before, but still he fired, taking him down. They had to get through this quickly. When the last of the soldiers was dead they moved out, up the road and towards the barracks. But it did not take long that they encountered the next group of enemies. When John saw their leader, he only just had the presence of mind to take cover. “It can’t be...” they had just killed him down the road. Had they?
“What the fuck?” Cam whispered, knowing he had killed him. He gritted his teeth and started firing, mowing them down and ducking shots. “Clones?” he asked as they ducked some fire from the enemy.
“Possibly,” John replied grimly, as they trailed behind a ledge to dodge shots. They found a spot that was easier to defend in a half-burned house. “Would explain why it feels like I should know them.”
“I know what you mean... They are familiar, but I don’t understand why it feels like we should know them...” Cam told him. “Mind helping a man understand?” he asked, staying low.
John exhaled sharply, his head was pounding, much as he tried to hide that fact from Cam. “I don’t know... it just feels like I should know their 2IC, that light-haired one. Like I DO know him... but I can’t place it. Except if we fought them before and our memories were altered for security reasons.”
“Then why the hell are they attacking us? If we know them...?” Cam asked. “John... Are you ok?” he questioned, seeing the stress lines on his face.
John put down his gun for a moment, leaning it against the broken stones, his hands were shaking. Never would he have allowed anyone to see him like that. “I... I can’t say. But part of me is reeling that I killed that one... like I should know I can’t, shouting at me to stop... and I know I have to fight.” He looked at Cam his green eyes wide. “Am I going crazy?” he asked in a whisper.
“Like me, you mean?” Cam asked. “You’re not the only one though... I feel like I murdered those colonists all over again...” he told him. “John. You’re not going crazy... When you go crazy, you can’t tell.”
Reaching up John squeezed Cam’s shoulder, the memory about the colonists was one that was hard to bear for Cam. “We need answers and intel,” he said after a moment, still the leader, the commander. “We’ll evade them and make our way to the barracks, they have a security outpost there as well, if those attackers are known...” A strange flash occured before his eyes, an unknown corridor, silvery lights... pain. He breathed out, praying that his mind was not leaving him entirely. He couldn’t let Cam down.
“Understood,” Cam told him as he reached out and squeezed his arm. “C’mon. Let’s go,” he said softly. “You’re going to be alright. These guys are just... they’re playing with us. Our heads.”
John nodded silently and they moved out, dodging the enemy group and making their way along the destroyed settlement towards the barracks. It was not easy, enemy groups appearing again and again, like an endless pattern. John struggled to keep his focus on the fight, and not allow his mind to return back to that silvery corridor he kept seeing.
Cam kept moving, staying low and close to his Commander.
The explosion rocked the grounds, stone slabs and concrete beams broke down, levelling then playing flield at least a little. Which was not saying much - they were still up against damn high odds. John pushed another mag into his raygun and kept on firing. They were barely covering the entrance to the street that lead towards headquarters and there was a whole bunch of troops after them. Finding about the enemy strength, disposition and numbers was still the primary task, but the longer this fighting the went, the more it puzzled John. Something did not add up, not about those attackers, not about their totally off tactics and certainly about how they got into the city. How had they breached the outer world defences and bypassed the fleet? There was only one answer to that, and that indicated treason.
The fire got heavier, as another wave of foreign soldiers arrived invariably clad in their green and black clothes. Unpractical, why did they not wear armor? John kept firing, weeding out what came their way, knowing that his friend was doing his job and had his back. He always knew that Cam had his back. Cam was further up still,his supporting fire holding back a lot of enemy troops. He had been the one to land that marvelous hit on that wretched leader again - the modifications to the weapons they had at home were certainly paying off. John’s enhanced vision spotted a movement, there were more enemies coming in.
Cam swore low as he saw the situation. "Shit," he said, jumping down to join his friend. "Keep firing. If it gets to be too much, we fall back." Cam ordered as he ran out of his charge and put another one into his weapon.
"Good plan," John had by now learned that their enemies were less accepting of suicide runs than they themselves were, they kept evading instead of wasting several hundred men to breach their fire curtain. He focused on firing in rapid succession, many of the soldiers that tried to mount the stairs leading up to the crossroads, fell as had others before. The dead piled up further down and would soon... they would soon be enough to provide cover for the attackers. "Cam - we need to get rid of the bodies," he contacted his second in command.
"No grenades left, John - I am down to nanos since my stay in hospital. Do we risk it?" Cam asked.
John understood the question, few were not aware about the extend of nanos in their bodies, and what they could do if necessary. And Cam’s nanos had been depleted after his long stay in hospital. "No - nanos are too slow, I have a better idea. Cover me." He got up, jumped foreward, roll over the ground and down the stairs, it was an exercise on speed, he still took hits, relying on his enhancements to deal with that, another jump through the air, across a barrier of rubble and he reached one of their dead, taking his weapon. Picking it up he cut his hand on it, infecting it with enough specialists nanos and threw it down, to the piles of corpses. He had only moments to get up and into cover - because the weapon exploded and ripped apart the piles of corpses along with a lot of enemy soldiers.
Cam was busy fighting when he felt the shake of the explosion. "John?!" he yelled into his radio, looking at the smoke billowing up from below him. "John! Status report!" he told them as he held the line.
John had rolled over the edge of broken wall and landed hard. He kept firing, keying the radio between shots. "Alive and acounted for,," reported back, knowing that Cam could not see him from his position. There were more soldiers coming but they had weeded their ranks out a bit.
Cam breathed out a sigh of relief. "Any luck yet?!" he yelled, hoping someone was getting somewhere. Not that he didn't just love being ass deep in enemy soldiers. It'd be damn nice if he was back at full fighting strength and had at least a clue what this was about. Or John should have a clue... someone needed a clue.
Cam looked at the battlefield. "I think I got an idea..." he said, jumping off where he had been standing and grabbing a long sharp crystal splinter from one of the buildings, that could easily serve a fighting weapon. One of the enemy leaders had been taken out but not the other. Finally spotting him, he threw the weapon, hitting him in the throat and impaling him on the tree. "Give them everything you've got!" he ordered, hoping this did something.
John reacted at once moving out, spearheading towards a formation of fighters that was about to break their way towards the road. With their leader going down, impaled by Cam's amazing throw, the troops got in a bit of a disorder. Knowing that Cam was following him down, hearing the gunfire, he began clearing the way towards their target. It was tough, but by and by they forced their way through the enemy lines onwards down the road. It was tough, he had never encountered so many enemies once, with so little backup. Where the hell were the other troops? Reinforcements? The local guard?
They reached another junction, closer to the barracks, taking cover between the rubble of what had once been a convinience store, trying to spy out the next enemy movements when it happened. John saw the troops moving in - again led by that dark man. He had just raised his gun to fire when a person - a child that had been hiding under a ruin close by, jumped up and tried to run away. The dark man turned around and fired... the small body was whirled through the air and crashed down close to them.
John wasted no time on one collataral, not with the same damned repetive enemy troop that again was advancing on them. He wished he had his armor to handle the damage, but they needed to keep moving. "Cam, follow me, we can’t get pinned down," he ordered, him andCam tackling the enemy soldiers again, not caring that it was not the first time they had to kill them..
Cam's eyes widened in horror as the child died, his mind going somewhere else as skill and instinct took over, killing everyone that remained in their path. He was a man... no, a demon, cutting a swath through their forces in his grief and rage.
John would always admit that it had been Cam who had made their retreat possible - he ripped through the ranks of the enemy with a fierce rage that was impressive, he killed the remaining troops, not caring how many there were. They made it through, reaching the other side of the barracks, but the place was empty. And they still had some more enemies coming at them.
Evan ducked fire as he loaded another clip, then started shooting more robots down. Their style had changed... It was much better than before. “Colonel Sheppard is controlling these things... I just... I know it.”
Teal’c fired his gun, dodged a second robot and used him as a weapon against a third one. Major Lorne’s assessment surprised him, but also drew memories of several aliens that had captured SG1 and tried to use them for similar purposes. “We need to reach the chamber and free them,” He stated. “if Colonel Sheppard is controlling our enemies, how can we get past them?” It was not an idle question, no one knew better how to outsmart a commander than his own 2IC.
“Something big. He’ll be expecting a distraction, but I think we’ll be able to use his weakness. We need to get Colonel Mitchell away from him, separate and leave Sheppard alone. He’ll do anything to save his people and right now, that’s Mitchell.”
“They seemed connected in the tank,” The Jaffa answered, as they sneaked around a corner and down another corridor. “do you think we should seperate them in there, Major Lorne?” Or maybe the Major with his affinity for the tech understood better what to do. Maybe taking Mitchell out of the tank first would make Sheppard power down the defences.
“Maybe. Or we do something really stupid, connect me to the machine and I’ll try it that way,” Lorne told him. “There are other alcoves, other areas that are set up the same way. But we need to get Mitchell away from him.”
The tall Jaffa took that suggestion thoughtful while he finally locked the door that led to the room with the tanks. “Are you sure that is wise, Major Lorne?” he asked, his own experiences with a VR that would not let him go, were nothing Teal’c had forgotten easily. “You are the only one who can influence those systems. Maybe I should try to get Colonel Mitchell away from him?” Deep down Teal’c shied away from the thought of again being lost in a merciless machine, but a warrior was never deterred by fear.
“I know it’s not wise. But I can’t stand here, shooting these tinker toys when we have a way of dealing with them. If you tear him away, you might end up killing him... You might be able to monitor it from the outside...” Evan told him, hoping like hell this worked. “Get me out if I get too deep...”
Teal’c could see that Lorne was set on it. He nodded silently, seeing it was their only way to deal with the problem. Keeping his eyes on the strange monitors of the alcove, he watched as Lorne joined the strange system.
Evan sighed, seeing the alcove and stepped in, seeing it seal around him as his eyes rolled back in his head and he was thrown into the reality before him. He ducked down, running as he spotted them. Evan paused, seeing himself and Teal’c fighting. Oh hell. They used their images to identify him and Teal’c as enemies. Well. Ok. He would be a bad guy. Evan crept closer, thinking hard as he was granted a weapon. He fired and stunned them both, grabbing Cameron and carrying him off in a fireman’s carry and hurrying away.
John woke from the daze realising that Cam was gone. Only the years and years of training enabled him to not freeze in shock. They had taken Cam! His Cam... He pushed himself up, grabbing his weapon. He’d not allow them to get away with that, he’d rescue Cam and then deal with those damned invaders. His heart was still racing as a plan formed in his mind. He knew where to follow, not quite how he knew, but he KNEW. And he took up the chase.
Evan hid in a cave, checking the ropes around Colonel Mitchell’s wrists and ankles as he waited for him to come around.
Cam grunted, waking up as he glanced around. “Release me immediately!”
“I can’t do that, Colonel Mitchell. You’re not who you think you are. This isn’t real.”
Cam scoffed. “You don’t even have your facts straight. I never made it to Colonel. Whoever you are, you’re not going to turn me and I will not be captured alive for your Masters.”
Evan looked at him, at a bit of a loss. “Ok. They turned your head even more than I expected,” he said with a sigh. He touched his head. “Sorry, Sir. But you need to wake up.”