Entaillen 9

by Domenika Marzione

Lorne looks down at the remote in his hand. "How did you pull this off?"

Reletti gives him an innocent look. "Improvised, sir."

Lorne cocks an eyebrow because that could mean anything coming from Reletti, who is one of the few Atlantis marines to come to them from Force Recon. They don't have a lot of recon marines mostly because recon marines tend not to want to leave their units, but Reletti didn't have much of a choice once he'd tested positive for the ATA gene.

"Care to elaborate?" Lorne asks, knowing he'll probably regret the answer, but it's important to know if they've got a new reason to worry.

"Strategic puking, sir." Reletti admits wryly. "I aimed."

Ronon chuckles and McKay sighs with disgust.

"Well, if you're gonna do it, might as well make it count," Suarez says from behind Yoni.

Lorne stands up, the remote in his palm. "Think you can eat something?"

Reletti makes a face. With the initial burst of excitement gone, he's starting to fade a little. "Do I have to?"

"Yes," Yoni answers. He stands and turns, snapping his fingers and gesturing. "Suarez, be useful."

Ortilla comes over as well and, between the two of them, they half-drag, half-carry a stumbling Reletti back to their corner.

Teyla watches them, then turns to Lorne and Yoni. "Should we make preparations to leave immediately, or should we give Colonel Sheppard and Sergeant Reletti more time to recover?"

Lorne looks over at Sheppard, who has been watching the whole exchange from his corner, not moving at all. Reletti could clearly use some time to recover, at least to the point where he can get some food or water down. But Sheppard's already had hours and isn't significantly improved, at least not to the point where he can participate in an escape. "We'll take enough time to figure out our next step, but I don't think time is on either our sides or theirs."

He goes over to Sheppard, holding out the remote and sitting down. If he and McKay are next, he doesn't want it on his person when the lights go out. He'd rather they be gone before that happens, but there's no guarantee.

Sheppard takes it, looking it over. It's vaguely reminiscent of the GDOs they use to send their IDCs, except the buttons don't have numbers on them.

"We should maybe head away from the direction we've been taken," Sheppard says, letting the remote drop into his lap. None of them have pockets -- Lorne is happier not dwelling on where Reletti was storing that thing -- but it can be rolled out of sight quickly enough. "I don't remember seeing much in the way of exit signs or stairwells."

It hadn't taken long to realize that they had all been interrogated in the same room, although not all by the same person.

"Do we even know if we're above ground?" Lorne asks, knowing that the answer is no. They aren't sure if they're even on the same planet as before, although all of them suspect that they are.

Getting the remote had been such a pipe-dream that it had been easy to think of it as an end instead of as a beginning, which is what it was. The actual act of escaping was far more complicated and Lorne rued his headache for taking away enough of his focus that he fears missing something basic.

Nevertheless, the to-do list isn't that hard: organizing their group for maximum speed and protection, getting out of the facility, and either getting back to the werewolf forest so that they can be found by the Daedalus or, even better, getting to wherever the Thadorians are hiding the damned stargate.

"We'll probably need a guide," Sheppard says. "I don't trust our luck in this place to just stumble on the way home."

"Yeah," Lorne agrees. 'Guide' is a comfortable euphemism for 'hostage'. Lorne has already considered the idea, which is more difficult than impractical. Not wrong, because while Lorne isn't quite ready to authorize lethal force as the first response, he's long past sympathy. But the fact of it is that getting a hostage means overwhelming someone quickly and while normally that's not a problem, this time it means factoring in who is going to be carrying Reletti and Sheppard. Because the two of them will need at least one man a piece to get them anywhere, probably two per, and they're not that big a group.

"Make sure I don't fall over, please," Sheppard mutters as he pushes himself up into a standing position. Lorne watches, fighting all of his instincts to hold out a hand to support Sheppard because this, too, is part of the plan. He can hear Sheppard whimper once under his breath as he fights back the vertigo enough to walk. His first few steps are like a drunk's stumbling, but he straightens out and makes a smug face at his team, all of whom have risen in anticipation of having to catch his fall.

Sheppard's sweating a little by the time he crosses the room to sit near the marines, but he's made it across under his own power and Lorne can see the relief in everyone's faces.

"I would have come over, sir," Reletti says. He's holding his own, not as animated as he was when he handed over the remote, but not as awful as he'd looked when Lorne had first arrived.

"Yeah, but this way you're not puking on anyone," Suarez tells him, holding a bowl of steaming stew. "Eat something so we can get outta here, dude."

"I thought you didn't want me puking," Reletti mutters, but accepts the bowl.

While Reletti mostly pretends to eat, Sheppard and Lorne open up a discussion on getting out. They don't have enough intel to formulate a real plan, but Sheppard can give what is essentially the commander's intent statement (end result: getting home with minimal contact with the Thadorians) and he and Lorne can explain what are acceptable and preferable means of accomplishing it. They're going out with nothing but spoons and they can't afford an engagement of any kind.

Lorne tells Ortilla and Ronon that they're responsible for keeping Reletti moving and Yoni will take Sheppard. It's a matter of size more than anything -- Reletti (who is heavier and needs more assistance than Sheppard) gets two men of roughly equal size to each other; Sheppard can stumble along by leaning on Yoni (who is the only other man present taller than Sheppard). Suarez and Teyla are pulling security, Lorne is directing the mission, and McKay is taking the remote.

With that, Sheppard actually gives McKay the remote. McKay makes unreadable noises of contemplation as he looks it over. "It shouldn't be that hard," he finally says. "The only two-button sequence was the door to this place and consensus is that it's not the same two buttons, so we're down to seventy-two possibilities. Fortunately, this is the lock that we have the most time to disengage."

"Let's get started, then," Sheppard says. "Sergeant Suarez, you'll help Doctor McKay with getting the door open -- I want you holding the remote in case the lights go out. Ronon and Teyla, you and Staff Sergeant Ortilla scour the room looking for anything we can use for weapons. Nine spoons and a ladle isn't a lot to work with, but it's a start. Doc, whatever you can do to get Sergeant Reletti mobile, do it."

"And you as well," Yoni retorts with a frown.

"And me, too," Sheppard agrees with a smirk, "but I'm at least able to stumble around on my own... Stow it, Sergeant. We both know what's going to happen if you stand up right now."

Reletti glowers at the stew bowl in his lap, but doesn't protest further. Lorne feels no pity for him.

Ronon gets up first and then everyone else swings into action. McKay winds up by the door after giving (too detailed and mostly unnecessary) instructions to Suarez on the order of combinations he wants to try while Teyla a stacks the eight spoons not in use and the ladle in a bowl. There's clanking and banging from the bathroom as Ortilla and Ronon test the assemblage for anything they can break down.

Sheppard stands up again, carefully and holding out a hand near the wall. He takes a deep breath and lets it go slowly.

"Where are you going?" Yoni asks as he returns from the bathroom with two glasses of water. "Sit down and drink."

Sheppard frowns at the offered glass. "That didn't help too much last time, Doc."

"It helped enough," Yoni retorts. "You just didn't like needing help getting to and from the toilet. Now sit and drink."

Both men, too used to losing fights to Yoni, do. Lorne can't help but be amused.

Reletti successfully gets Yoni to let him give up on the stew in exchange for finishing his bread and another glass of water. Teyla takes the bowl and spoon and, after cleaning the latter, adds it to the collection. Ronon and Ortilla are finished in the bathroom, having failed to pry the shelf loose (they've apparently been working on it since the first day), and join Lorne and Sheppard near Reletti. Yoni goes to look for towels to tear into strips because they're going to be running around barefoot and there will undoubtedly be an injury because of it.

They're shredding towels and putting their spare clothes over their current ones when McKay lets loose an exulted cry. The door is still there, but his arm is through it. "Sergeant, don't forget that sequence!"

"I won't, sir," Suarez promises. "Believe me."

Sheppard looks over at Lorne. "You ready to blow this popsicle stand?"

"Hell, yeah," Lorne replies.

Once the towels are done, Teyla distributes spoons (two each for Ortilla, Ronon, Suarez, and herself, and one to Lorne) and keeps the ladle. Ortilla and Ronon each take one of Reletti's arms and put it around their shoulders, Yoni does the same for Sheppard, and Suarez looks to Lorne.

"Let's go, Sergeant," he tells Suarez. "Move when ready."
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26 December, 2006