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"A sky's a sky, McKay," Sheppard said, mainly just to see the annoyance it would cause. "Blue is blue. Not much difference when you fly through it 'cept the speed it passes by."

"What?" Rodney sputtered. Mouth open, frown across his face, the little line between and above his eyebrows. Yep, annoyed. "A sky is not just a sky and you know it. There is no way you could possibly be that stupid."

"Try me," John grinned. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Ronon matching his expression, his head turned to the side so as not to be caught. For himself, he pulled on his sunglasses so as not to give the game away quite yet. The sun was shining and they had spent far too long holed up inside a concrete bunker of a base, and he used that as excuse enough for now.

"The intensity of light, the atmospheric conditions, the distance of the light source away from those conditions, the molecular components of both the source and the atmosphere it is filtered through - all of these work together to determine if your sky is going to be blue or green or, I don't know, purple. That's not even getting into pressure and windspeed and drag and viscosity and variance of the..." He trailed off, annoyance giving way to suspicion. "You're playing me, aren't you?"

"Now, why ever would I do that?" John drawled. He almost kept the laugh out of his tone. Almost.

"Because it's fun?" Ronon asked.

"Because otherwise we would not be privileged enough to hear him wax poetic about the sciences?" Teyla guessed.

He huffed, then huffed more when Ronon idly mused, "Know what else is blue? Water."

"The reflective properties of water and atmosphere are-" Rodney began.

"The Singing Pools of Athos," Teyla cut him off as though he had never spoken.

"Sateda had these mountains, and the ice on the fourteenth layer, before you'd get to the snow but above the stone we'd use to power the armaments, that was blue," Ronon added almost wistfully.

Teyla hummed in agreement, though both McKay and Sheppard were fairly certain she had never been there. "The City of the Ancients. There was a room that overlooked the desalination pools. Dusk on a clear day, after the hues of red and orange faded, the sky would light with the most beautiful shade of blue. When it would filter through the glass, the room as a whole would alight with the color. Our textile merchants sought to replicate it, but never quite succeeded."

"Wormhole's blue," John said apropos of nothing. "Seen enough of them over the years, but nothing's quite the same here on Earth. Even those look different, the few times they've let us get near them."

"We should fix that," Ronon grunted.

"Yeah, why don't we do that?" Rodney snorted. "We'll just bust into a top security base, find a power supply, hook that baby up, and break a few international and likely interstellar laws. We'd only have the SGC and a few other acronymed agencies on our asses. What could possibly go wrong?"

"Or we could just use the ZPM Sam and her friends stole for us, grab the Jumper I hid when we first returned to Earth, and make a run for the cloaked city and bring it back where it belongs," John shrugged with false casualness.

"Sounds good," Ronon said at the same time Teyla pursed her lips and agreed, "That may work."

"What?!?" Rodney exclaimed. He stumbled to a stop and finally realized where they had been leading him to all along. The promised cafe was nowhere in sight, but the tree strewn path opened up to a small clearing of a very distinct size. "But... Generals and court martials and armed people shooting at us and..." He trailed off as Ronon physically grabbed one arm and tugged while Teyla pressed a hand against the small of his back to get him to take the few extra steps to reach their destination.

John pulled a small device out of his pocket and clicked it twice. The small wooded area flickered and faded to reveal a Puddle Jumper. Another click, and the hatch lowered to reveal the familiar soft glow that somehow seemed to highlight the precious red-orange crystalline structure of a ZPM that was nestled safely atop one of the pillows from Teyla's old meditation room. He thought that part was a nice touch and needed to remember to thank her for it.

"Hey, Rodney," he said for now, leaning a hip up against the curve of the opening. "I hear there's blue skies in the Pegasus Galaxy too, wanna go see how many shades there are?"

"I hate you," Rodney said cheerfully, but his foot was already on the ramp.

 

End.