Crystal could burn.
That was one of the many thoughts running through Rodney's mind as they huddled beside the roaring fire.
Due to this planet's taboos – that even Teyla hadn't known existed – they couldn't enter the village till morning. A miscalculation of the planet's rotation had brought them there at dusk, and they'd decided to camp. They'd surprised a scout, who had told them of the taboos in a rather nervous voice, but they hadn't seen anyone since.
Teyla had retreated to bed hours ago, and Ronon had taken first watch. When he'd woken John for his turn, he'd inadvertently woken his tentmate up as well.
And so, Rodney and John were sitting by the rebuilt fire. John was telekinetically roasting a pair of hot dogs, and Rodney was flipping crystal balls into the fire and watching each one explode and make the fire burn brighter and hotter for a moment.
Rodney didn't know why it fascinated him so. His 'crystal' was nothing but solidified air, after all.
John floated a perfectly done hot dog over to Rodney, who smiled and began to eat. "Hm. All beef – you remembered."
"You sound surprised."
"Not really. What surprises me is how you managed to get real, all-beef hot dogs."
"Novak owed me a favour. She brought some on the Daedalus."
Rodney nodded and just ate, lost in thought.
"Hey." John tapped his knee. "What's goin' on behind those eyes?"
"Don't you start channeling the Who and warbling about nobody knows what it's like behind blue eyes."
John laughed at that, and Rodney smiled as well.
After a few moments of comfortable silence, Rodney asked, "D'you ever miss it?"
John frowned. "Miss what?"
"When it was just out here. When we didn't have to answer to Earth."
"It had its good points," John admitted. "But it's easier now."
"No argument there." Rodney finished his meal and stood – freezing at a SNAP! from the woods.
John gained his feet as well – and his gun. Before he could hand Rodney his, a yell erupted from Teyla's tent.
"Wraith!" she yelled as she ran from her tent and Ronon bolted awake.
John threw Rodney his gun as eight Wraith strode into the clearing, already firing.
The Team hit the dirt and returned fire. "John!" Rodney yelled. "Stunners!"
John nodded and frowned deeply.
Two of the stunners obligingly overloaded and exploded. Two others became encased in crystal. The other four were no longer a threat – their owners dead at Teyla and Ronon's hands.
With the unexpected explosions and encasements, three of the Wraith were swiftly overcome. The final one managed to use the confusion to get close enough to grab Rodney and snarl, "You will cease!" He brought his feeding hand frighteningly near to Rodney's chest. "Or this one feeds me!"
"Not today, no," Rodney replied, his voice a furious calm.
And the Wraith roared in shock as Rodney's fingers closed around the wrist of his feeding hand.
Which enclosed to the elbow in crystal.
Horrified, the Wraith threw Rodney to the ground, not even noticing that Rodney instantly flipped to his back and grabbed his fallen gun. Seconds later, the Wraith was dead from four guns' reports.
And a chirp sounded in their ears. "SGA1, this is Daedalus. Reporting weapons fire at your position – everything all right?"
John was breathing heavily as he answered, "Daedalus, this is Sheppard. Mission is a bust. It was an ambush. No casualties on my team – eight Wraith dead."
"Copy that. Do you want to Gate back, or come with us?"
"We'll Gate back, thanks all the same. Keep the channel open in case we have cause to take you up on that."
"Understood, Colonel. Daedalus out."
Rodney caught John's eye. "I see what you mean about easier."
"Nice to know we're not alone out here," John grinned.
"You never were," Teyla reminded them as they broke camp.
John grinned, and glanced over his shoulder at their campfire. It obligingly surged from its pit.
As they entered the woods for the final time, the fire greedily consumed the Wraith bodies – one by one.
Return to The Stargate: Atlantis page
Return to The Realm