It had all happened too quickly. The team from Atlantis had settled down in their landed puddle jumper offworld, hoping
to explore the dense vegetation around them on the strange planet P4X-729 in the morning, but as soon as night fell, the familiar
scream of the Wraith darts filled the air.
There were villagers that had
wanted to leave with them when they learned that the Wraith had awoken, and Teyla, Ford, and McKay took the puddle jumper filled with villagers to the Stargate,
trying to beat the oncoming assault. The darts did not realize that their prey
was escaping until too late.
Words had been few once the Wraith
arrived. Major Sheppard ordered the others to take the villagers
to Atlantis immediately. It was a small village, and it took them only four trips
to drop the people off at the Stargate. There was no room for Sheppard in the
last load, and he opted to head for the Stargate by himself.
“You’ll never make
it,” Ford protested.
Sheppard shook his head. “You’re wrong. I’ll
see you on the other side.”
There was no use arguing with
Sheppard watched as the puddle
jumper disappeared under its cloak and felt the backwash of air as it lifted into the now darkening sky and headed towards
the open Stargate.
Around him, the forest and surrounding
fields felt cold and menacing. Wraith had landed in the distance at the now empty
village. They would soon find that there was no one there and hopefully leave
Sheppard crouched in a thicket,
considering his options. He could sneak out to the Stargate and leave without
any problems, but the temptation to take out a few of the Wraith as he went was great.
He opted for the first decision and set out for the Stargate. It was visible
from his position, a tiny, empty ring with a row of columns leading up to its platform.
He used the cover of the trees and the long grass to his advantage, slipping silently through the growing darkness. It did not take long before he realized something was different. The sounds of the Wraith had grown quieter. He froze, listening,
and turned a watchful eye back in the direction of the village. What he saw pressed
his urgency to get back to the Stargate forward.
Somehow, the Wraith knew that
there was still someone left on this planet. The Major had been careful not to
leave a trail, but dozens of Wraith had spread out in a long line from the village, carefully searching the long grass. Sheppard had a feeling they weren’t looking for any crippled or old humans that
had been left behind. They knew somehow.
Kilometers away in the distance,
three Wraith darts screamed towards them. That was it. The darts had to have scanners.
Sheppard stayed still, but dug
through the contents of his belt, pulling wads of C-4 out of a pouch. He quickly
plastered the C-4 to a nearby rock, then moved forward, planting the C-4 in various places as he went. As he neared the Stargate, the Wraith behind him began to move faster, and he had a feeling that they had
spotted him. The darts grew closer, their high pitched screaming sounding louder
and louder in his ears.
He was close enough. Sheppard called up all of his track and field training from high school, and broke into a run, sprinting
through the long grass as fast as his legs would move, and praying that there were no holes in the ground to stop his flight.
The Wraith knew where he was
for certain now. They too broke into a run, and Sheppard only hoped that he was
faster and had a long enough lead. He did, however, have a secret weapon they
did not yet know about. Slamming a hand on the C-4 switch, blossoming explosions
lit up the night sky. The Wraith disappeared, but the darts kept coming, urged
on now by their comrades disappearance under the fire.
The darts screamed closer, and
they set their capturing scanners on, the light sweeping the ground below them. Sheppard
began to kick, pouring on speed. The Stargate was still open. Atlantis was holding it open for him. All he had to do was
make it through.
The darts drew closer, on his
Unseen by the human, two more
darts closed in on him to the left and right of the Stargate, hoping to outrace Sheppard to the gate.
Legs pumping, he raced up the
steps and dove. The scanners swept over the Stargate in a wash of light. The Stargate’s light wavered, then deactivated as the darts separated, flying
off into the night.
Dead silence hit the empty planet.
On the other side in Atlantis,
Sheppard landed heavily on the floor, rolling several feet before coming to a stop.
Adrenaline rushed through his body, and he panted, trying to gulp in as much of the life giving air as he could.
He was home.
Ford rushed over to him and helped
him to his feet. Sheppard flashed the younger man a grin.
“Told you I’d make