“Checkmate,” the child announced proudly, smiling brightly from where he was sitting in his oversized chair across from Jack, his legs crossed like his mother. Jack hadn’t really been paying attention, with the day in and day out of base ongoings, Daniel pulling him in to consult, but Nicholas had grown again, to at least forty inches. It wasn’t that fast, well it was, but considering his brain development, but for a child nearly a year and a half old, the body still hadn’t caught up to the mind.
Either way, he was taller.
“Didn't your parents teach you to respect your elders?” Jack joked, hoping to get a rise out of the boy. Manners were something that Dr. Perky, well, Daniel and Dr. Perky insisted on with the child, giving Jack something to use to torment the youngster relentlessly.
“Yeah, that’s why I said checkmate now,” Nicholas said with a cheeky grin, “I could have beaten you four moves ago.”
Little shit; kid was lucky Jack liked him so much.
“Where did you learn to play chess like that?”
“Dad,” the boy answered as he started to set up for another game, this victory apparently already forgotten as pawns and other pieces were set carefully into their squares.
“I should have guessed,” Jack admitted with a smile, “Can you beat your mom too?”
“Yep,” was the reply, shining dark eyes locked onto his, “it drives her nuts. She says that she’s gonna make sure that Helena can whup me and Dad in Scrabble to make up for it.”
“So it’s already started?” Jack chuckled, reaching for his coffee as the boy shrugged, placing a pawn back down onto the board, “Boys versus girls.”
Uh oh, Jack thought, little guy’s got something on his mind.
Setting his coffee aside, Jack leaned forward onto his knees to give Nicholas his full attention. They loved him, Daniel and Adrienne did love the boy more than anything, but the baby excitement so soon after Nicholas birth had to effect the child, something that Jack’s own years of experience told him to watch out for.
“How do you feel about it?” Jack chose he words carefully, watching the boy’s face, “Having a sister?”
“It’s cool,” the response was quick, positive, as if the boy was trying to erase his previous tone, “I mean, I’ve got Torren and Saurza now, but, I think it’s gonna be cool.”
“You sure?” Jack pushed. True, Daniel and Adrienne had created this strange psuedo-family on the city, one that he knew was an odd combination of what Daniel had wanted all of his life and what Adrienne had experienced in the Bayou, but at the end of the day, Torren and this little girl Vala had claimed were not his siblings.
Helena was, and it remained to be seen how this was all going to play out.
“Just wonder what she’s gonna be like,” Nicholas continued, “Is she gonna be like me? She’s growing faster, a lot faster than I am, but is she gonna be like me...”
“The smarts?” Jack didn’t need to ask really, but he wanted the child to know he was listening.
“You’re Daniel’s kid, and Dr. Perky’s,” the general stressed, cleaning up the chessboard they were obviously not going to use again, Nicholas having forgotten that as well, “They’re both pretty smart.”
“At one?” and there we go looking just like Daniel, smart ass frown and all.
“You weren’t there,” Jack shot back with a frown of his own, “and I wasn’t either. We have no idea of knowing what in the hell your nerd parents were doing.”
That got a laugh.
“Regardless,” Jack continued, pouring the pieces into the box, “it’s shameful that a one year old has beaten me at chess and at seven a.m. no less.”
The boy laughed again, less cautious, a smile settling on his face Cute as the booger was, Jack wasn’t about to let him beat him again.
“I’m surprised you’re here this early as it is,” Jack joked, standing to put the game away, “According to your dad, it takes damn near the end of the world to wake your mom up.”
“Nah,” Nicholas said, sitting back in the chair, “not when she’s nervous; she’s been up since four.”
“Four?” Jack repeated as he gazed back over his shoulder, “Why? What’s she nervous about?”
“The mission,” he shrugged, “It’s her first as the head of the department and it’s the first new people we’ve encountered since arriving. She’s is pretty much at Mom Defcon 1.”
Jack shook head.
“Dr. Perky’ll be fine. She’s good, real good. Honestly if she wasn’t a child when the program started she might have made a good hire.”
“You should tell her that,” the boy offered, Jack shaking his head.
“Nah, that’s your Dad’s job,” Jack blew off quickly, although a small part of him did think that he ought to say something to Adrienne, after all, she really did do a good job, much better than even he had expected, “Checkers?”
“I’ll win at that too...” Nicholas grinned brightly.
“I’m sorry Uncle Jack,” he changed his tune quickly, before grinning again, “I’ll let you win.”
“Smartass munchkin...” Jack groaned as he pulled the box from the shelf.
She was running, at seven in the morning.
Oh how he hated calm attacks.
He knew she’d be fine, he’d told her she’d be fine, but this was Adrienne.
Worry was what she did.
He let her complete a few more laps, leaning against the wall, a vitamin water tucked under his arm as he waited. He had no idea how far she’d gone at all, one mile, six, she really didn’t seem that tired or that she had been working out at all, save for the sweat beading at her brow. Shoes slapping the training room floor, he knew she wanted to be alone since she was running here rather than around base, Daniel looked up at the exact moment Adrienne’s eyes locked on his own, slowing her pace to a walk.
“Hey sha, whatcha doing here?” she shouted over music he could not hear, for once, as she ripped the headphones from her ears.
“Checkin on you,” he replied, passing over the water as she frowned but took it anyway.
“I’m fine,” she argued but drank, breathing out heavily as soon as she swallowed.
“It’s seven,” he noted.
“We leave at nine,” she countered with a frown.
“Which means you would be up at eight thirty in a panic trying to get Nicholas ready and out the door before racing down to the gate,” he tried not to smile, especially since she was glaring at him already.
“Don’t look at me like that, I know you better than anyone,” Daniel added as she drank another swing, “How many miles?”
“Five, so far,” he could tell by that answer alone she wasn’t finished.
Nope ja-wer, he thought, it’s not happening.
“Five’s plenty, finish that water,” he continued not giving her a chance to object, “Have you eaten?”
“Since when did YOU become the mothering one?” she asked with a wink, trying not to smile.
“Since you became junior me, now food?”
Adrienne glared at him again.
“Fed Nicky, dropped him with Jack, I haven’t eaten,” she gave him the answer he expected. He didn’t fuss, he had to resign himself that he married the most stubborn woman in the universe, instead extending his arm to take her and lead her from the room.
“I smell,” she started to pull away, her eyes not on the exit, “can I shower?”
“Can I join you?” he couldn’t resist, when she was like this she was so alive, so beautiful, so tempting...
“Am I gonna still get time to eat?”
Wow Ad, thanks, he thought, shrugging as she began to giggle, grabbing his hand and leading him from the room in the direction of their own.
“What did I do to you?” she teased over her shoulder as he followed along, checking his watch to make sure he had time.
“Created a monster, ja-wer,” he laughed, delighted to have plenty of time before their morning got started, “we’ve been over this.”
Looking back one more time she just blushed, rushing him along faster.
“Leave the ship in orbit, we will be taking darts to the surface.”
The Wraith did not answer, turning his back to face the console and re-establish the telepathic link with the ship. The glow of Atlantica illuminating the room from its imposing presence on the view screen lit the way as Ford crossed the main bridge, heading for the attached room where his most loyal awaited his command. They were expecting a briefing, a plan, but Ford didn’t need one, his strategy was simple. Kanaan had told him that the South wing was still a mess back when he thought Ford was going to change and become an ally, unaware that he was giving him the key to the city.
They were just gonna fly on in.
Planet shield or not, if the South wing was still somewhat damaged from the voyage home and landing, the shield would have gaps, gaps large enough for people to slip into the base.
After that, the plan was simple, storm the base, cut the power, shoot anyone in their way and take the central control room. And, if Dr. Jackson gave them any problems, they’d just shoot his kid.
That should make him want to cooperate.
Taking one quick look back at the blue green shimmer behind him, Aiden Ford smiled and turned to prepare his strike team.
His lips were pressed to her own, kissing deeply, as his hands wandered down her waist. She’d tease him later, for being so aggressive, for being forward with her in a way he could only ever be with her, but for now she was enjoying the gentle caress of his fingers nearly as much as the exploration of his tongue. Adrienne reached behind, urging him closer, wanting him to stop delaying what she really wanted when the bathroom light flickered from yellow to red, the emergency sirens echoing around the tiled room.
And he stopped kissing.
“We have the worst luck with showers,” Daniel moaned, resting his forehead against her shoulder, Adrienne unable to help but laugh.
They did; he had a point.
“It was your idea,” she teased as he pulled back from her, tugging the curtain aside to grab a towel, the lights and sirens continuing.
“I swear Ad, you’re my witness,” he was ranting before his foot even left the stall, “if Rodney has set this off doing anything other than what I’ve asked him to do, I’m gonna throw him from the top of the central tower.”
“No you won’t, he’s a damn tchew, but he does good when he wants to,” Adrienne replied, thankful he had washed her before they started other things, otherwise she would be doubly annoyed to still have greasy hair.
“Did you just defend Rodney?” Daniel asked, shocked, as he wrapped his waist in the towel, shoving his communicator back into his ear, “I guess hell’s frozen over...Davidson, what’s going on?”
“I think he might just have a social phobia and it causes him to act out -” Adrienne started to reply, pausing when she saw a look of terror spread across her husband’s face, goosebumps popping up from head to toe as their eyes met.
“Get dressed and find the kids, now.”
“Why?” Adrienne asked, afraid of his answer as Daniel practically threw a towel at her, barreling out of the room.
“It’s Ford. His men are on base.”
Two games of checkers later Jack was ready to convince Nicholas that he needed to walk around the city and stretch his legs when the lights flickered and started to flash colors, sirens blasting all around them.
“Uncle Jack?” Nicholas asked, sitting up abruptly, “what’s that?”
“Got me, I never did spend a lot of time here,” the retired general replied, tapping his ear, “Daniel, what the hell is going on?”
“Jack where are you?” the response was quick and panicked, enough where Jack stood, reaching his hand to help Nicholas do the same.
“In my living room letting your child beat my ass at every board game I own, what’s with the lights and sound show?”
“Ford,” Daniel answered saying all he needed to say, but this was Daniel, and a ramble was sure to follow, “I need you to get to Teyla, Torren, find Saurza, and I’m sending Adrienne down, just get the children in one place, Jack, keep them safe, hidden...”
“Already ahead of you,” Jack replied, motioning for Nicholas to follow as he powered across the room, grabbing his zat from the side table, “Where’s Sam?”
“With Dex,” Jack relieved at the answer, “they’re trying to get the computer systems to close off corridors.”
“Send Dr. Perky there too, get that shit closed off,” Jack ordered, gun holstered, grabbing Nicholas hand, “I’ll worry about the little ones.”
Without a further word, Daniel ended the communication, Jack pausing at the door to look at his small charge.
“No matter what we walk into you don’t lose sight of me and if you do, you run like hell and find a hole to hide in, you got it?”
The boy nodded, hazel eyes wide.
“Ok, let’s go.”
Aiden Ford was a good ten feet behind Jinto and Wex not bothering to shout orders to the men that followed him. Each person was given one task and one task alone, tasks that given the small population of the city should be fairly easy to carry out.
They had encountered little resistance, a few academic types asking who they were the moment they exited the South passage, but it wasn’t anything a stun gun couldn’t take care of. Ford had ordered no one killed unless needed, simply because if the city lacked anything in order to be operational the prisoners could be used as bargaining chips with the powers that be back on Earth.
If not they could be fed to his Wraith and his hive.
Either way, it was best to keep them alive for now.
It had been years since Ford has set foot in Atlantis, part of the reason that he had spent to much time studying the city lay-outs, but it was just like riding a bike, and it didn’t take long for him to get his bearings, reaching exactly where he needed to be about the time that the sirens rang out, undoubtedly alerting Dr. Jackson to their presence. It didn’t matter, he knew where he needed to go and where his people needed to go and once he had the boy Dr. Jackson was his.
“Here, right?” Jinto shouted behind as Ford came to a stop, scanning his surroundings.
“Yeah,” he confirmed, “Go and try NOT to be seen...”
Tapping his friend on the shoulder, the Athosian teen dashed down a narrow passage way, the rest of their group in the opposite direction with an exception of Giyo and Har, two of his own who were awaiting his command.
“Living quarters are this way,” he pointed ahead, picking up his run once more.
It really was just a bigger cell no matter what in the hell John called it. He still had to have an escort everywhere he went, but at least he didn’t need to beg for food any longer. There was a contraption in his room which delivered his energy enzyme and a food replicator that made candy, so that at least had been taken care of.
The tall woman, Vala, had come to visit as well, but he didn’t have much to say to her. She was strong and smart, but she really only wanted to talk about the girl and Todd didn’t know anything about the brat other than he used her to get himself passage onto a ship to get that hell away from the spiral of insanity that was Aiden Ford.
Or had he?
He still didn’t know the answer to that himself, sitting in his room, playing cards, wondering why he bothered living anymore. He’d lived a long life, much longer than any human on this base ever would, yet had spent most of his recent history in captivity. For all of the years that he was in power among the Wraith, none of that seemed to matter now as his entire existence was dictated to him by an inferior species.
He had beaten this game, Solitaire John had called it, yet again when the light in his room blinked, flashing yellow and red before a loud alarm began to reverberate through his living space. He sat still for a moment, thinking that it would be a false alarm and that Dr. Jackson’s assistant would come over the loudspeaker to assure everyone it was just a malfunction, but no such announcement came.
Curious, the tall blue humanoid stood, heading straight for the door, not even caring to inform his guards where he was going.
John’s eyes scanned the crowd, a sea of terrified faces staring back at him as he passed zats over to Vala, who was distributing them as fast as he could pull them.
“I know you know this but it’s worth repeating,” he did his best to speak over the crowd as they murmured amongst themselves, “one blast stuns, two kills and three disintegrates the body.”
“We didn’t come here to kill people!”
“I was assured that this expedition would have adequate military personnel!”
“Dr. McKay has been saying for weeks that we are short staffed in all areas!”
“I’m not gonna fire that thing!”
“I have a PhD is physics! I’m not a soldier!!”
“Doesn’t Lieutenant Ford have Wraith with him?”
As the protests continued John noted the scientists were tossing the zats aside, some of them at least, other still arguing louder, amongst one another, a clear dissension between the ranks apparent as some spoke of Rodney as if he were the commander of the city and not Daniel.
“This is exactly what Dr. McKay was talking about!”
“Some good General O’Neill was leading the SGC, they canned her and sent her here to deal with her mess!”
“Jackson’s probably hiding in his office waiting for his wife to defend him.”
Vala shouted so loudly John nearly dropped the zat in his hand, their gathering falling to a shocked silence as a collection of eyes stared right at her and mouths closed.
“Did you think that jumping in a starship to go another galaxy was gonna be nice and safe? That it mattered how many guns and bombs we brought? Everyone was just gonna step back and treat us like gods or leave us alone? If you did, well, you’re just god damn delusional,” she continued, growling at her audience, “so, we have two choices. Stand up and defend ourselves or let those assholes take over our home in which case, I hope you like Wraith labs. I hear they’re cold, dark and if you’re useless they eat you.”
All guns were simultaneously picked up from where they had been laid, eyes back on Vala.
“The military personnel are meeting in the cafeteria area. You need to report there now to receive you orders. Colonel Sheppard will be close behind,” she added, the quiet scientists filing out calmly.
“Nice,” John said as the last of the group left, Vala rolling her eyes, “remind me to let you bark at the nerds more often.”
“I deal with Daniel and Addy,” she said with a smile, “I get lots of experience.”
John nodded as Vala tapped her ear, speaking out into the air, “Jack, did you get Saurza down to Teyla?” The colonel watched her pause, nod her head and frown, thanking him before tapping her ear again to end the communication.
“She get down there?” he asked as Vala let out a sigh.
“Yeah, just worried.”
Just became a mom, a real mom, John thought, and now a genuine threat was storming the city.
“Don’t worry about Teyla,” John assured her, resting his hand on her shoulder, “have you ever seen her angry?”
Vala shook her head.
“Trust me,” he said with a smile, “Teyla angry is one thing, Teyla angry mama-bear is another. NOTHING will get to those children, I can assure you.”
She forced a smile, taking a breath before tossing the zat aside, powering for the door.
“Don’t you need that?” the colonel asked, Vala stopped with a smile, turning her hip to point it at him, tapping a large pulse pistol on her thigh.
“My man has me covered,” she winked before heading out into the fight.
“Addy, there should be a green cord, you need to cut that,” Sam shouted over her shoulder Adrienne tapping Ronon on his.
“Up Dex,” she ordered, the Sateden standing straighter, adjusting his friend as she sat on his shoulders.
“You’re not light Addy,” he complained, the Cajun woman reaching for the ceiling panel.
“Ronon, I need to step in your hands,” she said looking down, the large man reaching for a booted foot.
“Hold on, I’ll push you up to my shoulders,” Ronon ordered, barely giving Adrienne time to balance herself before she was thrust into the air, frantically grabbing at the panel to hang on for dear life.
“Dammit Ronon,” she swore as he adjusted her feet to his shoulders.
“You said up,” he replied, “that’s up.”
“Adrienne, do you see the cord?” Sam asked over Cajun mutterings that she didn’t understand.
“Yea, it’s ‘ere,” Adrienne replied, “cut it now.”
“Yes,” Sam said from the console, “that should allow me to override the emergency locks in the south wing and shut it off completely.”
“Little higher Ronon?” Adrienne asked, the Satedan taking a deep breath.
“You’re killing me Addy...” but he complied, Adrienne holding herself up the best she could to relieve the pressure, clipping the cord with ease.
“Got it,” she shouted, Ronon nearly dropping her to the floor, catching her quickly in his arms.
“Gah dawn Dex ya scared da shit outta me!”
“I wasn’t gonna drop you,” he answered with a shrug, Adrienne still swearing under her breath. Her feet safely on the ground, he left the women to their tasks, walking over to scan the monitors.
“Done,” Sam said as she clicked away for the opposite display screen, “whoever’s in the South wing is gonna be there for a while.”
“Let’s hope John and Vala get to Ford before he makes it too far into the city,” Adrienne whispered as Ronon cleared his throat.
“No go,” Dex announced from the monitor, “he’s making his way down the main corridor.”
“He wants the bridge,” Sam declared, Adrienne turning to face her in horror.
“Daniel’s up there; John told him he had to stay and make sure no one got to the gate...”
“Val?” Ronon’s hand was at his communicator already, checking in on his own family, “where are you?”
Adrienne waited as his brow furrowed, Ronon nodding his head to a spouse that wasn’t there.
“Got it, I’ll be there,” he tapped his ear, looking to the women, “Daniel has Vala and John headed to Ford. I’m gonna join them.”
“What about Daniel?” Adrienne was worried; she knew Jack and Teyla would protect the children, Kanaan was there as well, but her idiot husband would stand and face that maniac alone for the sake of the base.
“He’s at the gate,” and the Satedan was gone, leaving Adrienne staring at Sam dumbfounded.
“If you stay, you’re gonna panic,” Sam said as Adrienne rolled her eyes.
“Do you need me?”
“Not any more,” the scientist replied, “now I’m just gonna use DATA to confuse our visitors.”
“Thanks Sam,” the Cajun sputtered, grabbing her staff weapon and dashing for the main command center.
“Davidson, I need a location on my senior staff,” Daniel shouted as he came barreling down from his office, secure in the knowledge that Teyla had the children safely in her quarters.
“Sir, Dr. O’Neill is in the security wing. Ronon Dex has joined his wife and Colonel Sheppard leading the assault on Ford’s main forces. General O’Neill and Teyla are in her quarters and Dr. Jackson is headed this way.”
“Of course she is,” Daniel replied, shaking his head and tapping his ear, “Ad, turn around, head back for the kids.”
“No,” the response in his ear was quick, “I’m not having you play hero again, we’ve been through this.”
Damn stubborn Adrienne.
“Wasn’t planning on it,” Daniel argued as he skipped steps back up to his office to grab a weapon for Davidson, since he knew his wife would be well armed, as always.
“Teyla and Jack are fine, I’ll go there if needed. Getting in transport right now sha, love you.”
And she ended the transmission.
“Davidson?” Daniel shouted back as he returned, “where’s Ford?”
“Currently in a holding pattern outside of the South wing. I’m not sure what is going on and I can’t get a hold of Dr. McKay,” the young man replied, Daniel leaning into the screen.
“Keep trying, and if we can’t get a hold of Rodney in the next few minutes, have Ronon and Vala see what in the hell is going on and let the cadets handle the main defensive line.”
“Yes sir,” Davidson answered, starting to tap his ear when Daniel grabbed his shoulder, halting the communication.
“Davidson, we should be armed, take my zat.”
“I don’t need it sir,” the young man said with a smile, reaching under his desk and shooting a glance to his left and right at his fellows techs, “we’re prepared. Would you like us to stick to zats or will we be needing P-90s?”
The three gateroom techs stood, looking at the lead tech who tapped a button, displaying an arsenal of weapons just for them. Add that to the list of things no one told me about, Daniel thought, his lead tech smiling.
“Learned sir, from the last expedition. Arm the geeks.”
“Zats will be fine,” Daniel sputtered out, Davidson tossing the weapons around the room to the young man and woman flanking him.
As far as assistants went, Richard Davidson was really giving Adrienne a run for her money.
Daniel just didn’t need to let her know that...
He remembered this man as well, and could honestly say that he took pleasure in knocking him out from behind. Now, in a small side lab right outside of the South wing Dr. Rodney McKay lay sprawled out on the floor, another young man in a lab coat standing there, frozen, unsure as to what to do.
“Tell me where he keeps the boy,” Ford demanded, the scientist shaking his head.
“No,” he barely let him respond before slapping him across the face, sending him too into the floor.
“That was a warning, tell me where the boy is,” he repeated coolly, as blue eyes gazed up at him in defiance.
Ford hated people like this, trying to play hero when there was obviously no one to see the show.
Frustrated, he kicked the man in the stomach, hard, a steel toed boot smashing into tender flesh, forcing him to choke up blood, red splotches sputtering across the white and grey fabric.
“What’s your name?”
“Elias Bosse,” finally something other than no, again proving to Ford that this man wanted to be remembered as the hero that didn’t give up the location of the Jackson kid. His face drawn into a cruel scowl, Aiden Ford knelt to the ground, peering into his face.
“Elias, I will ask you one more before I inflict internal damage. Will the boy be in the housing wing or will Dr. Jackson have hidden him somewhere?”
Elias took a deep breath, spitting out more blood and picking up his head.
“Go to hell.”
Ford stood, shaking his head before kicking the man again forcefully in the abdomen, feeling cracking and give at the thrust of his foot.
“Housing wing,” he declared, pointing forward, “Jackson’s too arrogant to have a hiding place.”
Leaving the pair behind, Aiden Ford ran down the corridors, intent on being the one to find his bounty.
He heard shots behind him, darting around the corner to see an Atlantis uniform fall, a Wraith standing over him. He was alone, but armed, having stunned the man as it seemed he was ordered, pausing only to look around to see if he had time Todd was sure.
Stepping out from the corner, Todd was on the other Wraith before he could even know what was happening, snapping his neck with ease. The blue body went limp, Todd extending his palm to suck the remainder of life that was left in his adversary, shoving the body aside when there was nothing more.
“Wake up,” he ordered, smacking the human’s cheek, eyes fluttering to life.
“Wha...” the man was disoriented, confused, opening his eyes slowly before letting out a scream, Todd quickly clamping his hand over his mouth.
“You must remain silent as we do not know how many of my kind Ford has sent,” Todd ordered, watching the man’s eyes widen but he was nodding as if he understood.
“I’m, I’m a scientist, from Vancouver, they gave me a gun, I don’t know how to use it, I just ran and then the Wraith and, you, you’re Todd right? The Colonel’s Wraith friend? You, you, saved me.”
Todd growled, frowning, standing as the man scrambled to his feet.
“Go, hide, and take this,” the Wraith replied, shoving the stun gun at the man, “Point and shoot. Leave me that snake gun.”
Nodding, the man did as asked, passing the zat over and dashing down the corridor. There were more blasts in the opposite direction, Todd looking out and into the main passageways of the city. He started to think, to analyze his actions, why was he doing this, but he pushed the thoughts away, running in the direction of the fire.
The lights flickered again, Jack shaking his head.
“What in the hell is going on?” he asked, Teyla sitting on the bed with Saurza and Torrin, reading a story with children.
“We can find out Uncle Jack,” Nicholas said from his tablet, tossing the device aside to walk to the room’s main console, “we can turn on Data and ask for a status report on the base.”
“How does one do that?” Kanaan asked curious from the table, Nicholas beaming as if he had hoped for just that question.
“One listens to Mom and Dad as they talk about how stuff works,” the boy answered as Jack shook his head, “DATA, can we get a map of the station as well as the location of all senior staff.”
The Star Trek character flickered to life, looking right at the Jackson child, ready for instruction.
“Level five clearance is required for any information regarding the senior staff of this base. Level five clearance can be obtained from the city commander or any level five or high Stargate Command - “
“DATA, my passcode is Two-Seven-Delta-Nine-Six-Sigma.”
Jack stood there, he should have known that the boy would have a way to top security files, watching the image flicker again before a map appeared in front of them, small dots moving around the layout.
“DATA where are my mom and dad?”
“Dr. Daniel Jackson and Dr. Adrienne Jackson are located in the main control room,” it answered without further argument, Jack now wondering if that was Nicky’s own personal code...
“What about my mom and dad?” Saurza sat up in the bed, the DATA image looking at her with confusion.
“Dr. Daniel Jackson and Dr. Adrienne Jackson are located - “ he began as Nicky shook his head.
“Not them,” he stopped the hologram glancing back at Saurza, “it’s Mom’s code for me for emergencies, so, well it’s confused,” he explained not mentioning that for the first time Saurza had refereed to Ronon and Vala as her parents, but it hadn’t escaped Jack’s notice.
“DATA, what is the location of Vala Mal Doran, Ronon Dex and Dr. Samantha O’Neill?” he asked, peering back at everyone, “did I miss anybody?”
“Just the bad guy munchkin, but he’s less important,” Jack replied as the hologram zoomed in preparing to answer.
“Vala Mal Doran is located in the west wing, where Ronon Dex is approaching. Dr. Samantha O’Neill is located in the security office.”
“What about the bad guys?” Nicky now asked, the system zooming back.
“Define bad guys.”
“The intruders,” he clarified as Jack chuckled, “where are the intruders?”
“At this time that information has been marked classified by Dr. Samantha O’Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson.”
“Daniel must be up to something,” Jack stated, looking at Teyla and Kanaan, the latter appearing confused.
“Can you ask it how many intruders there are?” he queried, Nicholas shrugging before trying.
“DATA can you tell us how many intruders there are on the base?”
“At this time,” it answered right away, “there appear to be seventeen.”
“Not too many,” Jack noted, “but this is Ford. He probably brought the worst in guerrilla warfare that Wraith crack can buy.”
“They’re not here,” Kanaan stood from the table, his attention on Teyla and Teyla alone.
“I agree, the number is too few,” she said, standing, a wordless communication between them that Jack didn’t understand.
“I must see what he has done with them; I owe them that much,” the Athosian stated, touching foreheads with Teyla before heading for the door.
“Wait, wait, Kanaan, where exactly do you think you’re going?” and Jack was up himself, the Athosian sliding his weapon into his holster.
“I must go and see if my people are still trapped on the hive ship,” he explained, Jack shaking his head.
“Kanaan, Daniel's got this city locked up tight. You can’t just grab a jumper and go.”
The Athosian paused, glancing back at the DATA system and then the child operating it.
“Dr. O’Neill has the security clearance, does she not?”
Nicholas made a face, tapping around on the console before peering back over his shoulder.
“Yeah, looks like she’s shut off the entire south wing, reinforced city shields, actually,” Nicky clicked around a little more, “it seems that Aunt Sam is controlling everything. Wonder if Dad knows...”
“She is your mate,” Kanaan now said, glancing at Jack, “is she not?”
Jack let out a sigh.
“I get it big guy, let’s go. I’ll call the little woman on the way,” he followed behind, stopping to peer at Nicky, “Munchkin, you need to -”
“Behave...I know, why does everyone say that?” Nicholas replied, Jack tossing his zat to Teyla.
“I’d fire off three, bam, bam, bam without a second thought,” he said.
“That was my intention,” she replied, Jack nodding as he followed Kanaan out of the room, headed for the jumper bay.
“It is smaller here than I remember,” Wex whispered back to Jinto who was pushing him forward through the tight tunnel, his large shoulders hindering his progress.
“We were children of course it seemed bigger,” he shot back, shoving harder, “keep moving.”
“What if the system is locked?”
“It will not be,” Jinto replied, skittering onward, “only father knew we found this passageway and never told those in charge for fear of being kicked off the station.”
“But they were on Earth for some time, they could have fixed the doorway, it was always as if a panel should not be there,” Wex noted as he slowed, Jinto shoving him again from behind.
“Then we’ll find another way, but for now keep crawling. Ford is counting on us. Remember, if he takes the city, we get the ship for our people and we shall lead them to glory”
“Of course,” Wex replied, pushing onward.
“Sam says that there are seventeen total according to heat signatures,” John shouted as Vala counting the unconscious bodies, Ronon helping the military personnel secure their prisoners.
“We have twelve, only fuckin’ twelve,” she said, shaking her head in confusion, “those alarms went off like it was a full scale attack for less than twenty people. And where are the other five?”
“Ya got me,” John said frowning, counting again, “Kanaan said that there were at least twenty one Athosians, Ford himself had a crew of at least thirty, Wraith and human. What the hell is he doing?”
Frowning herself, Vala stood, tapping her ear to call Daniel as the lights flickered...
Sam was checking the shields yet again when a voice boomed in her ear she hadn’t expected.
“Honey! I need a favor!!”
“Jack?” she was surprised, confused, wondering what in the hell he could possibly need at this very moment.
“The Munchkin says Ford only sent a little more than a dozen people over, Kanaan thinks his people are still on the hive, maybe even Wraith food as we speak,” her husband explained in her ear, Sam backing from the console.
“Yeah, looks like seventeen made it onto base, about a dozen more, mostly Wraith, are trapped in the south wing,” she answered, checking her numbers on the screen, “he’s probably right.”
“Good, then we need an access code to get a jumper and go rescue some Athosians.”
Sam paused, having forgotten about the Athosians completely, what was left of Teyla’s people possibly imprisoned on that hive ship. She looked again at the console; it seemed that the attack had been subdued and that there were only a few stragglers that John said he and Vala were headed after once Ronon had locked up the prisoners.
“Let me call Daniel, I think we need to see if we can locate Ford himself...”
The lights flickered, once, twice, making Sam’s heart stop.
What was happening now?
“It won’t budge,” Wex hissed over his shoulder, “they must have fixed it.”
Grumbling, Jinto shoving him out of the way.
“I am,” he whined as he tried a second, the taller Athosian stuffing himself into the space between his friend and the silver slab of metal. He took a breath, reaching himself to the main switch, pulling with all of his might. It moved, slightly, but no where as much as he needed, Jinto falling back onto his back swearing.
“We both have to pull, we have to get this damn thing loose,” he shouted, Wex shrugging as he awaited an explanation.
“You grab left, I’ll grab right, brace your feet and we’ll pull, on my count.”
The shorter youth nodding, grabbing the cord and bracing himself as asked.
“One, two, three!”
The lights in the office flickered as Daniel scanned the city layout looking for the missing five people, making him look up, staring over at Adrienne.
“What was that?” he asked as she was working to the side with Data, equally as puzzled.
“I have no idea,” she answered, slamming the display paneled as Data flickered in almost a delay, “and DATA is frozen.”
Daniel was about to tease her about her fake android when the power flickered again, this time sending his entire office into black.
“What in da ‘ell did that?” he heard his wife yell into the pitch, stepping forward to reach for her arm.
“Isn’t that you and Sam’s department?” he asked, feeling her shoulder and pulling her to him for safety.
“I’m computing only sha,” she answered squeezing his hand, “so unless we’re suffering a system failure the only other way to shut off power would be to break into the city’s core and pull the main electrical systems.”
Both Jacksons froze, not needing the light to see the expressions on one another’s faces.
“Go, get to the kids,” Daniel ordered, pushing her away to get his gun, “I’ll go find Rodney to get the lights back on.”
Adrienne didn’t need to be told twice.
When the power went out, Todd knew what Ford had in mind. He was an animal, he did’t care what he destroyed, as long as it was his in the end. His next step would be to kill Daniel, but not until he used his wife and child to get what he wanted and tortured the man in the process. It wasn’t that he had that much experience with Aiden Ford, but he had more time then he could count with men just life him.
That couldn’t happen.
Turning on his heel, the Wraith made a bee line back to the housing wing.
When the lights went out Teyla knew they needed to move because Aiden Ford was a trained military combatant and a trained military combatant would first blind the enemy and then go for his target. She wasn’t sure as to what his target was, but here in this dark room they had no way of seeing anything to defend themselves.
She needed to get them to the bridge and to Daniel and Adrienne.
“Mom, what’s happening?” Torren’s voice was scared, terrified, a small hand taking her own.
“Aunt Teyla someone’s cut the power,” Nicholas noted, Teyla feeling another small hand inserted into her other.
“Are we gonna stay here?” Saurza asked last, Teyla kneeling so she could be closer to the children. They were strong, the three of them, but they were still children, and she needed to remain calm for them.
“We need to leave,” she explained, “we need to get to Daniel and the main bridge where there will be light and the gate if we need to escape.”
“But the gate won’t work without power,” Nicholas pointed out, Teyla sighing out. She knew that, she’d just hoped that young Nicholas Jackson wouldn’t chose to point that out.
“But it would be the first thing your father will chose to repair,” she replied quickly, Nicholas having no argument.
“Come, let’s stay together, hold hands,” she instructed, ushering the children into the corridor.
Sam, Jack and Kanaan had just made it to the jumper bay when the world went black.
“Ford,” Kanaan stated the obvious, Jack swearing under his breath.
“That asshole’s after the damn base,” Jack ranted, “we’ve gotta go back.”
“But I cannot leave my people,” Kanaan protested, Sam hearing her husband clearing his throat, making her reach out to clasp his arm.
“Kanaan’s right,” she said, squeezing him for a moment and letting go, “If this is Ford’s plan, he wants everyone to go running to command center. And everyone will, but not us.”
“What in the hell are you suggesting Sam? We can’t abandon Daniel and Dr. Perky and I’m not leaving Nicky behind!”
Sam knew that was what it was, Nicky had filled a void in her husband’s heart, and he loved that boy more than she thought possible.
“No,” she clarified, trying to find his eyes as her own adjusted in the darkness, “we’re gonna take a jumper up to the hive and attack Ford at home. See how he likes being alone with just a few foot soldiers and no ship to flee too.”
“Carter,” he said, a term now he tended to use for endearment when they were alone, “you never cease to amaze me.”
“Are we departing then?” Kanaan interjected, Sam reaching out for her husband.
“Yes, let’s go,” Jack agreed, “it’ll be fun to see his face when we’re at the helm.
Adrienne grabbed a flashlight from Daniel’s desk before dashing through a maintenance tunnel to lead her to the housing wing. She had to get to the kids, get to her son, her unborn daughter, and make sure that this maniac wasn’t allowed to do any harm. She didn’t want to leave Daniel, but he assured her between Davidson, who was the most well armed tech engineer she had ever met, and Ronon, who was surely headed this way, he would be fine.
Accepting that, she raced on to her son.
Beam of light ahead of her, she pulled herself out of the hole, peering down the housing wing, eerily quiet. She knew most of the staff had been outfitted to fight and gathered in the cafeteria, and she could only assume that when the power went that Vala had kept everyone contained to that area ti avoid giving Ford’s men that chance to pick them off one by one.
She ran, faster than she had ever run before, the beaming bouncing at her feet, when she saw them, all of them...
...Teyla pinned against a wall by a tall blonde man.
...Torrin crying on the floor.
...Saurza unconscious at another man’s feet.
...And Aiden Ford, holding her son by his shirt.
“You must be the wife,” Ford sneered, Nicholas frozen in fear she could tell, “the little bitch was telling me you would come.”
By bitch Adrienne was certain he meant Saurza, she must have tried to fight, she would expect nothing less, and Adrienne could only hope that she was ok...
“Now,” he said, putting the barrel of the gun to Nicholas’ small head, “we go to the command center.”
Adrienne didn’t reply, desperately trying to hold it together, her memory flashing back to the last time in her life a loved one had been in this position, nausea flooding her stomach. Holding her staff weapon and taking a stance as Ford laughed.
“You know how these work, don’t you?” Ford flashed the gun, a gun she was just now noticing was part zat and part something else, “One more shot and she’s dead,” he pointed it at Saurza, “and then we’ll worry about that one,” he then pointed the gun to Torren, “This one,” and the gun was back at Nicholas’ head, “I need for collateral.”
“Daniel doesn’t negotiate with terrorists,” she tried to be strong but her voice was quivering, every horrible scenario and nightmare going through her head.
Put him down...please let my baby boy go...
“Oh I think he’ll change his mind,” Ford replied, adjusting her son in his arms, hurting him she could tell as the tears coursed down his small face.
All of the training in the world and I couldn’t protect myself and I now can’t protect my son...
Adrienne stood there, having no clue as to what to do, should she take him to Daniel, should she try to stall, take a risk and shoot him with her staff weapon which she was clenching so tightly the circulation was leaving her fingers. Would he kill Saurza, Torren, Teyla, Helena or Nicholas? Would he just hurt them and leave them? Glaring right at her, Ford jerked Nicholas upward again, her son sobbing harded, she could his tears cascading down his face, when there was movement behind the scene in front of her and three shots.
It seemed like slow motion to Adrienne but it must have been faster than Ford expected, as the man by Saurza hit the floor, Teyla’s captor seconds after and Aiden Ford falling forward, onto Nicky when suddenly he just wasn’t her son was lifted into the air, his own small face side by side with a blue one.
“It was set to stun so they will awaken. We must get the children to the commander’s office now,” without another word Todd swept up Saurza from the floor as well, running down the corridor from which Adrienne had came, both children clenched in his arms.
“We’re locked in?” Jennifer said as she slammed her fists against the infirmary door in anger, shots firing from outside.
“Yep,” Carson replied from his significantly more relaxed position laying on the central scanner.
“And the power's out.”
“Looks like it,” he agreed, Jennifer letting her body slump to the floor.
“Ford’s probably attacking.”
“Pretty sure of it.”
“Think they’ve got it under control?”
“Without a doubt.”
“You know Carson,” she continued, “this seems to happen to us a lot. Stuck away from the action...”
“No...” she replied.
“Take a nap,” he added, “that’s what I’m doing. If we can’t get out then they can’t get in and therefore we can’t get shot or blown up.”
Sighing, because he was right, Jennifer let her head fall back on the door.
Daniel hadn’t heard anything from Adrienne, nor any of his staff. He was panicked but he knew that he needed to stay here since here was where Adrienne said she would return and here was where his senior staff was ordered to head.
The commander part of him knew this to be true, it was the father and husband that was making him doubt every decision he had made today thus far.
“Sir...” he heard Davidson’s voice, cautious, making Daniel step out into the glow on the lanterns set around the bridge as the Wraith came barreling up the stairs, Saurza slung over, his own son on his hip.
It’s a trap; Ford sent it here to kill my son...
“Stop there, or I’ll shoot,” Daniel drew his zat, pointing it at the monster who did as he was asked without hesitation.
Don’t shoot Nicky, just take it down Daniel, two quick shots and hope to God that Ford is not coming up behind you...
“Put them down,” he added, glaring at the creature, who did not argue, did not speak as he set Nicholas on the ground, still holding on to Saurza.
Can I catch her? If I shoot it can I catch her before she hits the ground...
“She has been stunned and seems to have a head injury,” the Wraith said slowly, Daniel about to speak, about to scream when he noticed that his son was not moving, standing right by the humanoid seemingly unafraid.
Why is Nicholas standing there? What has he done to him?
“Indy, sha, stop, don’t shoot, Todd, he,” Adrienne was stammering, racing from behind, Teyla and Torren in pursuit behind her, “he shot Ford, he, sha, he saved Nicholas, he saved the kids...”
Daniel’s eyes widened, not lowering his weapon for a moment as he watched his wife, his family, flank this monster, Adrienne standing between them almost, protecting it...
It’s a trap...
“He will only be unconscious for a moment. This is an adapted weapon, the stun effects will last longer than a zat but not as long since he taking the enzyme,” it said calmly, Adrienne stepping closer to Daniel, reaching out and pushing the weapon down.
“Daniel, love, listen to me, please, go, find Dex, get Ford, Todd didn’t do anything wrong, he saved us Daniel, Ford was gonna shoot Nicholas, he saved our son...”
But Daniel didn’t move, gawking at Adrienne as she moved toward him, slipping the gun from his grasp.
“Dad,” he felt a tug at his pants and there was Nicholas, gazing up at him, not under a spell, unharmed, as Todd handed the girl gently over to Adrienne, “Todd saved us, they were gonna kill Saurza and Torren and me but he got ‘em and brought us to you.”
“I will assist the Vala woman in securing the prisoners,” it said, starting to leave, Daniel looking up in sheer amazement.
He helped us...
Was John right?
“Todd?” Daniel spoke before he could think any more, not even realizing he’d called it by name, by the name that everyone was calling it now, everyone but him and ‘Todd’ stopped, turning around to face him.
“Thank you,” the commander continued, reaching out for his wife and child, “Thank you.”
Nodding, Todd walked out of the gateroom, this time unescorted.
Nicholas was curled up against his father, Daniel’s arm around the boy as he slept, trying to hold on to his tablet carefully around the small unconscious body as he looked up at his wife sympathetically.
“Sorry ja-wer, he’s still having nightmares...” Daniel was quick to apologize as Adrienne shook her head.
“No, it’s sweet, I’ll just crawl in around you guys,” she said with a smile, hitting the main light and walking over to the bed, getting in beside them.
“Should he talk to someone?” she added, Daniel glaring at her quickly.
“Forget I asked.”
“He’ll be fine...” Daniel whispered, setting the table aside to run his hands down the boy’s head gently.
“Move him though,” Adrienne said as she reached forward for him, “his neck is too small to be angled like that. Set him on a pillow.”
Daniel frowned and Adrienne could tell that he didn’t want to let go of the boy, he hadn’t let the child out of his sight in days but more than anything Nicholas needed a good night’s sleep after everything that had happened.
“I’m not putting him in his bed Indy, I’m just making him more comfortable,” she muttered.
“You’ll wake him...” he argued quickly.
“No, Daniel, you know he sleeps like me, stop,” she urged gently, “he’s not going anywhere. Ford can’t get to him.”
“He can break out Ad,” he spat quickly and Adrienne didn’t need the light to see the fear in his eyes.
“No, he can’t. Jennifer has him retrained and Todd was able to drain some of the enzyme himself. There are guards around the clock, he’s drugged within an inch of his life and Todd said that he would kill him himself if he had too,” Adrienne muttered, leaning to kiss him lightly before moving Nicholas over anyway. He was still frowning, but he let her, Adrienne shifting the child to her side of the bed to cover him gently.
“Where are you gonna sleep?” Daniel asked, Adrienne smiling as she crawled right on top of him, resting her cheek to his chest.
“Daniel, I can sleep on the sofa, it’s alright. He needs his dad, I’ll live,” she corrected, Daniel holding on tightly.
“I prefer right here,” he answered, Adrienne picking her head up to peer at him.
“Are you gonna be alright? It’s been over a week, but I can contact Luli, tell her we just can’t yet?” she questioned knowing his answer but wanting to gauge the face that went with it.
“Yeah, it’s a short mission and you’re right. Everything is fine. Kanaan is even talking about the Athoisans rebuilding on the mainland, so we need to let things get back to normal. I guess I won’t feel better until Ford is on the Daedalus, in chains, headed back to Earth,” he mumbled, pulling her up to meet his lips. She came, kissing him lightly, before laying back down on top of him for just a moment, slipping carefully between him and their son.
“We need a bigger bed at the rate he’s growing,” she joked, unable to breathe in the space between them.
“I’ll see what Sam can do in the morning,” he said, sitting up to make his way to the sofa.
“No, he wanted you. You stay, remember, I can sleep anywhere,” she said with a smile, slipping past him.
She paused, looking over her shoulder to see he had his tablet back in his hands, trying to focus on work.
“What’s up sha?”
“I can’t spare Sam, Telford wants the bridge complete a week ago, so you and John have about twenty four hours to find a fourth,” he said with sincere apology in his voice and expression.
“We’ve got him,” Adrienne answered quickly, “I mean of course I want Vala but I understand her not wanting to leave Saurza. If Nicky wasn’t so attached to you after the incident I’d been asking to be replaced myself.”
“Well who then? I need to know because with Bosse in recovery Rodney is storming around demanding every person sitting to assist he and Sam with the bridge,” Daniel said, his face in a grimace.
“We want Todd,” Adrienne answered quickly before her nerves could convince her not to, Daniel’s face doing exactly what she expected, jaw dropping, eyes cutting at her, frown nearly glowing.
“Yeah, Todd, the one who helped save this base and the one who saved our son,” Adrienne said calmly and clearly, “I want Todd to fill in for Vala, and John agrees.”
“The Wraith are the enemy.”
“Not this one.”
“They’re killing machines, only worried about themselves.”
“I’m pretty sure he was worried about Nicky and the kids and I’m pretty sure he was fighting on our side, and has been since we landed despite being kept locked up for year...”
“Ad, we’ve never...”
“Yes you have,” her hands were on her hips, “Teal’c.”
Daniel froze at the memory, one Adrienne didn’t want to invoke but it made her point.
“I love you,” she added quickly, “and Daniel this isn’t about going against you sha. I can list dozens of incidents and people, the Tok’ra, hell sha Jack listened to you when you turned to the dark side yourself. Todd’s different...”
“Ja-wer, I can start listing times as well when that blew up in our faces,” he countered but Adrienne was shaking her head.
“What if someone never gave you a chance? What if Katherine Langford just thought you were another quack? What if Sam thought I was just another stupid punk with an axe to grind? What if you guys never gave Vala a shot on SG-1? What if we hadn’t let Jonas come back to Earth? Daniel, we’re all misfits, all of us, down to Sam, Jack and Cam because in one way or another we didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the world. And we’re gonna judge Todd, who is making the choice to not take that hive ship and run?,” Adrienne had her argument prepared and paused for effect, trying to watch his face, “What if he’s just like the rest of us, and is just trying to figure out where he belongs?”
She watched her husband sit in silence, setting the tablet aside on the nightstand. Without a word, he stood, walking over to her, taking her into his arms and holding her tightly.
“Can I sleep on it?” he asked into her hair, Adrienne nodding.
“I figured you’d have to,” she answered, squeezing him just as strongly in return. Sighing, he pulled away, taking her by the hand and leading her to the living area.
“Where are you going?” she asked, curious, Daniel peering over his shoulder.
“Just wanted to hold you for a while, it’s not like you take very much to go to sleep,” he teased, “then I’ll get back in with Nicholas.”
Smiling, Adrienne let him lead her to the sofa, happy at least to be held before bed.