Amelia caught sight of a familiar figure out of the corner of her eye, and fixed her gaze firmly on the console in front of her. Want my attention Ronon? You're going to have to man up and talk to me.
"How's it going with you two?" Chuck whispered.
"Wierd," she whispered back. "Ever since we returned to Pegasus. One day we'll be sparring and laughing, the next he's ducking down side corridors to avoid running into me. I don't know what his problem is, but I don't have the patience for games."
"I heard a rumor that Dr. Keller friendzoned him pretty hard in favor of Dr. McKay."
"Wow," Amelia said, surprised.
"I didn't realize Dr. Keller is insane."
"Who knew, right?"
They burst out laughing. Ronon, hearing them, caught Amelia's eye and smiled. Against her better judgement, she smiled back.
"Captain on deck," Chuck hissed. Amelia turned her attention back to her console as Richard Woolsey approached them.
"Hello, Amelia, Chet. How are you today?" he said, fiddling absently with his perfectly pressed uniform jacket. Far more at home in Savile Row suits, Woolsey was still adjusting to the SGC issued attire. It was an ongoing struggle.
"Fine, sir, thank you," Amelia replied. Chuck's eye twitched.
"Amelia, will you still be going with the medical team to the Athosian settlement tomorrow?" Woolsey asked.
"Yes, sir. I'm looking forward to it. I have several friends there I haven't seen since we returned."
"Good, good," Woosley said, rubbing his hands. "That's just what I like to see, my staff- Oh, dear."
"Colonel Sheppard, I really must protest!" Jennifer Keller's voice rang out across the command center. They craned their necks to watch Sheppard stride into the room, followed closely by a distressed Keller.
"She only calls him 'Colonel Sheppard' when she's irritated with him," Woolsey said. "I wonder what he's done now."
They didn't have long to wait. Keller skipped in front of Sheppard, blocking his way.
"Colonel, Todd is an invaluable source of information," she said. "We can't just let him go yet. I have a series of tests lined up that would advance our research into the Wraith exponentially. I just need more time!"
"Has Todd agreed to undergo your tests?" Sheppard asked, his eyebrows raising in surprise.
"Not yet," she admitted. "But you could compel him to coöperate!"
"No, I can't." He crossed his arms and looked down at the young doctor sternly. "The IOA has deemed Todd an ally, and he has been given the same rights and privileges as any of our other off-world allies. So, no, I can't compel him to do a damn thing."
"You can talk to him yourself, but that's it." He turned away from Keller, and nodded at Ronon. "We ready?"
"Lorne's downstairs, waiting for us at the gate," Ronon said, taking his cue from Sheppard and ignoring Keller.
"Good. Then let's go check out this address Todd gave us. If we're going to release him back into the wild, I'd rather it not be at the edge of a defenseless village."
Keller watched them leave, visibly frustrated. She turned to storm out, when she spotted Woolsey, who was slowly inching away, hoping not to be noticed.
"Mr. Woolsey," she called, breaking into a jog. Woolsey sighed, and Amelia gave him a sympathetic grimace.
"I'm afraid there's nothing I can do," he told Keller. "You heard Colonel Sheppard. My hands are tied."
"But the research-"
"Will have to continue some other way," Woolsey said firmly. He nodded to Amelia and Chuck, and walked quickly away. Keller sighed.
"Amelia, where is Todd now?" she asked, a new determination suffusing her pretty face. Amelia checked Todd's locator.
"He's in Lab 2, with doctors McKay and Zelenka."
"I almost feel sorry for Todd," CHuck said, as they watched Keller rush toward the nearest transporter.
"THink she'll convince him?" Amelia asked, pulling her hair out of its tight bun. She ran her hands through her hair, massaging her aching scalp.
"Nah," CHuck said, leaning back in his chair. "The Wraith seems pretty tough. I imagine he could withstand even Dr. Keller."
Looks like Chuck is right. He is tough.
Amelia looked up from her book as Todd, Keller, and McKay spilled out onto the outdoor mess deck, followed discreetly by armed personnel. Todd's unshackled hands rested calmly across his stomach, but Amelia could see tense, determined set of his jaw.
"Your proposals, while not feasible at this time, are interesting, Dr. Keller," Todd said genially. "Perhaps we may discuss them further. Once I am aboard my ship, I'd so love to have you for dinner." Keller drew back in alarm, and Todd chuckled. "Just my little joke."
Amelia grinned, and Todd's gaze landed on her. His smile widened, exposing clear, sharp teeth, and he headed for her table. "May I join you?"
Amelia kicked a chair out for him, and he sat, carefully adjusting his leathers around him. McKay glared at her.
"What?" she said. "It was funny."
"Don't encourage him!" McKay said in exasperation. "I have to work with him. His 'little jokes' give me a panic attack each time he makes one!"
"Dr. McKay is simply too high strung." He looked over Amelia's tray curiously. "May I?"
At Amelia's nod, he plucked a grape from the tray, and studied it carefully. After a moment, he popped it in his mouth, and chewed gingerly. His eyes closed in bliss.
"What is this called?" he asked.
"A grape," Keller said, impatiently. McKay eyed Amelia's tray, and she pushed it toward him.
"Thanks!" he said, pulling up a chair between Amelia and Todd. "I didn't get a chance to eat lunch yet."
"Rodney," Keller sighed.
"Yeah, yeah, dinner at eight," he said absently, picking up an untouched biscuit.
"I have work I need to get back to," Keller said, defeated for the moment. "But we will discuss this again before you leave."
"Talk all you'd like," Todd said, liberating another grape from under McKay's fingers. "It will not change anything. I have no interest in your tests."
"If you don't mind," Amelia said hesitantly, as Keller stalked off. "I wasn't aware Wraith could eat physical food."
"It gives only the pleasure of the taste itself," he replied, spearing a cherry tomato with a claw. "It affords no real sustenance." He popped the cherry tomato into his mouth and made a face. "Not a grape."
"It seems you have a sweet tooth," Amelia laughed. She leaned forward conspiratorially. "Has anyone introduced you to chocolate?"
"I'm intrigued," he replied, his yellow eyes sparkling with delight.
"Oh, god," Rodney moaned around a mouthful of salad. "They're bonding. Ronon is not going to like this!"