propinquitine: John, looking up while in a cell, from the lovely blue-lit episode Aurora. (Default)
[personal profile] propinquitine
As I mentioned in my last post, my friend M. gave me a list of 30 prompts, the original idea being that I'd do one a day for the month of November (er, 2009). I doubt I'll ever be able to do thirty straight days of finding the time to write, but I need to do something. Hence: 30 Days of Writing (Non-Consecutive).

Today's prompt is balloons.

"Oh, no, no, no, there's no way I'm getting into that thing," Rodney sputtered, eyeing the sturdy wicker basket skeptically. "That cannot possibly be air-worthy."

Teyla laid a hand on Rodney's arm. "The Triachines have celebrated the Festival of Flight for generations. They resolved any safety issues with balloon travel long ago."

"Yeah, I've heard of this," Ronon nodded, dropping a bag of provisions into the basket. "Triach maps always looked funny to me, when we studied 'em in school." Ronon boosted himself up and over the edge of the basket, ducking around the rigging. "You pick out different features to mark down, when you're mapping things from the sky." He reached a hand out to help Teyla climb in next to him.

"C'mon, Rodney," John said, clapping Rodney on the shoulder. "You know how this works, convection, conduction, hot air rising and all that. We'll be as safe as if Bernoulli himself were piloting this thing."

"Bernoulli has nothing to do with how hot air balloons work!" Rodney said as John hiked himself up onto the basket's edge. It was woven out of some kind of cane, and for all it looked like something his mom might've used to display fresh fruit, it felt as solid as a brick wall underneath him. "Oh my god, let me in there," Rodney continued, smacking John across the knees until he hopped into the basket. John turned around to pull Rodney in after him. "You'll crash this thing for sure if I'm not there."

Rodney busied himself with the valves on the burner at the base of the balloon. It was already running, flame licking merrily into the air, the balloon hanging loosely above them. John watched as Rodney ran through the sequence their hosts had demonstrated for them -- Rodney had clearly paid just as much attention as the rest of them had, no matter how much he'd protested earlier that he'd "never agreed to go up in one of these things, what, are you crazy?"

"Okay, everyone in?" Rodney asked, glancing around at the three of them. "Going to remain tethered to the basket and keep your arms and legs inside the death trap at all times?"

John rolled his eyes. "Rodney --"

"Yes, I suppose that would be too much to ask, Colonel Lacks-a-Self-Preservation-Instinct," Rodney cut him off. "Who am I to stand between you and your horrific splattering death? All right then," he said, twisting the burner nozzle to full-open. "Away we go!"

A gout of flame leapt from the burner, the air heating appreciably around them, and the balloon expanded, pulling up and away, stretching the rigging ropes taught. A creak, a lurch, and then they were up, the ground receding from them rapidly as the balloon took to the sky.

They got the flame under control, reaching a cruising altitude of several thousand meters sliding into the great air current that would take them from the Triachine capital back toward the 'gate. The air around them was filled with the pinks and greens and blues of the other balloons, each basket carrying a half dozen or so celebrants.

John leaned out over the edge of the basket. There was the river they'd followed from the 'gate, and the acres and acres of cow-ish-three-horned-thing pasture they'd waded through. And there --

A pair of hands grabbed him by the belt and yanked him back into the basket. "Are you actually trying to give me a heart attack?" Rodney asked. "I was joking, you're not allowed to fall to your death today."

"Relax, Rodney," John said. "I'm fine. But . . . who's flying this thing?"

Rodney's eyes widened and he did an awkward spin/lunge back toward the burner, only to see Teyla calmly manning the balloon's controls. "I have the helm, Rodney," she said with a smile. "You should do as John suggests, and relax."

"Thank you, Teyla," Rodney said, glaring at John. "Very mature," he sniffed, but he leaned back against the basket next to John and rolled his head from shoulder to shoulder, neck cracking audibly.

"We should eat," Ronon said, pulling the pack over to him and opening it up. "It's traditional."

"Does this tradition include some of those roast beast sandwiches I saw them wrapping up in the kitchens earlier?" Rodney asked, leaning forward.

"Yep," Ronon said, handing him a cloth-wrapped lump. "And a'ais."

"Oooh," John said, perking up. Ronon smirked and tossed him one of the round purple fruits. John knew from experience that the a'ais tasted like plums crossed with peaches but had the crisp flesh of an apple. He bit down with a crunch, slurping up he sweet juice with relish.

"Those the manners they taught you at finishing school, Sheppard?" Rodney snarked around a mouthful of bread and meat. John slurped more loudly in response.

They ate a leisurely lunch, trading off burner-watching duty over the course of several hours and talking about nothing of consequence, just generally enjoying the peace, quiet, and fresh air.

The current took care of the steering, for the most part, though there was one hairy minute when they got caught in an updraft and Rodney had to stop in the middle of his tirade about the run of sub-par desserts in the mess to figure out the balloon's venting system so they could descend back to the correct altitude at a pace somewhat slower than "plummet".

Ronon took over, once they were back on an even keel, and Rodney slumped against the side of the basket. He was shaking a little, from the adrenaline rush. John leaned against the basket next to him. "Nice piloting, Archimedes," he said, bumping Rodney's shoulder with his own.

Rodney blinked at him, then shook a finger in his face. "I knew it! I knew you knew the right -- Bernoulli, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if that were the only principle of flight they bothered to teach you flyboys. Why you insist on pretending that you're dumber than you actually are, I'll never know."

He smiled at John, though, and returned the shoulder bump. John felt a light breeze ruffle his hair and inched a little closer to Rodney as the air grew cooler and the sun started to set. Ronon asked Teyla about one of the symbols painted on a nearby balloon, and the sound of Teyla's voice seemed to carry them along as they floated gently through the gathering dusk.

Written work is: fic, SGA, G, team + minor John/Rodney, ~1000 words
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propinquitine: John, looking up while in a cell, from the lovely blue-lit episode Aurora. (Default)

March 2013


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