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Learning How To Fly Chapter 1

Chapter One


Chapter 1


John Sheppard awoke in the hive ship with the rest of his team and three members of Team 4. He didn’t know Team 4 very well and wondered if they were going to freak out. This kind of situation was one that a person had to experience to see how well the Marines trained and the kind of personality of the individual. At first glance, only Michaels and the leader, Staff Sergeant Ohlman, were awake. Sergeant Dean Michaels was the Marine transfer that had come on Daedalus’ first trip to the Pegasus Galaxy. He had stayed behind while John and the rest of the senior management had reported to Earth. Stackhouse had dealt with any adjustments long before John had returned to Atlantis. John hadn’t even known that Michaels had been a good fighter until he had managed to stay standing after ten minutes of fighting with Ronon (they didn’t just spar). Someone had conned the night-shift patrol guy into the contest with Dex, and Michaels had withstood the assault rather well until the gathered crowd distracted him and Ronon had knocked him out. Carson had grumbled for an hour about too much testosterone in males who should know better.

Michaels had refused to spar with Ronon a second time despite the man’s repeated requests, insults and egging. The way Ronon kept at the man interested John. Either Ronon really wanted more of a challenge and wanted to train Michaels to be better, or he thought that Michaels would be a bigger challenge the second time around than most assumed. John had been pretty close to ordering Michaels to train with Ronon; Atlantis would gain if they had more grunts like Ronon. Every time John had tried to find Michaels, the man had vanished and duty had distracted John from his pet project.

Michaels was currently busy in front of the spider web bars drawing on the floor. Interestingly enough, the man had stripped out of his jacket and his boots. Michaels finished his drawing, slid the Sharpe® into his coat pocket and put away what looked like an old-fashioned compass. John watched as Michaels pulled the lining out of his boots and revealed tubes of a dull-colored liquid. The plastic, flimsy tubes from the right boot were reddish, from the left, bluish.

“What are you doing?” Ronon asked.

Michaels grinned, a quick, bright flash. “An experiment. Think of it as a Wraith roach motel.” He stripped the paper backing off the tubes and placed them carefully (respectfully) on the floor, crisscrossing the colors. The extras, Michaels piled in two very separate piles.

Two short statements and John knew that every word was designed to irritate. As predicted, Rodney snorted. “And just what kind of experiment should be done in a situation like this?”

“Told you. Wraith motel.”

“What is this ‘wraith motel’?” Teyla asked.

“They can check in, but they can’t check out.”

Teyla looked just as confused, but John waved her quiet. Rodney was about to take center stage anyway. As expected, Rodney stood and stomped toward the soldier. He always used aggressive body language in an academic argument.

Michaels stopped him cold as he pointed at Rodney’s feet. “The seal might not work but the combination of chemicals will blow off your foot if you step on them.”

Rodney jumped back. His jaw dropped as he watched Michaels put the now empty lining back into his boots. “You walk around with explosives wrapped around your ankles?”

“It’s only explosive if you mix them,” Michaels explained as to a child or as Rodney normally explained things to his lab techs, patronizingly and condescendingly. Rodney bristled. Michaels continued on as if he didn’t notice. “I read the reports of the Wraith taking our packs when they capture us and wasn’t about to be left without something to work with so I hid some.”

John glanced at Ohlman. The Marine nodded reassuringly. “He’s our demolitions expert. Michaels is creative and efficient. He knows everything about making anything explode.”

“And burn,” Michaels added wistfully. “Sometime a good fire is just the thing you need.”

It was John’s job to know what standard equipment every soldier carried through the ‘Gate. “How come the boot explosives aren’t given to everyone?”

Michaels shrugged. “This is my own special mix and application. Didn’t think I could sell it to a CO.”

“Didn’t try,” Ohlman and John chorused.

Michaels looked genuinely surprised/pleased that someone finally wanted his stuff. John wanted to curse whatever idiot CO Michaels had approached with his work and had turned him down. At Atlantis, things were different. They would use every advantage, even a Marine mixing his own explosives.

Michaels laced up his boots and unlatched his (non-regulation) leather wristbands. He moved the knives to the outside of the leather and carefully packed the extra red tubes against his right wrist, blue against the left. Michaels obviously subscribed to the Dex and Ford method of hiding knives. When Pacosky and McKay were looking a little less peaked, Ronon could throw the knives at the prison control unit. They would figure out a way to escape. Right now, Michaels slid into his jacket. John noticed that he had several bulging pockets and wondered what kind of surprises awaited them. Only after he was completely dressed did Michaels join the others along the far wall of the jail.

He looked over his own handiwork with an approving eye. “Hey McKay, wanna bet on whether or not the wraith motel works?”

Rodney humphed. “That thing won’t do anything but make them kill us in extremely unpleasant ways. If they even notice it.”

“Could fail,” Michaels admitted. “But are you willing to put money against the invention of a jarhead grunt? If you lose, at least you’ll have the satisfaction of dying being right.”

“What are the odds, beside zero?” Rodney snarked. “What do you think are your odds of succeeding are?”

Michaels jerked his head toward Ronon. “’Bout my same odds in winning a hand-to-hand match against Dex.”

“He knocked you out the last time.”

“Than you have nothing to worry about.”

John watched Ronon’s grin at the exchange. When (slight if) they got out of here, Michaels would be forced to spar with Ronon again.

“Hundred dollars,” Rodney said.

“Five hundred,” Michaels countered.

“Three hundred.”

“Four hundred and you’re not allowed to ask me about the marker and the drawing. Ever. Final offer.”

“You’re on. As if I’m interested in a child’s drawing. I don’t understand why you wasted your time with it in the first place.”

Michaels shrugged. “We’ll see. Anyone else want a piece of the action? Sir?” he asked Ohlman.

Ohlman shook his head. “I’ve seen you hustle, Michaels. I don’t bet against you, you have a tendency to win in the end.”

Michaels looked a little put out and glared at his teammate who had been silently observing. “Pacosky, you told him about the pool table.”

Pacosky grinned at him, completely unrepentant. “Someone had to warn him. He believed me after you cleaned up at poker. Every time.”

“I’ve told you,” Michaels said. “I’m good with the ladies, Lady Luck top of the list.”

Pacosky laughed at him.

Ronon and Teyla glanced sharply at the web-bars and everyone else grew silent. Soon enough, a quintet of wraith appeared, led by one of the higher rank. They had run out of time. The SG members all stood as the leader approached and retracted the bars. They all saw as the leader walked into the cell and then bounced off something invisible. The next millisecond, the floor exploded beneath their feet. Every wraith was a sudden amputee and the SG members sprung into action. Ronon killed two, Teyla one and Michaels charged the leader until he fell onto yet another of the prepared liquid explosives. The charge took off the thing’s head. Michaels didn’t wince at the bodily fluids covering his chest.

Michaels rolled with the momentum coming to a standstill outside the cell and waved to the others, even as he was pouring something from a cloth bag onto the growling, surviving wraith. “Hurry,” he hissed. “Don’t step on anything.” They all obeyed and were already running the direction of the hanger bay (there was a reason for the classes teaching everyone the general layout of a hive ship) as Michaels struck a match and dropped it onto the bodies. He was four steps away when the entire level shook with the explosion.

“Was that necessary?” John called behind him.

The Marine was completely unrepentant. “I can’t let them know that the Seal works.”

The group was silent as they ran through the maze. With Ronon and Teyla in the lead, they avoided all the wraith foot soldiers that were rushing to the cellblock -barely. Then they passed through a large intersection.

“Dex!” Michaels called as he pointed to the ceiling. “Gimme a lift.”

“I’m going to get us a ride,” John kept on running. “Ronon, bring Michaels with you when you’re done.” Michaels had already proved that he could keep up with Ronon. He expected to see the two men by the time he had managed to requisition an escape dart.


Ronon weaved his fingers together into a stirrup and let Michaels step onto them near one wall. Michaels pulled the tubes out from his right arm and attached them to the ceiling in a jagged line to the other wall, then Ronon walked Michaels back to the beginning so that a series of multi-colored X’s spaced the overhead expanse. Michaels dropped to his feet and edged closer to the hanger bay and waited. Ronon waited at his side.

“Throwing knives,” Ronon guessed.

Michaels had his arms crossed as he was thumbing something from the inside of his belt. “That too, if you want, but I’ve got throwing stars.”

When the intersection was full of wraith, Michaels flung his hands out. Ronon threw two knives (that hit exactly what he had been aiming for) and then the ceiling exploded and started falling on the rest. Michaels had created a cave-in and from the way the hive ship shook, he might have accidently hit something important as well. As expected, Michaels had completely blocked this route from being used. Ronon liked that kind of multitasking.

This time, Michaels and Ronon ran the length of the path to the hanger bay without any stops or any interference from foot soldiers. They met up with the rest of the teams on a flat piece that was obviously where the staging wraith armies stood to be picked up by the darts.

“That one,” Pacosky pointed at a moving dart making its way toward them.

“Michaels,” Ohlman ordered. “Do some damage.”

Michaels started to unload his pockets into McKay’s hands since he was closest.

“My hands are very important,” Rodney immediately argued. “I’m important. I can’t be blown to bits on accident.”

Michaels smiled like a shark and pulled out his matchbook. “I don’t make mistakes with my equipment, doc. And I never, ever explode early.”

Pacosky snickered.

Michaels struck a match and lit the rope ties to the cloth bags. Then he started dropping or tossing the bags off the edge onto wraith and darts below. He had really good aim. The hanger bay shook with every bag. Michaels managed to drop all eight of the lit bags before John picked up the crew using the scoopy-beam and flew into space. Sheppard would race to the nearest stargate, punch in an address where he could put Ronon and the rest back together. They would leave the dart and would be on their way home.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
Might be a different last name but I know Dean Winchester anywhere! Great work I love how you have blended him into the group on Atlantis and now that John has his eyes set on him it should be interesting to see just how far the boy can go with someone that is willing to push instead of hold back!!!!
Nov. 21st, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
A great chapter. I love the quick jump into the action- and seeing Dean through Sheppard's eyes is a nice intro into his role now. I loved this line "Two short statements and John knew that every word was designed to irritate. ” Sums up Sheppard's inner monologue and Dean's attitude.

This line made me laugh out loud. “And burn,” Michaels added wistfully. “Sometime a good fire is just the thing you need. You have Dean's voice beautifully.

I love that Dean had items packed away in every hidden way. That plus his betting McKay over the wraith motel - Poor Rodney will get an anyuerism if he can't ask questions!

Finally Dean telling Rodney he never explodes early and making Pacosky snicker was priceless!
This is such fun. I can't wait to read more!
Nov. 21st, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
yeah! glad you enjoy it!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


vi, no words

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