Title: Fire Breaks
Fandom: SGA, SG1, NCIS
Relationships: Sheppard/McKay, O’Neill/Jackson, and more to come
Warnings: Canon-Typical Violence, Medical Bullshit
Summary: Dealing with Beckett, making plans, and pointing out issues. Busy, busy, busy!
Author’s Note: Everyone knows I have little to no respect for actual canon anymore, right?
“How bad is it going to be sir?” John asked. “Given that the IOA has people here.”
“Oh, it’s going to suck,” O’Neill said.
John took a deep breath through his nose and tried to parse the information he was getting from his sense of smell. All four of them had found that their senses of smell had improved greatly and they were able to smell the changes in a person’s body chemistry tied to their emotional state. Their hearing had also ramped up and tuning into someone’s heartbeat was as easy as tuning his radio. Easier actually since he didn’t have to manually change anything. That meant that John was aware that the general was angry and had been for a while. His heartbeat was slightly elevated from the walk they were on, but nothing outrageous. And the man was covered in the scent of Daniel Jackson.
“Am I being relieved of command?” John asked, voice neutral.
“Nope.” O’Neill said. He even popped the ‘p’ which sounded weird to John’s ear when his boss did it. “We’ll have to be a bit careful when or if you come back to Earth for leave so you’re not on the planet when you change, but that’s the only thing I can see as an issue.”
“Sir, we turn into wolves,” John reminded him.
“And Daniel occasionally turns into a glowy squid, Teal’c reverts back to being a First Prime sometimes, Carter still gets flashes of Jollinar and I get flashes of the time I was a caveman,” O’Neill said, voice soft and reassuring. “You four aren’t the only ones who’ve run into something that transformed you into something new. Thankfully, your transformation is pretty manageable. Now. I need to get my physical so I can have a meeting with the team that you have investigating this event. Then we’ll need to meet with the IOA reps.”
“And Weir?” John asked.
“She’ll hold for a bit. I’ll want to talk with the command staff of the city after we deal with the IOA. They may have some points to make in picking a new administrator for the city, but what your people need has to come first,” O’Neill said.
“Yes, sir,” John agreed. He led the general to a transporter and hit the general location for medical with a mental command reinforcing the request. The transporter cycled and when the door opened, they were across the hall from sickbay. “I thought we’d do the medical stuff first sir. That way, Biro doesn’t hunt either of us down.”
“Yeah, let’s pass on that,” O’Neill agreed. He twitched slightly as if he was remembering something painful. “While I’m getting pin cushioned, could you please call Daniel and remind him that he needs to head down here too?”
“You’ve got a comm, sir?” John asked, confused.
“If I try to call Daniel in front of Biro, she’ll hunt him down. Better he come down of his own free will,” O’Neill said with a shrug. “Biro learned how to hunt down patients from Fraiser and Janet was never nice about it when she needed to find you.”
“She sounds like one hell of a doctor, sir,” John said after several seconds.
“She was,” O’Neill said softly. As he entered Medical, he sighed at the scene before them. “Someone want to tell me what’s going on?” he asked, raising his voice to be heard over the argument happening.
John took in the scene before them and tried not to growl. Beckett had cornered Biro and was attempting to relieve her of the samples she had taken from his team when they had transformed back to humans. Teyla was standing beside her, trying to keep Beckett from laying a hand on Biro as she tucked the samples close to her body. Both of them were steadily moving towards the genetic lab where Biro could lock the samples away where Beckett couldn’t reach them.
Beckett shot him a glance before turning his attention back to Biro. “I’m trying to do my job, General,” he said as he grabbed the tray under dispute and tugged.
“Last I knew, Dr. Beckett, you were prohibited from working on any samples from my team. Why are you trying to take them from Dr. Biro?” John asked. He could feel a growl rumbling deep in his chest and he drew in a careful breath to control it. On the air he drew in, he could smell greed oozing from Beckett’s pores. Wrinkling his nose, he glared at the CMO. “Well?”
“You need to stay out of this, Sheppard,” Beckett snapped. “You’re not in charge of Medical.”
“What a thing to say, Dr. Beckett,” O’Neill cut in. “Sheppard isn’t the only one to recall that you were removed from any and all research into why AR-1 changes into wolves. Why are you inserting yourself into this?”
“This is my department and my specialty. My test subjects don’t get to decide if I study them or not,” Beckett snapped to O’Neill before turning back to Biro. “I’ve tolerated you stepping in where you don’t belong long enough, lass. Release the samples and go back to your actual job.”
“Say what now?” O’Neill barked out. The mostly affable expression the general had been wearing was gone and in its place was a bone deep rage at Beckett’s words. “Did you just call members of this expedition ‘test subjects’, Doctor?”
“They are no longer human,” Beckett said with a shrug. “And as animals, they have no rights under our charter.”
When General O’Neill grabbed his arm, John started. “Stay put, Colonel,” O’Neill said before reaching up to toggle his comm. “Major Lorne, report to medical.”
Beckett eyed them both for a moment before turning back to Biro and tugging on the sample tray again. “Give them here.”
“Dr. Beckett, step away from Dr. Biro and release the tray,” O’Neill barked as the Scot tugged on the tray again.
John eyed the situation before them. He needed to do something… Ah. Remembering one of the experiments that they had done while exploring their new talents, he stepped back slightly so he was hidden from view by the general. “Teyla, as soon as he lets go of the tray, get Biro into the genetics lab. I’ll lock the door. Where’s Rodney and Ronon?”
Teyla flicked a quick glance at him before turning her attention back to Beckett. “When Carson started in on Alisha, Rodney went to remove all his permissions to the database because he stated he was done with this.”
“That’s going to be fun,” John muttered. Teyla nodded once. He turned his attention back to the general when he took a step forward. “General O’Neill?”
“Colonel, while we’re waiting on Lorne to show up, please pull Dr. Beckett away from Dr. Biro,” O’Neill ordered.
“Thank you, General,” John said with relief. Standing by while one of his people was being assaulted grated. He moved up behind Beckett and put a hand on his shoulder. “Please step back, Doctor.”
When Beckett shrugged his hand off him, John exhaled softly and then gripped the man by his upper arms and picked him up. Beckett released the tray as his hands were moved out of range. While he could have done it before his transformation into a werewolf, the change had amped up his strength quite a bit. Beckett wasn’t a burden at all as far as sheer weight went and John moved him easily out of the way. Jerking his head at Teyla, he silently ordered her into the lab.
“Come Alisha, we need to go now,” Teyla urged as she pulled Biro into the genetics lab.
“He’s got access to this room, Teyla!” Biro said softly as she tried to stay in place.
“Rodney and the Colonel have this covered, Alisha,” Teyla said as she pulled the other woman into the room.
John reached out mentally and pressed the locking mechanism, making sure to put the mental twist in place that meant that no one else could override his lock from the outside. He was ignoring how Beckett was struggling in his arms, trying to get away. “Let me go! You can’t touch me this way!”
“Beckett, shut up,” O’Neill snapped as he reached for his radio. “Daniel, get your ass down to medical right now.”
John tilted his head slightly as he caught the voice on the other end of the line bitching. “I have no idea what you want me to do down there. You know I’m not the medical member of SG1.”
“I don’t actually care, Daniel. I need someone to hold my temper and Sheppard isn’t going to be able to do it,” O’Neill said with a frown. He tapped the peg to close the line and walked over to stand in front of Beckett. “I don’t know what the hell your major malfunction is, doctor, but I’m relieving you of your position as the CMO for the Atlantis expedition. Effective now. The SGC does not condone experimentation on sentients and you damn well know it.”
“We’re in Pegasus, General, and the IOA are in charge of us,” Beckett snapped. “I’ve already applied for authorization to continue my experiments.”
“It’ll be a little difficult to do that from inside the Wraith cage,” John observed. He tilted his head and pressed the outer door to medical to open. “What kept you, Major?”
Lorne grimaced. “Getting reports from the guards we have on the IOA reps. Woolsey went to his quarters without much of an issue, however Shen tried to pump her escort for information on the city.”
“Not really a surprise,” Jack acknowledged. He gestured at Beckett. “Dr. Beckett needs to be returned to his quarters. But first I want whomever you have working as the city police to search them to clean out any and all electronic devices.”
“We don’t actually have a designated person who does that, sir,” Lorne said after a speaking glance at Sheppard. “We’ve asked for one, but General Landry has declined our request.”
“For fuck’s sake,” O’Neill bit out. “Sheppard can’t do it, you’re his second in command and I don’t remember if you have any other officers who can step up to do the inspection.”
“We don’t have any,” Lorne confirmed. “I’ll get Bates and Cooper. They’re the most senior non-coms we have on the city.”
“Right,” O’Neill said after several seconds thought. “Do that.”
“Yes, sir,” Lorne said. He turned around and stepped away from them and tapped his comms.
John kept a firm grip on Beckett as he started to struggle. “Let me go, you great lummox!” Beckett demanded as he struggled to get free.
“Beckett, you’re caught. Do us all a favor and stay silent like a good megalomaniac,” O’Neill snapped as he glanced around the room. “Are there any other doctors beyond Biro and Beckett?”
“There’s a third shift doctor,” John answered after several seconds. He hadn’t really thought about it. The doctors were civilians and he’d kept out of medical as a whole. But they were extremely light on actual medical doctors and it was only through the grace of some kind god that had allowed them to not have a major medical event.
“Right,” O’Neill muttered. He threw up his hands and started muttering to himself as he walked off to find a nurse. “Nurse!”
“You won’t get away with this, Sheppard,” Beckett snarled as he tried to wrench himself out of John’s grip.
“You keep moving like that, I’m going to increase my grip,” John warned. He was already gripping hard enough to bruise. If he pressed any harder, he’d crush the man’s arms. Not that it was bothering him to contemplate it, but it wouldn’t be good if someone had to piece Beckett’s arms back together so he could take a piss…
“That’s what he wants you to do. So, you’ll be proven to be a monster,” Rodney said as he opened the door to their isolation suite. “I’ve got him locked down, so you can let him go. He’s not going to be able to go anywhere, open anything or access anything in this city.”
“Good to know,” John said. He carefully lowered Beckett until his feet were on the floor and then let him go. He stepped back and watched as the man stretched his arms.
“I’ll be deeply bruised,” Beckett complained as he carefully poked at where John had held him.
“Why is he free?” O’Neill asked as he walked back towards John.
“Because he’s not. He’s stuck in here until we can get him into the Wraith cage,” Rodney explained.
“I’m not going to that!” Beckett exclaimed.
“Well, you aren’t staying in here,” O’Neill reminded him. He turned to look at Lorne and raised an eyebrow in question.
“Cooper and Bates are in his quarters and removing anything electronic. Cooper also stated that they’ll be taking anything that looks like it’s got writing on it too.” Lorne reported. He glanced at Beckett and sighed. “Doctor, we’re going to be going to the Wraith cage and you’ll be held in there until your quarters are searched. Once we’ve cleared them, you’ll be returned to your room and held there under guard.”
“You can’t do this,” Beckett seethed as he glared at the four of them. “My research has been cleared at the highest levels.”
“Not by me,” O’Neill snapped. He waved a hand at Lorne. “Get him out of here.”
“Yes, sir,” Lorne said. He took Beckett by the arm and started leading him off. “Let’s go, doctor.”
“You can’t do this!” Beckett protested as the door opened as they got close to it. John glanced out the door and let his hearing extend out into the space. He could hear the heartbeats of two of his men and smiled grimly. Stackhouse and Markham would back Lorne up with ease.
“I really can,” O’Neill said as he waved the doctor goodbye. When the door closed behind Lorne, he turned to face the lab Biro had retreated to. Eyeing the door, he cocked his head to the side. “Did you lock that, Sheppard?”
John reached out and unlocked the door. “Yes, sir, I did.”
“She didn’t want to let me unlock it. Gave me some very firm ‘not for you’ vibes,” O’Neill admitted. He glanced over his shoulder as Jackson entered the room. “Danny.”
“Jack,” Jackson returned, voice dry. “What have you been doing?”
“Why do you think I’ve been doing something?” O’Neill asked, voice trying to convey offense, but only sounding amused to John’s ear.
“Maybe because I’ve known you for the better part of a decade and causing chaos has been your modus operandi since you got the stars on your shoulder,” Jackson said with a smile. He turned the look on the two women walking out of the lab. “Dr. Biro, how lovely to see you. And you must be Teyla Emmagan.”
“I am,” Teyla returned. She cocked her head to the side and subtly sniffed in Jackson’s direction before smiling softly. “Ah.”
“Hmm. Well, the major issue has been escorted down to the Wraith cage, we need to get our physicals, and then we need to hold a meeting to go over what we missed while in transit. Then we can work on what the various parties have found since we got here,” O’Neill directed.
“You didn’t want me to hold your temper then, Jack?” Jackson teased before stepping around the general to go hop up on one of the gurney’s stationed around the room. “Who’s doing my intake physical?”
“Me, Dr. Jackson,” a nurse said as she stepped into place before him. “You know we’re going to make you do the full thing, right?”
“I figured,” Jackson confirmed. “First time here, first time with any Ancient equipment you can get to work and you want to see what it tells you?”
“Yes, we do,” Biro admitted. “But we’ll be discrete on what gets written down because there are some things that don’t need to be shared.”
“Fair,” O’Neill agreed. “I’ll go after him and then I would like you to scan the holy hell out of our two IOA reps.”
“For what?” Biro asked.
“Everything under the sun and if you can figure out a few new tests, that’d be great,” O’Neill suggested. “Take your time, run the tests, make certain that the three minutes we spent on mystery planet didn’t do anything weird to either of them.”
Biro smiled brightly and nodded. “Ah. Right. You want us to keep them busy?”
“For at least an hour,” O’Neill confirmed. “I figure by then, we’ll have finished the first of our meetings and I we can fold them in as well.”
“Sneaky,” Rodney said admiringly. He waved a hand at the medical personnel not working on Jackson. “Beckett won’t be causing any more issues in here, people. He’s no longer authorized to be in the room and the door won’t recognize him to let him in.”
“Thank you, Dr. McKay,” one of the nurses said with a smile.
John took a careful sniff in her direction and mentally raised an eyebrow at the scents of satisfaction and relief pouring off the nurse. Quickly poking his memory, he tried to pull up her name. “Benjamin, was there an issue with Dr. Beckett that we missed? Beyond his shit with my team and Dr. Biro?”
“It’s Bengie, sir, and yes. I think you’re going to want to go over his office with a fine-toothed comb. He’s been doing a lot of research that’s been… dubious on the Wraith samples we have on ice,” the nurse said. She waved a hand at the genetics lab. “One of my degrees is in genetics, so he’d call me in to help with stuff and while I’m not at his level, something seemed… off about what he was doing.”
“Thank you for speaking up, Bengie,” John said, voice gentle. He remembered her now. She’s transferred in with the reinforcements right after the siege and was a civilian. He’d made it a point to learn the names and ranks of all of his soldiers and sailors, but the civilians had stayed under his radar for the most part. Well. Those who stayed out of trouble and didn’t piss Rodney off.
He hadn’t been wounded or needed care since the siege and neither had any of his men. John mentally excused himself from learning the names of all the new people, but did make a note to at least review all the files. He needed to know who was on the city and who they had taking care of his men. He didn’t have the leeway to let things slide anymore.
“You’re welcome, sir,” Bengie said with a smile. She looked over at O’Neill and took a deep breath. “Sir, if you’re going to advocate for fully staffing us, we need at least two doctors per shift and we have three shifts. One doctor on each shift needs to be an ER doc. Someone who has seen just about everything and can treat it. The other can be a GP, but having a surgeon or two would be great as well. Along with the doctors, we’ll need enough nurses to go with them.”
O’Neill held up a hand as he moved into place beside Jackson and Bengie stopped talking. “I’m going to be honest and say that I really doubt I’ll remember your recommendations once I leave here. I’m going to suggest that you and the rest of your coworkers get together and write me up a need/want/wish list of everything that you need to make this facility top notch. Once I have that, I’ll start working to get it fulfilled so there’s no longer any issues. Sound fair?”
Bengie gave him a grateful smile and John could smell the relief pouring off her. “Yes, sir. It sounds very fair. We’ll get right too that.”
“Good,” O’Neill said. He held out his arm for the blood pressure cuff and sighed. “Given my current temper, I just know that’s going to be high.”
The nurse taking the readings laughed once and nodded. “Yes, sir. But we won’t hold it against you.”
“Good to know,” O’Neill muttered. He eyed the room and John tried to see what he was seeing. Nothing about medical was different than it had been since they had set it up. It looked normal. “McKay? Did your scientists ever find any medical tools or gadgets that you could use?”
“We found several, but Beckett declined to use most of them since he hated using his ATA gene,” Rodney said. By scent and sound, John could tell he was disgusted at the way Beckett had acted.
“I thought he was the one who found it and worked on the gene therapy so other people could access theirs?” John asked, confused. Beckett had certainly pulled enough blood from him in the early days of the expedition to have made his gene therapy several times over.
“Yeah, he did,” Rodney confirmed. “And then he found out that, or maybe it would be better to say, realized that having the genome meant that he wasn’t 100% human and that wasn’t something that he was comfortable with.”
John wrinkled his nose slightly as he thought that through. “How?”
“Fuck if I know,” Rodney said with a shrug. “But while I was in our isolation room removing all his accesses, I stumbled across the files he had on the gene therapy. He wasn’t a happy Scot after he figured out what having the ATA genome meant.”
“And then we went furry and he went even further over the edge,” John concluded. “What a mess.”
“Mess it may be, but the four of you’ve done nothing wrong,” O’Neill cut in, voice firm. He eyed the nurses. “Are we good to go?”
“Yup. No diseases that will be spread to our population here, you’re alone in your head and we have a new baseline for you if we need to find you with the sensors,” the head nurse said with a smile. She did hold out her hand to Bengie and accept a small bottle that she passed to Dr. Jackson. “You’re a little low on the vitamin front, Doctor, so I took the liberty of having these sent up. They’re gummies.”
“Thank you, Carol. You’re all heart,” Jackson muttered before he slid off the gurney and grabbed O’Neill’s arm as the older man laughed at him. “Come on, you laughing hyena.”
“This is what happens when you think coffee is one of the major food groups, Danny,” O’Neill chortled as he allowed himself to be dragged.
John let the two men walk ahead as he fell back to confer with his team. “Everyone okay?”
“I’m just pissed off,” Rodney admitted. He certainly smelled like pepper and burnt coffee; the scents John had come to associate with his anger. The scent enveloped the other man like a shroud and it wasn’t budging.
“I am…upset, but also very sad,” Teyla said softly. “Carson always treated my people well and to find out this about him is most upsetting.”
“He didn’t have a problem treating anyone who wasn’t human to begin with, Teyla,” Rodney explained, voice earnest. “He just didn’t want to be anything other than human. And had a problem with those of us who are fine with being or becoming other than human.”
“That makes no sense,” Ronon cut in. His scent pile was about as neutral as it ever got, but John could tell he wasn’t pleased with how the day had gone.
John shrugged once as he tried to figure out how to explain things for the Satedan. “Prejudice rarely makes sense, big guy. And honestly, I don’t get it either.”
“People are insane,” Ronon grumbled softly.
“They really are,” John agreed. “Pushing the shit with Beckett to the side for the moment… I didn’t have a chance to check in with you two after we changed. How are you doing?”
“It hurt less this time. And I was much more aware as I changed,” Teyla admitted.
“Same,” Ronon grunted. “And when we had four legs, I wasn’t confused for long.”
“So, things are getting easier?” John asked.
“Yes,” Teyla said after several moments thought. “I believe there will come a point where I will be perfectly aware through the switches.”
Rodney nodded once. “That sounds like a good thing. I know that I’ve been aware pretty much from the start, but I’m not certain why.”
“Don’t even, McKay, you have an idea,” Ronon disagreed. He frowned down at the scientist and shook his head as McKay started to protest. “Please, don’t even try to sugar coat this. You’ve said time and again that you’re the smartest person on this city and the galaxy. You’ve already used your smarts to figure out what happened to us.”
“I’d be interested in that theory as well, Doctor,” O’Neill called from his spot in front of the transporter. “But please hold off on sharing it until we get into the conference room and we can close the doors.”
McKay nodded once and compressed his lips together tightly as Jackson and the general stepped into the transporter. Only when the door closed did he blow out a sigh. “For the life of me, I thought he didn’t like me at all.”
“He smelled amused,” Ronon said. “Not at all like how some of the Marines smell when you rip into them.”
“Well, if they didn’t touch stuff they shouldn’t, I wouldn’t try to explain why they’re morons!” Rodney bitched. “For fucks sake! When the science department says ‘don’t touch something!’ don’t touch it! It’s pretty damn simple.”
“Let me guess, that was the last time we had a lab accident?” John asked as he led the way into the transporter and pressed the icon for the gate room.
“It was two accidents ago and it was the minor electrocution one of your marines reported. When we traced it back, we found that he’d moved the tape we’d marked the room off with so he could explore.”
“Oh, that idiot,” John said with a sigh. He waved them out of the room as the door opened. “He went through non-judicial punishment and got busted down a rank, with money taken away for two months.”
“I saw the notice,” Rodney said with a grim smile. “He’s lucky that’s all that happened.”
“I’ve heard rumors about cold water and lights coming on at random intervals?” Ronon asked, amused. “The marines are very certain that the geeks are doing that to them.”
“Wasn’t me,” Rodney protested. He shrugged. “But I have some very vindictive geeks who are totally willing to try to teach our grunts not to touch stuff that they shouldn’t.”
“Radek or Miko?” John asked. He was certain that he could have asked the city to do the pranks, but he never had. He was staying out of the running prank wars because a) he was the commanding officer of the whole Atlantis military and b) it wouldn’t be fair.
“Miko, I think,” Rodney said as they walked into the conference room.
“What did I do?” Miko asked from her place at the table.
“Tormenting a grunt for being stupid,” Rodney said. He walked around to stand behind her and read over her shoulder.
Miko shrugged once before leaning over to grab her tea cup. “There are many who are stupid, but which one in particular?”
“PFC Whitford,” John reminded her.
“Oh, him,” Miko grimaced before she took a deep drink from her cup. “He’s lucky all I did was take away his hot water.”
“You do remember that I punished him too, right?” John asked. He wandered over to the buffet that had been set up and started putting together a plate for Rodney. The scent of MS1 Jones was heavy over the whole display and he relaxed. Cooper and her people were still taking care of them. As Rodney walked past him towards the coffee urn, he handed him his plate. McKay taken care of, he started working on his own.
“Oh, I know,” Miko said. She leaned back and gestured with her cup. “But he doesn’t respect the sciences at all. He seems like a good soldier otherwise, since you kept him on the city, but none of us are willing to let bad behavior slide.”
“Sheppard? Are you able to transfer anyone off the city?” O’Neill asked from the head of the table.
“Not unless it’s an utterly egregious offence sir,” John said. He glanced at the doors and pressed the city to close them. Pushing his will into the lock, he made sure that Lorne would be able to get in, along with Cooper and Bates and only them. Anyone else would be locked out.
“I’ve only been able to get rid of the two soldiers who attempted to sexually assault a scientist and another military member,” John reported. He ground his teeth together as he tried to control his anger. “It was difficult even to do that. General Landry didn’t want to take them back.”
“Do you know if they were charged?” Jackson asked. He looked deeply concerned and John sniffed carefully in his direction. He had no idea what Jackson smelled like when he was angry. All he was getting from the man was the scent of ozone.
John shrugged once as he settled into his chair beside McKay. “We sent them both back with plenty of evidence of their crimes. And I beat the shit out of both of them before I shoved them through.”
O’Neill snorted softly as he pulled his laptop out of his backpack. “I didn’t get a single notice of anyone going in front of JAG for assault. Given that I’m the head of Homeworld, I should have.”
“What else is being hidden, General?” Teyla asked. She settled down beside Miko and poured the smaller woman more tea.
“Let’s hold off for a few minutes longer,” O’Neill suggested. He waved a hand at the rest of the chairs. “I’m hoping that Lorne, Cooper and Bates will have more information for us.”
“I expect they will,” John said. “But I’m also sure I’m not going to like it.”
“Oh, you really won’t, sir,” Cooper called as she slipped into the conference room, a canvas bag clutched in one hand. Bates followed behind her with a laptop in hand.
Cooper nodded and set the bag on the table and started pulling items out of it. Most of the items she pulled out were electronic, but the journal was well thumbed. She waved the journal once before she sighed. “So, obviously I can’t get into his laptop and the rest of his electronics are also out of touch for me due to passcodes. We checked. But I can read this. I opened it to the last few entries and Beckett spends a lot of time ranting about how you’ve been ruined, sir. And how his research is now going to be delayed until he can arrange for another test subject.”
She didn’t say anything else, just shoved the journal over to Jackson with a grimace. “Seriously, sir, he’s got issues and I have no idea what he’s talking about, but it can’t be good.”
“It doesn’t sound good,” John said, feeling numb. Beckett was even more fucked up than he thought.
“The journal was hidden in a small safe in the room, sir,” Bates reported. He walked the laptop over to Miko and placed it down beside her. “I didn’t even try to open that thing, doc. But he had it locked in the desk.”
“How trashed is his room?” John asked, reluctantly amused.
“Oh, I didn’t do anything to his stuff, it’s just thoroughly tossed,” Bates said. He sounded very satisfied and Cooper radiated much the same in her scent profile. “It’s all very neat and tidily piled on the floor.”
“We also piled all the drawers in the room on top of the desk or the dresser. His mattress was opened and all the stuffing sifted through and then put back in the shell of it,” Cooper admitted. “We also found two thumb dives slipped into the middle of the underside of the mattress. He’d have had to flip the thing to get access to them.”
“Jesus,” Rodney muttered as he poked at the various data devices. “I was not expecting this at all. If you’d asked me if he was capable of this even two months ago, I would have said no.”
“I think we all would have said no, Rodney,” Teyla said softly.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t have pegged Beckett for someone with shitty ethics,” O’Neill chimed in.
“We aren’t prepared to handle this, sir,” John said, voice even. “The thing with Dr. Weir and now this with Beckett? We’ve found evidence of other less than ethical programs happening and none of us have the experience to investigate this. Not and actually do a good job at it.”
“My people can trace the electronic footprints, we can find the files that are hidden that contain the relevant information, but none of us know how to put it all together to figure out what’s been happening here or on Earth,” Rodney admitted. He waved a hand at Miko as she was working on her own laptop. “As evidenced by all the information Kusanagi is extracting from Weir’s files. We’re too far away from Earth to be of use.”
“We should have brought Tony with us,” Jackson muttered as he flipped through the journal.
“You two have mentioned him before. Tony who?” John asked. He pushed his plate away from him and clutched at his coffee cup.
“DiNozzo,” O’Neill said shortly. He was leaning over to look at the entry that Jackson was reading. “He’s an NCIS agent and we can swing it since there are so many marines at the SGC. We’ve done it before.”
“Is his full name Anthony Dominic DiNozzo?” John asked carefully. Exactly how many Tony DiNozzo’s were out in the world he had no idea, but he only knew of one who was a LEO. He was going to ignore Senior like the bad penny he was.
“Yeah, that’s him. Why?” O’Neill asked.
John laughed softly. “What are the odds… Did you test him for the ATA genome?”
“No,” Jackson drawled. “Should we have?”
“Yeah, you should test him as soon as you can,” John said. “He’s my cousin. I think if I’ve got the gene, it stands to reason that he does as well. His mom and mine were first cousins.”
“Huh,” O’Neill cocked his head to the side and eyed him. “I can see it. But for the moment, that’s not the greatest issue. I need an update on your status’. The last we knew, you were only transforming on an involuntary basis, and while you had your minds, communication was spotty.”
“Communication is still spotty, sir. And at this point, we’re able to transform back at the end of the period without an issue. I know when I transform at the start of it, I’m no longer confused or in pain as I do it. The process no longer burns,” John reported. “I think, but haven’t experimented, I can transform off the schedule we’re currently on. If I can, I think the ability will be very useful.”
“Do you know if your clothes will go with you?” Jackson asked.
“It would be nice if they did, but they don’t,” McKay said. He grimaced softly. “I’m at about the same state. I don’t have any pain when I transform, and I don ‘t feel like I’m going mad from the changes in perspective and sensation. Let me tell you, going from human to wolf and back again is weird in far too many ways.”
“How about you two?” O’Neill asked Ronon and Teyla.
“I am not certain that I did not go mad when we first transformed,” Teyla said voice uncertain. She winced and John could smell pain as she thought about that first transformation. “It hurt so very badly and I knew that I was not meant to change so, but I did.”
“Fucking Ancients did something and it changed us into what Sheppard calls wolves,” Ronon cut in. Teyla leaned into him and John could hear the rumble of her subsonic growl as she tried to comfort him. “McKay and Sheppard are right, it burned. And I didn’t come back to myself until hours after we changed.”
“Do you think you can control the shift?” O’Neill asked.
“No, not yet,” Teyla said after careful thought. “But soon. I felt much more in control of this last change.”
“Same. We both came back to ourselves within minutes of the transformation,” Ronon said with a shrug. “But if you’re asking if we can fight like that? The marines have been showing me what wolves on your world can do. And what their cousins, dogs can do. I could do a lot of damage in that form.”
“You can do a lot of damage in either form, big guy,” John reminded him. “Giving you teeth and claws is just overkill.”
“Maybe,” Ronon said before smiling slowly. “I do what to see what I can do.”
“I take it you don’t have any K-9 pads?” O’Neill asked John.
“Nope,” John said, shaking his head. “It’s one of the things we asked for with our last supply order, but we’ve also asked for set of dogs to see how they react to the Wraith.”
O’Neill leaned back in his chair and tapped one finger on the table. “Have you seen one since you transformed the first time?”
“No,” John said. “Weir did her best to restrict us to the city and we mostly went along with that. We did go back to several planets where we found Wraith in the past to see if we could get a smell of them. They’re nasty to a human nose, but worse to my new one. So very gross.”
“They smell like death and something…musty,” Ronon said.
“Before I transformed the first time, I did not find the hives we have been in to be distasteful,” Teyla said slowly, obviously choosing her words with care. “More, the scent of the hives was neutral, a background that meant nothing to me. Now, I have smelled Wraith with my new nose and they are deeply disgusting. Ronon is correct, they do smell of death and the pests that infect the tava bean stores when they are about to rot.”
John raised an eyebrow at that and turned to look at Rodney. “If I was going to say what they smelled like, I’d say they smelled like cockroaches and the inside of an abattoir.”
“Which is what Teyla said. My scientists got asked to help protect the grain stores on the mainland and we found one was utterly infested with the damn things. We set it on fire after blocking everything off so they couldn’t escape,” Rodney agreed. “We did our best, but as we know on Earth, keeping cockroaches out of anything is difficult.”
“That’s gross,” Jackson said with a grimace. “Yuck. Let’s not go there.”
“Agreed,” O’Neill said. “So, do you think you would be able to tell if you came across Wraith again? Even one that’s been hibernating?”
“Yes, sir,” John agreed. He tapped the tip of his nose and made a decision. “My sense of smell is vastly better now than it was before I transformed the first time. Almost on par with what I get when I’m in my wolf form.”
O’Neill looked slightly taken aback at that. “That’s interesting. How are you adjusting to the changes in information?”
“It’s been slow enough that I’ve been able to adjust sir,” John admitted. He shrugged once as he stared at O’Neill. “I know that there are super smellers on Earth sir, so we’re not utterly strange, but I’m pretty sure we’ve got them beat.”
“How?” O’Neill held up a hand to keep him from talking as he glanced at the whole of the Atlantis group. “I get that you’ve had a shit couple of months with what Weir and Beckett pulled, but I need to what these changes mean for you and I need you to be honest with me. When we have the meeting with the IOA duo, you can shade your abilities as much as you want, but I can’t protect you if I don’t know what’s been happening to you.”
John eyed the general carefully and breathed in through his nose, taking in the chemo signals the man was giving off. While there was some stress in his scent pile, he was exuding the scents that they had all learned meant honesty and earnestness. Pitching his voice under human norms, he checked in with his team. “Well?”
“He’s always been more honorable than is reasonable,” Rodney said. “Even when he’s being an asshole.”
“I get nothing from him that speaks of dishonesty,” Teyla confirmed. “And Dr. Jackson seems much the same.”
“I still don’t get anything scent-wise from the geek,” Ronon said. His voice was pitched even lower than theirs and John had to struggle to hear it. “But their heartbeats are rock steady. Didn’t bobble at all when he said he’d protect us.”
“Okay then,” John said with a sigh. He took a deep breath in through his mouth and the chemo signals were richer, but much the same. Team confirmed, he glanced at his 2IC. “Lorne?”
“Honestly, sir, we’re screwed if we don’t have the General in our corner. And getting Dr. Jackson along with him is fantastic. There’s been way too much weird happening here and we’re not equipped to deal with it.”
“Miko?” Rodney asked.
“Whatever the hell Weir and Beckett have been up to, it’s big, it’s bad and well-funded,” Miko said. She poked Beckett’s laptop with a stiffened finger. “I’m pretty sure when I open this thing up, I’m going to find that someone on Earth wanted a super soldier. Someone thinks that the Wraith hold the key to a controllable version of super soldier and they don’t care what they have to do along the way to get one.”
“Just what we don’t want,” O’Neill muttered. “I thought we learned that lesson with the Kull Warriors.”
Jackson snorted softly. “You know they didn’t Jack. The Kull are a non-starter for a super soldier program since the things are…Well, the only thing making them work is a Goa’uld symbiote that’s been programed for only that function. That’s not going to work for the parties who want to make human super soldiers.”
“Gross,” O’Neill growled. He cleared his throat and stared at John. “Colonel?”
“Right,” John huffed before he slid one hand along the table before him and flipped it over so his fingers were pointing upwards. It took concentration, but he was able to grow his claws out to their full length. His nails changed color as they grew and by the time they were full length, they were as black as his hair. He flicked his fingers and took the time to admire his new hardware.
Rodney placed his hand beside his and let his claws grow as well. Unlike John’s, his claws were a shade of brown that didn’t look weird with his skin. And they were just as sharp as his. “If you can tear your eyes away from our new hardware, you can see that my eyes are also different.”
“They are,” Jackson observed. “Your human eyes are blue, but currently they’ve got more yellow in them than the human eye normally does.”
“For the most part, our eye color stays the same,” John explained. “But there are changes to how we see as the eyeballs themselves change. I’m not even trying to understand the science behind what that means, but I can see some things better with my eyes as a wolfs. They are much more prey oriented and I can track very well using my nose and eyes.”
“That’s a useful trait,” the general said. He was intently staring at John’s claws before glancing at his eyes. “I’m certain that you’ve tested what those can do.”
“Yeah, we did,” Ronon said. He sounded deeply pleased and John couldn’t really blame him. He was never disarmed now and anyone trying to take his weapons away would be in for a rude shock. “Cooper had some meat animals that she let us test them on.”
“Let me guess, you were able to slash through the hides easily,” Jackson guessed.
“Very easily,” John admitted.
“We went hunting on lands my people have claimed on this planet. Between the four of us, we were able to bring down what Cooper calls a Great Beast,” Teyla explained softly. “The four of us were able to work together without issue.”
“Did you eat it?” O’Neill asked.
Rodney grimaced. “We didn’t, but it wasn’t from lack of temptation. Cooper’s been giving us raw meat since we changed the first time, and it doesn’t make me twitch when I’m furry. It’s not all that appetizing now, even if I like my steak a bit rarer than I did before.”
“Oh?” O’Neill asked, obviously curious.
“The Rodney I knew on Earth liked his steaks well done,” Jackson explained.
“Yeah, that tastes like shit now,” Rodney reported, disgusted. “I like my steaks medium rare now. It’s horrible.”
“Seriously, McKay, it’s not going to kill you,” Lorne said, amusement leaking out of every pore. “Now, your power bar addiction just might.”
“They don’t taste right either,” Rodney complained. “Cooper’s made pemmican and that tastes a bit better.”
“Food’s, food,” Ronon grunted. “But yeah, her stuff tastes better than those things you eat.”
“I was eating them because they were safe. I knew all the ingredients and as long as I was careful in choosing the right ones, I didn’t have to worry about an allergic reaction,” Rodney explained.
“And now?” Jackson asked.
“Now, I still have the allergy, but it won’t kill me,” Rodney said with a grim smile. “But I’m deeply miserable while my body tries to put itself back together again.”
“So your allergy is at a fatal level?” O’Neill asked.
“Yes,” Rodney said with a shrug. “I’ve never hidden it, but most people think I’m being an asshole about it, but I’m really not. I’ve been exposed to my allergens in the past by people who think I’m complaining to complain. They’re all, to a one, horrified and pissed off that I’m actually allergic to what they exposed me to.”
“There’s too many foods that are new to humans out here. Every team goes out with Epi pens because most of us have had a reaction to something. Most of the time, it’s food,” John said. He shuddered as he remembered trying a small blue fruit and how his body had reacted to it. “There’s some common allergens, but we’re all careful.”
“We are sir,” Cooper cut in. “We list out the full ingredient list for all our dishes. Too many people have food issues and it’s not that big of a deal to do so. If I can prevent a medical emergency from happening in my mess again, I’ll do it forever.”
“Good call, Chief,” O’Neill praised. “Let’s get back on track here. So, you are able to use the advantages that being a wolf gives you while in human form. You can also change parts of your body at will. Are you stronger? Faster? McKay already insinuated that you heal better.”
John sat back and let Rodney lead the discussion. There was way too much information that they’d discovered over the last month to fully go into, but hitting the highlights was easily done. For the most part, they were stronger, healed faster and more completely than any version of human the SGC had come across. He’d managed to break his wrist in a sparring practice with Teyla and it had healed in hours. Even the damage that had been done when he was in the Academy.
“Sounds like you four would make excellent super soldiers,” O’Neill observed. “But since we’re not perusing that, it’s moot.”
“I’d make any person who gave me an illegal order eat it, sir,” John reminded him. His black mark had been well and truly earned and he was no longer afraid at getting another.
“I do not see how they would be able to order me to do anything,” Teyla offered with a small smile. John had seen that same smile when they were negotiating with people. It was the one that warned she had been pushed as far as she was going to go and no further.
O’Neill seemed to understand that the expression meant since he didn’t push things any further. “Now, we need to figure out what we want to let the IOA know about what’s going on.”
“From what I understand from this whole discussion, Jack, Sheppard and his team have full control over their shifts, and while there’s still ongoing research into how this has changed them and what it means, they aren’t contagious, they are safe to be around and they are needed back on rotation. During the course of this investigation, we can say that we found the start of an illegal human experimentation thing slated to start as soon as the CMO had reached some research goal, likely soon. Add in the CMO wanting our soldiers to capture a living telepathic enemy combatant to experiment on? We shut things down, with prejudice because the SGC and the IOA don’t do that,” Jackson summarized.
“Sound good to me,” Lorne said after several seconds thought. “And due to the sheer number of Marines out here, our distance from Earth and being a mixed-use outpost, getting a NCIS agent would be a good thing. Our population needs to have someone out here who can enforce the actual laws of Earth as needed.”
“We won’t be telling them that Tony’s going to be going over everything and will use all our resources to ferret out the rot so we don’t get popped for war crimes if we suddenly go public,” O’Neill reminded them. “And I need to deal with Landry when I get back to Earth. Because it’s bullshit that you had two assholes removed and I never heard about it.”
“Yes, sir,” John agreed. “You might also want to look into our supply situation. Certain items have been lighter than they should have been and we’re restricted to ordering our food from Earth for the most part. We sub in the fresh meat and what we can trade for, but we would like to start growing our own food if possible.”
The general turned towards Cooper and raised an eyebrow. “I’ve sent you three emails regarding this, sir. All of them requests to get a complete garden set up that would allow me to feed the expedition and set food by for lean times. I’ve heard nothing, all three times.”
“Hmm,” Jackson hummed softly to himself as he stared up at the ceiling. “I have no idea, Jack.”
“Try again, Daniel,” O’Neill said softly. John got a whiff of the scent of suspicion, which was weird.
“Just because I work there, doesn’t mean I know what’s happening,” the archeologist protested.
“Right,” O’Neill grunted. “I’m sure.” He slanted a speaking glance at Miko and raised an eyebrow at her. “Doctor?”
“It is a good thing I like you,” Miko groused as she started typing away on her laptop. “The email wasn’t stopped over here, so it has to be on the SGC side. I highly doubt Harriman has anything to do with it, but then, he’s not the one distributing the information. Neither is Colonel Carter. You’re going to want to check computer services when you get back to determine where the stoppage is. However, I was able to find all three versions of the email that Chief Cooper sent you and have forwarded them to the email account we set up for you on the city.”
“Thank you, Dr. Kusanagi,” O’Neill said before he turned his attention back to Cooper. “Buy whatever the hell you want to set up a garden that will feed everyone on this city. Import animals, for all I care. Just make sure they’re cleared with the xenobiologists. Start being as crafty as I know you can be and make Atlantis as food independent as you can. It’s moronic to have you guys on the ass end of space and reliant on a single ship to resupply you.”
“Thank you, sir,” Cooper said with a wide grin. Her mood soured slightly and John could smell how nervous she suddenly was. “Uhm, could you. maybe? Put that in writing so I don’t get in trouble for the seeds that should be on the Daedalus? Novak promised that she would buy me all the seeds and planting medium she could with the money I gave her, but I didn’t actually have authorization.”
O’Neill snorted softly in amusement. “Sure Chief. I’ll even back date it, so no one gets any ideas.”
“I’ll sign off on it as well, Chief,” John promised. He hadn’t even known she was planning on something like a garden, but he likely should have. Cooper had been militant about feeding everyone during Year One and part of their survival could be laid at her feet. If she asked, he would even heft and tote anything she asked of him. But not take care of any plants. He had a black thumb.
“Thank you, sirs,” Cooper said again. She settled back in her chair and let it swing from side to side. “I forgot to ask when I came in… Do you all want more Great Beast when you transform again? Or do you think we can try fish?”
John cocked his head to the side as he thought things over. He had no idea if a wolf actually could digest fish. Something to research. “How about we get back to you on that, chief. I don’t know if we can handle fish.”
“We can look it up, sir,” Cooper said. She smiled and leaned back in her chair and shrugged. “Unless you all change right now, we’re not going to need the information for another seventeen days and at that point, we’ll have a better handle on how you want to eat.”
“Fair and thank you,” John agreed. He turned back to the general and shrugged. “Other than Weir not being in charge at this time, sir, we’re not looking at any major changes on the military front. Rodney?”
The sigh Rodney let loose was small, but John smiled at how huffy is sounded. “There’s going to be changes for me. By the way the chain of command broke down on the civilian side, I’m now in charge of this mess with Elizabeth being arrested. Given that, I need to have a meeting with my department heads and get a handle on what the hell is actually going on in the departments outside of the hard sciences. I’ve kept a very hands-off approach to them since I was told I intimidated them and made it hard for them to work.”
Bates snorted once before he leaned forward to eye Rodney. “Who told you that?”
“Weir,” Rodney said with a shrug. “If I remember correctly, Master Sargent, your degrees are in anthropology and we have you seconded to Doctor Kratsiev, right?”
“Yes, sir,” Bates said. He waved a hand towards the rest of Atlantis. “I know in my department; we’d love it if you came down to talk to us. Most of the scientists down there only get off-world when escorted, and getting to talk to someone who’s seen the cultures we’re studying would be great. We’ve done a lot of work with the Athosians and Keras and his people recording their oral histories so they aren’t lost ever again. We’ve even submitted a request to go to Sateda to record what we can before nature takes it all. But most of the people there aren’t cleared for fieldwork and that’s been holding us back.”
“Now that’s weird,” Jackson interrupted. “I know that Kratsiev was on a gate team at the SGC. Why isn’t he here?”
“Weir told him that he wasn’t cleared to leave the city,” Bates said with a shrug. “I don’t know if he went to Dr. McKay or not, but he’s been fuming about it since we got here.”
“Yeah, that’s going to change,” McKay muttered. “Talk about over reach and bullshit.”
“I’ve got the memo started,” Miko said. She smelled irritated and John winced. If Weir ever wanted to get hot water again, her best bet would be to look for it off Atlantis, because that would be the least of the things Miko would do to her. “It’s going to be an all-hands memo asking anyone who has issues with how their department has been run to log into a server that won’t record who they are so they can put down all their complaints in an anonymous fashion. We’ll investigate everything and get shit fixed. Also, anyone who can pass the Marine fitness qualification and has passed firearms safety can apply to be on a gate team, effective immediately.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Lorne said. He sounded pleased and John couldn’t blame him. It had seemed like they were pulling teeth to find anyone who could join a team in any capacity and to find out the situation might be fixable was a relief.
Rodney started running his hands over his face and muttering to himself in French. Jackson started chuckling and John made a mental note, again, to get something that could teach him the language. Rodney only used it when he wanted to say something that would get him in massive trouble with anyone in his area. “Rodney?”
“Miko, find out what was transmitted on everyone’s yearly evals. I want to know if anything was changed from what I inputted. Also, make sure that we update our hiring lists, firing lists and see if you can confirm who is coming back in the next couple of rotations. I know that this Daedalus trip is utterly off schedule, so I’m not sure if we’ve got anyone onboard her for us.”
“I don’t remember seeing anyone onboard who was supposed to transfer in,” Jackson admitted. “Jack?”
“No, I didn’t authorize any of the pending transfers to head out with us,” O’Neill confirmed. “Speaking of the Daedalus we do have an issue with the ship that will need to be dealt with ASAP.”
Rodney dropped his hands and focused on O’Neill. “What?”
Explaining what had happened to Caldwell took several minutes and everyone in the room smelled and looked horrified as they got to the end of the whole incident.
“These Goa’uld things are bad, right?” Ronon asked as the tale would to a close.
“They take over your mind and at best, you’re an unwilling passenger in your own body. You can see, hear and feel everything that happens, but you have no control over anything. There’s no way to get control while the Goa’uld is buried in your brain,” O’Neill explained. His voice was carefully neutral, but John could smell the rage pouring off of him.
“That is horrific,” Teyla whispered. “At least all the Wraith do is eat you. They do not try to control us to that extent.”
“Has Caldwell woken up?” Rodney asked after several second’s silence.
“No. The CMO of the ship was keeping him sedated until we could get him looked at by the doctors here and then maybe shipped through the gate and back to the SGC,” Jackson reported.
“Well, given my new position, I can assure you, we’ll do all we can to treat him and if we’re not enough, get him back to Earth so he can get the help he needs. Does the SGC have a sarcophagus?” Rodney asked.
“No,” O’Neill said with a frown. “It’s been SOP to look for one for years that we could steal, but honestly, I don’t think anyone looked all that hard. The damn things are addictive and no one wants to take a chance with that.”
“And yet, if you’d had one, you could put your dead in and get them back out alive,” Rodney reminded them with a raised eyebrow.
John held his peace at that. Anything that could return the dead to the living had to be useful as far as he was concerned.
Jackson nodded once. “Which is why we’re still looking for one. Despite the inherent issues.”
“Not quite relevant to what’s happening out here, Daniel,” O’Neill cut in. “The Ancients had their own technology. I want to check to see if they had anything that can help heal people here before we start looking towards the Goa’uld for assistance. Even for something that could do as much good as a sarcophagus.”
“Well, sir, since your version of the ATA genome is almost as strong as mine, how about we go over the current infirmary and the area designated on the maps as the infirmaria? We can check the walls to see if anything is hiding in them,” John suggested.
“Sounds like a plan, Colonel,” O’Neill said. He glanced at his watch and signed. “Right. Enough of the fun stuff. I’m sure the nurses have poked and prodded Shen and Woolsey enough.”
“I’ll go down and escort them up, sir,” Lorne offered. He glanced at John long enough for him to nod his okay before he headed out.
“Should we clean up?” John asked as O’Neill poured another cup of coffee for himself and Jackson.
“No. If they haven’t figured out we’re here for a multitude of reasons, they’re dimmer than I thought,” O’Neill said. He nudged Jackson’s plate towards him. “Eat something before you get sucked back into that journal again. Also, we should put all this stuff away where they can’t see it to demand access.”
“Got it, sir,” John said. He took the tote that Cooper held out to him and quickly loaded up all the electronic media that had been brought in from Beckett’s rooms. He hesitated before standing beside Jackson’s seat. “Doctor?”
“I think we should leave this one out,” Jackson suggested. He grimaced as he tapped the cover. “It has a lot of information that seems to be relevant to our various issues, but doesn’t go into full depth. It’s enough that we can use it to placate Shen and Woolsey.”
“Gotcha,” John agreed. He walked over to a blank spot on the inner wall of the conference room and placed his hand flat on a space that was noticeable only due to his genetics. When the wall safe popped open, he quickly stored the satchel in it before closing it. To cover for being up, he headed for the buffet for seconds. If he was lucky, he’d be able to get back to his spot before Lorne got back with their guests.