Title: When All Else Fails
Summary: After becoming trapped in a bathroom, Beckett and McKay find more then just lack of oxygen. Something has been hiding in Atlantis, tucked away and unseen. All this recent activity has made it very angry, and hungry. Can the team work together to stop this new threat, or will the complete evacuation of the city be the only solution when all else fails.
Disclaimer: As with all these fanfics, I own nothing of Stargate: Atlantis, nor any of its characters. Except for a few military men I placed in for filler, including Bouds and Estin.
A/N: This story is in response to a challenge made by Pixie Flyer. It involved three factors:
1) You have to describe the bathrooms in Atlantis (use your imagination)
2) Describe the daily life of one of the characters (can be an OC but doesn't have to be)
3) Must be at least 2 chapters
Well, this was in interesting challenge to say the least, and for my first SGA fic ever, I began to pull together this little story, which massed into a full blast one before I knew it. Well it's halfway done so I'm posting the first chapter, see what you think. Hope I caught the characters right, that's one thing that is so important to these fanfics other than plot. I proofread the best I could, but if anyone sees horrible mistakes, and would like to be my beta-reader, well, I'd be much obliged. Oh, and supposedly has gotten rid of the indents in stories, so I'm posting this fic as a webpage, hope it works out and is readable. Without further wait…
"Tell me again why we're doing this?" Rodney McKay spoke up half annoyed, half bored out of his skull.
"Because. Rodney. Dr. Weir wants us to access the damage made when the shields were collapsing." Carson Beckett replied after a sigh of equal frustration.
"Then, tell me again why I'm doing this?"
"Because. Rodney…." Carson spun round then, talking with his hand which he fought not to reach out and clamp around his colleague's throat.
"Det-det-det--- fine, just forget I said anything." Interrupted McKay waving a dismissive hand right in Beckett's face before he swept passed him, eyes now glued to the area tracker he held.
This bickering had been going on for what seemed like hours. The two men, assigned by Weir, had been sent to one of the far sectors branching off the main area that made up Atlantis's control center.
Beckett upon hearing he would be accompanying McKay, suggested that they walk instead of taking the transporters. Muttering something to the effect that it might be good exercise for McKay's 'extra weight round-the-middle.'
It seemed perfectly clear then to the good doctor Beckett that his plan had failed from the very moment they started out. For apparently McKay hated walking long distances and hadn't stopped complaining about it every moment he could since then.
"That's it! I'm taking a break!" Cried McKay, throwing his hands up in defeat as he proceeded to plop himself on the ground, leaning up against a long stretch of wall which lead down to a dimly lit corridor.
Carson turned to him, his expression confused and in disbelief. " But we just rested not even ten minutes ago." He exclaimed after a moment of letting Rodney's complete incapability of actual work settle in his mind.
Rodney looked up slowly, face purged in what seemed the resentment that he opted to wear more then anything else. " My. Feet. Hurt!" He then tossed the mini tracking system to the side and pulled off one of his shoes, and began rubbing his toes. " I think I have a cramp."
"Oh, I think you have a cramp in more places then your foot." Beckett spat back, taking up a leaning position on the opposite wall across from the whining physicist.
"You know, you don't have to be rude…" McKay forced a wincing smile as he rung his hands round his foot, displeased by not only this mission, but having to do it in the first place. Dr. Weir was so bent on looking the whole place over in the next month that he hadn't been able to do a single test, run a simple experiment since then. That and the search for a power source in which to rev up the gate so they could go home was driving him off the deep end.
Beckett chuckled with irritation. "Oh for Christ sakes Rodney. How's bout I go back and fetch a gurney so we can roll you around instead of you risking another step, since we only have a few more yards to explore anyway." Raising a hand, he shook his head at McKay's insulted glare. "No, no, instead I'll just stay here and succumb to your foot-funk."
"Excuse me?!" Rodney jerked his head, as if he hadn't heard that correctly. " I do not have foot-funk, thank you very much. Besides…" He quieted down then, secretly wondering if his feet really did smell. "These are practically brand new shoes."
"Please, only a few more yards, then we'll be finished..."
" Yeah, and the countless rooms you forgot to incorporate into that equation. That will take us at least, another two hours." Rodney replied venomously, rolling his head around his shoulders until he caught sight of the corridor beyond them. "Whatever's back there is still going to be there in a few minutes. It can wait, I can't!" He finished, returning his glare at the doctor.
"Hell in a half…." Grumbled Carson as he pushed himself off the wall and stalked over towards McKay, and picked up the tracker, its tiny screen showing an outlined layout of the area all around them, including two tiny bleeps that represented them, a very handy device Major Sheppard had pulled off the puddle jumper. "I'll go then."
"Hey, give that back." Rodney ordered, waiting for Beckett to hand the tracker back to him. "This is, if you haven't forgotten, my mission. Dr Weir put me in charge, so I get the tracker system."
"Oh is that how it is eh?" Beckett replied reproachfully, lifting the tracker just out of reach of McKay's fingertips. "You have no notion of team value do you? Why don't you stay here, take your wee break, and I'll go checkout the rest of this sector, seeing as how I contribute nothing to your, mission!"
Carson turned away beginning to walk down the corridor. "Might as well, lift my weight shouldn't I?!"
"No." McKay spoke up hastily, regretting now that he insulted the doctor. He hadn't meant to, just he was tired, and he thought awfully hungry. "I'll come too."
"Just, stay here Rodney." Beckett didn't even bother to turn around to him as he continued down the dark hall, lights flickering on and off, he suspected that the damage to the awaiting areas must have been severe.
" Hey, I said no---Carson. Come on get back here, that didn't come out right, what I said."
Beckett stopped dead in his tracks, turning round on his toes, brows lowered in concentration. "What that just an apology?"
"Well---no, just--- I know that you, you know, contribute a lot to this, mission--- not just this one I mean, to Atlantis in general." McKay stuttered over his words, never admitting that he was outright sorry, nor in any wrong in the first place, he just didn't want to be left alone so far from the control center, and without the tracker to see what might be coming up behind him. "So, give it back---the tracker."
Beckett consider a moment, Rodney's words leaving a distaste in his mouth believing they were said for the wrong reasons and not in what he considered actual human decency and respect. "It's because I made the fat gut joke isn't it?"
"What?! No." McKay shot as he faked his ignorance, standing up on his feet, one shoe still laying on its side in the middle of the hallway. He then started towards Carson, hand outstretched for the tracking device. " I don't know what your referring to---now give that back to me."
Beckett was about to, but then lifted the device up and over his shoulder, looking at Rodney in pure sincerity. "I really didn't mean it." While McKay's eyes followed it eagerly, reaching out.
"I said, I don't care, now give it back." Rodney groused impatiently, finding the comment in the first place, offensive. He did not have a gut. At least he didn't think so, he found his appetite healthy, and granted he didn't have the best physical routine, he still did try to keep in shape, when he could, when he wasn't busy with other things. Which was pretty much all the time.
"You sure?" Carson came back, pulling the device back farther, almost taunting McKay with it. In all honesty he just wanted to make sure the physicist knew it was just in jest, and not an actual jab like a few of the Atlantis crew did make behind his back, and sometimes right to his face.
"Yes, yes---now let's just get this mess over with so I can get back to more important things."
Beckett's eyes went wide, jaw nearly dropping. "Oh! I see now. So, you think that I don't have anything better to do, then, then to baby-sit you?!" He backed away, wavering the tracker in Rodney's face. "That I don't have important work myself, that I should be doing?"
Rodney backed off raising his hands in defense. "Now, see, I didn't say that---I only sai…"
But Carson didn't let up, instead he snapped back with such biting words that even McKay was taken back by them. " You only, care about yourself McKay! And until you learn that there are things out there bigger and more important then your ego, well, I pity you. Cause it's damn sad!"
Pushing down the comment, Rodney snapped back. "Fine!" Snatching the tracker from Beckett and running a thumb over it, as if soothing the system, when he was only trying to calm himself from the bitter blow, when he came up with the only response he could think of at the time. "And I don't need your pity, or your approval." He knew it sounded lame, but he started to doubt it was, in fact, the truth.
"I think, you do." Beckett said, eyes narrowed as he ripped the tracker out of McKay's grasp. "And I think you aim to prove yourself to a lot of the blokes round here. Thinking they might respect you more when you try and act all high and mighty, like others aren't doing as much as you are."
"That's, that's not true and you know it---I have more respect for what we're doing here then you'll ever know, and if you took a second..."
"What? When? When I'm not treating you for a burn or a scrape because you're too fool-headed to know, maybe, when you're sticking your nose in places you shouldn't be. Might I remind you of the incident with the personal shield? The lives of everyone in Atlantis is my responsibility, I happen to care for all of you, even you McKay." Carson shook his head sadly. "But maybe I shouldn't push you so hard, hum? You might just, faint on me."
McKay looked down, glaring at the floor, his lips drawn up tight as he placed his hands on his hips. Then without further thought he charged at Beckett with a growl, shoving him backwards. Carson, caught off guard was helpless for a moment until he reacted, throwing an arm around Rodney's neck pulling the man towards him and down, getting McKay in a headlock.
He held him there as McKay struggled, grasping and tearing at Beckett's arm finding the act feudal for the other man was far stronger. Instead, Rodney, with a burst of strength pushed forward and barreled both of them into the wall behind Beckett.
Stumbling backwards, Carson released his hold on McKay and slammed into the wall with a thud, making the thing give way, sliding to the side and leaving a large open doorway. Rodney had but a moment to realize, with a stuttering gasp, what was happening when Beckett, looking to steady himself from falling down, reached for McKay's shoulder, catching him by the shirt and hauling him in as well through the doorway.
Both men collapsed painfully and in a jumbled heap into the small, dark, and cramped room. Beckett hit what felt like a large curved object, smacking the back of his head and jamming him in the back as McKay fell on top of him, ramming him down into the thing farther. Rodney smashed his knees and elbows into the hard floor of the room and kept moving, sliding off to the side to Carson's left, getting him self half wedged between the nearby wall and something else, until there was no more room for him to fall.
In the knot and scramble of limbs Beckett managed to pull himself up, rubbing the back of his head as he cursed softly, wondering what exactly had just happened. One moment he was standing the next he was in what seemed like a small closet.
McKay, still sprawled out, arms and legs akimbo, groaned something about his knees. Both breathed heavily, the aggression slowly slipping away as they concentrated upon their own bangs and bruises more then the fact they had just fought, and a poor excuse for a fight at that.
Rodney took great care to right himself as the lights came flickering on, blinding him for an instant. He winced managing to sit up in the small space that he realized pitted him between a wall and what looked like one of Atlantis's strange toilet systems. He was in the process of stretching his legs out while rubbing his elbow when he heard the soft beginnings of laughter.
McKay looked up slowly, praying he wasn't hearing what he thought he was to find Carson smiling down back at him, holding back a strong fit of the giggles.
"This is by no means, funn…AH!" McKay yelped as he bent out his arm testing it.
Carson couldn't help himself, the idea of what happened was too much. Grown men acting like two school mates on a playground kept replaying in his mind. "You---you should have seen your face, before you fell." A bursting laugh issued out through Beckett's nose as he continued. " Looked---looked like someone lit your desk on fire!" Sputtering, he doubled over. "You were---so pissed."
"Ha-Ha." McKay replied flatly, not sharing the doctor's pure enjoyment of the situation. " Well I hope your happy with yourself, I think I'm stuck."
"Aw Rodney, now come on." Beckett calmed himself, reaching a hand out to help the man out and back on his feet. McKay in turn swatted it away as he grumbled something about doing it himself. With a grunt he pulled free and got up, winching all the while through all the aches and pains of his limbs. He knew tomorrow he'd be bruised for sure. Rodney could see himself trying to explain why to Dr. Weir. That would go over real well.
Rubbing the back of his neck he glared at Carson with distaste. "Did you have to put me in a headlock?!"
"I was only protecting you from hurting yourself." Beckett chuckled looking the man over, there seemed to be no immediate need for his attention, they both just had a good knock, and deserved a good laugh, though McKay didn't seem to think the same.
"How, compassionate of you." McKay said with his quick-tongued sarcasm, pushing passed Carson as he made a way for the door, not watching where as he going, nor knowing that at some point while the men regained themselves that the door had slid back shut. Rodney, trying to make a quick getaway slammed face first into a door. He stumbled back, clasping a hand over his face, especially his nose as he growled openly in pain.
Sucking back his laughter, Beckett watched as McKay glanced at him from the corner of his eye, and if he could, would have burned Carson down right then and there with them. "You are not, laughing at me!" Rodney lowered his head and drew his hand away, looking at it. "Oh God, I bleeding!"
"Aye, now, calm yourself---let me see." Beckett laughed, talking in a soothing tone, his nurturing instinct kicking in. He turned McKay towards him by the shoulders, the physicist freely letting him as he shut his eyes tight.
"It's bad, isn't it---Oh God don't tell me it's broken, it's broken isn't it?!"
Beckett proceeded to hush him and placed both hands on either side of McKay's face, tilting his head up and down.
"Uh--ow?!" Rodney whined trying to pull his head back, wondering just what the doctor was doing.
"Hold still." Carson commanded gently, looking the man's nose over, he then pressed his thumb along the ridge of McKay's nose, feeling it over for any bumps, anything that might imply that there was damage to the cartilage.
McKay tensed up, his eyes widening at the sudden pressure to an already damaged area "AHHh---Stop that!" He yanked his head away, holding a tender hand up to his nose. "What the hell kind of doctor are you?!"
"I was only feeling for fractures, which you have none. And keep your head tilted up, or otherwise all the blood's gonna leak out of your brain." Carson pointed at Rodney then motioned to the floor.
McKay stared at him intently, holding his nose.
"I'm kidding Rodney, relax, you'll live." Beckett said plainly, amazed that the physicist was for a moment believing him. He took a moment to look around then, taking in their surroundings. "Well, looks like we've found ourselves a bathroom."
"Your observation boggles the mind! And what clues served you that idea, was it perhaps the giant toilet I bashed my arm into?" McKay shot back feeling the pain drain from his nose as he tilted his head up, feeling the blood seep back, a most uncomfortable feeling. He then turned his attentions to the door, having just about enough of this 'mission' that he could stand.
Rodney placed a hand on the door and pushed on it, meanwhile Beckett watch on, a strong feeling of guilt drawing over him. He didn't really mean all those things he said to the physicist. Well, perhaps he did, it did seem that McKay acted like that through most of the time he knew him. Looking out for only himself, trying to profit where he could, concerned for his future needs rather then anyone else's. Perhaps it was time someone lay the truth out for Rodney, perhaps this was the time. Beckett believed that things happened for a reason, and fate had a funny way of drawing things together for the purposes they saw fit to have. That were needed to be.
"Listen, I'm sorry I roughed you up." Beckett spoke up suddenly, trying to open a more appropriate and calmer line of communication with his colleague.
McKay turned for a moment from his concentration on moving the door back, looking at Carson with an unimpressed expression. "Roughed me---Hey I was about to turn the tables buddy, I just---" He then turned his attention back to getting them out of the cramped bathroom which was now growing hot and stuffy. "---was waiting for the opportune moment."
"Was that before, or after, I detained you?" Beckett laughed, tired of watching McKay pound and push at the exit, he walked over, gently pushing Rodney to the side as he braced himself against the door, pushing with a grunt. "Let me have a go at it."
McKay feeling that Carson thought he was weak and useless, kicked the door and crossed his arms over his chest, waiting to see if the doctor took notice. Which he didn't. Only briefly replying that kicking the door won't do much good and to instead help him push.
Finding arguing about it wouldn't help them in the least, Rodney also braced himself against the door, both men using their full body weight as one and pushed.
After straining all he could, Beckett stepped back, breathing heavily as McKay did the same, glancing at him for a moment, trying to build up his strength for another try at the door.
"Well, that ain't moving." Carson said finally, wiping the growing sweat on his brow, motioning to the door dejectedly.
"Why thank you for pointing that out!" Rodney cried heatedly before he threw himself at the door, seeming to grow more and more panicked as the moments passed. He didn't several more times, bouncing off to no avail.
Beckett caught him before he did it again, pulling the man back. "You'll only hurt yourself, and that door's at least four inches thick, it's no use." He wondered then if perhaps the physicist had a touch of claustrophobia, and if so, this all could become a huge problem sooner then later.
Rodney looked at the doctor like he was mad, shaking his head he turned back to the door. "No, no. there has to be a control panel, wires, SOMETHING!" He whined and began feeling around the outer edge of the door. While Beckett, seeming as if the door had defeated him, sat down in the area to the right of the toilet, where it was wider, at least it was cooler on the floor then it was standing. He watched on, seeing McKay grow more and more frantic. "I mean, my shoe's out there. All alone and someone could take it!"
Suddenly, as if he been struck by a thrown rock, McKay spun round, pointing at Beckett with a wavering finger. "Someone! Someone!"
"What?" Carson looked up to him confused as to what the man was getting at, finding it almost like talking to a small yipping dog.
Growling in frustration, McKay took a deep breath and spoke again. " You have the radio, contact someone in the control room, and tell them where we are."
Beckett seemed to be hit by the same rock, he jammed a hand down to his side, ripping the radio out of his pocket before laughing at it, finding it so stupid that he didn't think of it before hand. Clicking on the send button he spoke, clear and with a short chuckle at how silly he had been. "This is Dr. Beckett, is anyone there? Over."
Both men stared at the radio, as nothing but silence to greet them back. Carson brought the radio up to his mouth again, pushing the send button. "Hello? Is there anyone there? This is Dr. Beckett, I'm currently trapped in a bathroom with Dr. McKay in a Northwesterly sector. Over."
Once again, there was no reply, the radio remained quiet, with only the soft buzz of static.
"That's---that's impossible, someone has to be there." Rodney looked around frantically. "This room isn't thick enough to block the signal---give me that!" McKay pulled the walkie-talkie out of Beckett's hand, anxiousness causing him to act hastily.
"Is anyone out there? Hello!!" There was a sudden buzz of static and what sounded like a broken reply on the other end followed by a few clicks before the walkie-talkie died out again. "What the hell is wrong with this thing?!" Rodney exclaimed, turningthe radio over in his hands as he began to smack it in the side, shaking the thing. The growing fear was making his palms sweaty and so with one jerked shake the radio when sailing out of McKay's grasp and clattering into the toilet.
Carson shot up where he sat, praying the radio wasn't damage when he remembered that the city's waste system didn't run on water, in fact the toilet basin had no disposal hole into pipes like an Earth toilet would, and so the basin was dry. "Why in Heaven's name did you do that for?!" He stared up at Rodney with a frustrated scowl. It wasn't just about the radio any more, the whole situation was starting to ware thin on his nerves as he began to think what said situation could lead to.
"Oh, Yeah Beckett, the radio just started working, so I decided to throw it in the TOILET!" McKay cried aloud, carefully reaching into the toilet basin, and drawing the radio out, looking it over as he began to hand it gingerly back to Carson, who, deeply agitated, yanked it away and held the useless thing limply on his raised knee. Looking up to Rodney, he met the man's equally fearful gaze.
"I think we have a problem." Carson noted quietly, calming down. He knew being angry was going to get them nowhere fast, and the best thing to do now was to keep a clear head and try to come up with a plan. He rested the radio carefully on the floor, and stared at it, now if only he could think of a plan, that would have been great.
McKay gulped, that feeling of dread bubbling back up into his stomach as he turned to the door and pounded on it, until his fists grew painfully numb. "HELP!" He cried, his voice echoing dully back into the small room, ringing in Beckett's ears.
"No use yelling, even if we were close to the control base, the walls are too think, no one would hear us." Carson said solemnly. Rodney turned his back to the door, letting himself fall against it, as he slid down into a squatting sitting position, the only one the room would allow him to have. His face was red and sweaty, eyes seeming to look through the room beyond him as he shook his head in complete disbelief of the most absurd situation he had gotten into. And as he turned his gaze over to Beckett all he said was this:
"I'll never see my other shoe again…."
Carson chuckled flatly. "Yeah, and in about maybe two, three hours we'll run out of air."
"Well, yeah, that too." Replied McKay sadly, resting his face in his hands. He couldn't believe this was how his life would end, trapped inside a bathroom with Dr Beckett of all people, couldn't even be some hot chick, even a moderately hot chick, even a girl. He let out a long exhaled breath, remembering that he should probably be saving all the air he could get.