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Truth and Runners

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The last few months have flown by, setting the camp up how they wanted it, preparing land for crops, gathering animals and exploring the forest around them was just the tip of the iceberg. At some point, Elizabeth had been forced to call a meeting of all the section leaders and tell them that instead of her taking reports from several people from the same department, she expected each of them to keep track of their people, and unless she was unavailable,report to her once a day on their progress. People had spread out so far that John couldn't blame her for needing to place the responsibility on someone else.

John eyed her, watching as she read the report and McKay zipped his tac vest up beside her. He had a bad feeling, a sense that something was going to happen while he was off-world. He'd tried all night to convince himself he was being too overprotective of Elizabeth, this was, after all, the first time he was going off-world since they had arrived on this planet.

"You can stop looking at me like that," she said as Captain Lorne stopped beside her. "I'm not going anywhere." Her sarcastic tone did nothing to reassure him.

"I know," he said and turned to check if everyone was ready.

Their relationship had gone slowly, though not from lack of effort on John's part. He'd started easy enough, following her to the rock she always went to in the evenings, turning some of their trips into a picnic instead of joining others for dinner - though they had to be careful not to avoid others altogether or people would start to talk. In the last week or so, John had started finding ways to meet her in her tent later in the evening, usually managing to show up in time to watch her change.

It hadn't been until a few days ago that he'd managed to slip into her tent just as she was changing and catch sight of just how much her body had changed. She'd started showing at some point and he'd missed it. Since then, his visits had consisted of him sitting on the bed with her between his legs and both hands firmly on her raised stomach. Last night had been the first time he'd put his hands under her night shirt.

In the day, Elizabeth had managed to hide the pregnancy by keeping her jacket on, but she knew that wouldn't last long. Today's trip off world had put everything to the test. They had to prove to everyone, including themselves, that they could keep a professional distance in their personal relationships.

“You’re still watching me,” Elizabeth said. Her back was to him and she was just in the way of his view of Teyla.

“You think just because I won’t be here, someone won’t be keeping an eye on you? I made sure of it, via threat of cutting eyes out at the end of my mission.”

Elizabeth gave him a sly grin. "Uh huh, and I suppose you'll be cutting Carson's ears off so you don't have to explain why you mutilated your own security personnel?"

"No," John said. "I'll make you do that bit."

"The ear cutting or the explaining?" Lieutenant Walker asked.

"Ladies choice," John replied.

"This is one side of Earth culture I will never get used to," Teyla said from behind John. He turned and smiled at her.

"Don't worry Teyla," he said with a sly grin. "I'll teach you." Elizabeth gave a bitter laugh.

---

John stepped out of the Stargate and felt his orientation tip. It was a strange sensation, as if he'd just stepped through a door that was in a wall and exited out the floor and had to right himself. Lieutenant Walker grabbed his arm to steady him as he stumbled forward, and he had to brace himself against the nearby wall as the room swam around him. The queasy feeling lasted a few seconds more than John would have hoped, but when it finally passed he looked around the room.

The whitewash wooden walls were oddly soothing and supported a high glass roof. All John could see through it were the tops of some nearby trees, and the world’s two, thankfully distant, suns. There was no wall in front of the gate, it just opened out into a green and sandy mixed landscape. Reaching for his sunglasses, John stepped out into the bright day and took in the odd mix of scenery.

Strange yellow-topped plants littered the dirt patches of the shore. The water to one side was like crystal and ice mixed together. A city sat in the distance surrounded by rocky mountains and just beyond them, a giant planet that reminded him of Jupiter. It was the most amazing sight he’d ever seen. He wished he had a camera so he could capture it and show Elizabeth.

He took a deep breath of the warm and soft air and let it out slowly before turning to check on his team. To his right, Walker pulled his P90 up quickly and John turned back to look at him, only to be greeted with a neat row of five or six very tall and thin men, each with a bow and arrow, knocked and ready to fly.

“Well this is a nice greeting,” he said, just a little touch of sarcasm in his voice.

“You are trespassing.” One of the men stepped forward, his eyes fixed on John.

“Sorry,” John replied shortly.

“We have just arrived,” Teyla cut in. “We are explorers looking to trade, we did not intend to cause offence or trespass.”

The man stood staring at her for a long moment before he turned away. “Bring them,” he barked at the others.

The men moved forward, but John interrupted them. “Hang on,” he started. “Let’s not turn this into a fight. Like the lady said, we’re just explorers. And we can leave if we’re not welcome here.” He nodded to the team to lower their guns in the hope to prevent a shoot out. Which, of course, they would win against the simple bow and arrows, but it would be nice to keep everyone without any extra holes in their bodies.

The leader of the welcoming party stared intensely at John, who kept his eyes on him and assumed he was obviously the one in charge. “Look, we came in the hope to make new friends. Fight against the Wraith?” John tried to ease the tension.

The leader let out a huff. “Not my choice,” he said turning away. “Follow if you wish. Or leave!” He moved off, walking away from the gate. Two of the men followed him, the others waiting a few seconds before turning away as well.

“Don’t think we made a good first impression,” Lieutenant Walker said.

“We do need seeds for crops,” Teyla pointed out.

“Alright,” John said mulling the information over in his head. “Let’s see if we can smooth this over and get what we need in one go.” Teyla nodded and started to follow the men who had just walked away.

---

Elizabeth let out a sigh and lifted her hair from the back of her neck. The temperature had climbed through the day to twice as hot as the day before. Their temperate levels of spring air were quickly vanishing into extreme heat and humidity and everyone she could see in range of the command tent had stripped down to bare minimum. The Athosian kids in the area where running around in their underwear, and at least one civilian had dropped down to vest and shorts.

Elizabeth was still in her full uniform, her jacket zipped up to her chest to keep her baby bump hidden. She kept herself behind the desk, the fan in the corner was on, but its effects were less than helpful in the current heat and only managed to circulate the hot air instead of cooling it down.

She dropped her hair back in place and picked up her tablet before getting up. Maybe the heat outside would be lesser or at least a cool breeze would cool her down.

Stepping out into the bright sun, she took a deep breath that seemed to burn at her lungs. It was no better outside than inside, and the second she stepped out of the shade she could feel the heat on her skin. Deciding against sitting outside for long, she moved to the central area and sat under the shade of the canopy that had been put up the night before. Grabbing a bottle of water from the cooler at her side, she set her tablet down next to her and looked up to find Evan Lorne stood leaning against a nearby hut.

“When he said keep an eye on me, he didn’t mean it literally,” she said, taking a large gulp of water.

“Yeah, but I get the feeling you’re hiding something that won’t be good,” he said pushing off from the building and sitting down next to her.

“Really?” She asked in disbelief.

“Why else would you still be in your uniform,” he answered then motioned at her chest. “With jacket, in this heat.”

“Well,” she started but had to stop when someone stepped into the shade.

“Doctor Weir, do you have a minute?”

“Of course, doctor…”

“Beamish,” he replied with a grin.

“Climatology,” she replied quickly adding the name to the job. So many names and faces to remember she didn’t have them in her head just yet. “I hope you’re not here to tell me how hot it is right now.”

“113 degrees Fahrenheit, but no, I’m not here to tell you that.”

“I think I was better off not knowing,” Lorne said sarcastically.

“The hottest it was ever recorded on Earth was 136, so we’re not at the highest yet, but chances are we could hit that or higher.”

“This is the punishment you get for following me around all day,” Elizabeth told Lorne, giving him a grin that said she expected this conversation to get worse.

“At a guess, we’ve just started summer,” Beamish said, “The air pressure between yesterday and today is extremely different, and the temperature will increase as the air pressure rises.” He lowered his hand in the air to simulate the drop of air pressure. “It might be a good idea to find a cave or some sort of cover that we can stay in for a while.”

“A while?” Lorne asked turning back to the conversation. “You mean this is gonna last an eternity?”

“At least a few weeks, maybe a month or more,” Beamish said confidently. “The data I have collected suggests that summer here is around four months and for one of those the temperatures can reach peaks of around 150 Fahrenheit.”

Elizabeth let out a breath, not just in frustration of what they were about to suffer, but because she was starting to feel dizzy. For a second she wondered if hiding her baby bump was important enough to risk the temperatures in her jacket. Then the idea of people staring, giving her sympathetic looks and making comments behind her back sprung to mind and she shook the thought off.

“Alright,” she swallowed and turned slowly to face Lorne. “Send out some patrols to see if there’s any cool caves in the area, and have someone contact the island crew. See if they’ve managed to get into that hatch and if so, is there space down there for all of us.”

Lorne hesitated and she knew she’d gone pale with the wave of dizziness, but he didn’t comment. He nodded sharply and disappeared. She turned back to Beamish, still standing there watching her give the orders.

“Tell me winter isn’t going to go the other way.” She said hoping he’d say no, that the temperature just goes up for a few months then settles back to a nice reasonable balance.

“I have no idea at this moment in time, I won’t be able to tell until the summer starts to wane.”

She nodded. “Thank you.” She turned away from him and headed back to the command tent, she needed to sit down. Outside it was hotter than hell, inside it was just plain hot.