Disclaimer: Own nothing and no one. I just hope MGM loves me as much as I love it.
Archive: Anywhere you want.
Characters: Sheppard's Team (do they have a designation?) in general, but I do have a leaning towards McKay (it's the smart-ass thing--I love smart men with sharp tongues).
Spoilers: Childhood's End, Hide and Seek, Suspicion and Underground, I think. Passing references only.
A/N: This is not my fandom. I'll say that right off. It's actually miles (and over a hundred years) away from mine, but I can't seem to help myself. I don't pretend to have anything but the utmost respect for the many, many, many, MANY writers in the Stargate fandom, and the many readers and commentators, and I sincerely hope that you do not beat me up for this. It's my first try. I don't have the background, not having been a dedicated watcher of the original series (though I do watch it, just not with any serious attention), and I know next to nothing about anything scientific or medical (other than common sense). All I can say is, I had to write something. I was dying to.
A/N 2: Teyla's not very Teyla at first—she's too humorless for me most of the time in the show, and I have trouble writing someone that way. She becomes more like the canon Teyla later.
Description: Searching again for a Z.P.M on another world, Sheppard's Team find themselves on a planet with an unusual form of defense against the Wraith--shame it's broken.
PART ONE: IDIOMS AND IDIOTS
For some reason, as seemed to be a common feature of many of the places they'd visited so far, the planet they were visiting was lush and green. Long grasses, wildflowers, buzzing insects, thick forests and soft, rolling green hills....They could be in Montana somewhere, Major Sheppard mused, flying around in a piper on a lazy summer day, and never know the difference.
Well, except for the fact that the Puddle Jumper made virtually no noise and 3-D computer images seemed to randomly appear in the air in front of his face, but other than that....
When they flew over the planet where they had met Keras, McKay had started to talk about Colonel Carter's hypothesis regarding the ecological similarities of the many planets SG-1 visited, but he'd been cut off when they'd discovered that energy field. Part of the major actually wanted to hear the end of the story...but he just couldn't give McKay the satisfaction of knowing that something the doctor had said had actually been of interest to him.
As if reacting to his thoughts, he heard McKay mutter something to himself, then shift in his chair behind John's.
"Land over there," the doctor directed imperiously, leaning forward into Sheppard's line of sight for a moment in order to point towards a field.
"You sure?" Sheppard asked, scrutinizing the landing spot. It looked like every other field they'd flown over.
McKay snorted as he leaned back in his chair, favoring the back of Sheppard's head with an acerbic look. He clearly wasn't going to dignify that with an answer.
The snort of disgust was really all the response Sheppard needed as he headed for the field, a hint of a smile on the major's face.
"Just making sure we won't have to do any unnecessary hiking, McKay," he said. "After all, you know what they say about skinning a cat."
McKay made a face, again not bothering to answer, but Teyla piped up from her chair:
"Actually, no," she admitted, "what do they say? And who are 'they?'"
Ford chuckled, unable to help himself, and Sheppard smiled, responding cheerfully, "Oh, 'they' just means people in general, Teyla. And what they say about 'skinning the cat,' is that there is always more than one way to do it."
Teyla frowned. "More than one way," she paused a moment, "to skin a cat?"
"Yup." The puddle jumper landed gently in the field, and Sheppard shut it down except for the cloaking device.
"A cat is animal you eat, I assume?" Teyla added, her tone curious. "You skin it before you eat it?"
Ford nearly choked while McKay pressed his lips together tightly to avoid laughing. Sheppard grunted, clearing his throat.
"Ah no. Um...the phrase....I'm just warning McKay to make sure that his decision to land here is the best one."
"No he's not," McKay snapped defensively, his good humor at Teyla's question disappearing instantly. "He's questioning my ability to choose a location, which, of course, is silly. I wouldn't choose this field if I wasn't certain it was the closest one to the energy readings we found. You think I'm blindly pinning a tail on the donkey here? The readings—"
"Now, now, McKay, no need to get all testy," Sheppard smiled.
"Um," Teyla blinked, "I am sorry, but why would you pin a tail on some poor—"
"Testy?" McKay laughed, "Oh, I'd let sleeping dogs lie, Major, if I were you."
"Dogs?" Teyla looked at Ford. The young lieutenant was grinning.
"Birds of a feather, Teyla," Ford whispered quietly, pointing to the two men then tapping the side of his nose.
Now Teyla was really confused, trying to figure out what birds and feathers had to do with one's nose.
"You? a sleeping dog?" Sheppard was laughing, turning in his seat to arch an eyebrow at the scientist, "More like the cowardly lion...."
"Oh, ha ha," McKay crossed his arms.
"I think McKay's the tin man, myself," Ford added, still grinning. McKay gave him a dark look.
"At least I'm not the Scarecrow and Toto," he announced, lifting his eyebrows and leaving the two men with no doubt as to his meaning.
"No, wait, wait," Sheppard grinned, his eyes bright as he looked at Ford, "he's a flying monkey!" Ford burst into laughter, while McKay rolled his eyes. None noticed the glower Teyla had adopted.
"If I'm a flying monkey," McKay whipped back, "then the two of you are—"
"Stop!" The Athosian stood up, "That's enough! I do not know what any of the creatures you just mentioned are, but if you do not mind," she stuck her chin in the air, "I am not in the mood to skin one, pin a tail on one, watch it sleep or watch it fly! So," pivoting on her heel, she headed to the back of the craft, "shall we go?"
Ford's laughter instantly filled the Puddle Jumper, while both McKay and Sheppard shared surprised glances, before quickly catching the infectious sound. None could miss the glittering eyes of the glaring woman at the other end of the craft, impatiently tapping her fingers against the panel that would open the hatch.
McKay lifted up the hand held scanner, turning to the left and right to double check his earlier readings. The others stood around him in a rough circle, watching for movement and danger...and, frankly, enjoying the nice weather on this planet. The air was an odd mixture of scents—the smell of the forest was strong, but there was also a hint that something far away was burning, but the wind shifted too much to nail it down. After a moment, McKay nodded to himself, pointing in the direction of the rising sun.
"You sure?" Sheppard said again. McKay looked at him out of the corner of his eye.
"Just don't want you counting your chickens before they're hatched, McKay."
Teyla spun around to stare hard at the Major. All innocence, Sheppard kept his eyes on McKay. A slight twitch on McKay's lips was the only indication that the doctor understood the joke...and was more than willing to play.
"Oh, well, put it that way," McKay licked his lips, looking back down at the scanner, "Frankly, Major, I think you're barking up the wrong tree."
Teyla turned her glare to Rodney.
"Oh?" the Major said. "And how's that?"
"Because the day I can't read this device is a day that pigs will fly."
Teyla's glare intensified, but the Major was grinning.
"So how far?" he asked.
"Oh, about half an hour," McKay shrugged, adding smoothly, "as the crow flies."
"Nnnnng," Teyla miraculously kept her mouth shut. McKay glanced at her.
"What's the matter, Teyla?" he asked, "Cat got your tongue?"
The tiniest peep of exasperation came from her throat, and, instead of replying, she turned and started walking. The three men couldn't help snickering like her wicked older brothers, even as Sheppard ran quickly to stop her.
"Teyla, Teyla, we're sorry," he assured, getting in front of her and trying to appear sincere. "We'll stop. Look, they're just silly proverbs about earth animals. We have many."
"We Athosians have a few ourselves," she challenged, drawing herself up, "but you do not see me using them to speak over your head, now, do you?"
"Then, if you do not mind...." She raised both eyebrows.
"Okay, okay," Sheppard looked at McKay and Ford, who were still smiling. "Boys, that's enough."
Teyla glanced back at them over her shoulder, and the two men immediately straightened out their expressions. As soon as she looked back to Sheppard, though, the grins came back.
Sheppard, seeing them perfectly clearly because he was facing them, immediately thought of the phrase "the cat that ate the canary," and it was only through a supreme effort that he didn't say it out loud. Teyla was watching him expectantly now, waiting for orders. Inwardly, he sighed. Back to work.
"Okay, McKay," the major turned to look towards the sun, "let's find that power source."