I looked around the Bay, checking on my charges. Six was dirty. I'd have to email Parrish about bringing her back without washing her.
Eight's finish was chipped. I ran my fingers over her marred side. The meteoroid storm had battered a few Jumpers – but I'd thought they'd been repaired.
Looks like we missed one. I patted her flank. "I'll set you to rights, baby," I assured her.
One was not in her place. That meant only one thing – Colonel Sheppard's team was offworld.
I felt my insides clench. There was no telling what shape One would be in when they returned.
I know people worry about me. Doctor Weir sent me to see Doctor Kate several times. But honestly, I'm fine.
I just understand the Jumpers. And I think they understand me. Honestly, they remind me a lot of my horses back on Earth.
Doctor Kate tells me that the Jumpers aren't living things. But she can't feel the way they hum. I'm told my gene is pretty good, and that's why I can feel them like this. I'm nowhere near Colonel Sheppard's ability – but honestly, I don't have to be. Not to do my job.
Technically, they call me a technician assigned primarily to the Jumper Bay. But me? I see myself as the Jumpers' Caretaker.
My thoughts were interrupted by klaxons from the Control Room. "Unscheduled offworld activation!" I heard Campbell call.
Then came the words I had been dreading. "This is McKay! We're coming in hot!"
That was all I had to hear. I went to my console and turned the carousel so that One's space was closest to the entrance.
One sailed sluggishly into her place less than two minutes later. I could see McKay's face in the windscreen, drawn with worry as he piloted her in.
The hatch opened and I watched in mute horror as Colonel Sheppard and Teyla were carried away on gurneys. Teyla was awake, her only injuries seeming to be a visibly broken leg. Sheppard... I hadn't seen that much blood since...
Well, since the last time they bled all over One!
Dex and McKay bolted after the gurneys, and I approached One. "Oh, baby," I whispered, "what happened this time?"
I checked One out thoroughly, made a repair schedule and listened to the automatically recorded logs while I carefully cleaned the blood off of her floor and seats.
"Oh, boy," I breathed. "The natives wanted to reverse engineer you, huh, girl?" I rested my hand on her console. "I'm glad you made it home."
I knew who else would be glad to hear how she was. So when he was up for visitors, I went to tell Colonel Sheppard that his favourite Jumper was going to be just fine.
He was still a little too out of it to remember my name – but the grateful smile he gave me before he drifted back to sleep said it all.
I knew he would appreciate it. He loved the Jumpers almost as much as I did.
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