The Puddle Jumper Two von Denise

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Story Bemerkung:

Yes, I did shamelessly homage a classic Trek episode :)
Kapitel Bemerkung: Written for the first 'Women of Stargte' ficathon

The Puddle Jumper Two
By
Denise






"I really need to stick to gate travel." Teyla blinked, the unfamiliar female voice penetrating her slightly stunned and befuddled brain. She slowly opened her eyes, realizing at the same instant that she was sprawled across the front console of the puddle jumper and that the small puddle of blood staining said console was likely hers.

"Take it easy," the voice said as a hand laid itself on her shoulder. "I don't know how badly you're hurt."

Teyla frowned, trying to place the voice. It wasn't Doctor Weir, nor was it Lieutenant Cadman. Since she'd exhausted her list of potential candidates, Teyla slowly turned her head, one hand coming up to push her hair out of the way.

Concerned blue eyes glanced her way. "Colonel...Carter," she said slowly, struggling to remember the name of the woman to whom she'd just been introduced a few hours before.

"Yeah," she smiled. "Are you okay?"

Teyla moved slowly, cataloguing the various aches and pains and dismissing them as minor annoyances. "I am not injured severely," she said. "You?" She looked at the woman, noticing a cut on her forehead that likely matched Teyla's own.

"I'll live," Carter said.

Teyla glanced out the front view screen, frowning at the unfamiliar landscape. "Where are we?"

"I don't know," Carter said, turning her attention back to the controls. "Those Darts led us on a merry chase. I'm not even sure what system we're in." She batted at the console. "And until I can get this thing back online, I can't find out where we are."

"The binary system we were looking at?" Teyla asked, referring to why she and Carter were in the puddle jumper, Teyla having accompanied Carter in her trip to gather data about a rare binary system Atlantis had discovered.

Carter shook her head. "I lost track of it during the dog fight."

"We cannot be too far off course," Teyla said, turning her attention to her own console.
Many of the expected lights and controls were dark and obviously off-line.

Carter shrugged. "Off course is a relative term," she said. "Our engines are damaged, which is why our landing was so rough. And why we're gonna be stuck here."

"They are damaged that severely?" Teyla asked.

"Yeah," Carter said. "If I can fix them, I might be able to baby it to get us to take off, but I don't know if we'll be able to attain escape velocity."

"So we are trapped here."

"Looks like it," Carter said. She looked out the window. "I just wish we'd have crashed on a nicer planet."

Teyla followed Carter's gaze and studied their surroundings. Outside, the planet looked barren and inhospitable. A few very spindly plants clung diligently to the dry and hard dirt. A persistent wind scoured the area, sending dust in incessant eddies while it seemed to scour the larger rocks smooth.

"There's some oxygen out there, but not much," Carter said. "We could possibly survive for very short periods, although with a average temp of ten degrees, it's a toss up if we'd pass out from cold or anoxia first."

"Perhaps another part of the planet is more hospitable," Teyla suggested. "We can fly there and await rescue."

Carter shook her head. "We ARE in the hospitable part. We're close to the equator. It just gets colder elsewhere."

Teyla sighed. "Then if we are indeed trapped within this ship, we should ascertain our supplies and make ourselves comfortable until we are rescued." She looked at Carter. "It is possible that Atlantis received our distress call even though we heard no reply."

Carter glanced over at her, nodding her approval. "Anything's possible. In the meantime, I'm going to see if I can fix these engines," she said.

"You said that they were not capable of getting us off this planet," Teyla said.

"I could be wrong," Carter said. "But right now we're a sitting duck if the Wraith come back. We have no shields, no weapons-"

"The cloak?"

"No."

"What about the radio?"

Carter looked at her. "It might be working, but what are the chances of the Wraith picking it up?" she asked.

Teyla sighed again. "Very likely. Just as it is very likely that they will come to search for their missing darts, especially if they reported seeing us."

"So a distress call could call the Wraith down on us just as easily as it asks for help." Teyla nodded. "That's what I thought. I think our best course of action is to see if we can fix the engines. Maybe there's a planet close by with a gate. Or at the very least, one with a better atmosphere."

"And a distress call?"

Carter shook her head. "Let's hold off on it for a bit. If the Wraith come, they'll have just as large of an area to search as Atlantis will. If we're lucky, I can get the sensors online and if we see someone enter the system, we can find out if they're friend or foe before we go advertising our presence."

Teyla nodded and slowly got to her feet. "I shall take inventory of our supplies."

Carter nodded and got to her feet as well. The two of them made their way to the back of the puddle jumper and started their self-appointed tasks.


Six hours later, Teyla slowly shook her head, resigning herself to the fact that, although Colonel Carter's personality was far less abrasive than Rodney's, she was no less...dedicated to solving a problem.

"Have you made a determination as to the damage?" she asked, willingly disrupting the woman's work.

"What? Oh." Carter sighed and pushed her hair away from her face. "It's...bad," she said. "I just wish this was a teltac," she said.

"Teltac?" Teyla asked, unfamiliar with the term.

"Right. Umm, a teltac is a goa'uld cargo ship. About the same size as a puddle jumper. They also have alkash, which are mid range bombers, hataks that are mother ships and death gliders, which are more like a Wraith Dart," she listed.

"And you are familiar with these ships?"

Carter nodded. "I've nursed more than one teltac along." She looked towards Teyla, temporarily abandoning her efforts to repair the ship. "They all use crystal technology, but goa'uld crystals are a bit different than the Ancient ones. More interchangeable. If this had been a teltac, I might have been able to pirate parts from one system to fix another."

"But that is not possible?" Teyla asked, regretting that she had never paid more attention during the many times she had been with Rodney when he had fixed the small ships. She felt useless and unable to help. It was not a feeling she enjoyed.

Carter sighed. "I don't think so," she said. "The thing is, I SHOULD be able to fix it. I don't know why it isn't working."

"Perhaps you would benefit from a short respite," Teyla suggested, recognizing the tone of frustration and exasperation in the woman's voice. "You should eat." Teyla noted the tiredness on the woman's features.

"I should fix this ship," Carter said.

Teyla frowned. "I have often noticed that Rodney often thinks more clearly after he has eaten."

Carter frowned and looked at her for a second before setting down her tools. "Maybe you're right."

Teyla smiled and handed Carter a ration bar and a bottle of water. The woman accepted the meager meal and Teyla joined her, tearing open the wrapper of her own bar. She chewed slowly, hunger making the bar palatable. "How are we set on food?" Carter asked.

"The emergency rations are a week's supply for a crew of four," Teyla said.

"Which translates to two weeks for us."

"Possibly more if we restrict our eating. The water reclamation system should assuage our thirst for a while, however since we cannot draw the molecules from the planet's atmosphere, it must draw them from the ship's interior environment."

"Which uses power," Carter said. "Especially since we only have a finite amount of hydrogen and oxygen to fuse to make the water." She gestured out the window. "And a not much out there to work with."

Teyla nodded, willing to let the woman ramble and talk. She had observed that when Rodney was working on a problem, it often helped him to think aloud.

"If I can get the engines working we can move the ship. Maybe there's some water somewhere. If we can get to it, it'll buy us more time." She took another bite of the bar. "Not exactly a fun vacation," she said, glancing over at Teyla. "And not quite what you signed on for."

Teyla shrugged. "It is, as Colonel Sheppard would say, never a dull moment." She looked out the view screen. "How far off course do you think we are?"

Carter took a drink of her water. "I didn't pay that much attention, I'm afraid, but pretty far. We're at least one solar system away." She gestured towards the singular sun glowing weakly through the high, thin clouds.

"If they find the wreckage of the Dart you destroyed, that will lead them towards us," Teyla said.

"It could also lead the Wraith right to us. Atlantis also doesn't quite have the resources for a large scale rescue operation."

Teyla nodded. "I have no doubt that Colonel Sheppard will look for us," she said. "And I know that Rodney will be most...vocal in insuring that he persists." She glanced over at the woman and grinned at the flush that painted Carter's cheeks.

"Don't remind me," Carter groaned softly.

McKay's infatuation with Colonel Carter was a well known fact even before Teyla had met her. And it was something that time had not diminished. If anything, Rodney was even more enthusiastic now that Carter was in Atlantis for a short period of time. "I am surprised that Rodney did not accompany you on this mission," Teyla said.

"So was he," Carter said. She looked over at Teyla, grinning wryly. "Although I think the case of beer and ten frozen pizzas Colonel Sheppard found in his quarters had a little something to do with it."

Teyla chuckled, aware that Rodney would be crushed if he knew, at least for a few seconds. Carter sighed and crammed the last of the ration bar into her mouth, taking a large drink of water to wash it down. "I better get back to the engines. Maybe if we're lucky I can get the cloak working. That way if we have any unfriendlies visit, we can hide."


/////


Twelve hours later, Teyla opened her eyes, sighing softly as she glanced over at Carter, who was still working with the crystal circuits in the back of the ship. Teyla got to her feet, stretching to loosen muscles affected by sleeping in the command chair. "Colonel Carter," she said softly. Her words startled the woman and she dropped her tool, muttering a curse under her breath. "I am sorry," Teyla said. "I did not mean to startle you."

Carter picked up the tool and shook her head. "No, don't worry about it. I just got used to the quiet."

Teyla nodded. "Have you had any luck?"

Carter shook her head. "I wish." She motioned towards the open panels. "These crystals are interchangeable, in a way. If I get the engines up, we'll lose life support. If I keep life support online, we might get the engines working, but we won't have any shields."

"Do we not only need shields if we are in a battle?" Teyla asked.

Carter shook her head. "We need basic shields for everything." She held her hand up, her two fore fingers nearly touching. "A literal grain of sand can penetrate the hull and bring us down. Normally, basic shields stop that from happening. But we don't even have that."

Teyla nodded. "How long can the life support that we have last if we take flight?"

Carter shook her head. "No air circulation, no heat, no oxygen scrubbers...maybe half an hour."

"So we are trapped here." Carter nodded. "Then perhaps we should search out a water source."

Carter shook her head. "Without even basic shields, we could hit a bird and lose hull integrity."

"And with a the atmosphere outside, we would soon die."

"So we can stay here with shields and life support for many days or weeks safely..."

"Or we can take off, with no shields, which means that we can't re-enter the atmosphere and will only have maybe half an hour in orbit before our life support runs
out...presuming that we're not hulled by a micro meteor and implode," Carter said.

"So it is best that we remain here," Teyla said, retaking her seat.

"Probably," Carter agreed, settling into the other seat. She leaned forward and drummed her fingers on the console. "I wish I'd have packed a deck of cards," she said softly.




Two planetary sun rises later, Teyla herself wished for a deck of cards. She stood in the front of the puddle jumper, doing her best to accomplish as many of her exercises as she could in the confined space.

Colonel Carter was stretched out on one of the benches in the back of the ship, finally asleep. She had continued to work on the ship for over a planetary day until she'd finally surrendered to the reality that there really was nothing she could do to fix the damage.

In a way, Teyla was relieved, even her patience had been stretched thin as she'd had little else to do but watch the woman's futile efforts. Yet, in another, she was disappointed. In the deepest part of her mind, she had hoped that, somehow, the woman would manipulate a miracle and they would be free from their bleak prison.

Teyla stretched to her right, keeping her movements slow and deliberate. Her workouts were usually far more robust than this, yet she kept this one very simple. She did not have the extra energy to expend, not with their food stores needing to last for an undetermined time, and she also did not wish to overexert herself and perspire.

Their water stores would last far longer if they used only a minimal amount for their sanitary needs, not to mention the lack of fresh and unrecycled air.

Teyla stretched to her left, a small beeping sound halting her movement. Recognizing it, she spun, almost throwing herself into the chair. "Colonel Carter, Teyla, this is Sheppard, do you read me?" Colonel Sheppard's voice broke the near silence of the ship. The radio transmission was staticky and broken, almost as if it came from a great distance.

"Colonel Sheppard, this is Teyla," she said, activating the radio.

"Where are they?" Carter asked, joining Teyla.

"I do not know," Teyla replied.

"Carter, Teyla, come on you two, this is no time to be shy," Sheppard chided.

"Colonel Sheppard, this is Colonel Carter," Carter said, leaning forward to speak loudly into the microphone.

The channel opened again and Teyla could hear the muttered voices of others. "Why are they not answering us?" Teyla asked.

"Look guys, we just had a Wraith Hive ship enter the system. If you're here, speak up now cause we gotta bug out before they see us." Teyla heard someone else say something about activating the cloak.

"The radio must be damaged," Carter said, pushing herself up from the console. "Maybe I can-"

"There is no time," Teyla interrupted.

"Teyla-"

"Colonel Carter, Colonel Sheppard will have to leave this system in a matter of moments. They will not have time to scan every planet looking for us. We do not have time to effect repairs upon the radio. Especially when we do not know what is wrong with it," she said urgently.

"The radio-"

"We do not need the radio." Teyla gestured towards the console. "Colonel Sheppard will be scanning this system, we merely need to give him something to find."

"Teyla, that's suicide," Carter said. "I already told you, without shields-"

"Have you ever been captured by the Wraith?" Teyla interrupted.

Carter frowned and shook her head. "You know I haven't."

"I have. Burning up in the atmosphere is far preferably to being fed upon," she said, barely suppressing a shudder at her memories of her time spent in the cells of the Wraith.

Carter stared at her for a second, staring into her eyes almost as if she needed to see Teyla's own memories.

"Teyla, Carter, final call ladies!" Colonel Sheppard's voice was a bit louder now, almost as if the radio transmission was now closer.

"Who wants to live forever," Carter muttered, sitting down in the pilot's seat. She grabbed the controls and the engine fired into life. "I'm turning the life support off," she said as the ship lurched off the planet's surface.

They rose into the sky, their flight uneven and almost hesitant, as if the planet was trying to keep them for itself. Teyla could see that Colonel Carter was struggling to keep the ship in flight. The woman's knuckles were white as she grasped the controls and she was frowning furiously as she stared out the front window.

"Keep trying the radio," she said tightly. "Maybe there was something on the planet's surface that was blocking the transmission."

Teyla did as she was bid, calling out several times in a vain attempt to get a response from Colonel Sheppard. The ship continued to rise above the planet and the dull grey sky faded into black as they escaped the planet's atmosphere. "Okay," Carter said, sighing unsteadily. "We're in orbit."

"There is no reply from Colonel Sheppard," Teyla reported needlessly.

"If the radio's still not working, it must be broken. Maybe I can..." She started to get out of the chair but the ship lurched and she sat back down, her hands gripping the controls tightly. "Or not," she said. She glanced at the few working panels. "The auto pilot must be out."

"Are the repairs something I can do?" Teyla asked, aware that she was unable to fly the ship.

Carter shook her head. "I don't even know what's wrong." She looked down. "I don't think it's gonna matter anyway. We won't be able to maintain this orbit for more than a few minutes." She glanced over at Teyla and smiled grimly. "At least you won't have to worry about the Wraith."

Teyla watched as the woman struggled to keep the dying craft's flight as level as possible, even while she noticed the unmistakable signs of the reentry into the atmosphere. The air grew hot and heavy and Teyla could see a faint red glow starting to develop along the nose of the craft. "We will burn up before we crash," she said.

Carter nodded. "If the heat doesn't kill us, the ship's structural integrity will fail and it'll break up."

"I am sorry, Colonel Carter," Teyla said. Carter glanced over at her. "It is at my urging that we took this course of action."

Carter shrugged. "How often do you get a chance to go out in a literal blaze of glory," she said, dismissing Teyla's apology. "And I guess it beats slowly starving to death."

The air within the cabin grew hotter and hotter and Teyla could no longer see out the view screen. Fiery arcs painted and scarred its surface. Teyla could hear unnatural creaks and cracks as the ship started to break up. Teyla closed her eyes, preparing herself for death. The ship jerked and jolted and Teyla gasped, sure that the ship was breaking apart. She wondered how high they were and how far she would fall.

The console in front of Carter sparked and exploded and the woman cried out as she was thrown from her chair. Teyla made he way towards the woman, her mind barely comprehending that they were no longer falling from the sky.

Teyla knelt beside her, assisting the woman to sit up. "Why aren't we dead?" Carter asked, wincing as she moved her scorched left hand.

Teyla shook her head. "I do not-"

"Teyla, Carter, you two all right in there?"

Carter nodded and Teyla got to her feet, switching on the radio. She tried to look out the front window, but could see little. The transparent substance of which it was made was too damaged to see through. "Colonel Sheppard?"

"Okay, McKay can read two life signs so I'm guessing that the two of you are still alive in there and your radio just isn't working," Sheppard continued. "We wrapped our shields around you but you guys are venting atmosphere. We're gonna set you back down on the planet."

"At least they know where we are," Carter said, slowly getting to her feet, her left hand held carefully close to her chest.

"I'm hoping you two are awake in there," Sheppard said. "I know the atmosphere's a little thin and it's kinda chilly, but we're gonna park our puddle jumper's butt against yours and get you two to walk over to ours," he instructed.

Teyla shook her head. "There is not enough air."

Carter shook her head. "It'll just be a few seconds. We should be fine," she said.

The ship jolted abruptly and Teyla reached out, steadying Carter as the woman stumbled. They hurriedly gathered their few possessions, a handful of things that they did not wish to abandon. Teyla finished just as she heard a pounding sound on the back hatch of the ship. "Carter! Teyla!" she heard, Colonel Sheppard's voice muffled by the thick bulkhead.
Aware that their rescuers were just as vulnerable to the thin atmosphere as they were, Teyla glanced at Carter before she pressed the control that would open the hatch.

Wind buffeted them as the air left in the ship was pulled outside and Teyla instinctively took a breath, coughing harshly at the cold and lack of oxygen. Hands grabbed her arm, pulling her across the barren ground between the two ships. In the corner of her eye, she could see someone else in a suit assisting Carter.

In just moments they were sitting in the back of another ship, both struggling to control their breathing as sweet, fresh air spilled through the vents. Teyla could finally look up as Colonel Sheppard and Doctor Beckett removed the helmets of their suits, Carson barely taking time to set his aside before he started to examine them.

"Are either of you injured?" he asked.

Carter slowly shook her head. "Colonel Carter injured her hand when a console
exploded," Teyla said.

"Teyla was unconscious for a bit after we crashed," Carter countered.

"Actually it looks like both of you had a bit of a bad day," Doctor Beckett said. "Let me get out of this suit and I'll fix you right up," he promised.

Carter leaned against the bulkhead and Teyla did the same, the fact that they were not going to die finally sinking in as the bulkhead to the cabin opened, revealing Rodney McKay and Major Lorne, who was piloting the ship. "I knew you could do it," McKay enthused, hurrying towards Carter.

"Do what, McKay?" she asked, an unfamiliar tone in her voice. Teyla looked over and was surprised to see a bit of annoyance cross the woman's face.

"Your flare idea. Brilliant. Totally brilliant!" he said.

Carter shook her head and looked at Teyla. "We fired no flare," Teyla said, feeling the need to speak up.

"Your whole ship was a flare," Sheppard said.

"And it was perfectly timed. Mister Impatient was ready to jump back into hyperspace," McKay groused.

"Someone remind him who was whining about being captured by the Wraith," Lorne said, glancing over his shoulder. "We're gonna jump to hyperspace in a few minutes. There's no sign that the Hive ship knows we're here," he reported.

Sheppard nodded. "If it wasn't for Teyla, we'd still be sitting on the planet," Carter said, glancing up from Carson dressing the burn on her hand.

"Our radio was not functioning," Teyla said. "We heard you, but we could not broadcast to you."

"So we took off, hoping that you'd see us," Carter said.

"In a ship with no shields?" Sheppard asked.

Carter shrugged. "It was the only ship we had."

Sheppard frowned and then shrugged. "Well, we should be back to Atlantis in a couple of hours."

Beckett wrapped a dressing around Carter's hand and then turned his attention to cleaning the small cuts on both of their foreheads. Both he and Sheppard retreated back up to the flight deck, leaving Carter and Teyla alone.

Carter was leaning against the side of the ship, her eyes closed and her arms in her lap. "It is unfortunate that we did not complete our mission," Teyla said. "Perhaps Doctor Weir will permit us to try again."

"Maybe," Carter shrugged. "If not, that binary's been there for a few million years, it'll be around for a few more," Carter said, not opening her eyes.

"You did not wish to leave the planet," Teyla said after a few more minutes. "Yet you did so anyway."

"It doesn't matter now," she dismissed.

"Colonel Carter?"

Carter opened her eyes. "Rule number one. You stay put, stay alive and wait for your team to come and find you."

Teyla nodded. "And we do the same." She glanced up at the front of the ship. "However, sometimes you must do more than merely wait quietly."

To her relief, Carter smiled. "And sometimes they take so damn long to come and get you that you have to rescue yourself."

Teyla grinned. "That is often the most efficient way. I am sure that Doctor Weir will permit us to return to the binary system," Teyla said, seeking to console the woman in some way.

"My leave is almost up," Carter said with a small shrug. "I'm supposed to go with the Daedalus back to the SGC tomorrow."

Teyla thought a second. "Perhaps Doctor Beckett can insist that you remain," she suggested. Carter opened her eyes and looked at her. "We can attempt to visit the binary system again."

Carter stared at her for a bit. "Do you think that would work?"

Teyla glanced towards the flight deck and the four men gathered there. "I am confident that they will see things our way." She turned back to look at Carter. "And if they will not, Doctor Weir will."

Carter stared at her speculatively and then shrugged, a grin crossing her tired features for a second before it faded. "We'll see," she said, her initial enthusiasm for staying seeming to fade right before Teyla's eyes.

Teyla sighed softly. If Carter did not wish to remain, it was not her place to persuade her. "You were doing something when I woke up," Carter said. "Some martial arts thing."

"It is merely an exercise that is common among Ethosians," Teyla said.

"A friend of mine, Teal'c, does something similar. He calls it Lok'nel."

Teyla nodded. "The name does not translate into English. I can teach you if you wish," she offered.

"Really?"

"The basic moves are not difficult. Even Colonel Sheppard has learned them."

Carter nodded, then frowned. "If I'm going to get Doctor Beckett to excuse me from returning for medical reasons, wouldn't it look a bit suspicious if I spend time with you in the gym?"

Teyla thought for a second then smiled. "Do Earth healers not recommend therapy to heal injuries?"

Carter grinned. "Every once in a while," she said.

"Then that is what this shall be," Teyla said. "Therapy."

"Mmhm," Carter said, again leaning against the bulkhead. "A little therapy by the sea. Might be just what the doctor ordered."

Teyla watched as the woman slipped into a light doze, then relaxed herself, oddly anticipating the next few days and the fledgling friendship begun courtesy of the Wraith.

~Fin~
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