“What is it, Rodney?” Sam raised her eyes from the computer screen as he walked into her office.
“Remember the room we stumbled across the other day?
“Yes.” Sam nodded her head as she spoke. How could she forget? It was an enigma. Everyone that walked into the room felt as if they were being watched and yet there were no security cameras in there. Atlantis had the best team of scientist in the galaxy and they still weren't able to tell her what was going on in that room.
“Well, I went back into it and....”
“What?” Her nostrils flared in anger. “Rodney, I specifically said that no one was to go into that room alone until Zelenka and his team has had time to...”
Rodney held up his hand. He really hated to be interrupted especially when the news was this exciting. Or at least it could be exciting if Sam would just let him finish. “What I was trying to say is that...”
John walked into the room in time to see Sam glaring at Rodney. For a few seconds he debated on whether or not he should rescue the man. But of course he would. He always did. “I was with him.”
She turned to smile at John. “Oh, that’s good. Rodney didn’t mention you were with him.”
“Yes, well as I was saying we found a disc with gate addresses. Hundreds of them.” He smiled as he allowed the information to sink in. Out of hundreds of planets surely they could find a few with inhabitants who would be willing to help them in their war with the Wraith.
A soft smile began to spread across her face. “That is good news.” At least the new room had provided something of use to them. “Maybe one of these planets will have a way...” She let her sentence trail off. “John, with Teyla still missing you’ll have to find a replace...”
John was already shaking his head before she had finished speaking. “I don’t need a replacement. Ronon, Rodney and I can handle it.” How could he tell her that even thinking about replacing Teyla was tantamount to saying she wasn’t coming back? And he had every intention of finding her and bringing her back to Atlantis no matter how long it took.
She wasn’t sure if sending them off on a mission a team member short was such a good idea but it didn’t seem as if John was open to anyone else going with them. “Okay, John. If you’re sure.”
Without another word John and Rodney walked out of the room to meet Ronon. The three of them had a mission.
Within minutes they were walking towards the Stargate. Before he got any closer to the gate Ronon checked his big gun one last time before he slid it back into his holster. They were peaceful travelers but it didn’t stop him from being prepared to kick ass if the occasion called for it.
It hadn't taken long before they had stepped through the wormhole and exited on the other side. The minute the event horizon had shut down they could hear the unmistakable sign of a distress signal echoing off the rocks surrounding them. All three men sighed in unison. This was supposed to be a routine mission. Check out the newly discovered planet and hopefully find some trading options and if they were really lucky maybe even find someone to help fight the Wraith. Another collective sigh escaped all of them as the signal seemed to gain in volume. Why couldn’t things ever go as they were supposed to?
As he stepped away from the gate, Rodney quickly began scanning the area but before he could say anything John pointed to his right. “The distress signal is coming from this direction.”
“I was going to say that.” Rodney complained as he continued scanning for life signs.
“Sure you were.” John nodded his head as he shot Rodney a wink.
“Well, I was.”
Ronon rolled his eyes as he stepped in front of the two men. “Honestly, you two argue like an old married couple.” He quickly turned his back to hide his grin. The sad part was he was only halfway teasing. Those two really did fight like an old married couple.
“I... uh... I....” Rodney stammered as he tried to figure out what to say.
“Give it a rest, Rodney.” With a smile John slapped him on the back and began to follow Ronon.
Rodney fell into step beside John. “Do you hear that?”
Ronon’s head whipped around, every cell in his body on high alert as he looked for any sign of danger. “What? I don’t hear anything.”
“That’s it exactly. There are no trees, no birds, and no animals of any kind as far as the eye can see. Unless my scanner is broken I can’t discern any life signs at all.” He turned his worried gaze towards John. This really didn’t bode well.
John turned his head to look at Rodney. “If there aren’t any life signs then who or what is sending the distress signal?”
Good question. Rodney quickly pointed in the direction they had come. “I say we go back and we tell Sam that the planet was uninhabited. We can always go to the next gate address on the list.”
Ronon shook his head as he stared at Rodney in disbelief.
Rodney lifted his chin defiantly. If he didn’t know better he would have sworn he had heard Ronon mutter the word wuss under his breath. But he was so not a coward. He just didn’t see the point in wasting his time on a planet covered in nothing but rock and small patches of gra... His thoughts trailed off as he walked towards the sheer drop off. What the hell? In the valley below them some kind of building stood as if carved from the rock surrounding it. But that wasn’t what had captured Rodney’s attention. A stream of yellow and orange matter washed over and around the house pouring into the small stream that ran beside it. “Hey, come look at this!”
Within seconds John and Ronon stood beside him with matching looks of shock on their faces.
“It looks like it’s....”
Ronon’s brow was furrowed in confusion as he finished John’s sentence. “Like it’s melting.”
“The signal is coming from down there.” Rodney pointed towards the building.
“Okay, gentleman, it looks like we’re going down.” John winced at the words that left his mouth as he finished speaking and wished for better phrasing. He hoped neither one of the men with him had caught the slip. A snicker behind him let him know his hope was in vain, and a quick peek beside him showed that even Ronon was having a hard time trying to keep the smile from appearing on his face.
The three men tried their best to walk on the little patches of green grass that spread haphazardly down the side of the rock as they carefully began to make their way down the cliff to the valley below.
Rodney’s eyes widened in alarm as a yellow stream bubbled up beneath John. “John! Watch out!”
Ronon quickly slung his arm out to catch John but it was too late. Whatever the stuff was slid John’s feet out from under him and he went sliding down to the bottom of the rock. A loud snap echoed through the valley as John came to a final stop.
“John!” Ronon yelled at the top of his lungs as he went careening down the rock.
Rodney was positive any minute the big Satedan was going to find himself lying beside John if he wasn’t... Not that it would be a bad thing. I wouldn’t mind lying beside John. He gave himself a mental shake. Where in the hell had that thought come from? Now so wasn’t the time for any lustful fantasies about John. No matter how tempting the man was. Rodney rolled his eyes at his own foolishness as he hopped to the next patch of grass. He was a straight man and he had the notches on his belt to prove it. Okay, so there really weren’t that many and they were more like pinpricks but still....
Ronon tilted his head back and stared up at Rodney still almost at the top of the cliff. “Hurry up, Rodney! John broke his leg.”
John could feel himself bristling at Ronon’s tone. Did he have to say it like that? It wasn’t as if he had broke his leg on purpose.
“I’m coming!” Rodney yelled back as he tried to pick up his pace while trying not to get himself killed in the process. Oh yeah, John Sheppard could fall down a steep rock and break his leg. But if it had happened to him, Rodney McKay, he would have been seriously hurt probably even killed.
A few short, terrifying moments later Rodney found himself at the bottom thankfully all in one piece. “What now?”
“We need to get John out of this...” Ronon waved his hand to encompass the area. Whatever it was it couldn’t be good for any of them but especially John, the man was lying in the stuff.
The only shelter open to them was the building but it was on the other side of the stream. “There.” He pointed at that building. “It doesn’t look like much but it’s the best we have under the circumstances. Although getting John there could be a slight....” He turned around to see John already being held in the big Satedan’s arms. “So, not a problem?”
Ronon shook his dreadlocks out of his eyes as he shifted John’s weight. “Follow me.”
Rodney didn’t know how they had made it up to the entrance of the building without all of them dying but somehow they had. He breathed a sigh of relief as he opened the door to the building and walked cautiously into the room. Thankfully the room was empty. Not that he’d had any doubts but in their line of work it paid to be sure. He turned and motioned for Ronon to come in. “There’s a couch there next to the desk. John should be comfortable on that while we figure this out.” While Ronon was lying John down Rodney began to search the room.
They had only been in the building a few minutes before Rodney called out, “I found the source of the signal.” A black box the size of a recipe box lay on a shelf beside the window. After a few minutes of checking to make sure nothing dire would happen if he stopped it, Rodney reached out and shut off the device. Blessed silence filled the room. “How’s John?”
“I think he’s okay for now. But we need to find...”
John silenced Ronon with a glare. “He is sitting right here and would appreciate it if you both didn’t talk about him as if he wasn’t even in the room.”
Both men had the grace to look sheepish. “Sorry, John.”
“We have to find something to brace his leg to keep him from moving.” At the dark look John shot him Rodney quickly held up his hand. “I wasn’t talking about you I was just stating facts.”
A loud crack shocked both men to silence as they turned to see Ronon standing there with a broken table leg in his hands. “I think this is the right length.”
Without a word Rodney rummaged through the drawers until he triumphantly held up a ball of twine. “It isn’t the strongest thing but...” He should have probably offered his belt, after all it would be stronger but the thought of.... No. It was best that they all stayed fully clothed. He didn’t know why he was thinking about John the way he was but there was no point in making it even harder.
“It’ll have to do.” Ronon grabbed the ball from Rodney’s hand and made his way to where John lay. “Put your hands on his thigh and hold him still. I don’t want to hurt him no more than we have to.”
“What?” Rodney couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Was the big Satedan nuts? There was no way he could put his hands on John’s thigh and not...
Not another word of protest left Rodney’s lips as he laid his hands on John’s thigh. He could feel the muscles beneath his fingers clench in pain. Rodney quickly turned his head towards John. “Sorry.” It was the only thing he could think of to say.
John shook his head without speaking. He couldn’t. He knew if he opened his mouth now a moan would escape him and it didn’t have anything at all to do with the pain he was in.
It only took Ronon a few minutes to tie the broken table leg to John’s injured leg. "There. That should hold it for awhile."
As soon as they had finished putting the splint on John's leg, Rodney almost ran back to the other side of the room. He had to put as much space between him and John as was possible. He quickly set back to work on trying to find out what had happened on the planet. “It looks as if the signal was set to go off anytime the Stargate was activated.” His voice broke the silence of the room.
Ronon didn't bother to answer as he grabbed a sheet that was lying on top of the shelf and tried to get as much of the substance off of John as he could.
“Why?” John winced in pain as he tried to raise himself up but before he could go any higher Ronon gently pushed him back down. He tried not to notice the heat radiating from Ronon’s hand on his chest. But it was hard. Despite the pain he was in apparently his body wanted Ronon. What the hell was wrong with him? First Rodney and now Ronon?
“I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with that yellow and orange substance. But I’ll know more once I’ve gone over every thing whoever lived here left behind and performed some tests.” Rodney began to gather the supplies he would need.
“I’ll go check outside and see if I can see anything... or anyone.” Without another word Ronon walked out of the front door before either man could say anything.
Ronon had only been gone a little over an hour when Rodney raised his head and looked over at John resting on the couch. “The yellow and orange substance is what has caused all the damage here.”
“How can you know that? You don’t have the equipment here to test it.”
“I’m a scientist, John but much more than that I’m a genius.” He ignored John’s eye roll and continued his explanation. “It’s true the things I have to work with here are rudimentary at best but science doesn’t lie. The orange and yellow matter that is covering the planet is a....”
The door threatened to come off its hinges as it was slammed against the wall. “You wouldn’t believe what I found. I followed the stream up past this building...” Ronon stomped his boots on the floor trying to get as much of the yellow stuff off of him as he could. “There are bodies everywhere.”
John tried to pull himself up as his mind raced with possibilities. All hope, faint as it was, that they would find something here to help with their fight against the Wraith vanished. “Could you tell what happened?”
Ronon shook his head. “But I can tell what didn’t happen. They weren’t in any fight.”
“How can you be sure?”
Rodney didn’t bother to ask any questions. He already had a suspicion what had happened to the inhabitants.
“They were all naked.”
“That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a fight, Ronon.” John couldn’t believe Ronon was acting like this. Maybe the inhabitants of this planet didn’t wear clothes.
Ronon walked over and kneeled beside John. “They were all in various stages of intercourse.” His voice was husky as images of John and himself locked in some of those same acts he had seen went through his mind. What the hell? As he quickly jumped up and moved away from John, he glanced over at Rodney and was stunned by the blue eyes devouring him. It seemed as if time stood still as he lost himself in Rodney’s eyes. His dreadlocks whipped around his shoulder as he shook his head. This was getting way too weird.
“There’s more isn’t there, Ronon?”
He nodded his head. How did Rodney know? “Some looked like we do and their partners looked like a kind of hybrid of the Wraith.”
“Michael.” All three men whispered the name almost as if afraid if they said it too loudly he would appear out of nowhere.
“How did you figure it out, Rodney?” John asked the very question that Ronon had asked himself.
“This wasn’t a home. This was a prison.” Rodney grabbed the box of notebooks from the tabletop he had been working on and sat them on the floor in front of John. “These are notes on experiments that were done here. It’s not like Michael signed them or anything but who else would want to see a human and wraith together? What would be the point?” He wasn’t really expecting either man to answer. After all they were aware that what Michael was doing was in part their fault. If they hadn't captured him and tried to turn him into a human then none of this would have happened. They should have just killed him when they met him as a Wraith when they had the chance. “This has his name written all over it.”
John nodded his head in understanding as Ronon stood at attention his eyes continually scanned the room. “But that still doesn’t explain the yellow and orange...”
“Oh, but it does.” Rodney quickly walked back to the table and grabbed his notes and a small vial before he came back and kneeled beside John. He held up the bottle for John to see. “In this small bottle this substance when used correctly in the right dosage is relatively harmless. It is supposed to increase desire.”
“Are you trying to tell me that Michael destroyed a whole planet because of an aphrodisiac?”
“Not quite.” Rodney sat the bottle on the floor and began to rummage through one of the other notebooks. “The subjects had no desire for the opposite race or according to the notes no desire for sex at all. So he concocted an aphrodisiac. But here is where things began to go wrong. The experiment was taking too long, he grew impatient and increased the dosage. But then something changed for Michael personally.” Rodney turned the page and showed John the notation in the margin.
John’s blood ran cold as he read the word.
Ronon read the inscription over Rodney’s shoulder. “You think he has Teyla?”
Rodney nodded. “Yes. I..."
Ronon quickly interrupted. "Why? What does Teyla being pregnant have to do with Michael? Why should that be of any interest to him?”
A deep sigh escaped Rodney. "I don't know the answer to that but I do know that once he found out that Teyla was carrying a child he abandoned this planet and his subjects. He rigged an explosion in the lab that was supposed to kill all of them." He glanced at Ronon. "Did you see any other buildings, Ronon?”
He quickly shook his head. “No. The only thing out there is bodies covered in this same yellow and orange substance.”
“That’s what I thought. The lab must have been destroyed in the blast. Remember when I said the substance was relatively harmless?” Rodney waited for the two men to nod their heads before he continued. “But once the explosion happened and this stuff was exposed to air and heat it began to expand covering the ground.” He picked up the bottle. “I can show you.”
“No!” John and Ronon yelled in unison. “We believe you.”
“So how’d they get loose and what killed them?” Ronon refused to say test subject and the word people just didn’t sit right with him since half of the bodies out there were a sort of Wraith hybrid.
Rodney quickly shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know how the test subjects managed to get out of their cells but as for what killed them...” He turned his head to look up at Ronon and waggled his eyebrows at him. “What do you think they died from?”
John’s mouth opened in shock as he picked up on Rodney’s reference. “You can’t be serious. Are you saying that they literally fucked themselves to death?”
He blinked his eyes as his body hardened just from hearing John say that word. He quickly stomped down the warm bud of desire that coursed through him. “The official cause of death would be dehydration and starvation but yeah since it was brought on by excessive intercourse you can literally say they fucked themselves to death."
Silence descended on the room as each man tried to make sense of what had happened on the planet.
John was the first one to break the silence. “I take it that this aphrodisiac doesn’t have to be ingested.”
“No. You can breathe it in but it takes longer to work that way. If it’s applied to the skin...” His voice trailed off at the look of dawning horror on John and Ronon’s faces. “What?”
Ronon turned to shoot Rodney an aggravated look but instead ended up staring into his eyes. With a growl he shook his head. “We stepped all in this stuff and John...” He turned his head back to stare down at John. “John practically took a bath in it.”
Rodney snapped his fingers. “Of course that explains why I’ve been thinking about the two of you as if...” He let his sentence trail off into nothingness at the look the other two men were giving him. It would be better for all concerned if nothing more was mentioned.
John stared up at Rodney. “It’s okay, Rodney. I can’t speak for Ronon but I’ve been having the same kind of thoughts.”
John’s husky voice sent warm vibrations spinning throughout their bodies.
As much as it pained him to admit it, Ronon nodded his head. “Me too.”
“Well.” Rodney quickly stood up and spun around. What the hell were they supposed to do now? A low burning sensation started deep within his body at the thought of firm hands gripping him, his hands running down Ronon’s chest, his fingers digging into John’s thigh as he engulfed him in the.... Woah! There was no way they could have sex with each other! At the same time!
He wasn’t aware he had spoken out loud until Ronon asked, “Why not?”
Silence filled the room at Ronon’s question as each man thought over the answer. What seemed like hours but was in truth only minutes passed before John finally broke the quiet stillness. He stared up into the Satedan’s eyes. “Do you think?”
Ronon shrugged his shoulders and once more repeated, “Why not?”
Rodney held up his hands. “Wait. You two can’t be serious! There’s no way you could be thinking....” He swallowed hard. He knew exactly what they were thinking. “But John’s leg is broke.”
“My leg isn’t what’s hurting me, Rodney.” A smile began to spread across John’s face as Ronon began to kneel beside him. “Besides what happens on M3X-696 stays on M3X-696.”
Rodney’s voice cut across the room as Ronon began to undo John’s belt. “Don’t you think we should worry about getting John off this planet?”
Without bothering to answer Ronon tossed his dreadlocks out of his face as he turned and held out his other hand to Rodney.
For a brief moment time stood still as they waited for Rodney to make his decision. It only took a second before Rodney put his hand in the other man’s larger one. With a gentle tug Rodney was on his knees on the floor. “Okay, but we can only do this once and then we have to get back to Atlantis so John can get some medical care. Agreed?” While having sex with John and Ronon might very well be the stuff of fantasies he didn’t want to spend the rest of a very short life lost in the pleasures.... Rodney shook his head. He was a smart man and he was positive he could keep everyone to the plan of letting this thing between them happen just this once.
Ronon grunted some sort of reply that was almost incomprehensible as he let go of Rodney’s hand and went to work in carefully removing John’s clothes. His brow was furrowed with determination as he worked John’s belt through the loops. The look on his face was plain to read. If he didn’t get John’s pants off soon he was going to remove them with his teeth.
John quickly nodded his head. He would have agreed to anything just as long as it got Rodney to shut up and join them. His breath caught in his throat and his body grew agonizingly hard at the look on their faces as they stared down at him. Now this was more like it. Less talk; more action!
Rodney positioned himself beside John and reached out to help Ronon free John from the constraints of his pants. Lest he forget, he kept the thought of just this once running through the back of his mind. As soon as John’s naked body came into view his mantra changed. Well, maybe twice wouldn’t hurt.