By Enola Jones

Absolute silence was necessary if he was going to make it to the Gate and back home.

So he whispered for Puppy to be quiet as they crept along.

This world was the last outpost before Atlantis. It was absolutely vital that he get there with the information he had obtained.

So when he heard footsteps along the corridor, he'd duck out of sight.

But this morning, when he'd woken up in the cave that had sheltered him for the night, there had been Wraith footprints in the snow. Too close for comfort, even on this forest world.

"What do you think, Puppy?" he whispered as he looked up at the beautiful stained glass in the corridor. "Think we can make it home before the nasty Wraith see us?"

His pace quickened, crunching snow and grass underfoot. He knew he was leaving a trail, but he was so close and if he could make it before they got there he wouldn't be made a Runner and they'd have the information and --

A hand on his shoulder made him yelp. "Wraith!"

"Not hardly," came a deep voice full of laughter.

He turned and grinned. "Uncle Ronon!" He gave him a quick hug. "I's movin' quiet!"

"I see that," Ronon smiled. "You're improving, Rodney."

The boy's beaming smile warmed Ronon all the way through.

"So," he asked as he lifted Rodney and tucked him and Puppy comfortably on his hip, "Why were you sneaking quietly down a corridor?"

"I wasn't in a corridor, I was on Martos! And I had informative I had to get to Lantis. But there was Wraith there, so we had to be quiet."

Ronon listened, noting the mangled word and figuring he meant "information". "Did you make it to Atlantis with the intel?"

"Almost. I was just at the DHD when you caughted me."

Ronon looked at him, then sat him on his feet.

"Uncle Ronon?"

Ronon straightened his shoulders and deepened his voice to a command growl. "I'll hold them off, soldier. Dial that address and get us home."

Rodney broke into a dazzling smile.

Then he spun to the DHD, ignoring the stunner blasts flying all around them.

How the Commander found him wasn't important. That he had found him was.

Six symbols. Seven. The wormhole engaged with a roar.

"It's open!" he called. "Let's go! Let's go!"

His Commander fired one more bolt, then took the young man's hand.

And they leapt to safety through the Gate together.


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