Pairing: McKay/Sheppard (well, if you squint)
Summary: For 2012 apocalypse_kree prompt #5, The stars are slipping
It should have been more obvious but they didn't notice until it was too late. It was Miko Kusinagi who brought it to Rodney's attention.
"The star map is... wrong," she announced.
"How the fuck is that possible?" Rodney demanded.
"I think..." She took a deep breath. "I think someone else has built a bridge and is shifting their exotic particles to our reality," she said. "See here?" she pointed. "The buildup is obvious, once you know what to look for."
Rodney bent to look over her work. His heart clenched... she was right.
"How long do we have?" Rodney asked.
"Days, I think," she estimated. "A week at the outside but probably much less."
"Any chance we can build a bridge... Like I did before?" Rodney asked. "And get them to stop?"
"Too much damage already," she sighed. "And not everyone is as reasonable as we are. Even if you could go there, there's no guarantee you'd survive the trip. You... he got lucky."
Rodney frowned. "We could still try."
"We could," she agreed. "It would give us something to do while we wait for the end."
John came to the lab to see if Rodney was ready for some dinner, to find everyone working frantically.
"What the fuck?" he asked. "Did you find a ZPM or something?"
"The universe is coming to an end," Rodney muttered. "Trying to fix it."
"WHAT?" John demanded.
"Keep up," Rodney snapped. "Universe. Ending. No fix."
"Why didn't you call me? Or Woolsey?" John asked.
"No time for any fucking meetings," Rodney said. "Trying to build a bridge to see if we can send someone to talk to the idiots that are killing us."
John blanched. "What can I do?"
"Food," Rodney demanded. Then he stopped to look directly at John. "And that good chocolate you have stashed away."
"Hey! That's for..." John stopped. "Well, I guess this is a special occasion. If you're sure about this." Rodney glared. "Okay. Anything else?"
"Coffee," Rodney replied. "In case we catch a lucky break."
"Any chance?" John asked.
Rodney stopped for a moment and sighed. "Between zero and none."
"Okay, then. Dinner and chocolate," John clapped his hands together. "Be right back."
John sent Marines with dinner for everyone, someone must have broken into the coffee stash since the supply in the lab never seemed to run low.
Rodney had closed his eyes and was rubbing his temples, he had a massive headache from the combination of no sleep and caffeine, when John came into the lab.
"Hey! I got a question," John said.
"I have no answers," Rodney replied wearily.
"What would happen if we were in hyperspace when the end came?" John asked.
Rodney stared. "What the fuck?"
John shuffled. "Just... thought maybe we could out run it or something. Or maybe being in hyperspace will do... something."
Rodney stared. Then started snapping his fingers. He turned to the rest of the lab.
"Okay, everyone, new objective," he called. The few functional scientists still in the lab looked up at him tiredly. "We need to get this city in the air and into hyperspace. But we have to time it." He turned to Miko, "How much time do we have left?"
She looked at her datapad and tapped on it for a minute. "It's cascading. I'd say 12 to 18 hours. Not sure I can narrow it down any more than that." She tapped again. "I should know as it gets closer. Unfortunately."
"Radek!" Rodney called. "Can we get the city into the air in that time?"
Radek Zelenka frowned then shrugged. "Guess we will have to try."
"Okay, then," Rodney decided. "Miko, you focus on narrowing down that window and keeping track of it. Radek, take everyone else and start prepping the city to be in the air. It'll be a lot more productive than anything else we could do at this point." He turned to John. "Get ready to get into the chair when I tell you."
John grinned. "Okay," he agreed. "I'll get everyone else settled in the meantime."
"You have..." Rodney calculated, "about two hours to get everyone in a safe place. This'll be a desperate maneuver and everyone needs to be braced or strapped down. That would be best." He thought for a second. "And in one place so we can narrow the shields the moment we're in space."
"Hey!" John said softly, putting a hand on Rodney's arm. "We can do this."
Rodney's worried expression softened for a moment. "Together." He touched John's hand briefly. "Now get out of here, there's work to be done."
At one point Miko announced, "Three hours! No more than that."
Rodney touched his communicator, "John. In the chair. Now!"
"Ready," John came back calmly. "Tell me when."
"Shortly," Rodney told him. "Radek! Where are we on the power to the engines?"
"Either we go up or we crash back into the planet," Radek said. "Not sure what's going to happen at this point."
"Radek!" Rodney demanded.
"Go, go," Radek sighed. "We will be ready!"
Rodney ran to the chair room, calling over the communicator on an open channel. "Everyone, we're lifting off in ten minutes. Make sure you're secure. I suspect it's not going to be pretty."
He was panting by the time he got to the chair room.
"Ready when you are," John was already in the chair.
"John. I..." Rodney's mouth ran dry.
John lifted his head and looked back at Rodney. "Me, too." He relaxed into the chair. "Now let's fly this baby."
Rodney opened his computer and deftly connected it to the console. He sat on the floor and braced himself between two consoles. "Okay, then. On my mark. Five, four, three, two, one, mark!"
The city rumbled, the star drives coming alive and lifting the city from the planet.
"We're running out of time," Miko's voice came over Rodney's headset. "It's collapsing faster than I had thought."
"Doing the best we can," Rodney gritted. He watched John in the chair as the thrust of the engines pinned him in place. They had sacrificed the gravity controls for more power to the drives.
Then suddenly they were free of the planet.
"John, into hyperspace! Now!" Rodney shouted.
The city shot forward, leaping toward the hyperspace window that Rodney could see in his head. As the city moved to the window, the stars started slipping away....