"Rodney! Get away from there! What the hell do you think you're doing!?"
McKay was standing dangerously close to one of the Ancient Repositories of Knowledge. The same kind of device that had nearly killed General O'Neill not once, but twice.
"I'm not gonna touch it. What am I, stupid?" He laughed at that as if it were a joke. "I just want to study it. Who knows what we could learn from it."
They were on a routine mission and had found an abandoned outpost. Inside was one of the Ancient devices.
"Ok, but let's remember the last time you messed with an Ancient device like this. You got smarter than we would have liked, and then nearly died."
"But I didn't."
"That's not the point, McKay."
"Look, I just want to get some readings. I'll be fine. Thank you for your concern."
He took another step closer to the device. Just then Ronon and Teyla came running into the complex.
"Wraith!" Ronon yelled, firing his gun behind him. "We've got Wraith cruisers."
"Wraith!?" John took up position at the entrance, opposite Ronon, and fired his P-90 out into the clearing. "Why are they here? This planet is abandoned."
"I didn't stop to ask them!"
"Perhaps they left some sort of sensor in this facility," Teyla yelled over the weapon's fire.
"McKay! Is there a back way out of here?"
"How should I know? What am I, all-knowing?"
"Gee, I always thought that you thought you were."
"Just find us a way out."
But Rodney didn't have time even to look. Right at that moment there was a deafening boom and the wall came tumbling down on them.
"Ronon? Teyla?" John coughed. "McKay? Anybody there?"
There was a rustling from where the entrance had been. John crawled over and pushed debris out of the way. Ronon was lying on top of Teyla, shielding her from the rubble. He got up slowly and helped her to her feet.
"What happened?" he asked Sheppard. Teyla brushed herself off then began looking around for McKay.
"We got lucky for a change," John said. "The Wraith must have taken us for dead."
"That's uncharacteristic of them."
"Hey, I don't question good things."
"Colonel Sheppard!" Teyla called from over where the back wall had been and where Rodney now lay with several hundred pounds of brick weighing him down. John got to Rodney's side in two quick leaps. Despite what he led everyone to believe he really did care about the man. McKay was part of his team, one of the family. If something were to happen to him it would be a great loss, not just to the mission, but to John personally.
"McKay? Rodney can you hear me?"
Rodney didn't move, didn't even flinch. John moved closer and was relieved to hear breathing, shallow breathing but breathing nonetheless.
"We have to get him back to Atlantis, but I don't know how to move him without doing further damage."
"Should we radio for Dr. Keller?" Teyla asked.
John shook his head. "I don't want to risk getting more people hurt. Who knows if the Wraith are still out there, or how long we were out for?"
"Then what do we do?"
"Ronon, can you carry him?"
Ronon nodded, putting his gun back into his holster.
"Ok, good. Then let's get this rock off him and get him back to the gate."
They quickly uncovered him and Ronon scooped him up into his arms.
"Ok, Ronon you stay between us. Teyla take point and I'll bring up the rear. Let's try and move as quickly as McKay can handle. Let's go."
They darted out into the underbrush and quickly headed for the gate.
"This doesn't feel right," said Ronon, commenting on the ease with which they were being allowed to leave.
"I know, but we've gotta take advantage of it. Let's just get to the gate."
They were almost to the gate when their luck ran out. Two Wraith darts zipped down over them, their beaming rays causing the group to dive for cover.
"Teyla, dial the gate! Ronon, give me a hand."
Ronon gently laid Rodney on the ground, then took up a position that he could easily fire from. "We won't be able to hold them for long Sheppard!" he yelled.
"Long enough. Teyla, get that gate open!" They heard the tell-tale whoosh of the gate forming just before Teyla called out to them. "Ronon, take Rodney and go. Teyla and I will hold them off."
Ronon fired one more well aimed shot, bringing down one of the darts, then picked up Rodney and ran for the gate. Sheppard and Teyla inched their way back, firing into the Wraith drones that were now advancing towards them. They stepped through the gate backwards and were instantly back at Atlantis.
"Close it!" he shouted and the shield immediately went up. There were several thuds and then the gate closed. He turned around to see McKay already on a stretcher being taken off to the infirmary.
"John, what happened?" asked Elizabeth as she came down from the control room.
"We were caught off guard by the Wraith. They brought down a building around us."
"You look terrible; the three of you should get down to the infirmary."
"Did Keller have anything to say about McKay?"
Elizabeth looked like she was trying to find the best words.
"I'm not going to lie John, it's bad. He's really beat up. Keller was very worried. But I have faith in Rodney's ability to pull through."
"I'd better get up there. This is my fault."
"How do you figure?"
"I ordered him to find a back way, that's why he was so close to that wall."
"John, you can't blame yourself. Accidents happen. Now get to the infirmary before you collapse."
John nodded, and he and the others made their way out of the room. Elizabeth was right, accidents happen, but he couldn't help thinking that they happened a lot to the people on his team, and not as often to him.