By Enola Jones

“Just once,” John growled as he dragged himself through the underbrush. “Just once, I’d like to come through that ring and meet a race of nice, primitive aliens that think we’re gods, gladly hand us a ZPM, and we’re on our merry way!”

He pulled himself against a tree with a grunt, and closed his eyes to rest for a few moments. “Yeah… right.”


“Like hell!” Rodney exploded at Elizabeth. “If you think for one damn minute I’m going to sit here on my ass while—“

She held up a hand. “Rodney, please! You did what you could in the time you had! You got Teyla home and she’s being treated.”

“Meanwhile, Sheppard is still back there!” Rodney snarled.

“Major Lorne and Carson will take care of Colonel Sheppard. You’re needed here more than—“

“Yeah, well, this is me not caring!” he roared, gesturing wildly at the gate. “I am on his team and his team doesn’t leave anyone behind!” He straightened. “I’m. Going." And he walked out of her office.

“Rodney McKay, get back here!” she shouted after him.

He turned to face her. “You know what, Elizabeth? You can kiss my ass!” And he spun around and resumed his stalk, bellowing for Zelenka.

Elizabeth watched him go, her jaw hanging open. She’d just seen clear evidence of exactly how much John Sheppard meant to his team.

He meant mutiny.


Rodney stopped by the infirmary. He ran his fingertips along Teyla’s forehead, smiling slightly as the worried creases smoothed a little. He looked at the monitors that surrounded her body.

Her vitals were stronger. The poison those bastards had injected her with was being counteracted.

Rodney smiled and bent down. “We’ll bring him home, Teyla,” he whispered to the sleeping woman.

“Or die trying,” Ronon rumbled from the doorway.

Rodney straightened, scowling at the doorway. “Thanks ever so. I was trying not to think about that!”

“Are you coming?” At Rodney’s incredulous look, Ronon nodded. “Then come on. Lorne’s waiting for you.”

“For me? What about you?”

He raised his arm, the cast clearly visible on his wrist. They’d fought their way to the Gate, and his arm had paid the price. “I’d only slow you down.”


John leaned against the tree, gathering his strength. He wasn’t far from the Gate – he knew that -- but he might as well have been on Mars for all the good that did him.

The idle thought crossed his mind – he wondered if Mars even had a Gate.

He closed his eyes for a moment. Just a moment, then he’d get up and head right to the –

A rustling sound made his eyes snap open. “Oh… no… No way!”

A large snake slithered into the clearing. Its forked tongue flicked, tasting the air. Then it turned and headed right for John.

“Oh, hell, you want seconds,” John groaned, trying to stand. “You can’t have it!” he snarled.

But the snake continued its steady, deadly advance.

John closed his eyes and prepared for the now-familiar biting sting, the burn of venom, and the sound of happy hissing.

But, instead, came the welcome sound of P-90 fire. The hiss was of pain and terror. There was the wet squelch of bloody scales hitting hard soil.

John opened his eyes to see Rodney, Lorne and Carson rocketing into the clearing. Rodney and Lorne held smoking P-90s.

Rodney holstered the gun and knelt beside the bloody snake’s body. With a grimace of disgust, he cut the snake’s head from its body and slid it into a biohazard bag. “Got it!” was the last John heard clearly. “Antivenin, here we come!”

Lorne lifted John over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and Carson’s mouth was moving, but John could no longer understand what was being said. Darkness lapped greedily at the edges of his consciousness, closing in rapidly.

Thank you, God, he thought as the pull of darkness became too strong to resist. I won’t die alone….


When John opened his eyes again, he looked around and frowned. Odd. Being dead looks a lot like the Infirmary…

When he turned his eyes, he saw Teyla smiling at him. “…. Hey.”

Her smile grew. “Hey,” she repeated.


“No, John.” She squeezed his hand. “Not dead. Carson counteracted the serpents’ bites. We are both fine.”

“The… the ZPM?”

“Damaged,” Teyla sighed. “Unsuitable. Rodney is furious.”

John chuckled weakly. “I bet.” He felt his eyes droop. “Oh… come on…. Not fair!”

Teyla chuckled. “Rest easy, John. This is a normal part of your healing.”

“Still… sucks!” And he was out.


“So what happened?” John demanded. “Teyla told me some of it – but why in the hell was Teyla shot with those poison darts and why the hell was I thrown into that damn snakepit and left for dead?”

“Two words,” Ronon snarled. “The Genii.”

Rodney nodded. “Yeah, those bastards thought they could prove to the high and mighty Genii that they were on their side, by getting rid of the two the Genii found most … troublesome,” he finished with a grimace.

“Then why didn’t they put you into that pit?” John growled. He was tired, irritable, and wanted nothing more to do with that planet or its deluded natives or its damn giant reptiles.

But Rodney’s reply – unusually soft-spoken – stopped him cold.

“That’s just it, John – mistaken identity. They thought they had put me in that pit.”


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