Pairing: pre-McShep, Benton Fraser / Ray Kowalski
Warnings: SGA/due South crossover; takes place post-"Enemy at the Gate" and "Call of the Wild"; most likely abandoned
Summary: Frasier and RayK discover an Ancient outpost in the Arctic.
Notes: So, last year I tried to write a SGA/due South crossover, in which the boys would be sent to the Arctic Circle to follow a lead regarding an Ancient outpost there, and over the course of the trip would see the relationship between Fraser and RayK, which would finally lead them to getting a clue about their own relationship - ie, having one. But I never could get past this part, and in transferring docs over to my new computer, I discovered it and decided I'd publish it none the less, cause what I had was kinda nice. Maybe one day I'll finish it, but until then.... enjoy.
(PS, the lyrics are from Stan Roger's "Northwest Passage," which along with other random songs Fraser sings through the series, were somewhat inappropriately stuck in my head during my basic training stint).
"Ah, for just one time, I would take the Northwest Passage, to find the Hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea. Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage and make a Northwest Passage to the sea."
"This is horrible."
"Oh, I dunno. I kinda like it," John says, bringing the helicopter around to land behind the single, small building that appears to serve as both the airport's control tower and main terminal.
"You like Antarctica," Rodney accuses, "and Russian novels. You've some sort of tragic love affair going on with the snow, so you're completely blind to the fact that this," he gestures out the windscreen at the stark white landscape beyond, "is clearly hell."
"I always thought hell would have more people in it."
John doesn't have to turn his head to see Rodney's glare - he can feel in burning holes through the side of his watch cap as the skids touch down on the landing pad.
"Look, you survived two years in Siberia and eight months in Antarctica. I'm sure you can tough it out for week in the motherland before going back to our tropical paradise."
"Our tropical paradise," he snorts, "is currently sitting a hundred miles off the coast of California with Zelenka left in charge of repairs."
"You like Zelenka."
"That's not the point. And also? This isn't the motherland. This is the fucking territories. It's not actually Canada: it's the seventh circle of hell."
John snorts as he powers down the chopper. "I'm sure it's not that bad."
"Says the man who likes Antarctica."
"Y'know, one day you're really going to have to let that go," he says, pocketing the keys and climbing out of the cockpit.
"John," Rodney protests, following, "no one likes Antarctica. It's the penal colony of the modern world - like Australia, only about eight times more likely to kill you."
"You know what? Fine. Be that way. When we die cold, lingering deaths out on the snow because we're here, trying to find some hole in the middle of nowhere that somebody thinks a Mountie might have seen some Ancient tech down, rather than warm on Atlantis, doing real work, you'll be singing a different tune."
"You saw the picture, Rodney."
"Yes! One grainy, black and white picture of something that might be Ancient. Might!"
"Well that's what we're here to find out," John says bracingly and throws open the helicopter door. The wind bites at him through his parka, and John jams his fingers into his gloves before throwing up his hood. It's twenty-seven degrees out with the wind coming off the Arctic Ocean chilling things to fifteen below - brisk compared to McMurdo, but still pretty darn cold.
"Fuck," Rodney hisses as the wind hits him, "Whose brilliant idea was this again?"
"The deputy commander of NORAD's, I think."
"Remind me to ruin his retirement portfolio when we get back to civilization."
John ignores this and, grabbing their bags, climbs out of the helicopter. "Why don't you try to track down our ride while I lock up?"
"That won't be necessary gentlemen," says a voice which surprises John so much he has to forcibly restrain himself from dropping the bags and going for his gun, which is probably a sign it's time for a vacation because the man behind him is possibly the least threatening person John's ever seen once he manages to turn around. "I am Sergeant Benton Fraser of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and I believe you are the men I have been waiting for."
"Westward from the Davis Strait 'tis there 'twas said to lie, the sea route to the Orient for which so many died, seeking gold and glory, leaving weathered, broken bones, and a long-forgotten lonely cairn of stones."
"Unless you get lots of USAF helicopters up here, probably," the man wearing a black parka over what appears to be a olive green flightsuit says with a grin. Setting down his bags, he extends a hand. "Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, US Air Force, and this," he indicates the second man, who keeps his hands tucked under his armpits, "Doctor Rodney McKay. Believe it our not, he's actually one of yours."
"One of mine, Colonel?"
"Ah," Benton sighs, brushing his thumb along his eyebrow. He'd almost forgotten what Americans can be like sometimes.
Doctor McKay makes a sound of impatience (or possibly derision; the wind steals the most the sound away. "Yes, well, as wonderful as this is, do you think we could maybe take things inside before we freeze to death out here?"
"While the temperature is below freezing, I believe we are all sufficiently attired to withstand several hours out of doors."
Doctor McKay starts to speak, but Colonel Sheppard stops him with a hand on his shoulder, the Doctor's mouth snapping almost comically shut.
"What Rodney means is, it's taken us almost a whole day to get here, so we'd appreciate the chance to chill out for a bit before we head on out to the site."
"But of course. If you would come with me, I have borrowed the Detachment's jeep for the ride into town. I am afraid there's not much by way of hotels in Tuktoyuhtuk - not on such short notice - but I have a guest room I can offer you both," Benton informs them, leading the way to the parking lot.
"That would be great. How far away is this place anyway?"
The Colonel grins, "The site."
"In this weather, approximately a day and a half by dogsled."
"Dogsled!" Doctor McKay exclaims. "Nobody said anything about any dogsleds."
"Yes. Given the distance involved, it is the most efficient method of travel." He and Ray have a team of their own, but they have borrowed a second from the Detachment for this expedition, so that they each can drive a sled and carry a rider. Normally for journeys such as these they would trade off between mushing and walking alongside in snowshoes - Ray has become quite proficient at both over the last decade - but they had thought it best not to trust the success of their trip to the snowshoeing skills of two strangers.
"Just when I think it can't get any worse..." McKay mutters as he climbs into the back of jeep.
"Hey, look at the bright side," the Colonel says blithely. "No one's shooting at us yet."
McKay huffs, as if the cold and the snow are worse afflictions
"So," Benton asks, "what interest doest the United States Air Force have in a Canadian archeological find?"
"You'd never believe me if I told you."
"My partner and I once tracked a murderer who had been thought to be dead for thirty years from Chicago to Franklin Bay, where he was attempting to sell a particularly lethal strain of nerve gas and an upper-class Russian nuclear submarine to a right-wing American paramilitary organization."
The Colonel whistles. "I take it back then. So how'd you find the site? We're you chasing after some illegal whalers who were using their profits to purchase weapons of mass destruction or something?"
"No. Ray Kowalski and I were returning to Tuktoyahtuk after our most recent attempt to locate the Hand of Franklin when our lead dog quite literally stumbled upon the crevasse, and as we were attempting to extract her we discovered what appeared to be the entrance to some underground edifice of some kind. As Maksagak had been injured, we elected to seek veterinary attention on her behalf rather than explore the site and I informed Headquarters of the discovery as soon as I was able. Needless to say, an Air Force pilot and and astrophysicist are not the team I expected they would send at the time."
"Yes, well," the Colonel shrugs, saying, "he was the only Canadian we had on hand," as if his explanation made perfect sense, which to him it probably does. "So what's this Hand of Franklin you're trying to find?"
And so Benton tells them the story of Sir John Franklin's attempt to map the Northwest Passage and pretends not to notice the Colonel doing his level best to distract him from his initial question.
"How then am I so different from the first men through this way? Like them, I left a settled life, I threw it all away. To seek a Northwest Passage at the call of many men to find there but the road back home again."