Spoilers: up through season two, takes place early season two
Summary: Rodney releases an Ancient experiment, and it gets a little chilly.
Prompt: Plotty, fun fic. Rodney/Radek snark (I kept it gen).
Author's Note: I tried to work in all the angles I could from the generous prompt. Hope it's a shiny attempt.
"Whose brilliant idea was this again?" Rodney asked with a sigh.
"That would be you," John called back idly flicking his flashlight back and forth. Despite the consistent glimmers of the light, the tower was eerily dark. "The weekly exploration initiative, remember?"
"Yes, of course," Rodney replied annoyed. "That was before the Wraith started dive bombing us, and showing up in dark halls. He hiked up his tablet under his arm, eyeing the dark surroundings wearily.
Radek tsked from the back of the group, tapping at tablet as he walked. "There's still much we do not know about this city," he advised
John chuckled under his breath. "Rodney, Lorne is scouting ahead with the life signs detector. We'll know if there's something ready to eat our faces off.
Rodney shot him a disbelieving look and John laughed as he caught up with the man approaching ahead of him. "Anything, Major?" he asked.
Lorne shook his head. "No, sir." the airman replied. "I scouted ahead, no signs of life other than a few birds that came in through a broken window; most of the tower has been damaged."
John nodded, looking back to the two scientists lagging behind them. "Thanks, Major. We should round these two up and head back anyway. McKay's reaching code red on the crank-o-meter."
Lorne hid his grin. "Yes, sir."
"I heard that," McKay called out. "Next time you can just bring one of the peons. My time is better spent back in my lab."
"I believe there might be signal from here," Radek advised indicating the door he had paused at.
Rodney looked up from his own tablet turning around to study the door. "It's locked," he scoffed. "I doubt there's anything of interest, as most of the towers are residential."
Radek peered over his wired frames. "I am receiving low level reading of energy emitting from that direction," he advised speaking louder.
John turned on his heels to join them, he whistled to a figure that was already several feet down the hall. "Major, we've got something back here."
Lorne jogged back to their location, breathing lightly as he suspiciously eyed the door. "What've we got, Doc?" he asked Radek.
The Czech's shoulders rolled, "This I cannot say, but it could be something."
Rodney favored them with another heavy sigh. "Fine, let's take a look." He shifted his tablet reaching for the door's entry panel making quick work of the crystals as the door slid open with a stutter.
The four men entered the room cautiously. The darkness gave way as the four large glass windows lit the room with the bright morning sun. "I'm no expert, Rodney, but this looks like a lab." John commented stowing his flashlight.
The scientist just waved his hand absently as he sidled up to a large console at the center of the room. Radek took helm on the opposite side of the control center. The large octagon shaped panel was oriented around a large pedestal. The pair went to work in unison, quickly accessing the lab's files.
"Anything?" John asked leaning against the wall, legs crossed.
"Patience," Rodney snapped.
"I have been able to surmise this is weather related." Radek replied. "I think the Ancient scientist was developing a weather related satellite."
"Huh," Rodney said then: "Uh, oh."
"Rodney," John said his tall frame straightening. "What did you do?"
Radek's hands went up in surrender as he looked across at the other scientist. Without warning the pedestal rattled, then a low hum emitted from inside. An iris shaped opening unfurled as a mirrored version on the ceiling echoed the motion.
Radek hurried around the console. "Rodney, you hit launch sequence." he cried.
"Yes, thank you, genius deduction," the agitated Canadian shouted.
"Can you stop it?" John asked.
To answer him a missile erupted from the pedestal hurling itself through the opening, leaving a faint trail of mist behind.
Lorne moved quickly to the console leaning over he watched the object disappear into the clouds. "Whatever it is, it's moving fast."
Sheppard tapped his comm. "Control room, this is Sheppard. We've got an unknown object leaving the city. Track it, and come back with a location."
"Tracking the object now," Chuck replied. "It's moving in a rotating pattern in a cloud formation above the city."
"And?" Rodney called. "What's it doing?"
"It seems there are dozens of smaller objects that have come out of the larger and they're zipping around up there."
"Zipping?" Rodney retorted. "Define zipping!"
Radek's hand shot up suddenly as he wagged it, "I have it." he called out, his eyes still glued to the console screen. "It is not satellite exactly. It is a cloud seeding project."
"Really?" Rodney asked coming to his side. "Does it work?"
"What's cloud seeding?" Lorne asked.
"Rain making," Sheppard replied.
In unison the pair of scientist looked up at him with the question hanging on their brows.
Sheppard shrugged then asked. "What were they using it for?"
Rodney sighed exasperated. "Who cares, the city gets a cleaning."
Radek coughed, pushing his glasses up. "I think this is bigger problem than just rain."
"Oh, yes, let's all run in fear of the rain storm." Rodney scoffed.
Radek pointed to the screen. "This is not just storm, the Ancient scientist created this project with multiple layers of weather."
"And?" Lorne asked
"It works very rapidly. It moves from rain to sleet. And much worse." Radek advised.
"How much worse?" Sheppard asked.
"That much worse," Rodney replied pointing.
The sun light blinked out before them as the skyline darkened, thunder rumbled overhead and the first drops landed, pummeling the city.
"Is the shield keeping up?" Elizabeth asked leaning against her desk, arms crossed.
"Yes, of course." Rodney replied haughtily. "I fine tuned it so it's only covering the occupied areas, but I hardly think it's worth keeping it up for long because of some bad weather."
Elizabeth turned to him with a frown. "Rodney, the temperature dropped ten degrees within five minutes when this thing hit. I hardly call that bad weather."
"In any case, we can ride it out here." Sheppard advised. "Until it dies out."
"And if it doesn't just die out, what's the worst case scenario?" Elizabeth asked
"We're not sure, we know the storm dumped several inches of sleet on the city within the last twenty minutes." Sheppard replied.
"With the shield up, we're covered, but if it moves to the main land." Elizabeth mused.
"Teyla is there with her people, we can get someone out there."
Rodney shook his head vehemently, entering the conversation. "If this moves toward them we wouldn't have time. It would blanket them in minutes.
"Options?" Elizabeth asked.
Rodney and Radek looked at each other, the same thought reaching a climax. "We need more research," Radek replied.
"I've got Lorne and a few men deicing the Jumper bay, but it's going to take some time." Sheppard said. "Seeing these things in action might help."
"We don't have time," Rodney interjected. "This thing is growing-."
"They're doing the best they can, Rodney," Elizabeth interrupted.
"Yes, McKay" John assured. "It's not like we winterized the place."
The scientist pursed his lips in protest as Elizabeth asked: "Do you think it's a good idea flying out in this?"
John shrugged. "We've got to get out there, and see what's going on."
"The real answers are back in the lab, not whizzing around up there." Rodney retorted.
Elizabeth nodded, considering. "Will having one of the devices help?" She asked.
"Yes, yes." Radek advised. "This could be beneficial."
Rodney rolled his eyes, and then nodded. "Fine, let's go."
"The three of you go catch one, bring it back." She smiled, adding: "Good luck."
The Jumper bay was laced with a cold that seeped into the trio's bones as they made their way across to the waiting jumper. Lorne stood next to the craft looking up with a concerned look. "Major?" Sheppard asked stopping just short of the airman.
Lorne nodded curly. "You're clear, but I imagine it's like an ice rink if you try and land anywhere, so I'd avoid it."
John laughed. "That sounds like fun, you're a hockey guy, right Major?"
"What do you think I brought in my personal gear?" Lorne replied with a smile. "It's pretty wicked too, going to be a bumpy ride."
"Great," Rodney muttered tightening his coat, he involuntarily shuddered.
John favored the scientist a grin. "It'll be fun Rodney, like a roller coaster."
The scientist glared and John gave Radek and Lorne a wink. Then swept out his arm in a grand gesture to allow the two bundled scientist into the waiting Jumper.
"Let me know if there are any prime skating spots!" Lorne called out.
Sheppard grinned. "Only if you plan on using the ocean." He replied.
Lorne returned the grin. "Now, that would be a sight to see."
"Hold down the fort, Major," Sheppard replied with a laugh, before jogging up the ramp, into the waiting ship.
Lorne watched then gave a small wave as the craft quickly lifted and vanished into the waiting storm.
"Tato is ne blaho," Radek gasped in Czech as the trio looked up into the storm. The swirls of hardened ice and snow whipped against the shield with a fury and the Jumper eased through the barrier into the fray with protest.
"You can say that again," John replied, chewing his lip as he steadied the craft. "Visibility in this mess is a nightmare."
Without warning they pitched forward as the gusts pushed them around like napkins in a stiff breeze. "Can't you stabilize in this?" Rodney sputtered gripping the console, his fingers turning white.
"I'm trying, McKay." John replied through gritted teeth.
Rodney sighed gripping his tablet with an embellished sigh. "I'll have to do it myself, as usual." He teetered to the back to hook up to the Jumper's systems via the shortcut.
An eerie silence fell upon them; the only sound was the lull of the storm culminating beyond the Jumper's protective walls.
"There," Radek said pointing to an unseen object."
"Could you be a little more vague?" Rodney snorted from his position, not looking up.
"I see it," Sheppard confirmed moving toward a tornado shaped mass at the heart of the storm.
"What the hell," Rodney whispered, coming from the back to peer through the glass.
"The projectiles from the launching device," Radek confirmed looking to his tablet. "I have schematic from the main terminal. They are impressive up close." he commented.
"That's not the word I'd use." John replied maneuvering the Jumper closer to the cyclone.
The golf ball sized objects moved in a seemingly flight, like a flock of crazed birds with a mission. The Jumper pitched wildly as the churning mass approached.
"Rodney!" John yelled.
"Trying!" The scientist cried out, tapping frantically at this tablet. "There's some kind of EM field coming from those things."
"Forget it," John said. "I'm going to send out the retrieval system, snatch some of those things and we're getting the hell out of here."
"Yes," Radek murmered "We must leave this place."
Before the Canadian could unhook his tablet and return to this seat, the Jumper quickly jetted out a harpoon with a scoop that twisted in the gale outside the Jumper. A soft beeping came from viewer, and John slapped a symbol on the console in response as the harpoon reeled inside. "Got it. McKay, sit down we're going back."
Rodney collapsed into his seat as the craft did a smooth bank, and the John piloted them back to the safety of the shield. The cyclone of metal waving behind them.
"What do we have?" Elizabeth asked, John in her wake. She stopped short as she eyed the handful of circulating objects in the containment field. She looked to Sheppard with a question mark on her brow. "Are those things safe here?" she asked.
Radek rocked on his heels a moment looking to his tablet before a finger reached up to push his frames into place. "We did full scan of the devices. They are in a dormant state while in containment. They need the atmosphere to be active."
She nodded in understanding. "Do you learn anything about how they work?"
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Yes, annoyingly so." he added. "Each object projects a significant amount of a synthesized compound the Ancient scientist created that essentially seeds the cloud layers and increases activity.
"They are quite brilliant, actually," Radek advised. "The project was most successful."
Elizabeth spared a glance at the nearest window. "For the most part," Radek added.
"Ok, genuis', how do stop them?" John asked hooking his fingers into his belt loop with a lopsided smile.
Radek's lips formed an "O" shape in thought. "When we were in air, Rodney mentioned an EM field. Perhaps-"
"Right," Rodney interjected. "They might be using the EM field for some sort of internal guidance." he paused. "We interrupt it, they may just go inert."
Radek nodded in agreement. "Some sort of signal, a designated frequency released inside of cyclone would work."
"Nuclear explosion?" John asked with a wink.
"Yes, of course." Rodney confirmed. "But only if you want to blow them back to Earth." he retorted.
"Rodney," Elizabeth chided hiding a smile of her own.
"I'm in favor of any plan that doesn't entail us going back into that mess." John added from the sidelines.
Radek jumped slightly, a singular pointer finger going into the air. "I have idea!" he announced.
"If this works, you're first in line for snow cones," John said as he watched Radek rig the missile.
The Czech grinned. "I will send up new missile from the launching device here, using those little flying devices programmed with the proper frequency. They should cancel out the first."
Rodney was leaning with John against the console watching. He huffed slightly, his arms crossed. "I highly doubt it's as simple as that."
John smiled "You just wanted to be first for the snow cones, Rodney. Don't be a spoiled sport."
The scientist rolled his eyes in response but watched Radek intently.
"Yes, we are ready." Radek confirmed waving them back. He placed the missile into the launching pad and briskly walked back to the control center. "Here we go." He announced his fingers rapidly working the digital display.
The three of them watched as the pedestal shook then rattled violently, the pedestal seemingly coughed and a plume of smoke erupted from its innards.
"That's not good." John said waving his hand to bat away the smoke.
"I told you this wouldn't work." Rodney muttered, coughing.
"I do not understand," Radek said sputtering. "All readouts read normal. Why is system not working."
"We don't have much time, Can I just take that thing and jettison it from a Jumper?" John asked.
"In theory, yes, it is possible." Radek confirmed his face still wrapped in uncertainty. "I cannot guarantee that the devices will eject from the missile without the proper launching format."
John sighed. "I don't think I have much choice."
Radek considered this a moment. "We can take the devices out of missile and into a small container. You can jettison it out of drone portal."
"Let's load her up." John replied.
The Jumper rocketed out of the bay and climbed out past the shield into the freezing storm. John eased his way in with brow furrowed. "Are you reading me down there?" he asked
"Yes, John." Elizabeth replied. "We've got you. How's it coming?"
The airman peered up into the storm. "I'm getting close. Radek, is this going to work?"
Radek and Rodney looked up from the control panel in the lab as one, then to each other. Rodney just shrugged. "Yes, yes." Radek advised, with an uncertain expression.
"Here goes nothing," John muttered hitting the fire button. The small container whipped out from the drone bay with a purpose into the cyclone.
"Releasing the new devices now." Radek confirmed tapping his tablet.
A collective intake of breath was heard as the tiny twins to the already circling devices mingled in. Much to their surprised, within seconds all of the tiny objects stopped their motion as one and plummeted without ceremony into the churning ocean below.
"It worked." Rodney said surprised as Radek beamed.
"Looks like you'll get your snow cone after all," John advised over the mic. "Take a look out side."
Rodney and Radek went to the nearest window to check out the view, as the first sprinkle of flakes floated down toward the city.
Elizabeth watched from the control room and smiled. "Lower the shield," she said. "Let's give everyone a closer view."
Major Lorne hurried through the hallway, almost knocking over Sheppard as he did. "Sorry, sir."
"It's ok, Major." He smiled "Are you off to the mess, I hear they're whipping up some goodies from the snow."
Lorne returned the grin. "Well, actually I think I found my ice rink."
John's eyebrows raised a notch. "Oh? You up for some heads up action?"
"Yes, sir." Lorne replied tapping the skates on his shoulder and lifting the hockey stick in his hand. "I have another pair, if you're game."
"You're on." Sheppard challenged.
The pair hustled down the hall in search, narrowly missing the Radek who gave them wave as they passed. The Czech headed deeper into the city, juggling his hard earned snow cone.