Jennifer Keller was about to take a step forward, to catch Rodney's attention and draw his focus back to working with the other scientists. In another world much like this one she succeeded for a time and the day was saved, in theory of course. In this one her actions were interrupted by a flash of light that was entirely different from the freeze lighting that was a constant danger.
In the time it took her eyes to clear Rodney had already whirled away from the other guests to face the newcomers. Colonel Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon, and a group of soldiers armed to the teeth stood bunched together and poised to attack.
Rodney didn't even seem surprised to see them, just rolled his eyes and snapped "So good of you to join the party, Colonel. You need to…DOWN" he suddenly shouted.
It was an indication of how well regarded he was that the entire group of new comers hit the floor. It was a lucky thing too as a bolt of freeze lightening flew over their heads and froze the wall.
"What the hell was that?" Sheppard asked as he rose to his feet. "And why did your transmitter signal suddenly vanish two hours ago?"
At the news that his signal had vanished Rodney swung around to glare menacingly at Malcom Tunney for a moment before turning back to Sheppard. "My transmitter is because Tunney is a sub rate hack who thinks stealing my ideas is better than coming up with his own, and" he barreled on before anyone could object "that is a beam of concentrated super cold air caused by fluctuations in a heat sink attached to a dimensional bridge. Do your comms work?"
"A Dimensional Bridge?" Ronon asked then smirked, "Like the one your sister and you brought Rod here with." Sheppard and a few others tested their comms to find they were not in fact working.
Rodney rolled his eyes, "yes like that one. And did you have to bring him up? Really?" He pinched the bridge of his nose, "Never mind. I need three comm units and a tablet and two cell phones."
Three of the soldiers, who Jennifer recognized as Marines from Atlantis, promptly handed over their ear pieces. Colonel Sheppard pulled an extra tablet from his vest. Then Rodney turned around and harangued two of the guests for their phones.
She watched the Colonel and Ronon, plus several of the older hands from Atlantis share amused glances. Even Teyla smothered a smile at the sight of Rodney's rude and uncalled for behavior. She didn't understand why they would put up with him treating others like this.
Bill Nye approached and asked what Rodney was doing as he dumped the equipment on a nearby table, grabbed the miniature toolkit Teyla had handed him and began dismantling the phones and two of the ear pieces with methodical movements. For a moment it looked like the man had completely ignored the question then he answered brusquely "I'm boosting the comm signal and rooting it through the tablet. When I'm done it will pass through the shielding and will allow us to contact the Daedalus."
"That's impossible. This shielding will hold up to all communication currently on the market. There's no way you can build something that can penetrate it." Tunney burst out.
Not even slowing down Rodney looked up at Tunney to give him the single most impatient glare Jennifer had ever seen. "As I created the design for this shield I think I know more about its capabilities than you. Provided you haven't screwed up the application too much it might even have the backdoor I made into all my shields." With that and a few more wire the screen of the tablet lit up.
She couldn't see the screen from her position but she could see the flabbergasted look on Tunney's face. "Colonel Caldwell" Rodney greeted shortly.
"McKay" she heard, tinny and mechanical from the speaker. "You not dead."
Rodney snorted, "Not yet, but likely soon. I need Kavanagh on the line now."
"What, McKay? I was sleeping." The nasally voice of Dr. Kavanagh echoed from the speakers ten minutes later.
"I need everything you have on a dimension bridge attached a heat sink."
There was a moment of silence then "Tell me you didn't" the pure horror in the man's voice set Jennifer's teeth on edge. She could see the Colonel straightening and many of the others from Atlantis shifted into a more alert status.
"I didn't, no. But" Rodney interrupted Dr. Kavanagh's relieved exclamation, "There is an idiot who did. The bridge is active…"
He got no further because Kavanagh voice shrieked from the tinny speakers, "Fuck, we're screwed."
Rodney gave an impatient wave of his hand, "when are we not. Now I need you to send me anything you have on shut…"
"No you don't understand WE. ARE. COMPLETELY. SCREWED." This got Rodney's attention
"How?" Rodney snapped back ready to launch into a rant about time.
"2% similarity" Kavanagh finally said, which didn't make any sense to Jennifer. It did have the effect of causing Rodney to go very, very still. Without prompting Kavanagh spoke again "The shockwave will effect everything up to 2% similarity."
In one moment to the next Rodney went sheet white, his eyed wide and suddenly crazed in a way Jennifer was not comfortable with. "I want everyone awake" he said, voice stiff and unyielding. "Get everyone. I want two of mine from the City here ASAP, not Radek he's needed to wrangle the rest. Get Sam on the horn. I will send you a list of the data I need now. Do you understand me Kavanagh?" Apparently the doctor responded with the correct answer because Rodney nodded sharply, "Good. This line stays open. Have them send down Artic gear, we're going to need it."
Then he turned very methodically toward the Colonel. "Your gun" he said and held out his hand. Looking curious Sheppard handed it to him.
Rodney turned again until he was facing Malcom Tunney. "You have until the count of ten" he started, his voice strangely flat but also audibly enraged, "to collect everything on the bridge assembly, the heat sink, and the paper you stole the idea from and hand them over."
Tunney began to sputter denials. Rodney gave him precisely ten second before he said, "Let me rephrase that" and raised the gun. "You have to the count of ten to collect all the material and information on your massive screw-up before I shoot you and find someone else."
Several of the security started forward and a few guest leapt backward. Everyone froze though when suddenly the platoon of Marines and their guns were backing Rodney. Tunney took off after mumbling an affirmative with two Lantean's sent with him to make sure he didn't do anything stupid. It only took a few minutes for them to return from Tunney's office with a flash drive. The man's hand trembled as he handed it over.
"So…" Colonel Sheppard drawled as Rodney began converting the data into something the Daedalus systems could deal with. "What's are we looking at here?"
"A fuckwit who has managed to make Doranda look like a success." Rodney muttered bitterly then he sighed. "Do you remember, not long after we sent Rod back, how some of the hallways around that lab seem insubstantial at time."
"Yeah? You said it was nothing to worry about, a shockwave."
"A shockwave. Any event that ruptures space-time creates one. Depending on the size of the rupture it will only effect space-times with a certain percentage of similarity to the origin space-time. There is a universe where we failed to send Rod back and the destruction of that universe sent out the after effects we saw. Generally speaking if the event effects less than 1/10th of a percent than you will see the localized wavering wall we saw, nothing huge. If we could measure it we would probably find that it happens a few times an hour throughout the universe. Anything between 1/10 and ½ of a percent and you would see spillover between the space-times, people swapping that kind of thing. Any shockwave that effects more than half a percent similarity and it begins to destabilize the effected universe's. We can only theorize about anything more than that. The theory is though that at 2% similarity, which is what the asshole behind me has caused, the shockwave is big enough that it will utterly destroy any universe it touches."
Tunney made an insulted noise and Rodney turned to him, still waving the gun. Tunney shrunk away. "And you, you moron, do you have any idea what you have done? That we found the Stargate at all falls at .4%, human life on earth is at 1.13% similarity, and space-times' that have any recognizable form of life, sentient and otherwise falls at 1.89% similarity. In one fell swoop you have managed to cause the certain extinction of our species not just in this universe but in ANY universe. Now sit down, shut up or I will reconsider the torture I want to put you through and just put you out of my misery."
With that he turned back to his cobbled together communication device. No one dared move as he tapped out a few more commands. "Kavanagh I am sending the data now."
"Good, you have three hours to have a way to shut it down. Has Sam been brought up to speed?"
"I have Rodney" Sam Carter voice echoed from the speakers, "We need to bring you in now."
"Not possible" Rodney replied shortly, acquiring another laptop and booting it up, "Antiquated piece of shit. You'll need to send me some better equipment with the gear. Anyway the shield the idiot purloined can't be punched through to lock onto us without tearing it down. And as we are currently in a bubble of freezing air in the middle of the desert tearing the shields down is not an option. Have my people arrived yet?"
"We need medical supplies as well to treat at least one case of severe hypothermia and more than a few cases of severe shock." Jennifer heard herself interrupt. Rodney nodded and made sure that Sam got the request.
"Miko Kusanagi and Maryanne Simpson will be beamed down with your supplies. I'm also sending some of mine from Area 51" Sam sighed, "We've started on the translation matrix on our end. Atlantis is fully briefed and making preparations to reach out. All teams have been recalled and everyone who can read Alteran has been pressed into service translating."
"Good. Based on the temperature decrease here we have at most 72 hours. Kavanagh should have a shutdown within three, assuming we live that long." Another flash of the beaming technology and Miko and Mary appeared with a huge stack of arctic gear. A second pile of lab equipment appeared a little farther past the women.
It was at this point that it became clear just what the difference was between the scientist that were part of the Stargate program and the ones that were not. Jennifer collected her medical equipment and gear then started to weave through the room for triage. The earthbound scientist, in theory, were used to working with top secret programs and projects; even those not part of the Stargate Program. The should have started rallying back to a point where they can help. They weren't. Most of the guest were still looking at the place where the Marines appeared in abject shock. Tunney was curled into a ball by one wall, near unresponsive.
In contrast the Scientists from Atlantis and Area 51 were setting up computers and other lab essentials with a focused calm air. The military had already mobilized to make sure all the guest had gear for the dropping temperature and were drawing the security in to create patrols to ensure everyone was gathered together. Even Jennifer herself was already moving. She might not get the whole idea of why this time was any worse than the others but understood enough.
"I need Martinez, Spencer, and Lotts for translation duty" Rodney snapped at Sheppard, who was in the middle of planning patrols. Sheppard nodded in acknowledgement and sent the mentioned soldiers to a stack of tablets from the city. "Martinez, Spencer you'll report to Kusangi. Lotts see Simpson. They know what to be looking for."
Jennifer lost track of their conversations for a while as she continued to treat shock case after shock case. Now she was halfway through the room and starting to understand Rodney's derision for them. The few she didn't have to outright sedate muttered mutinously about Rodney overlooking how they could help or how he was just being dramatic.
"We can help!" Cut through the motions of her work. She turned to look and several scientists stood in front of Rodney.
"Oh really, and just what do you think you can do?" Rodney asked dismissively. An hour ago and Jennifer would have seen it as unforgivably dismissive, now she was just hoping that they wouldn't bother the people working long enough to get them all killed.
"We are some of the most noted and celebrated scientists in the world. Surely our help is more valuable than some grunts."
Jennifer felt her hackles raise. She turned toward the center of the room. This time though she was going to enjoy the show. The three soldiers in question had been first wavers. Had survived the first year before communication was reestablished. All the first wavers were extremely protective of each other. None more so than Rodney.
"Lotts" Rodney called out.
James Lotts didn't stand or salute, in fact he didn't look up from the tablet he was skimming at all. "Sir" he barked though and there was a blatant tone of respect that threaded through it.
"What is your assigned duty?"
"I am to translate the current cache of Alteran documents looking for any references to dimensional travel, destabilization, or mentions of the Quantum Mirror. Any documents with such information is to be set aside for further review."
"Why did I have you assigned to translation duty?"
"I can read Alteran at a speed of 60 words per minute and recognize 80% of the technical terms in Alteran Scientific documentation. I can and will follow your orders gladly and I have not threatened to shoot you in the last three weeks." The last was said with a small quirk to his lips.
"And what are you to do if you do not understand a term."
"I am to see either Maryanne or you."
Rodney turned back to the scientists. "Can any of you read Alteran?"
"Read what?" One of the guest asked.
"Exactly. Would you follow my orders?"
"Why should you be the one in charge? Any one of us could do exactly what you're doing now." The same guest shot back. Several Lantean's, including Jennifer, shot the woman an incredulous look.
"That is why you're not helping. Sit down. The adults are talking."
With that he turned away from the woman, dismissing her without a word. It was only then that Jennifer noticed there was recording equipment and a cleared space in the room.
Rodney stepped into the cleared space, stood up straight, and nodded at Simpson to begin recording.
"Hello" he said to camera. "My name is Doctor Rodney McKay of Atlantis. As of three hours ago a human scientist by name of Malcom Tunney activated a device meant to drain excess heat from the planet Earth into a neighboring but hopefully uninhabited Space-Time. This device has no off switch and upon destruction will destroy any Space-Time that is up to 2% similar with ours. If you are receiving this message than you fall within that similarity. Without interference the device will destroy my Space-Time and itself in 69 more hours. Included in this are potential instruction for shutting down this device if it is within your Space-Time as well. All I ask is you give us all the time to find a way to protect ourselves. Also included is a device that can serve as communication between Space-Times. We have a receiver set up on our end. We look forward to hearing from you. Rodney McKay, Out"
With that he stepped out of the cleared area, nodded his head at Maryanne Simpson. The woman went over to one of the computers set up and typed in a few commands. "The files are ready to send with the translation."
Rodney nodded. "Send them off to Sam, her people have the translation matrix." A few more taps and Maryanne let him know that the message had been passed.
A few moments more and Sam spoke. "Rodney, we've just sent out the message. It will take a few minutes but it will easily pass into other Space-Times. All we need to do is wait for a reply."
"Got it Sam."
Jennifer got back to work. There were still far too many people who were shivering with shock or the cold for her to keep watching.