By Enola Jones

PYX-903 turned out to be a society that was nearly completely male. The women were kept completely out of sight, which made knowing about their full society very difficult.

When AR-1 came through the Gate, and the guards saw that a woman was with them, they had erupted in rage.

The words that flew translated as horrible, ugly ones. None of AR-1 could get a word in, as the shouts became chants became inarticulate screams.

It wasn't long before AR-1 realised they were being herded -- led farther and farther from the Gate and cut off from it by a sea of people. And upon that realisation -- things began to happen.

First of all, the four of them bunched tighter together. Then they surged backward, breaking free of the crowd and surging back toward the Gate.

They had nearly made it when they were abruptly cut off by twelve glowering warriors. "Surrender," one boomed. "You are outnumbered three to one!"

"You are severely outnumbered," a second one rumbled. "If you are gamblers, those odds are terrible."

The leader of AR-1, in response, smirked. "I'd say they're better than you think."

The warriors began to laugh and the laughter only grew when the broad one with the thinning hair stepped forward. They were pointing at him and laughing.

Until he raised his hands, the wrists crackling with energy. With a crooked smirk, he pushed those hands forward.

Crystal formed from nothing, coating all twelve weapons.

Abruptly, all laughter stopped.

The other man in uniform pushed his smoked glasses to the top of his head. Small rocks rose from the ground and surrounded them like a shield.

The woman produced a pair of Bantos rods from seemingly nowhere, lowering into a fighting crouch and twirling them in a martial manner, showing she knew how to use them -- and how to use them well.

The third man drew a sword and the warriors all gasped as they recognised the make. "Satedan," they murmured.

"All we want," the leader said in his strange, lazy cadence, "is to peacefully leave. We'll never return."

The warriors looked at each other, then one stepped forward. "What proof of that -- besides your word?"

The Satedan replied, "He could have sent those rocks into you. He didn't. McKay could have smothered you with crystal. He didn't."

"Our weapons," another growled.

"You'll get them back," the crystal-maker said. "After we're gone."

The warriors parted and the four walked to the Gate.

Moments later, they were gone.

Back on Atlantis, even before they went to the Infirmary for their post-mission checkups, Rodney shut that world's address out of the computers.


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