Walking out of the meeting where they had helped put together a preliminary course of action for Atlantis, Rodney glanced over at John and asked, “Do you want to go get some coffee and maybe see of there is anything left to eat? We worked through the main dinner rush.”
Sighing, John ran his hand through his hair and agreed. Anything was better than going back to his office and facing the sheer amount of paperwork that was sitting waiting in his in box. Every time the Daedalus arrived, the amount of paperwork he had to read and sign seemed to increase by leaps and bounds. And all of it needed to be finished in time for the return trip of the Daedalus. Besides, he was hungry.
“So we’re getting Jackson and O’Neill on our team for a while, huh? Showing them the hazards of Pegasus?” asked Rodney as they stepped into the transporter. Setting the destination to the mess deck, he looked at the Colonel. “Isn’t that going to be awkward?”
Walking out of the transporter and into the hallway leading to the commissary, John shook his head, “They have to learn somewhere. And frankly I would prefer if O’Neill was with our team during that period. Now that I know that he really isn’t a twenty-two year old kid, I won’t make the mistake of discounting him. Add in a Dr. Jackson…. Hey! Why did this Loki guy clone Dr. Jackson? Do you know? The report I read from that incident never mentioned him.”
Digging into his pocket for the letter Caldwell had handed him, Rodney opened it and started reading as they walked into the commissary. “Says here that per Thor, Loki cloned the original Dr. Jackson because he was the only human that the Asgard knew of who had Ascended and then came back. Apparently he has all his originators memories up until the time of cloning, and went back to school to officially get his degrees again with an emphasis on areas that might relate to the Ancients and their ally races. General O’Neill finishes by saying that he thinks we can find a use for his talents.” Snorting at the dig, Rodney continued, “Also Daniel, as he still prefers to be called, joined the AFROTC while in college this time around and kept up his weapons and hand to hand qualifications. Well isn’t that nice.” And with that, they were in the line for food and Rodney put his letter away.
Moving quickly through the line and making sure to get some food that didn’t look too gross, Rodney and John headed towards one of the tables in the back of the commissary. These tables were the ones that rarely filled up, so they were assured at least some privacy. Grabbing a table as far from the main seating areas as they could, the two settled in and started eating. Conversation could wait until the first rush of hunger had been satisfied.
Leaning back in his chair, John toyed with his fork. There were advantages in talking to Rodney that he had never even contemplated when they had initially struck up their odd friendship. When Rodney latched onto a topic he would continue to talk, exploring each and every scenario, managing to touch on all of Johns worries and concerns and find solutions to each. Looking over at Rodney, he asked quietly, “So, what do you think of all of this?”
Placing his own fork on the table Rodney looked at him, his expression serious and full of the unwavering determination that had kept the City afloat when the Wraith done their best to drive her back under the waves. “I think that this situation has the potential to be the worst thing we have ever been through. And that if it does get bad, we are going to loose a number of good people before things stabilize. I know I’m not the easiest person to get along with, nor am I the easiest boss, but I hope more stay than want to go. Beyond that? Material and food shortages are going to be two of our biggest problems. What about you?”
Feeling a bit shocked at how little Rodney had to say on something that should have had him raving, John watched Rodney dive back into his meal. Taking the time to think about the whole problem, he realized that Rodney was right. The situation with the SGC that hadn’t developed overnight, and it wouldn’t get better overnight either. At this point even if the SGC decided to start paying attention to them again, their position would still be uncertain. And given that it looked like the SGC was still bent on ignoring them, things were going to get worse.
John knew the expedition could survive in Pegasus; they had after all done it before. But then again, the original expedition had been only quarter of their current population. If the SGC left them on their own, finding enough food for everyone to eat was going to be a challenge. Followed closely by the need to protect the City and then supplying all the other day to day needs of almost a thousand people. For a moment John felt all his lists start running through his head, manpower, supply, and schedules for watches, and many more. Pushing them all aside for the moment (and he would be talking to Lorne later to start setting it all up), John said “My biggest fear? Aside from the SGC replacing Caldwell with someone we can’t work with? Receiving orders for me to report back to Earth. Or maybe orders for my men to go back, without getting replacements.”
Nodding, Rodney seemed to accept that. “I know this seems a bit off topic, but maybe we should put some more effort into exploring the city? I know that we haven’t found everything that Helia and her crew left behind while they had the City. I mean, they had a ship, and they must have offloaded something! If nothing else, it would allow O’Neill to get used to using his gene while he opens and closes the doors.”
“Opening and closing doors isn’t all that hard Rodney. The hard part comes when you want me to gradually bring an item online, or when you want something shut off *right now* because it’s going to explode. Or maybe when you want one sub-system on the control chair brought up and don’t tell me which one. So yes, he’ll need to practice. Do we know if this version of Dr. Jackson has the gene?”
“Ask Carson. He’s going to be the one doing the tests. And giving him the gene therapy if Jackson doesn’t have the natural version.” Rodney was finishing the last of his dinner and visibly contemplating the dessert on his tray, swapped it out for the one on John’s. “And don’t even try to complain about the dessert, I know you put that one on your tray after you saw what I picked.”
Laughing, John couldn’t deny the charge, and grabbing his new dessert, dug in.