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Land Shark.

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Things had devolved to the point where Zelenka was yelling in Czech and Rodney was yelling back in math and John had Saturday Night Live sketches running through his head.

John shoved the chair back on its track and put his feet up on the dashboard and waited for the geeks to argue it out. It was weird--since they'd come to Atlantis, he heard Zelenka in Czech, the same way he heard Teyla in Athosian if he concentrated, but he understood in English. Zelenka seemed to be speaking Czech more often, too. Or maybe he was just more excited here. Either way, he was a pleasure to listen to.

"You are wrong! You are so wrong! Your wrongness is so vast we had to invent new fields for you to be wrong in!" Rodney shouted.

Zelenka suggested that Rodney's command of physics was less than optimal.

"Oh! I see! I see! Jealousy because I'm younger *and* better-looking *and* I'm your boss," Rodney said, crossing his arms.

Well, this was going nowhere fast, much like they were. John looked at the gravity... thingies out in front of the jumper. Rodney and Zelenka said they were related to something horrible used by some nasty alien guy named Ball and they could tear the ship apart, or possibly not. They hadn't decided.

John hitched an arm over the back of his chair. "Guys?"

"Yes?" they both said at once, glaring at each other.


"If you--" Zelenka started.

"We'll be ripped to shreds!" Rodney shouted.

"--NINETY DEGREES AND WE WILL BE FINE!" Zelenka yelled at the top of his lungs.

"A FINE SPRAY OF TRINIUM AND BLOOD!" Rodney screamed back.

"That's a no, then," John commented as they gestured and yelled. He turned back around. We are two wild and crazy guys!

"The inertial dampeners--" Zelenka started.

"It's not inertia we're worried about!" Rodney shouted.

They both yelled "if you would just LISTEN" in their respective languages, several times. John listened, working out the issue in his head.

The Ball, or possibly Ancient, thingies warped gravity around them. Zelenka contended that if they hit the field of altered gravity at just the right angle, the inertial dampeners would allow them to slide between the machines without being ripped apart. Rodney thought that they would be straight-up disintegrated, sucked into the machines, and they had to figure out how to destroy the machines at a distance. Zelenka was pointing out that they had no weapons on the jumper. Rodney was saying he could rig a mass driver, surely. Zelenka said that the jumper drones got sucked in, so why would firing asteroids at it work?

That's when Rodney devolved to insults. If Rodney broke out with "Radek, you ignorant slut," John wouldn't be at all surprised. Normally, that would mean that Zelenka was right and Rodney was wrong, but Rodney seemed pretty sure about that whole "fine mist" thing.

Well. Hell with this. John was the pilot, he was the samurai here. Time to cut the counter in half.

He put both hands on the dash and talked to the jumper as directly as he could. Jumper? Baby? Light of my life?

It felt like it was at attention, like normal.

Will your inertial dampeners let us thread the needle between two artificial black holes?

He felt it processing for a few split seconds, and then a display popped up with the specs of the dampeners and the stresses detected on the outside hull. It flickered through his brain for a second, which always felt oddly good, then calculated the distance from the optical input and said, in effect: Go for it, champ.

So John went for it. "Wait wait wait!" Rodney shouted.

"You must hit at precise angle! Wait! I have calculations!" Zelenka started to leap up. John told the jumper to buckle them in.

"Chill," he said, giving the jumper's readout his full attention.

"He's insane," Rodney moaned.

"Dear God, I have been very good, but I do not wish to meet you yet," Zelenka muttered. "Colonel Sheppard--"

"I haven't lost my mind," John said, watching the readouts like a hawk. The jumper was taking the stresses in stride, though, the dampeners doing their thing.

"Go back! I haven't reproduced yet! What are you going to do without me?" Rodney yelled. "If Atlantis falls into the sea, it'll be your fault!"

"Well, probably," John said. He cruised past the first machine, ducking the intensity of field that made the jumper nervous, and hung a louie around the second.

"I don't want to know what my insides look like!" Rodney hid his face in his hands as the engine whined. Zelenka flattened his palms against the window, staring out at the evil-looking machines.

And then they were through, and heading for the stargate. It took a minute for the lack of death to register on the other guys. "ETA 45 seconds," John said.

"How did you do that?" Zelenka said.

"I'm not dead," Rodney said. "Unless the afterlife is a huge letdown--Radek, pinch me."

Zelenka punched him in the arm and cussed him out in Czech.

"Excuse me? That was not a pinch. My arm is numb."

"And your mother," Zelenka said darkly, "should die of shame for birthing such a foolish man."

"All right, how *did* you do that?" Rodney asked.

"I asked the jumper what it could handle," John said.

Rodney and Zelenka looked at each other. "You can do that?" Rodney said.

"Asked how?" Zelenka said.

John grinned and took them home. Delivery, ma'am. Candygram.

The End.