Into The Depths Of Hell
Written for the SGA Last Fic Writer Standing.
“Well, this sucks,” John Sheppard muttered to no one in particular. Pulling up his jacket collar, he shivered as cold water dribbled down his neck.
“I tell you,” Rodney McKay said as he grabbed hold of Sheppard’s jacket sleeve and just saved himself from sliding in the mud, “if I get infected with some kind of alien bug again, I will not be happy.”
“I doubt that will happen,” Teyla responded soothingly. She stopped for a moment, scanning the distance. “We still have some way to travel before we reach the Jumper, John. Perhaps we could look for some shelter?”
“Oh yes! A nice dry cave would be great about now,” Rodney said. He frowned and blinked rain from his eyes. “Then again, what if there’s already something sheltering in there?”
“Guess we take our chances,” Ronon said with a malevolent grin. He pulled a knife from his dreadlocks and brandished it in front of Rodney’s face. “At least we might be able to have something other than MREs for dinner.”
Rodney pulled a face and started trudging after Teyla. “Did you have to remind me about food? I was already feeling a little light-headed.”
“At least we won’t die of thirst,” Sheppard said. “Teyla, scout ahead. See if you can find anything.”
Teyla nodded and moved off at a trot. The boggy ground didn’t seem to impede her nimble feet at all.
Rodney paused a moment to mop at his face. “This is really weird, you know. One minute, we’ve got bright sunny skies and the next, it’s as dark as night and pouring with rain.”
“You don’t get that on Earth?” Ronon asked. He steadied Rodney again when he stumbled. “Watch where you’re going, McKay.”
“I was!” Rodney griped. “As much as I can. Anyway, yes, we have weather like this on Earth but not without some warning. It’s probably some kind of meteorological anomaly.”
“That’s your favourite word, isn’t it?” Ronon said. “Anomaly. Means you have no idea.”
“Kids!” Sheppard put a stop to the squabbling before it could get started. “I just want to get somewhere dry for a while, sit out this storm, and then head back to Atlantis for a hot meal and a cold beer.”
“Me too,” Rodney replied. He shot Ronon a glare but Ronon merely chuckled and placed himself behind Rodney, resting one hand on his back. “Just in case you fall over your own feet again,” he added.
The wind was picking up, driving the rain directly into their faces, stinging with the force of it. Sheppard leaned into the wind and pushed forward. It was rapidly accelerating to gale force. He scanned the way ahead, searching for Teyla but it was difficult to see more than a few feet in front. He keyed his radio. “Teyla?”
There was no response except for a loud hiss of static.
“I’ll go find her,” Ronon shouted over the howling of the wind.
Sheppard shook his head. “Don’t want to lose anyone else. We’ll search together.”
He thought he’d imagined it at first. A gentle rumbling beneath his feet that rapidly became an almighty roaring tremor. Something slammed into his back, driving the air from his lungs and he staggered, just barely managing to stay on his feet. He turned and reached for Rodney, dragging him in close and saw Ronon do the same on the other side. “Hang on!” he shouted.
“Earthquake?” Rodney’s face was white, his eyes almost bulging from their sockets. “You have got to be kidding me!”
Sheppard didn’t need to look behind him to know the earth was literally shifting beneath the surface. “Earthquake!” he agreed, grabbing Ronon’s arm and halting him. “We need to stay in the open.”
“Too late!” Ronon yelled. He pointed over John’s shoulder. “Ground’s breaking up.”
Sheppard watched as the earth fractured and spewed mud into the air. In seconds, it was splintering wider, becoming a yawning chasm that threatened to swallow them whole. He shoved Rodney in the direction of the cliffs that abutted the road. “Run!”
There wasn’t enough time, he knew. He flung himself forward, hands scrabbling for purchase as he felt the ground literally disappear beneath his feet and then he was sliding back toward the gaping maw of the earth.