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Atlantis, Present Universe

"It's looking better, Carson, but it's still not quite right." Emmagan said as she peered through the electron microscope. "A little more and we should get it."

"Aye," he replied. He paused to roll his shoulders; he couldn't remember how long he'd spent hunched over his laptop. Immediately, he felt Teyla's hands massaging the stiff muscles of his neck and shoulders, and relaxed, despite himself. They were making great progress on finding a counteragent to the Hoffan virus, but there was still a missing piece somewhere.

"Did you see Radek earlier? He was staring at Jeannie during lunch. They said they were going to work on Sheppard's Gate proposal in the lab, but—"

Carson turned his head to look at her; the teasing tone was so much like his Teyla's, but it was different somehow. "Are you sayin' that Radek's—"

"More than a bit distracted? Definitely. Don't blame the man, though. Jeannie's like her brother; if she's bound and determined to reach a goal, then she'll get it. She's just a lot sneakier about it."

"Ah? And how would you know that?"

She chuckled. "Because she just is. Let's face it…Radek needs someone like her, otherwise he'd be holed up in his lab all day without a break."

"Aye. That's true—" Carson frowned. Is it? I don't remember anything about— A cold dread filled his mind, but for the life of him, he couldn't understand why. It was as if there was a veil over his memory, something that he couldn't quite reach…

"Carson, love? What's wrong?"

He shook his head and tried to shake the cobwebs out of his thoughts. "Nothin', lass. I think I've been starin' at this screen for far too long."

She sighed and turned off the electron microscope with a snap. "We've been at this for a while. I think it's time to take a break."

"Couldn't agree more with you." He shrugged off his lab coat and took a deep breath. What was happening to him? He'd caught himself staring at her across the lab and thinking,Something isn't right about this. Teyla isn't supposed to be here in the Infirmary. She's… Then his common sense reasserted itself and said, This isn't supposed to be her shift, daft idiot. Teyla's puttin' in a lot of extra time helpin' you with this. She wouldn't do this unless she really loved you…

Wait a moment. She loved him? He loved her? When did that happen? He couldn't remember, but it felt right, so he stopped wondering. You still can't believe it, do you, after all this time? That she'd care for you the way she does…

A pair of lips gently pressed against his and startled him. Automatically, his arms went up around her, his hands buried themselves into her honey-brown hair. God Almighty…

"If McKay comes in again and interrupts us, I'll give him an emergency lobotomy," she murmured, when he lifted his lips from hers.

He laughed and shook his head. "Don't think that'll be necessary, love, not at all. Let me check on our patient and we'll get dinner—"

"Only if you promise we can have dessert first," she whispered.

"Bein' a little cheeky, are we?" he teased her.

"Just for you, Carson. Just for you."

"All right, if you wanna go on ahead, I'll catch up with you."

She smirked and whispered, "Dessert, just not in the Mess Hall. I promise."

"Promises, promises, lass. Off with ye, now." He grinned at her saucy wink as she left the Infirmary. All he had to do was check on his lone patient, then he could look forward to an enjoyable evening.

*****

Elizabeth opened her eyes to a gray ceiling. Where was she? What had happened? She felt a lingering headache, but otherwise, she was fine. Did she collapse? Had she hit her head somewhere?

"Elizabeth?"

She managed to turn her head to see Carson at her side. So, she was in the Infirmary. Why? "Carson, what happened?" she whispered.

"Och, you had a bit of a fainting spell in the Conference Room. How do you feel?"

She frowned. "All right, just a bit of a headache."

"You scared the bejesus out of everyone there, including Doctor Sheppard and Captain McKay. I told both of 'em you'll be right as rain in the mornin'." He smiled and patted her arm. "Doctor Cole's takin' over for me, so if you got any problems, let her know."

Elizabeth nodded. Wait a minute, something didn't sound right. If her condition had been serious, Carson would've been reluctant to leave her; he'd be like that with any of his patients?

He seemed to read her mind, for he added, "Nothing serious, but it's better to be safe. Now, I want you to get as much rest as you can, all right?"

She managed a smile. Maybe her little "episode" hadn't been as traumatic as she'd thought. "Okay."

"I'm takin' Teyla to dinner, but I'll be back to check up on you in a bit, okay?"

"Okay—" She suddenly felt a cold chill. Wait, this wasn't…by the time she managed to pull her addled thoughts together, Carson had already left the Infirmary. A sense of urgency hit her.The shift, it's already causing major changes in the timeline. Now Carson and Teyla are co-workers and…oh, boy.

"Doctor Weir?"Ronon's deep bass startled her. She looked up to see him leaning against the doorframe.

"Ronon? Specialist Dex?"

He nodded soberly, indicating that was still aware of the "real" universe. "I see it, Doctor Weir. More and more people are forgetting."

"But you aren't."

"No. Sateda was never destroyed in my universe, remember? I still hold it here—" he tapped his temple, "and here." He tapped his chest, over his heart. "I don't want to accept the fact they're gone forever."

"That might be what's shielding you from the effects right now."

"Probably. What gonna happen when everyone forgets, even you, but I don't?"

She got up from the bed, but her legs refused to hold her. Ronon crossed the room in three quick strides and caught her. He steadied her until she regained her footing. "Thank you."

"No problem."

"Captain McKay? Doctor Sheppard?"

"They're in the Gate Room, still trying to figure out a way to connect the Stargate. As far as I know, they still remember, but I think we've lost Teyla."

"And Carson. I think he believes he and Teyla are…together."

"They are."

She raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"They are in my universe. They aren't here?"

Elizabeth opened her mouth to say "no", but something stopped her from doing it. Instead, she replied, "I don't know."

Ronon only nodded sagely, but changed the subject. "Let's go see McKay."

They left the Infirmary together, out of the sight of Doctor Cole in her office. Elizabeth felt a twinge of guilt for leaving without permission; Carson was going to have a fit when he found out.

Suddenly, Chuck's voice came over the intercom. " Unscheduled offworld activation!"

She and Ronon looked at each other, then Elizabeth shouted, "Come on!" She began to walk as fast as she could towards the Gateroom; he kept pace, though he could have easily outran her. By the time they reached the Gateroom, it was chaos, with Sheppard, Radek, Jeannie and Chuck trying to figure out what was going on.

"Where's it coming from?" Radek demanded.

"I don't know," Chuck replied, unfazed by Radek's question, "but it's definitely something I haven't seen before."

"Alert Major Lorne," Elizabeth ordered, "and get a security and a medical team to the Gateroom." All heads turned to her as she slowly made her way to the command console. "Activate the shield."

Chuck shook his head. "Can't. Whoever it is managed to override it."

"What the hell are you doing up?" Sheppard demanded, sparing an angry look at Ronon. "You should be in the Infirmary—"

"Captain McKay, Doctors Beckett and Emmagan, Sergeant Stackhouse and Specialist Dex to the Gateroom!" Evan's order rang through the corridors.

Stackhouse and his men took up positions; Captain McKay joined them as the medical teams arrived. Ronon went down the Gateroom stairs to join McKay, blaster already in hand. The two men only nodded each other, and by some sort of unspoken agreement, Ronon took a position behind McKay.

Emmagan glanced over at Carson, who rolled his eyes. He marched up the stairs and into the Control Room. He looked over at the cycling Gate, then back at Elizabeth, who was staring at it, unblinkingly.

"Elizabeth—"

"I'm staying, Carson." Her tone brooked no argument; Carson clamped his mouth shut against what he really wanted to say to her, but she knew she'd hear about it later.

Chuck's panicked tone made her look at him. The normally calm sergeant sounded ready to have a breakdown, which told her things were very bad. "What the—? this isn't possible!"

"What is it?" she demanded, dreading the answer.

"The IDC's supposed to be canceled! It shouldn't be able to work, but it's working!"

"Cancelled?" Radek repeated. "Ford's?"

"No, Doctor Z, it's not Ford's. It's—"

The sound of the Stargate finally locking overrode Chuck's voice and the harsh light blinded everyone, He had to turn away, as did almost everyone else, but Elizabeth's steady gaze hadn't wavered one bit. The portal erupted into a plume of white and blue, then turned into a strange aquamarine that Elizabeth had never seen before. It reminded her of warm water in the Caribbean, and she instinctively knew it wasn't from anywhere in the Milky Way or Pegasus.

A shadow coalesced within the gate, one eerily familiar. Elizabeth gasped aloud. No, it can't be…She already knew who it was. Elizabeth made her down the Gate Room stairs; a part of her marveled at the fact she hadn't tripped over her own feet or gone into convulsions. In fact, the closer she came, the steadier she felt.

"Elizabeth!" Carson called, as he hurried after her. "What're you doin'?"

"Doctor Weir!" Evan shouted.

"Ma'am!" Sergeant Stackhouse echoed, as his squad raised their rifles, ready to fire at the intruder.

"Stand down, Sergeant." Her voice sounded strange, even to herself.

"What?" Stackhouse yelled back. He gave Evan a look of confusion.

"I said, stand down!"

Mystified, Evan glanced at the Marines and nodded. They lowered their weapons only a fraction. McKay came up to join Elizabeth, while Ronon waited a pace behind him. She already knew he was alive in that other universe. McKay and his team had alluded to it, but the sight of him was still like seeing a ghost.

"Peter," she whispered.

He halted just outside the Gate and met her gaze. Except for some silver around his temples and worry lines at his eyes, he looked exactly as he'd been, three years before. No, not exactly: he looked older, painfully older. The burden of being the Expedition leader in his universe had taken its toll, and her heart cried out for him.

Then he smiled, that slight quirk of his lips that she remembered so well. "Elizabeth."

Her knees threatened to give out on her, but he stepped forward and caught her before she collapsed. All of her emotions, tightly repressed and forgotten for three years, came rushing back, as she buried her head into his shoulder with a muffled sob. His arms tightened around her in response.

"Elizabeth, I've missed you so much."

She could only nod. A part of her wanted to just stay like this forever, safe and warm within his arms, and damn the consequences. Yet another part of her reminded her, He can't stay. You know that.

"Peter, what the hell are you doing here?" McKay snapped, breaking the moment. "And how did you manage it?"

Peter glanced at him as Elizabeth raised her head from his shoulder. His tone was bone-dry. "So good to see you too, Meredith."

"I'll be damned," said Sheppard, who'd come down from the Control Room. "You got here by—"

"—the Intergalactic Bridge. We've managed to stabilize it from our side, but we don't know for how long." He brought his gaze back to Elizabeth, his expression one of painful regret. "There isn't much time, Elizabeth. Rodney—your McKay—may have found a way to get our people home."

"Doctor Sheppard's as well," Elizabeth said. She struggled to regain her facade, but it took her more effort than she had. "Then we have a lot to do."

Peter nodded at her, then glanced once around the Gateroom. He met Carson's stunned expression, then Dr. Emmagan's, and smiled with a "later-for-you" look. She blushed.

"We can talk in my office," Elizabeth said. "This way."

Peter chuckled and shook his head. "Let me help you. I can tell you haven't been well."

"I—" She began to protest, but he cocked his head at her with a resolute twinkle in his eyes. "All right." Slowly, they made their way across the Gateroom, which had fallen into a deep silence. Most of the people in the room had arrived after Grodin had died, and had little idea who this man was, but they all sensed he had been important to Doctor Weir in some special way and respected that.

The few who had came with the original Expedition, though, was stunned to see a dead man come back to life. Grodin winked at Stackhouse, and nodded at Carson as he mouthed, "Talk later." The Scotsman only nodded in response. Chuck shot to his feet as Elizabeth and Grodin entered the Gate Room; Radek stared, openmouthed, then Jeannie nudged him in the ribs. He couldn't help but grin as his old friend reached over and clapped him on the shoulder.

"Radek."

"Peter. I must admit this is a shock."

Peter laughed and shrugged. "Always expect the unexpected in Atlantis, old friend."

Chuck's mouth worked several times before anything came out. "Doctor Grodin, sir, uh—it's good to see you again."

"Chuck." Peter extended a hand and shook the dumbfounded Gate tech's hand. "It's good to see you too, lad. Taking care of the Control Room, I see."

"Uh, yes, sir."

He chuckled and glanced at Elizabeth. "We're going to need his assistance as well."

She nodded, then said, "You're with us, Chuck."

He nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, ma'am!"

Peter grinned at her. "Some things don't change."

*****

It didn't take long to outline the plan, much to Elizabeth's relief, for it was similar to Dr. Sheppard's and Radek's. As the science teams hashed out the particulars, Elizabeth sat in her chair, talking quietly to Peter. He'd given her a quick overview of his Atlantis, and how desperate they were over there. She listened as his accent grew thicker, which only happened when he was under tremendous stress. Automatically, she squeezed his hand in comfort.

"Sounds like you've been having a rough time of it," Carson commented from Elizabeth's other side. He'd insisted she wear a monitor in return for allowing her to remain out of the Infirmary, though he still hadn't said anything about her escape. His glare at Ronon said plenty. Peter's reappearance had seemed to jolt Carson's true memory, but how long would that last?

"Yes." Peter sighed and rubbed his temples. "The Wraith, the Replicators, the Ori, the Genii, you name it, we've got it. We've got allies throughout the Pegasus Galaxy, but I'm not sure if it'll be enough."

"We could send support troops through the Gate, sir," Stackhouse suggested. "Help you out."

Evan shook his head ruefully. "Not without screwing up the universes even more, Sergeant."

Peter smiled at Stackhouse's offer, but only nodded at Evan's words. "I appreciate the offer, but unfortunately, this is one war we'll have to win on our own."

Carson sighed, his blue eyes troubled. "But there's a real possibility that your Atlantis might lose."

Peter hesitated as he met Emmagan's gaze, then let out a heavy sigh. "Yes. Unfortunately. Rest assured, we're going to do everything we can not to let that happen, Carson."

"Got that right," rumbled Ronon.

McKay nodded in agreement, then frowned as something occurred to him. "Do you think that the worsening situation is directly related to the shift in the universes? That it might change when we get back?"

"Perhaps, but there's no way to know just what will change, or how much," Peter replied.

There was a sudden flurry among the scientists at the opposite end of the table. " Yes, yes, this should work," Radek said as he, Jeannie and Sheppard pored over the tablet Peter had given them. "With a few modifications on Rodney's original design…"

Jeannie chuckled. "Don't let my brother hear you say that, milacku."

Sheppard grinned and quipped, "We won't tell him."

Elizabeth asked, "How long do you need?"

Radek sighed. "We'll have to Gate to as many planets as we can to adjust the DHDs. Of course we can't go back to every one, for various reasons. Plus, we are on a deadline. Twenty-four hours. Forty-eight at the most."

"But there are hundreds of planets in the database, Radek."

"The more, the better."

"We'd better get started then. Major Lorne—?"

Evan straightened. "Ma'am?"

"Get as many Gate teams together as you can and take someone capable of making the necessary adjustments to the DHDs. I know that means most of the Science and Engineering departments, but if we can pull this off—"

He exchanged a glance with Stackhouse, then nodded. "Say no more, ma'am. We'll get it done."

"I'll go," Sheppard said. "I can do this in my sleep."

"So will we," Jeannie said, with Radek nodding in agreement.

Chuck nodded as well; Elizabeth could tell that he was already making arrangements in his head. "Doctor Grodin, I hate to ask you this, but…I'm going to need some help coordinating everything through the main Gate in the Control Room. Can—?"

Peter smiled and squeezed Elizabeth's hand. "Say no more, lad. I'll be happy to help. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do. I get the impression that our Cities are a little different, but I'll do what I can."

"Thank you, sir."

Elizabeth caught his smile and found herself smiling back. Twenty-four hours, forty-eight at most. Might as well make the best of it.



Britgate

Night fell over the compound, but Teyla couldn't sleep, as sounds from the other cells echoed from the hallway. Screams, sobs, curses…and much worse, and she tried to close her ears to them all. She felt the presence of many Wraith, all crowding her mind and trying to gain access to everything she knew about her universe, and Grodin's Atlantis. It was an effort to shield her thoughts, but as the hours went by, she grew weaker, her control slowly slipping away. It was as if little pieces of herself were being ripped away.

Tell us what you know, Teyla. Tell us and your friends will live. Stay silent, and they will die.

I will tell you nothing.

You will tell us everything. The only difference will be if your mind will be salvageable at all when we are finished with you.

You will not take over my thoughts. I will not allow you.

A shrill klaxon pierced her concentration and she sat up from her cot. What was happening? Blaster fire…down the hall, the sounds of Genii curses and locks ripped from their housings, the cry of prisoners free to turn onto their captors…Teyla went to the door, hoping against hope.

"Teyla?"

"John? Carson? I am here! I am here!" She pounded on her door as she screamed her reply.

She smelled the telltale smoke of C4 and dove behind her cot, just as a loud explosion shook the room. A piece of ceiling tile fell, splintering into pieces, and white-hot pain nearly knocked her senseless. Teyla tried to move, but saw a piece of debris buried into her side.

"Oh…" She sagged back and tried to stay awake. "Oh, no…"

"Teyla!" She felt a pair of strong hands grip her own. "Bloody hell—"

She clung to his voice. "Carson?"

"You've got debris that's impacted your side and you've lost a lot of blood. Stay still, love. We're going to help you."

She nodded as other hands gently examined her wound, then another unexpected voice cursed a blue streak. "Teyla, I'm going to give you something for the pain, then I'm going to immobilize this so it'll stay put. Dammit, Fumble Fingers, watch it, or I'll smash your paws to bits myself!" Ben Kavanaugh sounded more furious than she'd ever heard him in either universe. "Aiden, by all that's holy, go take care of those Genii shooting at us and leave the doctoring to me, okay?"

Aiden Ford's voice floated somewhere above her as the anesthetic took her. "I promised to help her and I will. Come on, Doc, let's use this cot's frame to make a stretcher for her…"

"Aiden, thank you," she mumbled as she fell headlong into darkness. The last thing she heard was his quiet, "You're welcome."

*****

"That'll do it," muttered John. He glanced over his shoulder as Beckett, Kavanaugh, Ford, and Sora Radim helped secure Teyla's motionless body to the makeshift stretcher. A wave of guilt came over him; he should have known the Genii had rigged Teyla's door to blow if someone tried to rescue her. Aiden had tried to warn them, but too late, and…

"How is she?" Ronon demanded as he and John laid covering fire in the hallway.

"Bad," Kavanaugh snapped back. "We've got to get her back to Atlantis or she'll die!"

Ronon calmly let out a series of shots and Genii fell. He nodded to Tyre, who was keeping their avenue of escape open. Tyre bellowed an order and the Satedan squad moved out ahead of the rescue party. John tapped his mike and said, "Halling, we've got her, but she's hurt."

"Acknowledged," replied Halling. "We have cleared a way to the shuttle bay—" A squeal of static overwhelmed his voice, then he came back with "Wraith…five or six, heading in your direction, Colonel."

"Damn." He looked at Aiden, who nodded back calmly, as if he was the second-in-command that John remembered so well. "Another way out?"

"Follow me." Aiden said shortly and pointed to their right. "This way."

Ronon frowned as they followed him. "You trust him?"

"Don't have much of a choice." John hoped that Aiden wouldn't decide to hand them all over to the Genii and the Wraith. After all, he had been the contact who had disabled the security protocols that allowed them inside the compound. Aiden seemed more than eager to turn against his Genii allies. He had glared at John with his one good eye, and said:

"This is for her, not for you. Not for Beckett or Atlantis or anyone else. For her. She's the only one who's ever showed me any kindness, and I won't let anyone hurt her."

It was slow going, as both the Genii and Wraith fought back with everything they had, but Ronon's squad and the Atlantean forces cleared another way to the shuttle bay. Combatants on both sides fell as the air grew heavy with weapons fire. Finally, John spotted Halling and his group near the entrance to the bay; Halling waved him over.

"Take Teyla into the Jumper. Tyre's squad and mine will cover your escape and follow when we can."

John clapped Halling on the shoulder. "See you back at Atlantis."

"Go with the Ancestors, Colonel. Now, hurry!"

Tyre nodded in agreement as he fired his blaster over his shoulder. "Go with them, Ronon. We will hold here!"

Ronon looked like he wanted to protest, but said, "I will see you later, my friend." He and John looked over at Beckett, who nodded at Kavanaugh. The doctor's face was grim, but set in determination, which struck Ronon as odd, for he'd never seen Kavanaugh as anything as cowardly. Perhaps he had underestimated the man.

"When I tell you to run, you run. Got it?" John told him. Kavanaugh didn't protest, but gave him a curt nod in reply. John counted mentally to three, then yelled, "Go!" He and Aiden led the way, with Kavanaugh and Sora carrying Teyla's stretcher, and Ronon and Beckett covering them. John reached the Jumper first and hit the door control. As the others clambered into the Jumper, Beckett dove into the pilot's seat as John closed the hatch.

Aiden pointed ahead of them. "They've closed the bay doors."

Beckett growled, "Not for long, lad." Seconds later, a pair of drones leaped from the Jumper and slammed into the bay doors, just as the Jumper took off. The sudden acceleration knocked John off his feet, and he barely avoided landing on Kavanaugh.

"Where'd you learn how to drive, Carson?" John yelled.

"Shoulda strapped yourself in, Colonel," Beckett shouted back with a faint smirk.

"Yeah, a little warning would've been nice." He crawled over to Teyla's side and gripped her wrist. There was a faint pulse, but it was there. "How is she?"

Kavanaugh shook his head. "I need to get her into Surgery as soon as possible, Colonel. She's already lost a lot of blood, and I don't have the necessary equipment here."

"Do what you can, Doc." John staggered over to the front compartment and managed to sit down behind Beckett. "The Gate?"

"On approach. Retracting the drive pods now."

"Make sure they're in all the way. Now's not the time to get stuck halfway."

Beckett gave him a look. "Happened in your universe too, I take it?"

"Yeah…" John looked at the scanners and muttered, "That's odd."

"What?" Ronon asked.

"I'm not seeing any signs of pursuit. You'd think they'd sent somebody after us."

Aiden scowled, but addressed John instead of Beckett. "You're right. No Genii or Wraith ships after us."

"Too easy," Ronon commented, glaring at Aiden.

Kavanaugh snorted and turned to him. "You call this easy?"

"I'm not picking up Halling's or Tyre's ships either. Something's definitely not right." John also glanced at Aiden. "You know anything about this?"

Aiden shook his head, a hint of nervous fear in his eyes. "No. Nothing about this."

Ronon's hand swung up and gripped him by the throat. "You betrayed us, didn't you! You told them we were coming!"

"No, no…" Gray began to tinge Aiden's dark complexion. "No, I swear, I didn't say anything—"

"Three minutes to the Gate," Beckett announced. He didn't turn to address Aiden, but he didn't have to; the chill in his tone made Aiden pale even further. "Son, if you aren't telling the truth, I'm kicking you out the damn hatch without a spacesuit."

Movement at Teyla's side caught Ronon's eye, but before he could react, Kavanaugh's hands shot up and gripped Sora's right wrist. She held a syringe in her right hand, ready to stab it into Teyla's shoulder. Ronon dropped Aiden like a sack of potatoes, but Kavanaugh had already wrenched the syringe away from Sora and pinned her against the wall with surprising strength. Again, Ronon's estimation of the man went up considerably.

"You're too late. A fleet of Genii and Wraith ships are heading into Atlantis airspace right now," she hissed. "By the time you return, it will be all over!" Sora laughed hysterically, a high-pitched cackle, then she clenched her jaw and went limp. It was so unexpected that Kavanaugh nearly dropped her.

John launched himself out of his chair to help, but Kavanaugh shook his head. "Dead," he said bitterly. "Cyanide capsule between her teeth, damn her."

John nodded and looked up at Beckett. "We've got to get back to Atlantis."

"Already on our way. Strap in this time, Colonel, and we'll get there."

*****

"Captain Zelenka, the Apollo and Daedelus report a fleet of Genii warships and Wraith Hive ships just hit our outermost sensory boundary," Chuck reported.

Zelenka let out a string of Czech invectives under his breath, then asked, "How many and how far away?"

"Eight Genii capital ships, six smaller vessels, and three Hive ships. Their ETA is thirty eight hours."

"Jeszi." It was his worst nightmare come true, but he pushed back any hesitation. "Scramble our defense forces, Sergeant Campbell, and send a call for backup to anyone who can assist us: Sateda, Hoff, Manaria…everyone you can."

"Yes, sir." Chuck nodded and did as ordered. Zelenka issued the evacuation order for all the civilians in Atlantis, then consulted with the Allied commanders about the emergency protocols.

Miko looked up from her board. "Captain Zelenka, tightbeam message from Colonel Lorne on the Orion."

"Put him on, Miko." At her nod, he continued, "Evan—?"

"We heard, Radek. I've got Captain Miller standing by on the Ancient space station, but they've been having power issues. Miller says that they're trying to find the source of the problems."

"Tell him he'd better hurry or—" He didn't finish the sentence; Rodney's words came back to him, about how his Peter Grodin had died on board a similar space station in an attempt to destroy the Hive ships.

Lorne didn't have to ask. "I'll tell Miller to speed it up. Lorne, out."

"Miko, get me the Chair Room." At her second nod, Zelenka asked, "Rodney?"

Bates replied, "He's in the Chair, talking with Melia. They're almost done realigning the Gate network on this side. It's pulling a hell of a lot of power, Radek. I don't want to activate the Bridge until we're ready, or we're liable to lose planetary shielding all over the network."

"And with the Genii and the Wraith coming, not a good thing."

"No. Melia says she'll be able to detect when the Bridge is ready on the other side, but the timing on this is gonna be tricky."

"Do prdele. How are we going to know when—?"

"Melia says that the extra power should enable Rodney to send some sort of signal over to the other side. Whoever's in the Chair over there would know."

Rodney's voice echoed on the speakers. "Our Carson Beckett's got the strongest Gene over there and if Peter's told them what to do, they'll have Carson in the Chair, even if they've got to tie him into it."

Despite himself, Zelenka chuckled. "He doesn't like the Chair?"

"Carson hates the Chair, but we make him sit in it anyway."

"Assuming Colonel Sheppard's team doesn't make it back in time—" Zelenka refused to give up hope, but the possibility was a strong one, if not a comfortable one.

Rodney's tone was sharp. "They'll be back. Don't even think that, Radek."

Zelenka sighed and looked at the monitor. The invasion fleet seemed to loom large on the screen, and he couldn't help but shiver at the destruction to come, if they couldn't prevent it.

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May 2012

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