Disclaimer - I do not own SGA or its characters. I do own Orla Grant. I am not making a profit from this story.
Rating - T for violence & threat.
Setting; Season 5, Carson is still CMO of Atlantis but Keller is also on Atlantis.
A/N - Thank you to bailey1ak for being a great Beta and friend.
It has been a long time since I last wrote for SGA but I have received a lot of emails asking for more with Orla and Ronon and the team. I hope you enjoy.
Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard tried focusing his mind on the cube he held within his hands, turning it over and over. His mouth was set in a grim line of determination, his brow furrowed from the effort, in frustration he began to mutter his annoyance, just not quite loud enough for anyone to hear just how angry he was really getting.
"Sheppard," bellowed McKay. The annoyed physicist watched with just a little glee as his friend leapt in surprise upon hearing his name from the chair he'd been occupying. The Colonel battled to gain his balance and catch the cube at the same time.
"Dammit Rodney, I almost had it!" Sheppard complained, his pout not out of place on a sulky ten-year-old.
"I seriously doubt that, Sheppard. Though you might be able to get into the Guinness Book of Records as the person who took the longest in two galaxies to solve a Rubik's Cube," Rodney rebuked.
Sheppard turned to face his colleague feeling just a little aggrieved, "Hey, play nice Rodney. Besides, Ronon's not had a go yet."
Rodney snorted and snatched the cube away from Sheppard, "Ronon would just shoot it in frustration in about 2 seconds flat."
"You may have a point. So, why are you here, this is my "Sheppard" time."
"I need you to go back to Area 52 with me. You have the gene," Rodney explained.
"I thought I was persona non grata around this stuff, you know the old itchy finger thing?" Sheppard grumbled remembering how Woolsey had sent the scientist Orla Grant deep into the depths of Atlantis' unexplored sub-levels with Lorne and Cadman instead of Sheppard for that very reason. "Why are you going back to the South Pier? I thought everything was classified as dangerous in there?" the Colonel continued.
"You are persona non grata, but Orla is not allowed to go near this stuff, Lorne is off world and Beckett is in surgery so, I'm left with you," McKay replied placing the Rubik's cube on top of the filing cabinet as he moved out of the small office Sheppard had claimed as his sanctuary. "We need to check on a reading, it's a little … worrying."
"Rodney," Sheppard said firmly, "What's worrying? Does Woolsey know about this and do I need to get Ronon?"
"There's a reading showing some residual energy leaking from the South Pier," Rodney nervously explained. "I haven't told Woolsey anything because I don't know what to tell him… yet. If we need anything killed, then you can call Ronon. I… we … need to see if there is any reason to be alarmed. I would send Radek, but he is with Lorne and well … I thought I ought to go myself as Orla shouldn't."
"An energy leak, that can't be good," Sheppard tried not to sound too worried.
"It'll be fine Sheppard, it's a minor leak picked up on a diagnostic report rather the alarm systems warning of disaster, hence why we're going, to avoid a disaster."
"Still sounds bad," Sheppard retorted.
"If it was that bad, we'd be going in hazmat suits. I don't have a death wish you know," Rodney said, jaw jutted firmly forward trying to convince himself as well as Sheppard.
"Okay, but if it's leaking out of the Pier already?" said the Colonel.
"That's why it's been picked up," McKay said with just a hint of irritation to his reply. "It's also why I am not soaking in a hot bath right now."
Sheppard moved out of his office to stand next to McKay. "Come on McKay, let's go see what's leaking."
The two men headed toward the transporter doors.
"Have you placed a bet on the weight yet?" Sheppard asked trying to take his mind off what exactly could be leaking in the South Pier.
"No, I don't gamble without all the math available."
"It's just a little bit of fun Rodney, even Beckett's placed a bet," Sheppard said punching the transporters control panel.
"Does Ronon know?"
"Sure does, banned him from making bets though, you know, insider knowledge and all," Sheppard chuckled.
Rodney rolled his eyes at the Colonel as they exited the transporter. "Down here," he pointed to the left corridor. "Do you think the baby will come out all screaming and slap Beckett?" the physicist chuckled at the weird image he'd created in his head of an angry baby Ronon.
"McKay!" Sheppard admonished quietly, snickering at the image conjured in his mind by Rodney.
"You should take bets on how long it'll be before Ronon teaches it to fire weapons, throw knives and Marines!"
"Knowing Ronon, it will be before it can walk. Anyway, can't see Orla letting Ronon do anything but love the kid. We're here Rodney, after you?"
Rodney began to check the data on the tablet he was holding mumbling as he did. "Leaks no worse than earlier, should be minimal risk." With that Rodney stepped forward and punched in the current password into the doors data panel, unlocking the door. "Sheppard after you, you're head of the military after all."
"I don't have my firearm Rodney, you sure this will be okay, wait a minute, should be minimal?"
"You can't shoot a leak, if there were Wraith or bad guys in Atlantis, its' alarms system would've alerted the gate room and myself. I say minimal because the leak only became noticeable tonight as I said before," McKay explained.
"You never did say why you need someone with the gene with you though?"
"Because if anything activates itself because of the gene and kills you, I'll know not to go in. Called self-preservation Sheppard."
"Can't argue with that." The Colonel muttered stepping forward, he placed his hand on the door handle turning it slowly. He held his breath hoping his luck was at least better than Orla's had been with the devices inside the Pier. As the door opened Sheppard stepped forward gingerly entering the Pier. Nothing happened, with relief he let go of the breath he'd been holding and turned to Rodney. "You can come in now Rodney, nothings killed me."
"Yet Sheppard, yet." McKay replied as he entered the Pier.
"So, what's leaking Rodney and any chance we'll get some super powers?"
"Give me a chance Sheppard. Due to the nature of these devices the Pier had a special concrete lining added to it last year in the hope of blocking anything nasty. The problem is we can't identify what shows up as a possible nasty until it becomes a problem," The scientist explained.
"Does that mean the energy leak could be, I dunno, radiation?" Sheppard blurted out wondering if he'd just ruined his chances of any little John Sheppard's.
"We don't have anything down here nearly as dangerous as gamma radiation Sheppard. That we know of, wait, the leaks from over there, to the left of you." McKay pointed.
"Go take a look McKay, you've got the tablet!"
"Fine." Rodney walked ahead down what could only be described as a supermarket shopping aisle filled rows of Ancient tech. "Got it, Sheppard, it's the case marked AT0311. Looks like alpha radiation markers but can't be, the lining should've stopped the leak". McKay explained not adding his thought of unless it's been leaking for some time…
"Alpha radiation? You said nothing down here could give us superpowers. What if it's been leaking for a while?" Sheppard queried.
"Alpha radiation's about as dangerous as an x-ray Sheppard. You're fine so long as you're not pregnant. As I said before the lining should've been more than capable of containing it," Rodney snarked avoiding the question of just how long it could have been leaking.
"Fair enough, but if it's leaking shouldn't we get out of here?" the Colonel remarked.
"For once you might be right, we'll need to come back with Hazmat suits," Rodney declared.
"I'll have you know I've been right more than once Rodney. We need to tell Woolsey about this. Is this a danger to Atlantis main building McKay?" Sheppard asked as they moved back along the aisle towards the Pier's exit.
"Not at the moment," McKay explained as he locked the Pier door.
Twenty minutes later Sheppard, McKay and Mr. Woolsey gathered in Woolsey's office above the gate room. "Gentlemen, please take a seat," Woolsey offered as he lowered himself into his chair. "Colonel Sheppard, can you please tell me why you've requested this meeting at such late notice and so late at night. I'm assuming there's a problem?"
"Sir, Rodney asked me to help him investigate an anomaly showing on his diagnostic report..."
"What Sheppard's trying to say is we have an alpha radiation leak, albeit minimal, but a leak nonetheless," Rodney interrupted wanting to get to the point.
"A leak? But there's been no alarm, why didn't Atlantis's systems pick this up?" Woolsey responded sounding mildly alarmed.
"Because it's only minimal and not considered a threat to Atlantis, yet," the physicist replied.
"Dr McKay I believe it was you who requested last year that the South Pier be lined to contain any threats unknown, though I'm still not sure I understand why Atlantean technology on its own isn't good enough at the Pier," Woolsey admitted. "Now, you're saying we have a leak despite this lining?"
"It's a fail-safe, should someone or something disable Atlantis defences then the added lining will help to keep the Pier secure for a while." Rodney explained wearily. "Now we have a leak, I need to run some tests, but my best guess would be that the leak is minimal, it's just built up over time, enough to now be an issue."
"Alpha radiation?" Woolsey added, removing his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose, a habit he'd now formed. "Just how dangerous is this doctor?"
"Alpha radiation is the same radiation used in x-rays, not life threatening like gamma radiation but not advised for prolonged exposure. If we stop the leak, then there shouldn't be an issue. I'd advise pregnant women or anyone sick avoid the area until it's safe."
"What about that device with the leak, AT0311, what is it McKay?" Sheppard asked.
"Umm." McKay picked up his tablet and began to type furiously. "According to the database, we don't know."
"You don't know?" Woolsey repeated disbelievingly.
"We just haven't gotten around to it yet. There's a lot of technology and only one of me!"
"What does AT0311 stand for Rodney?" Sheppard continued.
"Atlantean Technology number 311. Means it's the 311th piece of tech not yet identified and classified."
Sheppard and Woolsey groaned simultaneously.
"You have technology housed in that Pier we have no idea about?" Woolsey remarked.
"Basically," McKay admitted.
"Rodney, wouldn't it have been more prudent to keep the tech we don't know about away from the tech with the bad juju?" Sheppard remarked.
"Just where exactly do you suggest we keep it Sheppard? Next to the living quarters? Maybe kill a few people accidently? Maybe in the sub-levels of Atlantis, that way if it activates itself it could blow Atlantis up, damage the stabilisers and possibly sink it? It's not like there's a whole lot of storage units for hire here!" the physicist bellowed in frustration. "It's the best place for now, obviously the Ancients knew about the devices. If it was immediately life threatening, then I doubt they'd have kept it."
"Gentlemen, please, we're getting off track." Woolsey placated. "Doctor, can you please run your tests and let me know how we can stop this leak, in the meantime Colonel I suggest you organise a quarantine of the area."
The men nodded in agreement.
"If that's all gentlemen, I will bid you goodnight, I have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with my name on it."