Disclaimer: The only things that are mine are the things you don't recognize!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything that could go wrong, does, and you wonder why getting out of bed that morning was a good idea? If you have, then you almost understand how Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay-Sheppard feels. Of course, you probably haven't gone through the shit she has, unless you're part of the SGC. Even then, you'd have to be in this galaxy to experience this bullshit. Because this situation is even worse than that stupid black cloud of doom.


"Okay, I think we're close enough to dial the gate," Ford calls out from the front section of the Puddle Jumper.

"Just hurry up and get us back!" Meredith call back. She's crouching next to John with her right hand on his left shoulder. And John, well, John has a giant ass bug attached to the right side of his neck.

"Get this damn thing off me," John growls. He's leaning on the Jumper's cargo bay door unable to move.

"We can't," Teyla informs him, kneeling to his right.

John looks at Mare, "Cut it off."

Meredith looks back to the front of the Jumper, "As soon as a connection is established, radio in that we've got a medical emergency!"

"There must be something we can do for him," Teyla says over John.

"There's an emergency first aid kit behind the pilot's seat. Get it," Meredith tells her. Teyla nods and rushes to the front compartment. Mare lays her other hand on his arm, "John everything we try to do to remove it make the pain worse. Just try to be still."

John carefully nods. Meredith moves a bit closer to his neck to get a better look at the creature. Up close she can see a bumpiness to its bluish exoskeleton. It has four legs and a yellowish underbelly. It's about the size of an adolescent cat with a meter long tail. And it has a death grip on John's throat with its pinchers.

Teyla comes back and hands Mare the kit, before kneeling back down. Meredith opens it and starts rifling through, "What am I expecting to find in here that can get rid of that thing?"

"Something for the pain," Teyla suggests.

"I don't think Tylenol's going to do it. He needs a doctor!" Meredith looks to the front compartment, "HOW MUCH LONGER!"

"Almost there!" Ford reassures.

Meredith looks back to John as his muscles start to seize under her hand. She grasps his hand in hers and lets him squeeze out the pain. Once his body relaxes again, Meredith stands up and starts to search the overhead baggage area for any other medical equipment as Teyla moves over to the medical kit to continue looking.

"Here we go!" Ford yells out. Meredith doesn't even give the announcement a second thought as she continues to search.

A second later there is a loud screeching sound, the kind you get between two metal joints that shouldn't touch. The next, a sharp pain to Meredith's temple. The third second, blackness.


Meredith's temple throbs as her eyes flutter open. She's on her side against the cargo doors. John is in front of her unconscious and with the bug still attached. She groans in discomfort as she maneuvers herself so that her back is to the bay door. What she sees in front of her has her rising to her knees in disbelief, and her heart dropping to her stomach in horror.

"Oh no," She stares in dismay at the wormhole horizon of the Stargate. The blue water-like substance undulating right behind the bulkhead doorway that separates the back and front compartments.

"What happened?" Teyla sits up, conscious as well.

"The drive pod," Meredith explains, "the wing things that stick out when we're flying must've failed to retract. That's the only thing it can be. It's that, or the Stargate shrunk, which I highly doubt. This is… this is a big problem."

"Okay," Teyla (I AM THE CALM IN THE STORM) Emmagan slowly stands, "What can we do?"

"I-I don't know if there's anything we can do. I mean, this is a very, very big problem," Meredith continues to stare at the event horizon, which allows her to catch sight of an arm extending out from it, "Give me a hand."

Meredith and Teyla rush over. They grab the arm and start pulling it away from the wormhole. Ford's body emerges.

"What the hell was that?" He exclaims as he stands up facing the gate, "That's strange."

"Yes, it is," Meredith agrees.

Ford points at it, "That is the-"

"Yes, It is." Mare confirms.

He stares at the event horizon, "That scraping sound… we're stuck."

"Yes, we are." Meredith states, "Apparently the engine pods failed to retract in time. Square peg, round hole."

"Can we pull Markham and Stackhouse out?" Aiden asks.

Meredith shakes her head, "Our hands and arms would dematerialize as soon as they cross the event horizon. There's uh- no way to reach them."

The shutter sound that had been consistently made since they awoke, got louder. The three turn to John. Meredith and Teyla rush into their previous positions as Aiden stands over them.

"The Major?"

"He must have been knocked unconscious by the impact," Teyla tells him.

"Jumper One, this is Weir, what's your status?"

"This is Ford. Good to hear your voice. The four of us are still here but Markham and Stackhouse are inside the event horizon."

"Say again?"

Meredith pulls out some gauze and begins to wipe away some of the sweat on John's forehead as Teyla searches through the first aid kit again.

"Ma'am," Aiden begins as he looks at the gate, "Jumper One is lodged in the Stargate. Dr. McKay, Teyla and myself are in the rear compartment with the Major. He's in bad shape. Markham and Stackhouse are in the forward section."

"How did that happen?"

"Engine pods," Meredith says.

Aiden turns towards her, "We think it was one of the engine pods, but there's no way to be sure."

"It's the only viable possibility," Meredith states.

"If I understand correctly, you won't be able to access the flight controls."

"Yes, Elizabeth," Meredith declares as she passes the gauze to Teyla before forcefully standing up, because nobody is understanding the DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT THEY WERE IN, "it's an extremely intriguing conundrum, and one that I would love to discuss with you in detail until the Stargate shuts down and this ship is cut in two-"

"Mere calm down-"

"-at which point of course-"

"Meredith! If I'm going to be any help to you at all, I need to catch up. Lieutenant Ford, back it up for me." Meredith scoffs and moves back to her husband's side.

"We couldn't I.D. the Wraith base of operations from space, like we did the last time we were there," Aiden begins recounting, "So we went to the same landing coordinates as before to get a closer look."


*An hour earlier*

Meredith, Aiden, and Teyla followed John as he led them through the wooded area. Their team had been tasked to scope out the Wraith base John broke into a week ago. And John was not happy Meredith was there to say the least.

"How did you talk me into letting you join an off world team, again?" John asked Meredith over his shoulder.

"Well it involved a highly sophisticated argument about how it was highly probable that you would need my expertise at some point."

"Uh huh."

"And I had to agree to let Teyla teach me how to fight."

"Yes. I will get you tomorrow morning so we can begin, Dr. McKay." Teyla cut in.

"Great," Meredith sarcastically remarks, "And finally I think there was some silk and lace involved in our final agreement."

John smirked, "Mmm, I liked those. Where did you keep them hidden?"

Mare raised her eyebrow, "Why? So you can go snooping?"

"I'll have you know that I am an Air Force officer we do not –" Meredith deadpanned at him, "Okay, yeah, I'd snoop. But can you blame me? I want to know what I have to look forward to taking off you."

"Can you guys not talk about this in front of me," Ford interjected, "It's gross."

Meredith snickered, "Really out of all the adjectives in the English language, you decided on gross."

"It's a valid word and I'm sticking to it," Aiden defended.

"Yeah, okay," Meredith began to retort.

"Hold up," John commanded as the group neared the tree line. He pulled out some binoculars and walk the rest of the way out before kneeling. He peered out, then dropped his arms down, "It's gone."

"What?" Meredith exclaimed, "I thought you said it was in a mountainside."

"It was," Teyla affirmed, "We were inside it."

John still gazing at the area, gave the order, "Let's move."

The quartet headed off with John in the lead. It wasn't long before they came across a ginormous crater. It was at least 5km in diameter and 1km deep.

"This was the spot," John stared down into the hole.

"Well, now it's a hole," Meredith remarked.

"Wow, really," Sarcasm was dripping off John's words, "I hadn't noticed."

"Could it have been destroyed?" Teyla inquired.

"No," Aiden refuted, "This is not a blast crater."

"It looks like they just picked up and left," John stated, "So, ship?"

Aiden glanced at John in disbelief, "I don't know sir. That mountainside had trees growing on it."

"Yeah, but Wraiths hibernate for centuries right? So, a lot of trees could have overgrown in that time."

Teyla gazed out across the crater, "Then we were held prisoner inside one of the great ships I showed you in the drawings. They've left to begin culling worlds."

Meredith shook her head in horror. A giant ship filled with the monsters John told her about roaming the cosmos in search of its next buffet? The fuck is wrong with this galaxy? Unable to stomach staring at the depression left by the ship (and how did it rise up from the ground if it was as big as a mountain? Physics is failing her) Meredith turned her head to the side and observes the woods around the group, she double takes as silhouettes form and move, "There's movement over there!"

Shots are fired at the quartet. John shouts for them to move and they race off to the Jumper. Meredith takes one glance back, getting her first look at a Wraith. They are humanoid at first glance, but she can see the disturbingly grotesque features that make it obvious that they aren't. Her first observation is of the white, cotton candy like hair. Then it's the porcelain looking skin, not just the color or the complexion, but the fact that it's face looks like it's made like a porcelain doll.

Her glance is enough to make Meredith run just a bit faster, to get away from the creature that will probably visit her again in her nightmares.


"She hardly meant begin at the very beginning," Mere sneers at Aiden from her position next to John.

"This is intel she needs to know," Aiden states as he turns to face her.

"Intel that we can tell her when we don't have less than 38 minutes to fix the fucking crisis we're in!" Meredith exclaims standing up to get into Ford's face.

"Hold on. Why thirty-eight minutes?" Dr. Weir's voice interjects.

"Because," Meredith grinds out (Seriously? Does no one study up on the one thing that allows them to go to different planets), "that's the maximum amount of time a Stargate can remain open in non-relativistic conditions. It's one of the more immutable laws of wormhole physics. And would you look at the time, we now have about thirty-five minutes left until the ship is cut into two and we all die. Are we all caught up now?"

"I get it. What do you need?"

"Help," Meredith grabs one of her bags from the overhead carrier.

"All right. Let me put Kavanagh, Grodin, and Simpson in a room. See what they come up with."

"That's good. And the Czech, Ruzicka? Rerucha? Reznicek?"

"Do you mean Dr. Zelenka?"

"Yeah, him. We'll work it out on our end."

"What else?"

"We'll call you," Meredith turns off her communicator and riffles through her bag pulling out her computer, tablet and a bundle of cords, "Man I could have sworn his name began with an 'R'."

Meredith moves to the left side of the Jumper and begins removing parts of wall coverings. Ford stands behind her gawking like a golem, "McKay what are you doing?"

"I'm trying to access some of the rear compartment circuits to see what I have to work with. If you could quit hovering that would be great!"

"Maybe if you weren't tearing up the ship I wouldn't hover," Aiden retorts.

Meredith whips around, "I'm not tearing apart the ship you gun toting mindless-"

"Hi, Teyla," interrupts her (amazing) insult. Mere and Aiden turn as one to the sight of John conscious, "Are you all right?"

Teyla nods to hem and continues her search through the med kit, "I am fine, Major Sheppard."

"Something tells me we haven't made it to Atlantis yet."

"No," Teyla shakes her head.

John sighs and looks forward, "Mere, is that what I think it is."

Meredith walks up to him and kneels to his left, before she finally says, "Yeah."

"We're stuck, sir," Lieutenant Ford clarifies.

"So my day just got a hell'a'va lot better? Great."

Meredith grabs his left hand, "We're going off the assumption that it's one or both of the drive pods. I don't know whether it was mechanical failure or-"

"If it was damaged as we tried to take off." Aiden interjected.

Meredith shook her head, "There's no way of actually knowing what caused it, but, um, do you know of someway of manually retracting the mechanism-"

"Cockpit, on the left." John interrupts.

"Great, but the cockpit is demolecularized at the moment. Anyway back here that you know of?"


"Great. Well nothing's changed then," Meredith kissed John on the top of his head and stands up, "If you'll excuse me, I'll be over there, taking some readings if you need me."

Meredith sits down on the right bench and pull up a schematic on her tablet. As she goes through it thinking of different scenarios to give them potentially a few more minutes, Ford sits down on the other bench. After thirty seconds of working on the schematic, Meredith comes up with a short term solution. She jumps up out of her seat and moves to the wall in front of her. She presses a button on the panel there and the Bulkhead doors close. Hiding the Stargate from sight and drenching the cabin in inky darkness.

"What are you doing?" Aiden's voice asks as Meredith fumbles with a flashlight.

Light blinks into existence, "Sorry, Here."

"Jumper One, this is Atlantis." Peter's voice crackles over the communicators.

"We're still here," Meredith states.

"We recommend closing the bulkhead door."

"Oh, good thinking," Meredith deadpans as she gazes at the closed door, "What else?"

"We're still working on the problem. We'll get back to you. Atlantis base out."

"Thanks for calling," Meredith calls out irritated, "That was helpful."

"Why'd you close the door?"

Meredith looks at Aiden, "So that when the Stargate shuts down and the forward section of the ship is severed we aren't directly exposed to the void of space."

"Will it hold?"

"Like a screen door on a submarine. But I prefer apoxia to explosive decompression. It's a personal thing."

"If the air's going to get thin in here, you really need to calm down."

"Wait 'til you see how thin it's going to get in twenty-seven minutes!"

"Mere-" John cuts in.

"Vacuum. That thin!" She continues giving her husband no mind.

"Knock it off." John commands, gazing at her in concern, knowing how she can get.

"Oh, I'm sorry! But no one seems to comprehend just how monumentally screwed we are!"

"Don't talk to me about screwed!" Meredith stares at John for a long second, before blinking and looking away, swallowing her tears and the lingering fear that in twenty-six minutes the both of them and the rest of the team will be dead. "And let's not give up on Markham and Stackhouse, either. There's plenty of time left to solve this, but you've got to calm down and use your brain, babe."

Meredith snorts, "I thought I told you that was a stupid endearment."

"Yeah well everything else just didn't flow right."

Meredith inhales deeply before thinking, "We can access a lot from back here, maybe I can find the circuitry for the drive pods and manually retract them that way."

"There's only one way to find out," John says.

"Right," Meredith nods. She looks at the wall she had already pulled apart and turns to face the other one, she pulls down an overhanging compartment filled with control crystals. She grabs her tablet and connector cable and begins the tedious process of checking every control crystal for the drive pod circuit. Listening to John and her teammates talk.

"Here," Teyla's voice, a rustle of cloth then, "You seem stronger."

"No, the pain's just not so bad anymore."

"That's good," Ford.

"No, it isn't," that grabs Mere's attention. She turns to see John, "I can't feel my legs. Hands and arms are numb. I can barely move them, and the feeling's creeping up. Look Lieutenant, what I'm trying to say is… if you don't get this thing off of me, I'm pretty sure I have less time than you do."

Meredith closes her eyes and tilts her head down. She counts to ten and inhales deeply. She exhales roughly before open her eyes and getting back to work, trying to get her mind off her potentially dying husband.

"Lieutenant, get your knife out and cut this damn thing off. It can't hurt as much as it did last time," John demands.

"The last time we almost lost you," Teyla states.

"Well you're going to lose me anyway."

"Don't say that John!" Meredith exclaims not looking away from the control crystals. Muttering a curse when the one she's test comes back negative, "And don't make that face."

"Sir," Ford cuts in before John is able to retort, "We tried to get it off you when we were back on the planet. We tried everything. Even shooting it didn't work. It just hurt you more. They thing just heals itself."

"It feeds on your strength. Like a Wraith." Teyla explains.

"You just had to say that." John groans.

"My father often told stories of creatures such as this. I always thought he was trying to keep the children from straying far from our camp."

"Great. Did he tell you how to kill it?"

"I don't know, sir. I don't think we can," Aiden interjects.

"Well, I could use a second option. Get Beckett on the radio."

"Atlantis, this is Jumper One. Do you read?"

"Jumper One this is Atlantis, we copy."

"Could you get Doctor Beckett on the radio?"

"Affirmative. Over here, sir."

"This is Dr. Beckett. How's our patient?"

"This is Ford. Major Sheppard's conscious, but the creature's still latched onto him."

"How do you feel about house calls Doc?" John asks casually.

"Would if I could, Major, but you'll have ta settle for long distance. I'm told ya have somethin' of a cling-on?"

"Well I dunno if I'd call Mere a cling-on." John joked.

"Hey! Don't drag me into shit when I'm busy!" Meredith retorted.

"But I do have what has to be the biggest, ugliest tick I've ever seen. And I've dealt with a shit ton of ticks." John continued.

"How did it attach itself?"

"Well, we were on our way back to the Jumper under fire from the Wraiths. I was giving cover to the others when I backed into a giant ass spider web. Next thing I know Charlotte's ugly step-sister is clamping down on my neck."

"Can ya describe it ta me?"

Ford takes over, "Yes, sir. It's about two feet long, including tail. That's wrapped under his armpit. It has two sharp, spiny things in his neck near Major Sheppard's carotid artery.

"I'll need more'n tha' son."

"Its forelegs- I think- they're wrapped around the Major's throat. Uh, I can't see any eyes. . . It's got a real hard shell, but there's a soft leechy part underneath."

"Major, wha' are your physical symptoms?"

"Well, at first it felt like a knife in the eye. Since then I've lost all the feelings in my extremities. I can't move.

"So, it incapacitates first with pain, then paralysis.

"I need to be able to move around to help Meredith with the mechanical problem. Markham and Stackhouse are dead if I don't."

Meredith glances at him, "Honey even if you could move I don't think you could help."

John grimaces at her while Carson continues, "What have you tried?"

"I tried to cut it off," Ford replies, "I tried to burn it off. Hell, I even tried shooting it off – nine mil point-blank. Nothing. I don't think I can do anything worse without kill the Major along with it."

"I believe the creature is related in some way to the Wraith." Teyla commented.

Meredith turned to the trio, "Really?"

"How so?"

"It healed itself after each attempt to remove it by sapping life from Major Sheppard, Just as a Wraith would," Teyla revealed.

Meredith paused, "Well, the Wraith would have had to evolve from something. It is possible that they're some sort of prehistoric cousin."

"Listen Doc, the Major's getting worse. We gotta do something now." Aiden states.

"Ya said th'creature had an underside of exposed soft tissue? Like a Leech?"

"Yeah I tried to cut into it. The thing practically strangled him to death."

"Son, ya don' cutta leech off. Ya pour salt on them."

"And if that doesn't work?"

"Give me a momen' ta set up everythin' we got tha' you migh' have on tha' Jumper."

The comm went silent after that last sentence. A flurry of movement came from the back of the Jumper as Ford and Teyla started to pull out everything in the medkit and everything they could find in the shelves above the seats. They laid everything down in organized chaos. Meredith continued checking the crystals hoping Zelenka (finally got the name down!) was doing better than she was.

Carson's voice crackled through the air about four minutes after he left the comm, "All right we've got everythin' from th'Jumper manifest ready an' laid out here. What's your inventory?"

Ford looks at the stockpile, "Okay, so from the vests, we've got a Swiss Army knife, some chocolate, some water, matches. Emergency Kit, we have alcohol, iodine, painkillers-"

"What is this?" Meredith glances over and sees Teyla with a defibrillator kit.

"Teyla found a portable defibrillator in the ship stores." Aiden states.

"Already thought o'tha'. Major Sheppard would receive th'same electric shock. It would likely kill 'im."


"Try everythin', one item at a time."

Meredith reads one of the crystal's information on her computer, "Maybe?" She triggers a reaction and the lights in the compartment come on, "Nope."

"Jumper One, this is Weir. Dr. Zelenka's come up with something."

Meredith looks down at her computer, "Zelenka… Why can I never remember that name?"

Grodin begins talking, "He's positively identified the control systems in the port side of the Jumper that retract the drive pod. I'm relaying the schematics to your data-pad."

"Thank you!" Meredith cheers, "Now we're getting somewhere!"

"What?" Ford asks, unsure of what is occurring.

"Zelenka's identified the control pathways to the engine pod," Mere states as she reads the sent schematics, "which means that my chances of fixing this problem has increased from one in a million to one in a thousand," The trio at the bulkhead door look at her like she's crazy, "It's uh… it's better than what we had before. Elizabeth?"


"I'll only have seven to nine seconds to warn you if I accidentally trigger a catastrophic overload. So, uh… if I say raise the shields, you might want to uh, raise the shields. Don't hesitate."

Meredith glances over at the others, who are looking at her in horror. She grimaces at them in return. Weir's voice crackles over them, "We're aware of the risks Mere. Do your best."

"Yeah, no pressure," Meredith mumbles as she turns back to the crystals.

Behind her Aiden and Teyla begin their work on trying to remove the giant blue tick from John's neck.

"We're beginning with iodine," Ford states. A second goes by where nothing is said, "Scratch iodine."

"Wha' else have ya got there?"

"Here," Teyla says.

"We're going to try alcohol now."

"Place few drops on th' soft tissue t'see how it reacts."

"Save some for me," John jokes.

"Wrong type of alcohol, sir." Ford responds.

"What's the good of that?"

"Not much, sir. No reaction to the alcohol."

"Right. What next?"

"Did the doctor not say to pour salt on the creature?" Teyla questions.

"I'm pretty sure that was a metaphor. But that doesn't matter. Try everything." Meredith states, trying to focus on the crystals and not her husband.

"No reaction. Hand me the water."

The minute Meredith hears the telling splash of water hitting a surface, John makes a choked sound. It's the sound of someone in agony but unable to scream. Meredith jerks around to face the trio at the back of the Jumper.

"Sir. Sir, are you alright? Sir? Major?" Ford is in Johns face trying to get him to respond, but John just begins to scream. One filled with agony, "Sir, are you alright? Sir? Major? Major!"

John shoves Aiden away. The shove is so powerful that Ford is sent crashing into the wall of the ship. Meredith, her surprise, accidently pushes on one of the crystals. The sound of the engines going is heard briefly, and then the only sound in the compartment is John's heavy, pain-filled, breathing.

"What's going on?" Dr. Weir asks.

Mere stares at the panel for a second before turning to face John. She sees Ford slowly move from where he had landed on the ground, "It reacted to either the salt or the water."

"Or a combination of both," Beckett contemplates. "Did it loosen its hold on Major Sheppard?"


"If anything, it dug in more." Teyla tacks on.

"Please don't do that again," John groans.

Meredith looks back to the control panel as Ford replies, "I won't, sir. I'm sorry."

"It was mos' likely a defensive reflex ta salt water."

"We moved," Mere announced looking around, "When you fell, I must've crossed one of the circuits, I think the engine fired for a microsecond. It stopped though." Her eyes fell to the ground near the cockpit, "Oh no."

"What?" Ford asks, apprehensive.

Meredith looks as the glowing blue of the Stargate peeking out from next to the wall, "So much for plan 'A'."


"When the Stargate closes now, every molecule of air in this compartment is going to rush out through there." Mere points at the ground. Silence reigns through the Jumper.

"We slid in further," Teyla mutters.

Meredith lowers herself to the floor, sitting with her back against the seats and her knees drawn up, "Fifteen minutes."

"Ford, what can you tell me?" Elizabeth breaks through the disbelief.

"The Jumper has shifted slightly. The rear compartment has now breached the event horizon. Dr. McKay…" Ford looks at Meredith as she glances at him, "Dr. McKay is still hopeful that she can retract the drive pod in time."

Mere turns to John. He's staring at her. I know you can do this. Meredith nods, stands up and gets back to work.

"Understood. We haven't come up with anything yet, but there's still time."

"Yes ma'am."

"How's Major Sheppard?"

"I'm still here," John grunts.

"Hang in there Major. We're working on the problem."

"I know you are. Uh… listen, I'd like to say something while I still can."

"Oh, no you don't John Sheppard!" Meredith turns to glare at him before turning back, "You are not dying on me. We are going to get through this."

"If I was, he wouldn't have let me go," John denies.

"Who wouldn't have let you go?"

"The Wraith. I guess he just saw me as good as dead, 'cause he just walked away. So… what I wanted to say was-"

"Save your strength, John, and tell me in person."

"This is important."

"I'm listening."

"We should send him through the event horizon," Ford interrupts, "If Dr. McKay figures it out in time we can fix the Major up on the other side. If she doesn't, well, we're all dead anyway."

"Yeah, no pressure or anything."

"Major Sheppard would effectively be in suspended animation for the entire time." Grodin pipes up.

"We cannae risk it." Beckett rejects.

"Why not?" Ford asks

"If th' creature reacted tha' violently ta a few drops o' water, who knows how it would react ta th' Stargate."

"You're telling me that Major Sheppard can't come through the gate while that thing is on him?"

"Then we must do something now," Teyla announces.

There's a pause and then, "Hit me with the defibrillator." Meredith turns to him.

"You may be on ta somethin' Major!"

"You said that might kill him," Aiden reminds them.

"That's the idea," John groans out.

"I do not understand," Teyla declares.

"Teyla, you said tha' this creature is like a Wraith."


"Then how do ya think it would respond if, God forbid, Major Sheppard were ta die right now?"

"It would stop feeding."

"Exactly, jus' as a Wraith would."

"How is that an Idea?" Weir demands.

"We're suggestin' tha' we fool th' creature inta thinkin' its prey is dead by stoppin' th' Major's heart. If I'm right, it should let 'im go."

"And when the thing lets him go, we give him another jolt?"

"You can give tha' a try. If it doesnae work, send him through th'event horizon. He'll keep there as good as a deep freeze."

"John, are you sure you want to do this?"

"I want this dame thing off of me."

"Lieutenant Ford, do you know how ta do this?"

"Yes sir. Teyla, cut his shirt open."


"Cut his shirt open! Charging to two hundred. Move his tags."


"Move his chains to the side."

"Place th' lubrication right on th' paddles."

"Ready to go. Once the bug falls off, I'm going to have to kill it. I'll wait for it to charge up again, and I'll give him another jolt. McKay…" Meredith looks at him, "if we can't restart his heart on the first try I'm going to need the bulkhead door open again."

"Got it," Meredith walks over to the consul, and opens the door. The blue glow from the Gate washes over the compartment. "You better live through this John."

"I'm planning on it."

"One of us is going to have to get him through," Ford cuts in.

"I will," Teyla volunteers.

Ford holds the paddles up, charged and ready. He hesitates.

"Just do it!" John shouts.

Aiden presses the paddles down onto John's chest. A burst of static noise comes from the group. John's body rises from the ground and drops back down with a thud. Aiden puts his fingers to John's neck, "No pulse!"

Teyla reaches for the bug and gives it a pull, "It won't come off."

"It may take a moment." Beckett calms.

"Lieutenant?" Weir inquires.

Teyla tries to pull it off again, and this time it detaches. She tosses the bug onto the left bench. Meredith moves to the other side eyeing the bug as she moves. Aiden jerks up and pulls his gun and shots the bug until it starts to leak a think fluid substance. It lies still as Teyla rushes over and wraps up the bug in her jacket. Ford prepares the paddles and shocks John once more. His body jerks up and falls down. Aiden checks for a pulse.


"Nothing! Let's get him through!"

Teyla and Meredith rush forward to help maneuver John to the event horizon. Teyla and Ford moving him and Meredith clearing the path. Once close enough, Mere helps Aiden turn John so Teyla could wrap her arms around his waist.

"Got him?" Ford confirms.

"Yes." Teyla drags John backwards.

As soon as they disappear into the wormhole Meredith closes the door and Aiden radios Atlantis, "This is Lieutenant Ford. The creature's successfully been removed from Major Sheppard, but we were unable to revive him. Both he and Teyla are now on the other side of the event horizon."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. Meredith, you have seven minutes."

Meredith turns to the crystals once again, "I'm only halfway through all the possible circuit pathways and time's almost up. You should consider stepping into the event horizon." Ford gives her a look, "I'm serious. I'll keep trying 'til the end, but given your choices, that's a far better way to go."

"And leaving you here alone with that thing wrapped up in my jacket?"

"You did make sure it was dead right?"

"It's dead."

"Good because explosive decompression and death by suffocation with that thing on my face is possibly the-"



"Mere, we're down to two minutes!"

"I know the time! I've still got over two dozen circuits I haven't tried!"

"Don't be so methodical! Just pick one at random!"

"If I do that I run the risk of attempting to activate the same circuit twice!"


"I'm telling you there's no way-" The sound of whirling gears is heard, "Wait. Think I did it! Elizabeth I think the engine pods retracted!"

"Then why haven't you shown up?"

"She's right," Aiden declares, "Why aren't we moving?"

"It's inertia," Meredith realizes, "The drive shut down before we went through the Stargate. We've shed all of our forward momentum."

Ford begins jumping against the front wall.

"You're wasting your time. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

"Then what are we going to do?"

"Wait! The rear hatch. Blow the rear hatch! It should give you enough thrust to make it through." Kavanagh exclaims.

"That could do it, but the only mechanism to blow the hatch is back here," Meredith explains, gesturing to it.

Ford opens the bulkhead doors and moves to Mere, "You go through I'll do it."

"What? No, you'll get blown into space!"

Aiden begins crowding her to the gate, "There's no time to argue! Just go!"

"But I really should be-"

"Go!" Aiden pushes her and she hits the portal.

Meredith stumbles into Teyla and John, before helping Teyla lower him to the ground. Mere looks out the front and sees the control center right in front of them. She settles down next to John and grasps his hand as the Jumper rises up to the bay. She turns to Teyla, "Go check on Ford, he just decompressed the Jumper in space."

Medical rushes in as Teyla heads to do just that. Carson kneels next to John as the others set up a defibrillator.

"Clear." Carson shocks John but the heart monitor that was set up continues to flat line. Carson continues to work as Elizabeth walks into the compartment, "Clear."

"Well done, Meredith." Weir praises as John's heart continues to not beat.

Meredith shakes her head as tears begin to run down her face. Carson has the medics put an airbag to John's mouth and use it to push air into his lungs.

A steady beeping begins to fill the Jumper, "We've got a pulse!"

Carson listens with a stethoscope, "It's getting stronger," He takes off the stethoscope and places his ear to John's chest, "He's going to be okay."

Meredith falls back against the first mate's chair and hold her mouth as tears streak down her face. The adrenaline and anxiety to the past forty-five minutes falling and fading. And in the back of her mind an over whelming sense of joy flutters around.


Meredith is sitting next to John's infirmary bunk, holding his hand, as Teyla and Aiden stand behind her. John relaxes back and makes faces at Mere as he lets the nurse apply a bandage to his neck. Meredith just grins at him and plays with his fingers, both of them happy that they're alive.

Elizabeth walks in and moves to the end of John's bed, "How are you feeling?"

"Like I could really go for a steak right about now."

"So like normal then?" Meredith asks.

"Shush you," John covers her mouth with his hand and pushes slightly.

"Dr. Beckett says he'll be fine in a couple of days," Ford informs Weir.

"We should let you rest," Teyla instists.

"No, you should get me some food."

"I think that can be arranged," Elizabeth agrees.

Ford taps John's shoulder before turning to leave with Teyla, "Welcome back, sir."

"I have to admit, it is a pleasant surprise."

"By the way," Elizabeth steps up to Mere's side, "What were you going to say?"


"Before, when you thought, you know…"

"Oh, that…"

"I didn't want you to say it at the time, but now I'm curious."

"I was going to say, um… Mere you have to promise not to hit me."

"Why?" Meredith asks, skeptical.

"Just promise."

"I promise I won't hit you for whatever you're going to say."

"Okay. I was going to say, 'Please don't let Mere throw away my 1984 Orange Bowl football tape.'"

Ford starts laughing as Mere mumbles, "Now I wish I hadn't've made that promise."

"Really?" Weir stares at him incredulously.

"She would throw it away in a heartbeat if I wasn't around to distract her from it."

"Sad part is," Meredith laminates, "He's being completely truthful. I've try to throw it away several times already."

"Good night," Teyla says as she guides a giggling Aiden out of the infirmary.

Elizabeth takes her leave as well, "Take care, Major Sheppard."

John nods to her as he settles down into the bed. He pulls his and Mere's hands to his lips where he presses her hand, "I love you Mere. So much."

"I love you too, you goof."

They gaze at each other before John closes his eyes to get some sleep. As John rest, Meredith stays wide awake as she feels a rush of contented happiness. A feeling that she knows is not hers.

Hello! Sorry this took so long. I had trouble with this episode, it was basically all dialogue. But I did it, just in time for Florence to hit and cause power outages. Yay. Not. For all of you in her path, please stay safe, if you're reading this after being hit, I hope you recover soon.

For all of you that have just joined, WELCOME! For all returners, WELCOME BACK!

For all of you that reviewed, followed, or favorited thank you.

For all of you on Tumblr, I have created a page that I'll probably post omakes to in between posts. username is angel2uffn.

Thank you! TTFN, see you next up date!