Title: Time to Make the Donuts
Fandom: SGA, NCIS
Relationships: Tony/Ian, OC/OC, Bates/OC, John/Rodney. Elizabeth/Radek
Summary: A day in the life of Atlantis
0200 AM AST
“You need to come to bed earlier,” Ian murmured into his pillow as Tony climbed into bed.
Tony pressed a kiss against his lover’s shoulder and curled up around him. “I’ll try.”
“You better,” Ian sighed before he fell back to sleep.
Tony tried to quiet his mind, but it was still dwelling on the meeting he’d had with one of the Marines earlier. She had requested to speak to him about some of the harassment she was experiencing. Her efforts at curbing the problem hadn’t gotten anywhere per her opinion and she had reported it to him as a last resort. Tony needed to figure out how to nip the problem in the bud before talk moved on to something else.
The only thing he could think of was to have a new set of seminars. And make sure that every single one of them was as blunt, honest and uncomfortable as possible. Not just handling the harassment of gay and lesbian folks, but also harassment across heterosexual lines. He needed to make sure everyone was aware of what unwelcome attention looked like and how to handle it.
Decision made, he closed his eyes and tucked his head into the back of Ian’s neck. The scent of musk, sandalwood and the faintest whiff of gunpowder came to his nose and he smiled. Ian smelled like home to him. Tony let himself drift off.
0300 AM AST
When the alarm went off, Alfred Jones rolled over and slapped the snooze button on his alarm clock. Ten minutes later, it went off again. “Time to make the donuts,” Alfred muttered as he rolled out of bed.
“I hate your schedule.”
Alfred looked at his bedmate and grinned. He was very pleased that he had managed to get her into his life and bed. Even if he did have to leave it far too early. “But you like what I make when I get up this early,” he cooed in her ear. “Go back to sleep. You’re supposed to be up in a few hours.”
“Fine,” Claudia muttered into her pillow. “But there had better be donuts when I get up.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Alfred promised. He walked into the ensuite and started getting ready for his day. Time to do the transformation from Alfred to PO1 Jones.
Thirty minutes after he had pulled himself out of bed, he walked into the kitchen with the rest of the morning shift and looked around. Mids had done their usual excellent job of prepping for the breakfast run and all was left were the final touches.
“Okay, what’s on the menu this morning?” Jones heard Sgt. Brook call as he headed for the bakery.
“I was thinking that we could treat everyone today,” Jones offered as he pulled on the oversized apron that would, mostly, protect his uniform from the flour heading his way.
“Treat them how? Like the ravening horde they are?” Royce asked as she started flipping the proofed bread out of the bannetons.
“No, but that’s an idea for later consideration,” Jones laughed. He pulled out the computer they used for recipes and pulled up an easy recipe for baked old-fashioned donuts. “How about donuts?”
“Can we spare the oil for frying? Because I know most of what we have is being used for things like the fried fish and various chips,” Stoddard commented as he leaned on the desk to read the recipe. “Oh, baked donuts. And we have that mess of buttermilk from the cows.”
“Yeah, they shouldn’t take too much effort. And I’m sure we have all the pans. God knows, we brought everything and the kitchen sink out here with us,” Jones muttered as he reviewed the recipe against inventory. “Yeah, we have it. And it should be easy enough to be batched out quickly.”
“So what? We make them a few dozen at a time and once supplies hit a low mark, make more?” Royce asked as she sliced designs on the bread loaves.
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking,” Jones admitted. “How’s that batch look?”
“The new sourdough starter you traded for is doing good. It looks like we’ve got a decent sandwich bread here and plenty of straight-up dinner and snack bread,” Royce confirmed. “I need someone to open the oven so I can start baking this batch.”
Jones got the oven open and started helping her move the loaves for breakfast into it. “Anything beyond the standard breads?”
“No,” Royce grunted as she slid the last loaf that would fit in and then closed the door. “But I was thinking that we can make bagels?”
“Maybe alternate between donuts and bagels?” Stoddard asked. “Bagels are labor-intensive when done right and we really don’t have the facilities to make big batches of them.”
Jones winced at that. The kitchen was officially too small for them and there was no replacement on the horizon that he could see. “True. Want to get started on the muffins while I do the donuts?”
“Got it,” Stoddard confirmed. “We’re going to need some help. I want to see about getting some of the junior enlisted to do a turn in the mess.”
“Clean up and deep sink help?” Jones asked as he started measuring ingredients. “Remind me to add liquid vanilla to the supply lists.”
“We have some aging in supply room four,” Stoddard muttered as he carefully poured flour in the large floor mixer. “We have a mess of beans in that bourbon equivalent we traded for first year.”
“Remind me to nominate Chief for the best forward thinker of the year award?” Jones told the air as he headed for the door with the vanilla bottle. “Any bets on if it’s in a bottle that we can use to refill our smaller bottles from?”
“No bets,” Royce laughed. “It’s the Chief. She thinks of everything!”
“Too true,” Jones called. He hummed lightly as he made his way to the correct supply room. If he had to make donuts at the ass-crack of dawn, he was at least doing it with good people.
The sound of the alarm cut through her sleep and Beryl moaned into her pillow. “Damn it.”
There was a laugh against the back of her neck. “You set the alarm,” Eugene muttered.
“I’m an asshole,” Beryl sighed. “But I remember why.”
“You do?” Eugene asked as he flexed his hips against her ass.
“Oh, yeah,” Beryl purred before she rolled over. She hitched her leg over his hip and pressed the folds of her pussy against his cock. “Is this sparking anything?”
Eugene rolled her over and settled into the cradle of her hips. “Minx.” He leaned down and pressed against her lips before he flexed his hips and rubbed the length of his cock against her. “You want some of this?”
Beryl wrapped her legs around his hips. “Yeah. You’ve been stingy lately.”
Her lover laughed softly. “I’ve been off-world for the last two weeks. It’s a bit rich that you’re calling me stingy. Maybe you’ve been stingy with the pussy.”
“Never let it be said that the Navy doesn’t support the Marines,” Beryl purred as she shifted slightly to try to get Eugene’s dick where she wanted it. When it didn’t slide into her pussy, she made a frustrated sound. “But some cooperation would be nice.”
Eugene giggled softly and she could feel him reaching down to grip his dick and guide it into her. As the thick heat filled her, Beryl moaned. “Oh, damn, that feels good.”
“Yeah, it does,” Eugene sighed and started to move.
His strokes were gentle, barely stirring in her body and Beryl clenched down on him as he moved. She could feel herself getting wetter and wetter, arousal burning through her veins. “More.”
“Pushy,” Eugene said before he pressed a kiss to her lips.
Beryl relaxed into the mattress and hitched her legs higher around her lover’s waist, tilting her hips enough that every thrust was pressing against her clit. The additional spark of feeling combined with him moving in and out of her pussy pushed her over the edge and she felt the first gentle orgasm flutter through her. As the aftershocks settled, she shifted and ran her hands up his shoulders to settle into his hair.
Breaking the kiss, she let her head fall back and held on and Eugene picked up speed. When he started to talk, she started to shiver. “You feel so sweet around me, all wet and I can feel you fluttering as you cum. I’m going to make you do that again.”
“Better get to it, Marine,” Beryl gasped. She rocked into Eugene’s strokes, chasing the sparks of pleasure he was stirring in her.
“So damn bossy,” Eugene bitched. He shifted slightly and Beryl let her hands fall out of his hair and onto his shoulders.
She didn’t say anything, just hummed and rode the waves of pleasure. When Eugene shifted slightly to brush his fingers over her clit. Beryl bucked up against his fingers and moaned. Her next orgasm punched through her and she clamped down on Eugene’s cock, wanting to hold it in place.
“That was it,” Eugene groaned.
She could feel him jerking inside of her and she hummed in satisfaction. A good fucking in the morning was always a fantastic way to wake up.
Eugene started laughing and pressed a kiss against her lips. “You said that out loud, honey.”
“Well, fuck,” Beryl sighed. “But it’s still true.”
As the dawn broke the edge of night, Marta walked down the pier to the cove Atlantis had made for her. She had her net and several cold boxes to hold her catch. It made her happy to know that her efforts were feeding her people and the people of Atlantis.
Today she had a request for some of the ‘shrimp’ from the Chief. She wanted to make something called ‘scampi’ for dinner. It promised to be rich and delicious from what Beryl had described to her. She was looking forward to it.
Marta eyed the cove with an experienced eye and smiled. She would have a good harvest today. It took only moments for her to set up her boxes and prop the first one open. It was half-filled with ice and would soon be topped off with seafood.
Stretching her arms out, she tried to shake her muscles awake. The fishing she was about to do wasn’t the hardest job she had ever done, but it did require strength and endurance. As soon as she felt ready, she pulled the net from around her shoulders and gave it a practiced twirl. It unfolded, smooth and easy in the air and she smiled. Thanks to the Tau’ri, her net was in perfect condition and ready to be used.
A second twirl caused it to unlock and she drew it back in. Running her hands down the strands, she nodded. Time to start the day. Marta drew in a deep breath and in one smooth motion, cast her net into the still waters of the cove. She waited for a slow three count before she started to tighten the net up and draw it in.
From the weight of it, she had a good haul. Once she had enough shrimp on ice, she would do a few dives for the spider-fish everyone liked. She was heading off-world to a trading mission that afternoon and some of her catch would go with her as well as the salt she was trading it to the Chief for.
Humming softly, Marta emptied the ‘shrimp’ into the first cooler and then cast her net back out again. It was a good morning.
“Oh, donuts,” Rodney cooed.
“Get actual food, Rodney,” John directed as he pushed his tray down the line. He made sure to load up on the proteins due to their mission later in the day. But he also picked up a donut for a change of pace.
One large mug of the mocha/coffee blend Chief had out and he was set for the morning. John settled down at a discrete table to eat. The meal was as excellent as anything else he had gotten from the mess and he tucked into it with enjoyment.
When Rodney dropped his tray down, it was as loaded with all the protein-heavy foods John wanted him to eat and two donuts. Chuckling softly, he saluted his lover with his coffee cup. “Just make sure you have the rest before you eat those.”
“I’m not having issues with my sugars,” Rodney said with a frown at the pastries. “Why the concern?”
“We’re hiking a lot today,” John reminded him. He waved at the sweet treat and shrugged. “I get that you like them and hell, so do I, but if that had been all you ate before the mission, you would be hungry in an hour.”
“And while we’re on the city, I can get around that by swinging by the mess and grabbing a real breakfast, I wouldn’t be able to do so while we hike,” Rodney finished the thought. He reached out for the salt and added some to his eggs after the first taste. “Okay, I get why you nag on the meals I eat before we go. Why don’t you do the same with Teyla or Ronon?”
“Both of them eat better than you do, Rodney,” John reminded him. “And they understand the need to eat foods that will stick with you on mission days. I just want to make sure you don’t have any issues later in the day.”
John watched as his lover thought that over while eating his breakfast. He didn’t know how to say that one of his biggest worries was that the hypoglycemia Rodney readily admitted to would spiral out of control under the constant stress they were under. He did what he could, but McKay was the one who had to do the hard part regarding his diet.
“Okay, I get that. And I do try to eat balanced meals,” Rodney said as he set his fork down and waved a hand at the tray. “We tend to eat together for most of our meals and I know you’ve seen what I eat. I don’t eat badly, you know.”
“You eat pretty damn good when you show up,” John confirmed. He didn’t want to harp on the subject. It was… The issues with being both Rodney’s team lead and his lover were crashing into each other and he needed to figure out how to be tactful and still get his point across. “Meals aren’t the issue, Rodney. It’s the masses of power bars you eat when you’re feeling peckish or something runs long or there’s an emergency that keeps you in the labs. And the vast amounts of coffee. Both of those can fuck with your blood sugar. Combine that with a dislike of exercise? I worry.”
Rodney prodded the remnants of his meal with his fork and nodded. “Okay. I can’t say I’m thrilled about the topic, but I get that you’re worried and why. How about I talk it over with Carson when we get back and we see what suggestions he has? Because even I know that changing the habits of decades isn’t going to happen just because I agree with you.”
“Fair,” John agreed. He nodded at the donuts. “Enjoy your treat, Rodney. I won’t take them away.”
“You had better not!” Rodney snapped.
John noticed that he didn’t sound angry, so that was a total win in his mind. He needed McKay strong and capable. Hell, Atlantis needed him that way too. They could get this figured out.
Elizabeth walked into her office with a tray she had acquired from the mess and set it down on her desk with a satisfied hum. She had tea, fruit and yogurt and fresh donuts. Life, for the moment, was excellent.
Unwrapping her silverware, she booted up her computer and started reviewing her coming workday. Most of it could be summed up as being another step in the unending paper chase that was the job of any administrator, but some of it was a bit more interesting. She had several reports tagged as being reviews for possible trading partners.
Leaning back in her chair, Elizabeth thought over what she knew of their potential partners and Atlantis’s needs. Food was an abiding issue. One that she knew Cooper managed with an attention to detail that bordered on obsessive.
Running neck and neck with food was security. They no longer allowed anyone on the city who hadn’t been cleared. The lessons taught at the hands of the Genii meant that no one was allowed onto the city without going through the Alpha Site. That did include their own people and the Athosians as well. While it took more time, the extra security had already saved them from some shady characters.
The third concern was making sure that they, the expedition, didn’t expose their trading partners to technology too far ahead of where they were. She had read up on the Prime Directive when she had heard Rodney bitching about it in a meeting and agreed with the principals. Despite their trading partners having access to the stargate, not everyone wanted or needed all the things Atlantis used as a matter of course. And with the Wraith scanning for the signatures of advanced tech, it wasn’t always safe to give it to anyone anyway.
Beyond all of that, their potential trading partners needed to be evaluated in light of what they could offer the city. Food, another layer of security or knowledge. Maybe Ancient bits and bobs that could prove useful as new tech or spare parts. If they were lucky, their new trading partners might have something groundbreaking and amazing to offer.
Elizabeth snorted softly at that as she nibbled on a donut. Whatever was on offer was likely to be expensive though. She just needed to figure out what they would be willing to pay.
“Dr. Beckett, we have a medical emergency coming in!”
Carson looked up from his morning cup of tea and winced. Having the first medical emergency at 0800 was not a good portent for the rest of the day. “Do we need to prep the OR?”
“Don’t know,” Marie Ko, his head nurse admitted. She was listening to reports coming across her radio and Carson clicked his own radio over as well.
The news was grim. The injury wasn’t due to any off-planet issues or even gunshots, but a lab accident. From the news being reported by the first responders, there was a great deal of blood and puncture injuries. Carson glanced at his head nurse and nodded once. “We need to OR up and a triage set. Call in all the off duty medical personnel and put the word out that we’re going to need blood.”
“Yes, doctor,” Marie nodded once before turning away to start carrying out his orders.
Carson headed over to the clinical locker room and started changing clothes. He needed to get out of his uniform and into scrubs as quickly as possible. His boots would do well enough with booties to cover them. As soon as he was dressed, he started scrubbing down.
His timing was good enough that he had just finished when the first of the wounded were pushed into the infirmary. He lost himself in the ebb and flow of patient treatment and the stress and worry that came with that. As one patient was dealt with, another came to take their place.
Abruptly the last patient was moved to recovery and Carson leaned against the gurney and tried to breathe. He had been going full tilt for… He checked the clock and winced. Only fifty-three minutes. Insanity.
“Yes, Dr. Beckett?” Marie called from one of the individual patient rooms.
Carson waited until she poked her head out of the room and he waved a hand. “Do we have an update on what caused this?”
“I’ll send Agent DiNozzo to you for that, Doctor. But I don’t know,” Marie reported.
“Understood,” Carson sighed as he started cleaning up the mess he’d left behind while he had worked on his last patient.
Marie walked up to him and carefully patted him on a shoulder. “All of them are alive, even if they will take a long time to heal.”
“That’s good to know,” Carson agreed.
“Proklít všechno,” Radek muttered as he started ripping wires out of the area destroyed by the explosion. At least the console was mostly clean if a bit dusty. Thankfully nothing was still on fire and the Ancient tech didn’t keep the heat stored in the circuits.
“Dr. Z? Have you got any idea what caused this?” Agent DiNozzo asked.
“Čubčí syn!” Radek started and hit his head against the underside of the console. “Why did you do that?”
“I really didn’t mean to cause you to hit your head, Dr. Z,” DiNozzo said as he squatted down to look him in the eye. “I just was hoping that you had some idea what happened?”
“It blew up,” Radek told him, voice dry. “Come back in a few hours and I might be able to tell you more. Don’t turn anything on.”
“Aye, aye, Dr. Z,” DiNozzo said before he walked out.
Radek closed his eyes and pulled in a deep breath through his nose. McKay was off on a mission, Miko was on the injured list and the rest of his engineers were all working full out to find out what had happened.
“Simmons, I need a drill with a number three head,” Radek called. He held his hand out and nodded once as the tool was placed in his hand. He ran his thumb over the directional switch to confirm which way it was facing. Satisfied that all was as it should be, he started pulling the console apart.
“Radek, we have the readings from the room at the time of the explosion,” Esposito called as she worked on the computer system installed in the room.
“Any ideas?” he asked as he pulled the cover panel off. “Yuck,” he muttered as he took in the dried slime gunking up the works. “Simmons, everyone needs to mask up. We’ve got dried sea slime.”
“Gross,” Esposito muttered as she moved to sit by him.
He looked over at her and accepted the mask she handed him. As soon as he had that hooked up over his mouth and nose, he accepted the gloves and protective googles she handed him. Personal protection gear on, he started poking at the circuits over his head.
“Very gross,” Radek agreed. “Now what did the readings say?”
Esposito started explaining she had found while Radek got busy stripping out all the charred and destroyed bits. Simmons settled into place and started handing him new wiring and crystals.
“Make sure of your results and get a report ready,” Radek directed as he started putting the cover panel back on. “We will keep the lab powered down until Colonel gets back on the city and ask him to carefully bring it back up.”
“Agent DiNozzo is as good as the Colonel with his gene,” Esposito reminded him. “He could come in and turn everything on.”
“But Agent DiNozzo is working the case and needs to concentrate on that,” Radek “And I want him here when we do turn it on. That way, he can observe things from an outside perspective.”
“Right,” Esposito said before she looked at Simmons. “This is fucked up, isn’t it?”
“It’s not all good, no,” Simmons muttered as she gathered together all the bits that they had collected. “But thankfully no one’s died.”
“So far,” Radek reminded them.
Proklít všechno – Damn it all
čubčí syn – Son of a bitch
Chuck Campbell watched as a new wormhole connected with the Atlantis gate. The gate was being dialed by a local Pegasus gate and the computer confirmed that the originator was the Alpha Site. Since the shield was up, he wasn’t surprised to get an IDC code.
“Dr. Weir, we have AR-3 coming in from the Alpha Site. Do I have your permission to let them through?” he asked after he connected to her radio.
“Let them through,” Weir called from her office. She walked out and took her place on the walkway.
“Yes, ma’am,” Chuck confirmed. The computer had come back green and Chuck tapped the control for the shield and pulled it down.
When Stackhouse walked through, Chuck frowned. Stacks looked like he was deeply concerned with something. He quickly ran through his checklist and informed the infirmary that there was a team incoming. Given the medical emergency earlier in the day, medical needed all the warnings they could get so they could make room.
“Dr. Weir, we need to have a meeting regarding our newest trading partners,” Stackhouse called.
“Are we talking about an ‘Oh, my god. They want to kill us!’ or ‘Something hinky this way comes’ type of meeting? Or something even more insane?” Weir asked. She sounded tired and wary.
“Uhm,” Stackhouse eyed the ceiling and then nodded once. “I’m going to come down on the side of hinky. Very, very hinky. But the hinky didn’t concern my team, it concerned the Colonel’s team. They were very interested in talking to them again. Said something about fulfilling a promise the Ancestors had made.”
Chuck winced. He was certain that there was nothing good to be had in that message. He made a note for his replacement. AR-1 would be coming back late at night and he wouldn’t be on duty when they came back. It wouldn’t do to have any of the members of AR-1 be blindsided by whatever had happened on P4X-323.
“And that does sound hinky,” Weir agreed. “Go get cleared by medical and do your reports before AR-1 gets back.”
“Yes ma’am,” Stackhouse confirmed. He herded his team down the hall to medical without trying to delay anything.
Chuck made a note of the conversation for the logs and settled back into his normal work routine.
David paused at the entrance to the greenhouse and checked the display. Atlantis had pulled all her nanites in with the dawn and it was safe for a biological to enter the room. The readings were clear and he made a note of that before heading in.
Finding out that the Ancients had used nanites to pollinate their food crops had been a revelation that had caused massive headaches for the science teams. None of them had felt comfortable about using the machines to help produce food, but they didn’t have a choice. The IOA and the SGC had both declined to allow bees to be sent through the stargate and no one wanted to ship them out with the Daedalus.
But bees were about the only way on Earth that they had to pollinate the amount of acreage being used to grow food in the greenhouses. No one could hand pollinate everything and that had been the biggest bottleneck the first year. Well, that and viable seeds.
Cooper had done an excellent job with her garden and Parrish had damn near squirmed out of his skin at not thinking of doing the same thing. That the Chief had done the job that he should have done well made him angry even now. Not with her, because she had seen something that they had all missed, but with himself.
David shook his head and tried to let the anger at himself go. The steps of it were well treaded and he didn’t need the stress it caused himself. “You’re in here to get updates on the plants, get the harvest and calm down, David. Not rehash ancient history.”
Mental ass-kicking delivered, David pulled a tablet out of his satchel and set it down at the computers. One long password later, he was into the greenhouses monitoring system and getting all the updates he wanted from Atlantis. “Thank you, dear,” he murmured as he found the information on the CO2 levels for the complex queued up. “Those seem a bit high. Do we know why that’s happening?”
Atlantis queued up another report on the scrubbers and David settled in to read that. He wasn’t an engineer, but he could figure out most anything to do with his equipment. Thanks to Biosphere II, they had masses of information on what happened with sealed systems that weren’t allowed to breathe and exchange air with an outside atmosphere. Atlantis was well off the beaten track for her planet and they needed to keep the greenhouses open during the day to allow for an evening out of everything.
Beyond that, he was going to add the scrubbers and the gas exchanges to McKay’s project list. Just because they hadn’t needed to take off and use the stardrive, didn’t mean that they never would. Better to be safe than sorry. After all, they weren’t going to stop eating just because they were flying through space.
“Thank you, Atlantis,” David said before he patted a wall by the computer. The lights flashed at him once before returning to their normal levels. David reached for one of the produce baskets and cocked his head to the side as he looked over the expanse of plants. “Right, unfun chores are done. Let’s get the good stuff done now.”
Reaching up, he tapped his headset and called for the crew that normally worked in the greenhouse. They had a harvest to bring in and get to Cooper. There was no way that he could do it by himself. Not anymore.
Whistling softly, David started at the head of a row and started picking cucumbers. Maybe he could talk Cooper into making pickles?
“Sir, thank you for meeting with me,” Beryl said as she sat down across from Major Lorne.
“You don’t ask for meetings with me often, Chief,” Lorne reminded her. “So, yes, I agreed to this. I’m curious.”
“Well, sir, never let it be said that I won’t indulge your curiosity,” Beryl said wryly. She laid her hands on her thighs and nodded once. “Okay, sir, here’s the deal. I want to see what I have to do to become a Warrant Officer.”
“You want to do what?” Lorne asked.
“I want to be able to stand as the Supply Officer for Atlantis,” Beryl said in a rush. “I know there’s a lot that I would have to do, but the thought of not taking the chance…”
Lorne held up one hand and waved it at himself “I thought that you didn’t want to become an officer?”
Beryl shrugged once. “While the idea of becoming an officer makes me twitch, letting some stranger take charge of my department makes me twitch more. I’m too much of a control freak to let my territory out of my hands without fighting for it.”
“And do you think the Navy will let you stay if you’re a Warrant?” Lorne pressed. He opened his laptop and started typing as she stared at him. “Chief?”
“Sir, the Navy’s tried to take me out of the Mountain more than a dozen times before we set out for Atlantis. General’s Hammond and O’Neill kept killing the idea every time,” Beryl shrugged once. “I’m part of the SGC now and the Navy can lump it.”
“When you didn’t think the weird could get weirder,” Lorne muttered before he turned the screen of the laptop towards her. “So what program were you looking at?”
“Supply,” Beryl said promptly. “Something that will let me come back in with the same general area of expertise I currently have.”
“Okay, we can do that,” Lorne agreed. He turned the laptop back towards him and started typing again. “What do you recommend we do if you do get in the program?”
“Promote Jones to Chief, bump the rest of my people a grade since they are all due anyway and increase the numbers of support staff by at least a dozen sir,” Beryl offered. “And we wanted to suggest that all the junior enlisted do a tour through as mess cranks. It would take some stress off my people and give us more time to break everyone else in.”
“Mess cranks?” Lorne looked up from his typing and Beryl could see the puzzlement creasing his brow. “Is that a Navy term? What does it mean?”
“There aren’t enough mess specialists on a ship to do all the duties required to keep everyone fed and keep up with the messes that generates,” Beryl explained. “So, the junior enlisted in the Navy get to help out. They do things like clean the kitchen, wash dishes, serve the meals, bus tables, some prep work, etc. All while getting used to being on a ship. It’s a way to help even the load for everyone.”
“Sounds doable,” Lorne muttered before he nodded once. “Okay, I have an email all set up here requesting information on the classes you’ll need and if we need to rotate you back to Earth to take them. I think to be safe; I’m going to send this to General Landry and CC General O’Neill. With your department getting its funds from the IOA, he’s the one with more pull on your staffing needs anyway.”
Beryl nodded once and fidgeted. “I’ll also be looking into this when I head back to Earth for whatever Agent DiNozzo needs me for.”
“Right, have you gotten with him on that?” Lorne asked. He pushed the laptop to the side and stared at her. “Is there anything we need to do to prep for that?”
“No, sir. Jones and the rest of my people are aware of what to expect. While we’re not certain how long I’ll be gone, I plan to use the time to get things in place for a longer absence if I need to for school,” Beryl said with a shrug. “Agent DiNozzo and I have already gone over what I can expect out of the court proceedings. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to it, but I will do my best.”
“That’s all we can expect, Chief,” Lorne confirmed.
“Elizabeth, do you have some time to talk?”
“Carson? You have news for me on the accident this morning?” Elizabeth asked.
“I do,” Carson said. He was silent for a moment and then cleared his throat. “I’ll be up in five minutes if that’s okay?”
“Please,” Elizabeth agreed.
The line went dead and she started clearing away morning’s work. Thankfully it was all electronic, so it only took a few clicks of her mouse to save everything and close it all down. She debated asking the mess for some refreshments, but she didn’t think the meeting was going to be one where she needed to feed them.
When Carson walked into her office, she sighed at how tired he looked. “It was that bad?”
“It wasn’t good, let’s say,” Carson allowed. “We’ve got a half dozen people down with various degrees of injuries.”
“What can you tell me?” Elizabeth asked as she pressed the button she had to use to close the door. For this, she was going to insist on privacy. She understood the rules as Agent DiNozzo had laid them down regarding patient privacy and was going to do her best to stay within them.
“I’m going to go with very general information,” Carson said. “Dr. Kusanagi has a broken arm, and several lacerations that required stitches. Sgts Kidman and McGuire both have concussions and minor lacerations that are visually bad, but are basically just scraped skin. They’ll be fine in time.”
“That’s three of our people,” Elizabeth said. She looked back at Carson and tried to figure out what he was building up to.
“Right,” Carson ran a hand over his face and sighed. “Let’s get the rest of the wounded down then. Dr. Agrabah has severe lacerations across his back and legs. He was covering Dr. Kusanagi and we’re lucky he isn’t dead. He’s going to need a great deal of physical therapy to deal with the muscle damage that the cuts have caused.”
“Does he need to go back to Earth?” Elizabeth asked. She had her laptop open and she was taking notes.
“Maybe,” Carson rocked a hand back and forth as he thought about it. “I want to look at the wounds in the next few days. If he’s healing cleanly, I think we can work with him here. If there’s an infection or need for further surgery, we may want to send him back to Earth for more supported healing.”
Elizabeth nodded once. “Okay, I can see that.”
“Next we have Sgt Savage,” Carson raised his face to the ceiling and shrugged. “He’s got to go back to Earth. If we’re lucky, they can save his legs. I’ve got some stellar medical equipment here, but the SGC has Colonel Carter and her ability to use a Goa’uld healing device. If we can get him back to the SGC in the next 24 hours they might…”
“Right. We’ll make the arrangements,” Elizabeth fired a quick email off to Major Lorne and Agent DiNozzo. Moving one of Sheppard’s men off Atlantis while he wasn’t there wasn’t going to go over well, but she wasn’t going to keep him on the city when the method to heal him was on Earth. “What about the last person in the room?”
“Dr. Swenson needs to go back to Earth with Sgt. Savage. Right now, she’s in a medically induced coma, while we try to control the damage. She’s lost both eyes and she is going need a level of therapy, both physical and mental, that we can’t provide,” Carson announced bluntly. “If the SGC can get hold of a sarcophagus, she has a chance at healing completely, but I sincerely doubt they’ll find one.”
“Well, shit,” Elizabeth stared at him. “It’s that bad?”
“Yes,” Carson admitted. “I’m honestly not certain if she’s going to wake up, even if we reduce the sedation.”
“Hold that thought,” Elizabeth ordered. She tapped her earpiece, moving through the channels until she reached the one the military used. “Major Lorne, can you come up to my office?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Lorne answered.
“Let’s wait until he gets up here,” Elizabeth suggested. She kept taking notes on the conversation she had been having with Carson and tried to make plans for her injured personnel.
“Fine,” Carson sat back and crossed his arms over his chest.
It took Lorne only a few minutes to reach her office. Tapping the button to let him in, she waved a hand at the other chair in front of her desk. “Take a seat, Major.”
“What’s up, ma’am?” Lorne asked as he settled into place.
“Dr. Beckett has some news our wounded. Doctor?” Elizabeth turned to Carson nodded towards the major. “Can you give him the same information you’ve given me?”
“Yes,” Carson agreed. He quickly outlined everything he had told Elizabeth.
Lorne nodded once as he took in the information. “Do we have the power to send them back?”
“I think so,” Elizabeth checked the last power update she had gotten from Zelenka. The report seemed positive. “I think we can. It looks like the ZPM we have will support a trip.”
“Then let’s get this started,” Lorne clapped his hands together.
“Chuck, we need to be ready to dial Earth in about ten minutes,” Dr. Weir called as she entered the command level of the Gateroom.
“Yes, ma’am,” Chuck said as he scooted his chair away from his computer to the DHD. He had time for a quick diagnostic and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have one on file when Dr. McKay came back. Logging in the projected wormhole, destination and passengers kept him occupied while the diagnostic was running.
When medical pushed two patients into the staging area before the gate, he checked the timer on the tests. It showed the diagnostic was done and a quick review of the results confirmed everything was in full working order. That done, he looked at Dr. Weir. “Ma’am, we’re ready to dial Earth.”
“Let me check with Carson to make sure who we’re sending through with them,” Dr. Weir said before she headed down the main stairs.
Chuck pulled up the communication program that connected with the SGC and queued up the messages they had pending. If they were going to open a wormhole to Earth, even one that was off schedule, they needed to use it for everything they could. Mail, even electronic mail, was too important to ignore.
“They need five minutes to get everything ready and then they’ll be able to head out,” Dr. Weir reported as she climbed the stairs.
“Got it,” Chuck confirmed. He kept an eye on the clock and just as the time changed at the five-minute mark, there was a call from the staging area that everyone was ready. “Dr. Weir?”
“Dial it up, Chuck,” Dr. Weir instructed.
The dial out was smooth and Chuck was happy that there were no hesitations as he hit all eight points for the address to Earth. The gate moved through the spin without issue and due to the shield, they were protected from the backflush as the gate opened.
“Stargate Command, this is Atlantis,” Dr. Weir transmitted after he confirmed the SGC had gotten their IDC. “We have two medical emergency cases that need to be sent through immediately. Do we have the clearance?”
“Atlantis, this is General Landry. Send them through, the way is clear.”
“Thank you, General,” Dr. Weir said before she took a deep breath. “We’re sending them through with one of our nurses. She’s been working their case from the beginning and has their complete medical records, including everything we’ve done for them today.”
At her wave, Chuck transmitted a copy of the records for their wounded people. He kept a careful eye on the exchange and gave her the high sign when it went through successfully. The transmission of their mail went through immediately after and Chuck sighed softly as he got the green light of a successful transmission. When the system reported a return transmission, he directed it to the correct computer. It seemed that Walter was on the ball and had things ready for them as well.
“Thank you, Dr. Weir. We’re in receipt of the records and have started a recall of our medical personnel. Your people will be taken care of,” Landry promised.
“We’re going to hold you to that, General,” Dr. Weir said. She moved to stand by the railings and watched as the hospital beds with their wounded were sent through the gate.
The transmission wave was silent as each went through. Eight seconds after the nurse had walked through, it lit up again. “We’ve got them, Doctor. They’re on their way to Medical and Dr. Lam assures me that she’s going to do all she can to help them and get them back on their feet.”
“Good,” Dr. Weir said. “We’ll talk to you in two weeks, General.”
“Two weeks, Doctor.”
“Thank you for being willing to push your appointment back, Chief,” Elizabeth said as Cooper walked into her office.
“It wasn’t a problem, ma’am,” Cooper demurred as she settled into place across from her.
“Please,” Elizabeth waved a hand and the tablet computer and memory stick the Chief was carrying. “I know better. You’ve got your day organized down to the minute and me asking you to push things around has likely snarled that up.”
“Eh,” Cooper rocked a hand back and forth once before she passed the memory stick over. “Less than you think, ma’am. I got some things done early at least.”
“Being adaptive is an advantage out here,” Elizabeth said with a smile. She plugged the little device into the computer she used for her meetings and started to review the files. “Is it really time to plan our menus?”
“First of every month, ma’am,” Cooper reminded her.
“Where does the time go?” Elizabeth wondered before she pulled up the first week’s meals and started going over them with Cooper. They were planning meals two months out to allow time to get any Earth specific ingredients in by way of the Daedalus. So far, the planning had stood them in good stead. “I see we’re going over four months instead of the standard two?” Elizabeth asked as she moved through the files.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m going to be off the city by request of Agent DiNozzo and I also need to see about applying to become a Warrant Officer. If I can get the training and the rank, we should be able to keep any outside influence down on the supply department,” Cooper explained. She looked determined to Elizabeth’s eye, but then, she always did. The only time the Chief seemed to relax was on the rare Sunday and even then, she was doing something.
“That sounds like a good thing,” Elizabeth allowed. “Do you need me to add in a recommendation?”
“No, ma’am,” Cooper said. She seemed uncomfortable at the offer and Elizabeth cocked her head to the side, inviting her to explain. “It’s not that I’m against the offer, ma’am, but this is strictly military. I think the better recommendation will be from General O’Neill and the Colonel.”
Elizabeth thought that over while she moved through the list of menus. “That sounds like a good idea. But if you do need it, I will write it for you.”
“Thank you,” Cooper said with a smile. “Getting back to the meals… Do you have any questions about them?”
“Not at the moment,” Elizabeth scrolled up and down the list of meals and nodded at the variety. “It looks like we’re going to be doing a tour de force of the various nationalities we have on Atlantis?”
“Everyone deserves a touch of home, ma’am,” Cooper explained. “And honestly, it’s a way to stretch my people’s skills. Plus, it lets us use all our various ingredients without being boring.”
“No, food shouldn’t be boring,’ Elizabeth agreed. She hummed softly as she looked at the calendar. It was missing something. “Sundays.”
“I’m pretty sure I can make ice cream, ma’am. We can easily add sundaes to the dessert menu,” Cooper said after a beat of silence. She opened a file on her tablet and stared at it. “Do you have any preference for when you want to add them?”
“Saturday night and any night designated as a movie night,” Elizabeth suggested. “But I wasn’t talking about the treat, more the day. I think we need to have at least one a month scheduled and build in a good meal. The bar-b-que you did on our last Sunday was excellent. I want to add that to our schedule. Allow everyone something to look forward to.”
“That’s easily done, ma’am,” Cooper said. She pulled a stylus out of the tablet and started working on it. “Say, the first Sunday of each month? Set that as our designated day of rest so we can plan things out?”
“Which would help the sciences and the military in staffing,” Elizabeth muttered as she stared at her own calendar. “I like it. Shall we work out the menus?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Cooper agreed.
“Alright, main dishes,” Elizabeth said. “Can we do ribs?”
“Thank you for seeing me, Dr. Weir,” Tony said as he entered her office.
“For you, Agent DiNozzo, I have the time,” Dr. Weir said as she waved a hand at the chair in front of her desk. “Do we have any information on what happened this morning?”
“Not really,” Tony pulled his tablet out and started to relay what he was able. It wasn’t much. Beckett had already informed him of what he had passed onto Weir and there wasn’t much more he could add to it. The reconstruction he had done on the scene had shown that the scientists were all standing around, working. There was nothing that seemed nefarious.
“So what? The reason everything blew up was due to time, lack of care and what?” Dr. Weir asked.
“Sheer bad luck,” Tony sighed. “As best as I can tell at this point, the room was underwater for at least the last couple thousand years. Radek tells me that Ancient tech normally survives being submerged with little issue, but shit happens. And in this case, there was a fair bit of slime coating everything. And the slime helped spark the explosion.”
“So, no foul play?”
“No, no foul play,” Tony confirmed. “Just lots of bad luck and slime.”
Dr. Weir sat back and pinched the bridge of her nose and held it for several seconds. “So, do you have any suggestions?”
“I’m not an engineer,” Tony warned.
“But you have a great deal of common sense,” Dr. Weir fired back. She waved a hand in what Tony took to be an apology. Her next words confirmed it. “Sorry. Today has been less than stellar. Any suggestions that you can offer, can only help.”
“I know there are a number of people who don’t have the ATA genome in the sciences. I’m going to suggest that any rooms that have water damage be assessed by people who can’t turn anything on. If slime is what caused the accident when the equipment was started up, we want to make sure there’s no chance of it in the future,” Tony suggested.
“That works for me,” Dr. Weir sighed. “And I think I can put out a memo about doing that and Rodney won’t get his back up.”
“Your best bet will be to clear that with him,” Tony reminded her. “The sciences are his after all.”
“Right,” Weir winced. “Maybe I should request Radek draw it up and talk to Rodney about it.”
“That sounds like a much better way to handle things,” Tony allowed. He wanted nothing to do with pissing McKay off.
“Okay, so anything else?” Dr. Weir asked.
“I think we need to schedule another sexual harassment seminar. I’ve been noticing an uptick in informal reports of improper behavior,” Tony reported.
Dr. Weir cocked her head to the side. “Improper behavior? Is that an NCIS term for something sinister?”
“No, it’s me trying to say that I’ve noticed some people being assholes and I’m not going to stand for it,” Tony said. He didn’t know how else to put it. “I’m not going to have a rape on this base if I can help it and I want to keep the levels of harassment down to a negligible level.”
“I agree. Shall we figure out a set of dates?” Dr. Weir asked.
“I think we need to make sure that Colonel Sheppard is included in this, ma’am. Since we’ll be taking his soldiers out of circulation for a day or two, that can disrupt his mission tempo,” Tony reminded her.
Dr. Weir blushed and nodded. “Right.”
“But we can at least, figure out how many classes we might need,” Tony offered. “And what they will cover.”
“Welcome back, Colonel, Dr. McKay, Teyla, and Ronon,” Evan called. He was standing outside the splash zone and waiting for his CO.
“Lorne,” Colonel Sheppard stopped and stared at him with a raised eyebrow. “You aren’t the normal welcoming committee.”
“I know,” Evan said. He took a deep breath and tried not to wince. “There was a lab accident not long after you left on your mission. There were no deaths, but we evacuated two of our people back to Earth. Sgt. Savage and Dr. Swenson went back about three hours ago. The other four people involved in the accident are still in medical.”
“What happened?” McKay asked as he stepped up beside the Colonel.
“We’ll get to that after you lot get checked out,” Dr. Weir cut in from her perch on the parapet leading to her office. “It’ll take less time if you get checked out and then come up after. I’ll reach out to Chief Cooper to deliver dinner to the main conference room.”
“You better,” Colonel Sheppard warned. He walked out the door and headed for medical. “Leave them alone, McKay! The sooner you get medical done, the faster you can get dinner and we can get answers!”
“I’d better,” McKay muttered as he glared at Evan as he walked after the Colonel.
“We shall see that they get finished and return quickly,” Teyla informed him as she followed her teammates.
Evan looked at Ronon and raised an eyebrow at the big Satedan. “Have you got anything to add?”
“Make sure there’s lots of food? I’m hungry,” Ronon said before walking out.
“Right,” Evan sighed. “Lots of food.”
“I’ve already informed the Chief,” Dr. Weir called. “She promised plenty of food, coffee, and even some dessert.”
“Thank god for Cooper,” Evan muttered as he headed for the conference room. He had a meeting to put together for Sheppard and McKay. Neither of them were going to be happy at what had happened to their people.
“Dinner had better be interesting,” Rodney muttered as he walked into the conference room. Elizabeth was sitting at the conference room table with Lorne, DiNozzo, Carson, and Radek. He raised an eyebrow at the gathering before he took in the array of food set up for dinner.
“Cooper did Italian today,” Elizabeth informed him. She waved at the refreshment table where there were a number of chafing dishes set up with food. “She’s got the shrimp scampi you can eat and a spicy tomato-based thing with sausage, cheese, and noodles.”
“Sounds filling,” John said as he picked up a plate. “And she included bread and salad. Excellent.”
“Can we put her in for MVP?” Lorne asked from his place beside John’s normal spot.
Rodney hummed once as he took a scoop of the cheesy-sausage dish. He grabbed a second plate for the scampi. Scoops of the rest of the meal were added to his plates and he carefully set the whole production down at his place before he went back to get a cup of coffee. Suitably provisioned, Rodney sat down and started eating. After several bites, he cleared his throat. “If you lot don’t vote her MVP, I will,” Rodney muttered.
“All in favor,” Elizabeth called as she sat back in her chair with her own mug.
Everyone in the room called “Aye!” at the same time before laughing. The meal went smoothly after that and no one was shy about getting seconds and in the case of Ronon, thirds. It was only when the last person pushed their plate away that they got back to business.
“Before we pass on our news, how was your mission?” Elizabeth asked.
“It went well,” Teyla reported as she tapped her finger against her plate. “These people are distantly related to mine and have moved several planets since I was a child. Unlike my people, they don’t wander a single planet, they wander across many different ones. It’s allowed them a chance to grow a larger population than we had managed, but they aren’t firmly attached to material goods. Given that, I do think they would appreciate medical assistance and possibly some minor trade.”
“Do we think they would trade information? If they are willing to pass on what they see?” Elizabeth asked.
Rodney watched as Teyla thought over the question and then nod. “I think so. Information on the movement on the Wraith would be important to them and to us.”
“Then we should figure out what we can offer as trade. I don’t want to insult them,” Elizabeth said. “You said medical? Maybe OB/GYN?”
“We can share our skills in that, lass,” Carson confirmed. “And we can make sure that everyone in the group is healthy. We can also do any dentistry that they might need as well.”
Teyla nodded at that. “That would be helpful, yes. I know they have several pregnant people in the main bands.”
“We’ll figure it out. Now, as for what happened today…” Elizabeth waved at Radek for him to take over the explanation.
Rodney turned his attention to his second and waved a hand at him to get moving when he hesitated.
“Miko led a team into the lab we thought was designated for power production research,” Radek reminded him. “The room looked to be in good condition, so if you remember, the decision was made to start the machinery up.”
“I remember,” Rodney confirmed. “What happened?”
“Slime,” DiNozzo cut in. “That room and most of that quadrant were underwater. And when the city came up, the water was slow to leave the various sealed areas. Records show that room was one of the last to be dried out.”
“We know that the room was waterlogged when Atlantis came to the surface,” Radek took over the explanation. “We pushed the city to drain the water out and then we let the whole mess dry naturally. When Miko and her crew went in to start everything up, the room was dry.”
“But?” Rodney knew they were harping on the condition of the room for a reason.
“The slime that was left behind by the seawater got into the workings of the room,” Radek said. “We cleaned the outside of the various consoles and called it a day. We shouldn’t have. The slime got into the inner workings of everything and when Miko initialized the room, the power surge caused by the slime coating everything sparked an explosion.”
“Ah, shit,” John muttered. “I saw my people in the infirmary, but those were relatively minor injuries.”
“The most seriously wounded were sent back to the SGC,” Carson admitted. “Sgt Savage and Dr. Swenson need help I can’t provide right now. I can feel that the infirmary should have the equipment that would have let me treat, but none of it is available to me right now.”
“Is it a power issue?” Rodney asked. He started to wrack his brain to figure out how to get more power to the medical wing.
“No. Well, not entirely,” Carson said. He was moving his coffee cup around in circles as he stared into its depths. “Part of the issue is that I don’t have enough staff with the ATA genome and those I have, aren’t of sufficient strength to make it all work.”
“So what? We need to find someone with an ATA strength level equal to Sheppard in there with you?” Rodney asked.
“It would be helpful. Either that or DiNozzo,” Carson admitted. “And perhaps they can see if there is any equipment that can be initialized. If they can and we can use it, it will be helpful.”
“Something to do then,” John said. “DiNozzo? You game?”
“I’m willing,” John confirmed.
“Come by in the morning lads,” Carson suggested. “We’ll have plenty of time then and won’t be interrupting anyone’s sleep.”
Rodney watched as John and Tony looked at each other and then nod. “And that will mean that Radek and I can be standing by to confirm any equipment you find is good to go.”
“Okay, we can do that,” John agreed. “Now, what’s going on with Sgt. Savage?”
“Both of his legs are broken in multiple places and the bone was forced through the skin in several places,” Carson admitted. “My biggest fear is that while we might be able to realign all the bone, we wouldn’t be able to mend the damage from the bone cutting them and keep the wounds from becoming infected. If the wounds become infected, the infection could travel to the bone and that could cost him his legs.”
“So, getting him back to Earth?” John pushed.
“Colonel Carter has access to a Goa’uld healing device and she can use that to fix the soft tissue damage we can’t. She can also, if we’re lucky, jumpstart the healing of the bones,” Carson said. “I wanted to make sure that he got the best chance at healing possible and it wasn’t here.”
“Okay, I get that. And Dr. Swenson?” John asked.
Rodney raised an eyebrow at Carson to prompt him to explain.
Carson cleared his throat and nodded once. “Right, Dr. Swenson. She’s in some ways worse off than Sgt. Savage. Her injuries are life-threatening as well. The explosion took her eyes and the damage to her skull has caused swelling. I put her in a medically induced coma and while she was here, I was monitoring the pressure on her brain and if it had gone up, I would have had to go in to relieve the pressure. Lam has all the information on her and is aware that she might have to do that. At this point, Dr. Swenson needs a sarcophagus to be fully healed.”
“Jesus,” Rodney sat back and thought things over. “Swenson’s an electrical engineer and her eyes are needed for that. Do you think she’ll wake up?”
Carson was silent for several beats before he shrugged. “I don’t know. I know that there will come a point where Lam will reduce the sedation and Swenson’s normal sleep rhythms will take over if they can. But given the damage her skull took, I’m not sure if she will wake up. But if she does, she’ll do it without her eyes.”
“So, the sarcophagus?” John asked.
“A sarcophagus allows the human body to return to the peak of health,” Rodney explained. He had studied the device due to its relationship to Ancient technology and had a working knowledge of what it did, but not how. The how was the important bit. “If the SGC can find one and get our people to it, they will be healed perfectly in minutes. Amazing technology, but using it over and over again is apparently addictive.”
“Which might be why the SGC hasn’t gotten one?” John asked.
“Rather short-sided of them,” Rodney muttered. “As many times as Jackson has died, you’d think they’d have one installed.”
“One would think,” Elizabeth muttered. “I should have pushed to get one while I was in charge of the SGC.”
“Eh. Too late now,” John sighed. “Tony, why were you pulled in?”
“To reconstruct the scene and see if the explosion was deliberate,” Tony explained. “It wasn’t. As Dr. Z confirmed, the explosion was due to a layer of slime messing the whole thing up.”
“Okay, so sheer bad luck?” Rodney asked as he looked between Radek and Tony. “What have we put in place to keep that from happening again?”
“Yes, just bad luck,” Radek confirmed. “And we shall have a non-ATA positive crew of engineers who will be in charge of cleaning, inside and out, all new labs.”
“Make sure they know about nanites,” Rodney reminded him. That episode still gave him nightmares.
“They will know,” Radek promised.
“Sir, before you head off?” Lorne called as the meeting broke up.
John patted Rodney on the back and nodded at his second. “What’s up, Lorne?”
“One last thing came up today,” Lorne reported as he fell into step with John.
“Oh? Besides the various sexual harassment seminars that Tony wants to put everyone through?” John asked.
“I am not looking forward to that. Maybe we need to introduce more PT,” Lorne muttered. “Remind me to tell you about Cooper’s idea of mess cranking.”
“I’ve heard about that from some of the Marines,” John admitted. “It’s an idea.”
“I’ll look into it with Cooper and Jones and see if we can get something going,” Lorne promised. “But that’s not why I asked to speak to you.”
“What’s up?” John pressed.
“Cooper wants to go in for Warrant Officer. She thinks that if she can get the rank and come back as our supply officer, we won’t get stuck with another Ensign Thatch situation,” Lorne reported.
“Okay, I can see that,” John said after several seconds thought. “She is aware that if she does get in, she’s likely to be off the city for months at a time. And the Navy may have other ideas about her duty station.”
“I reminded her of that,” Lorne admitted. “And she states that General’s Hammond and O’Neill have both gone to bat for her against the Navy. I checked her records and it shows that SecNav has tried to pull her out a half-dozen times.”
“SecNav? That’s a powerful level of pull,” John mused. “How much do we know about her previous duty station?”
“She was attached to a naval base and from what I can tell, she was an E6. There’s nothing to show why she attracted the attention of SecNav though. It may just be that whoever was pushing to get her out of the SGC went to him for more pull,” Lorne admitted. “When she got sucked into the SGC during the first meeting with the Replicators, she brought everyone on her shift with her. That meant the Navy lost about twenty-five people.”
“And a dozen of them came here to Atlantis with us,” John finished. “Has there been any push on the people she brought with her?”
“Yeah, Jones has pretty much the same pattern of requests as Cooper does. The rest of her people have occasional hits on their records, but nowhere near the same level of activity,” Lorne confirmed.
“Do we think she’ll be pulled if she gets back on the Navy’s radar?” John asked.
“No idea,” Lorne admitted. “But she’s right. If she gets the rank, we can keep out any officers who might get imposed on us. Being a Warrant would help.”
“And she doesn’t want to go full-blown officer?” John asked. “Maybe become an ensign herself?”
“I asked. She looked at me like I was insane,” Lorne said with a laugh. “She’s twitching enough at the idea of becoming a Warrant Officer.”
“Okay,” John shook his head at that. “And did she have any suggestions on what we should do while she’s getting her schooling?”
“She’s got a plan,” Lorne confirmed. He laid out Cooper’s ideas and John found himself nodding along with it.
“Okay, I say that we go for it. Not like we have any other ideas,” John sighed. “I’ll put the orders together in the morning.”
“Already done, sir. It’s in your inbox,” Lorne admitted.
“Why am I in charge again?” John asked the ceiling.
“Because I don’t want your headaches, sir!” Lorne said promptly.
“Sgt. Spenser,” Jones called as he walked into the bakery. “How are you today?”
Spenser looked up at him and visibly sighed. “Jones.”
“You act like I’m going to be poking in all your nooks and crannies,” Jones said with a smile. He was totally the type of person to check out all the nooks and crannies of the kitchen, but he respected Spenser too much to do it. At least while he was looking.
“Try pulling the other one, Jones,” Spenser turned back to his kettle to stir the steam kettle filled with chili. “What can I do for you?”
“Just checking on the bakery,” Jones admitted. He took a deep sniff of the chili and sighed. “That smells amazing.”
“Family recipe scaled up and we had everything,” Spenser said. “If it proves popular, I have the recipe written out so we can add it to the rotation.”
“Cool,” Jones checked his watch and sighed. “Can you keep a bowl of that by for me with all the fixings?”
“You want to stay up so you can try some, but you know you need to sleep,” Spenser chuckled. He sounded slightly smug to Jones’ ear.
“I do need to sleep. Being an adult sucks ass,” Jones bitched as he peered in the kettle. Whatever Spenser had going on in there smelled amazing. “I’m going to eat that in front of Beryl for breakfast and gloat.”
“If she kills you, I hope it’s after you finish the bread for the day,” Spenser muttered. He tapped the paddle off and set it in the rest. “And thanks for saving us some of the donuts. They were a great surprise for my people when we came in.”
“Not a problem,” Jones said with a smile. He waved a hand at the bakery. “Do you have any requests?”
“Bagels?” Spenser asked. “Good bagels like you can get in New York City?”
“You mean the soft, chewy bits of glory that need to be proofed in a fridge overnight and boiled with soda and honey?” Jones asked.
“That’s the stuff,” Spenser agreed. He started for the bakery. “I take it you’ve done it before?”
“Yeah,” Jones confirmed. “It’s one of those items that I love and made sure I learned how to do it.”
“You don’t sound like you’re from New York,” Spenser sounded puzzled.
Jones hid a wince. He tended to forget that Spenser and his crew were from the second wave of troops. That meant that they had missed out on the way everyone had lived in each other’s pockets initially. The secret of why Jones knew how to make authentic New York City bagels had come out after the hurricane from hell.
“I’m not from the City, but I learned from the best,” Jones promised. He turned into the bakery and took a deep breath. The smell of rising bread was strong and it brought back memories, both good and bad. He quickly walked through the chilled proofing room and checked the bread rising in bannetons. “Looks good. Thanks for taking care of this. And I’ll talk to Cooper about bagels. They might have to wait until we have more room though.”
Spenser clapped him on a shoulder and gave the joint a small squeeze. “I get that. And it’s not a problem to keep an eye on this, Jones. Anyway, I’ll see you at turnover in just over eight hours.”
“God, why did you have to remind me that it was that short a time?” Jones asked as he headed out the door. He ignored the laughter behind him. Everything was on track for the morning.
“You’re back early,” Ian commented as Tony walked into their rooms.
“Yeah, my last meeting finished about an hour ago and I took the time to finish my reports and sign off for the night,” Tony confirmed.
“So, you’re done for the night?” Ian asked.
“Yeah, I am. Barring any emergency,” Tony promised. He ran a hand over his hair and scratched his scalp. “I’m going to shower.”
Ian watched as Tony headed into the ensuite and he heard the shower turn on. As soon as he heard Tony start to sing, he smiled and headed for their bed. After six months together he was used to the raised bed and didn’t mind the climb up to it. Ian crawled over to his side of the bed and checked the supplies they had stashed in baskets at the head of the bed.
They needed to add more condoms and lube, Ian decided. They had enough for the night, but if they were going to do anything that week, they needed to get more. That meant hitting the cities supply shop.
Ian rolled off the bed and easily absorbed the five-foot drop to the floor. Once down, he started making a list. When arms slid around his waist, he leaned back into his lover.
“Whatcha doing?” Tony asked before he pressed a kiss against Ian’s neck.
“I’m putting together a list of stuff we need. I thought I would pick everything up tomorrow,” Ian explained. He waved the list and chuckled when Tony grabbed his wrist to hold it still so he could read.
“Going shopping in Cooper’s supplies?” Tony asked. “Add tea. I’m out and I think I saw some earl grey in the shop.”
“Okay,” Ian agreed before he keyed in the item. “Do you want me to add cream and sugar?”
“Lemme check,” Tony said before he gave him a last squeeze. He padded into their kitchen and started calling out ingredients. “I didn’t realize things had gotten this low. I need to make sure that I put in an order with the Daedalus.”
“Same here,” Ian set the tablet down and went to check his personal stash of supplies for his guns. “I’m still good on my working supplies, but all the personal stuff is running low.”
Tony took a deep breath and Ian turned to see him closing his eyes. He waited while Tony thought about whatever had grabbed his attention. When his lover opened his eyes, he cocked his head to the side and wordlessly requested an explanation.
“I don’t think it’s anything sinister,” Tony admitted. “I’m just sure we haven’t ordered anything for the last two Daedalus runs.”
“So, we just got lazy and forgetful about personal goodies and only remembered stuff for our jobs?” Ian asked.
“I’m used to ordering supplies for my office, so I do that on a monthly basis,” Tony admitted. “I just seemed to have forgotten myself.”
“Well, let’s not do that again,” Ian chided with a smile. “Shall we add our order to the weekly communique?”
“Let’s,” Tony agreed. “And then you can fuck me into the mattress.”
Ian pressed a quick kiss against his lover’s lips. “Sounds like a plan!”
“Are you done?”
Rodney looked up and smiled as he took in the sight of his lover leaning against the door jam. “Lorne finished talking to you?”
“Yeah. Radek got you up to date?” John asked.
“Yup. We should be able to repair the mess in the room that exploded,” Rodney informed him. “Once we have that repaired, we should be able to figure out what the Ancients had going on in there.”
“Are you hoping for information on ZPM’s?” John asked.
“Always,” Rodney confirmed. He thought about what they knew of the room. “But I don’t think it will be. The Ancients used a number of different forms of energy production and while their crowning achievement is the ZedPM, that wasn’t all they used.”
“So what? You’re hoping for the more minor energy sources? Like their equivalent to the Naquadah generators?” John asked. “Do we have any information on those?”
“Very little. We know they exist, but for the most part, the city runs off the ZedPM and the solar arrays that are built into the buildings,” Rodney explained. “The city has some hydropower capabilities, but those are fairly minor at this time. There’s a good current moving under us, but it’s not going to make major power.”
“Major power is the ZPM,” John muttered as he stared up at the ceiling. “Should I ask the city the next time I get into the chair?”
“Maybe,” Rodney said after several seconds thought. “I’m just hoping for power sources that we can use to power the city. Anything would be useful at this stage. But I don’t think the lab is for anything as prosaic as a battery or even a ZedPM. This doesn’t have that feel. It feels more experimental.”
“Experimental? Did the Ancients do project names? Is there something that we can look at to see what they were working on?” John asked.
“They sometimes had them,” Rodney confirmed. “When we went looking for the historical information on the project that started in that room, we got the name ‘Arcturus’. Apparently, it was moved out to an independent system, but we want to know the historical data before we try to find the actual device.”
“Any idea why they moved it?” John asked with a frown.
“Not really,” Rodney said. He waved a hand in a circle, trying to convey his confusion. “The lab didn’t have any information on later models or versions of the power source. As best we could tell from the database, the lab held all the data showing testing, précis, supply lists… All the stuff that is generated when an experiment is run through the theoretical stage until it hits the point where a practical version needs to be built.”
“So, the possible power supply wasn’t what blew up?” John pressed.
“Nope,” Rodney let his ‘p’ pop. “It was strictly the power going to circuits that had been affected by sea slime.”
“Okay,” John shrugged once and nodded at his computer. “You ready to head back home?”
“Yeah,” Rodney shut everything down and grabbed his computer bag. “I’m done.”
“Lt, Cadman, we have an incoming wormhole,” McKenzie reported from his spot at the dialing computer.
“Who do we have out, Corporal?” Cadman called from her spot overlooking the Gateroom.
“AR-5 is due back at this time, ma’am,” McKenzie said after a moment. “No one else is out.”
“Right,” Cadman looked over the edge and cocked an eyebrow at the sergeant at arms. “Sergeant Whitson, we have an incoming wormhole.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Sergeant Whitson moved his team into place with a few, careful hand gestures.
“Ma’am, the originating location matches the planet AR-5 went to,” McKenzie called.
“Thank you,” Cadman said as she stared intently at the gate. When the wormhole flushed in, it hit the shield and splashed against it. She waited for several heartbeats before turning to look at McKenzie.
The Corporal had the answer she was looking for and nodded. “We have AR-5’s IDC, ma’am.”
“Let them in,” Cadman said with a smile. She turned back to the gate and watched as the team came through.
AR-5 was a six-man team comprised of engineers, both civilian and military. They had gone to the planet to check up on a trading partner. Atlantis had been asked to help with some water control problems the village had mentioned.
The six men who came back through the gate were covered in mud, with a small wave of mud following them. The flow only stopped when the gate disengaged. The mud coated them head to toe and was thick, goopy, and stinky. “Welcome back, AR-5,” Cadman called after she cleared her throat.
“Lt. Cadman,” AR-5’s leader, Lt. Donovan returned, voice dry. “I think we figured out why the Minkarins want help with their water issues. We’ve got a great deal of film, drawings, and plans for some things that we can do to help. We’ll file our reports after we do our medical and take showers.”
Cadman nodded once. “Sounds good, I’ll let medical know to expect you.”
Donovan smiled and started for the door. “Thank you, Lieutenant.”
“You’re welcome,” Cadman called. She tapped her earpiece until she got to the medical channel as the team squelched their way out to the hallway. “Dr. Biro, this is Lt. Cadman. You have a team incoming.”
“Would that be AR-5?” Biro asked.
“Yes, ma’am. I suggest, strongly, that you let them bathe first before you do anything. And include a good antibacterial soap in that shower,” Cadman advised. She raised her eyebrow at Whitson as he looked up her. “Also, maybe something that will kill a stench, because they came back with one.”
Biro was silent and then she got back on the radio. “They’re here, and I agree with your plan, Lieutenant. Thanks for the heads up. Biro, out.”
“What can I do for you, Sergeant?” Cadman asked.
“We need to get some more cleaning supplies. We don’t have enough on hand to handle this and clean the hallway to the transporter,” Whitson reported.
“Right, I’ll call down to the mess. Maybe they have something we can borrow. Check to see if we have shovels to clean up the muck. After we take some samples for medical,” Cadman suggested.
“We’ve got the samples and Andrews is on his way down to medical with them,” Whitson reported. “And yeah, I think we’re going to need shovels to get the worst of this.”
“Anyone got any Lysol?” Cadman asked as she started tapping her earpiece again.
“Hey doc,” Spenser called as he walked down the line, checking the amount of food available to be served.
“Hey, Sgt Spenser,” Dr. Worthington called as she pushed her tray down the rails to the food. “What’s good?”
“Oh, lots of things,” Spenser told her with a smile. He pulled a big tub of rice out of the warmer to refill the necessary tray. “But I’m going to recommend the chili with all the fixings.”
“I noticed you had some,” Worthington said as she looked over the display. “I love chili.”
“Oh, I know,” Spenser admitted. “Let me know what you think of this version.”
“Will do,” Worthington promised. She took a generous helping of the chili and starting adding fixings on the side as she moved down the line.
Spenser smiled before he moved on to check the rest of the line. Drinks were good, cups and glasses were plentiful, but they were low on coffee and creamer. It took only moments for him to make a new pot and dig out a new pot of cream. And that meant he needed to refresh the bowl of ice the cream sat in too. Humming softly, he pulled the scoop off the side of the ice maker and opened the hatch.
“Sgt. Spenser,” a voice popped up in his ear.
Wiping his hands on the towel tucked into his belt, Spenser toggled his earpiece as he hung the scoop back up. “Spenser, here.”
“Sergeant, this is Lt. Cadman, I have the watch and I was told you were the one to contact if we had any housekeeping issues,” the voice in his ear stated.
“I am,” Spenser turned around and headed back into the kitchen. He waved a hand at his second and then twirled it by his ear to show he was getting a call. Keen nodded and hissed at their newest member of the shift to go out and take care of the line. Appleton nodded and headed out. “What can I do for you, Lt. Cadman?”
“We’ve got a bit of a mess right at the base of the stargate,” Cadman reported promptly.
“Define mess, Lieutenant?” Spenser requested as he headed for the room set aside for their cleaning supplies.
“No bodily fluids, Sarge,” Cadman soothed with a smile in her voice. “The last team to come back seem to have experienced a Planet Mudbog situation and wanted to bring it home. We’ve got a trail of mud and muck leading from the gate to medical and I want to get it cleaned up before the Colonel gets up.”
Spenser shuddered slightly at the thought of the Colonel seeing a mess that big when he got up. And the Chief would be livid. Yeah, he wasn’t going to leave that. “Do your people have any cleaning supplies up there?”
“We’ve got one mop and bucket and we’re down to our last cup of cleaner. I was hoping to send one of my guys down to pick up another mop bucket and some cleaner,” Cadman explained. She was quiet for a moment and then sighed. “And something to clear the air because the mud stinks. Like rotten eggs.”
“That sounds doable, Lieutenant,” Spenser grabbed three mops and a gallon of the cleaner the mess made by the buttload. “I’m sending you one old mop for scrubbing and two new ones to do a final cleaning once you get the worst of it up. And I would suggest that you open the balcony doors to air the space out.”
“Sounds good, Sarge,” Cadman said. She sounded relieved and Spenser was happy that it was an easy fix. And that there was no blood to clean up. “I’ve sent Cpl. McKenzie down. He should be there soon.”
“I know him. I’ll be ready,” Spenser confirmed. He tapped his fingers against the mop handle and nodded to himself. He grabbed a second gallon of cleaner and added it to the bucket.
“Spenser!” Keen called.
“In here!” Spenser called back as he pushed the mop bucket out of the closet. He nodded at the Air Force corporal. “Nice to see McKenzie.”
“Good to see you too, Sarge. Lt. Cadman sent me down to get some cleaning supplies,” McKenzie confirmed. “We’ve got a nasty mess to clean up.”
“I included an extra gallon of cleaner,” Spenser informed him. “Obviously, I have no idea what the mud is made of, so make sure to do a small test spot to make sure there’s no reaction between the two. If it’s good, follow the directions on the bottle for the strongest version of the cleaning mix. Once the worst of the mess is up, clean the buckets and use the new mops to do a final clean.”
“Will do, Sarge,” McKenzie said. “Should I bring the mops and bucket back?”
“Yeah, I think you should. And the mop you guys have in the Gateroom. We’ll throw them in the industrial washing machine and give them a thorough cleaning,” Spenser directed. “While that’s happening, we’ll send you back with a new bucket and mop. Keep any leftover cleaner too.”
“Got it,” McKenzie said. “You saved our bacon, thanks.”
Spenser waved off the thanks and watched as the younger man pushed the cleaning supplies out of the kitchen.
“I am so glad we aren’t the ones cleaning that,” Keen muttered as he headed back to the kitchen.
“Oh, me too,” Spenser admitted. He still had a great deal to do, but first he needed to make a stop to write an update in the logbook. Stuff like this needed to be recorded for posterity.
“You need to get more sleep,” Radek mumbled as she slid into bed.
“I sleep more than you do,” Elizabeth told him, voice hushed. Since he was at least slightly awake, she moved to curl up next to him.
“It’s not good when the leader of the expedition is bleary-eyed in the morning,” Radek reminded her.
Elizabeth winced. She was an asshole. “Stop quoting my own bullshit back at me.”
From the way Radek was shaking, he was silently laughing at her. The bastard. “If not me, then who?”
“Fuck if I know,” Elizabeth muttered as she tried to get comfortable. “My office hours start at 0800, so I can get sleep. You’re the one who has the early schedule tomorrow. Go to sleep.”
“In a moment,” Radek murmured before shifting slightly to draw her up. “I didn’t get a chance to do this tonight,” he said before he pressed a sweet kiss to her lips.
Elizabeth hummed softly and savored the feeling. Kissing him back was a pleasure and she indulged in it shamelessly. Breaking the kiss slightly, she smiled up at him. “Thank you for that. I seem to have been missing it.”
“It is my pleasure, miláček,” Radek said before he pressed another kiss to her lips and then to her forehead. “Now, you need sleep and so do I.”
“I’ll try to get to bed earlier tomorrow night,” Elizabeth promised as she relaxed. She was comfortable and the position let her hear the beating of Radek’s heart.
“Ha, don’t even try to tell me that,” Radek snorted. “Neither of us are good at going to bed on time. We shall set an alarm and see what that gets us.”
“Fair,” she agreed before closing her eyes and letting sleep take her down.
*miláček – darling
“Lt. Cadman, we have an alarm in greenhouses one through six,” McKenzie announced.
He was back at his watch after the mini field-day the whole watch had held to get rid of the mess AR-5 had tracked in. Whatever was in the mud had made it disgusting and the only saving grace had been that the cleaning supplies Sgt. Spencer had sent up had worked. There was still a mild whiff of something on the air, but the sea breeze coming in through the balcony was helping to cut that.
“What’s the alarm? Is there any explanation?” Cadman asked as she pulled up the previous logs on her tablet. For her first night taking the watch, it had been interesting. Thankfully not horrible, but interesting.
“It’s the nanobots Atlantis sends out to pollinate all the plants,” Whitson called from his spot under the control deck. “She sends them out several times a day when there’s no one in the greenhouses and there’s always an alarm.”
“Really?” Cadman asked as she used the search function on the log. Lo and behold there were multiple entries dealing with the whole thing. “Fascinating.”
“Yeah,” Whitson agreed as he walked up the stairs to stand facing the gate. “She started that right after she got the ZPM. It’s what’s allowed us to increase the amount of food we can grow on the city.”
“You’re first wave?” Cadman asked. She was reasonably certain he was, but she’d only been on the city a few weeks.
“Yup,” Whitson confirmed. “Cooper and her gardens made all the difference, but it’s nice not to have to hand pollinate everything. Worth it in the long run though.”
“I bet,” Cadman said. She had been reading all the reports that she could get her hands on and the ones detailing the supply situation for the expedition had been horrifying. She would have totally been willing to hand pollinate every food plant she could too if that meant that she wouldn’t starve.
“Well, the Ancients didn’t do the bee thing that we do. And from the scuttlebutt I’ve heard, Cooper was denied a chance to bring several hives to Atlantis on the basis of allergies and the xenobiologists losing their collective minds over possible invasive species dangers. We can’t use the Pegasus equivalent of bees in our greenhouses since they hold Tau’ri crops, so we were going to be limited on what we could grow until we started getting that alarm and Atlantis came through for us,” Whitson informed her.
“Very cool,” Cadman said as she went back to the first entry on the nanobots and started reading. “Every once in a while, this place is too sci-fi for words.”
“Yes, ma’am, it sure can be,” Whitson agreed before he started back down the stairs. “But at least this is a good way.”
“Agreed, Sarge. Thanks for the info,” Cadman called. She still had an hour of watch before she could get to sleep. But at least she had something to read while she worked. Atlantis was so cool.
“…And Atlantis is moving slightly. It looks like she’s trying to get in the way of a school of fish heading our way,” Cadman reported. She was turning over the watch to her replacement, Captain Jordan.
“Well, we do employ nets for fishing,” Jordan reminded her.
“Right. And there’s a number of currents that run under the city,” Cadman remembered. “I guess she’s moving things around so she can get in a better position to take advantage of them.”
“She also uses the currents to provide power. It’s not a hell of a lot, but it does make a difference,” Jordan reminded. “I’ll log the movement when she settles into place.”
“I did log the start of it, so we know where we started from at least,” Cadman offered. “Other than that, AR-5 came back covered in mud that was nasty and they brought a fair amount home. We cleaned that up with assistance from the mess. We need to get them the mops we used so they can get cleaned. Uhm and Atlantis deployed a swarm of nanobots in the greenhouses. Apparently, that’s a scheduled event and it went off without a hitch. They returned to wherever they are housed fifteen minutes ago and that’s the turnover.”
“Sounds good,” Jordan said. He waited while she entered her codes to take herself off the watch and then entered his own. The turnover for them was complete. They checked on Whitson and his relief and nodded to see that everything had gone well there too. “Get some sleep. You need it out here.”
“I will. For my first watch on a new duty station, it wasn’t bad. I think I’m going to like it out here,” Cadman admitted.
“Planning on joining an exploration team?” Jordan asked. He was in charge of AR-7 and finding another officer to act as his second would be a boon. Plus, he’d heard Cadman’s specialty was explosives and that was just a massive plus in his book.
“Maybe,” Cadman admitted. “But there’s a lot of work for me in the city as well. I may see if I can rotate in and out of teams as needed.”
“And that would let you get to know everyone and see who you get along with,” Jordan surmised.
“Pretty much,” Cadman confirmed. “Not going to lie, begin the only female on a team can be weird at times.”
“And we don’t have many women who are on teams and go off the city. Got it. Maybe that’s something we need to bring up at the next officers meeting,” Jordan offered.
“I’ll think about it,” Cadman said before she checked her watch. “Okay, I need to get to sleep. See you around, Captain!”
“Night, Cadman,” Jordan called as she headed out of the command deck. They had five hours ahead of them. He just hoped they were as quiet as the last five.
When his alarm went off, Alfred Jones groaned and carefully slapped it off. Before the second one went off, he rolled out of bed and headed for his ensuite. His day had started. A shower, shave and other items as required and he was feeling human enough to make it down to the mess.
On his way out, he leaned over and pressed a careful kiss against his girlfriend’s forehead. “See you when you get up honey.”
He smiled at the sleep-filled mumble that got him and headed out the door. “Time to make the donuts!”