Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis does not belong to me. I merely tinker with the characters, put them through stress and turmoil, and then set them free once more.
This is rated PG for suggested physical discomfort. Rating may change to a stronger level as the story progresses.
And, finally… this has been Betaed by a wonderful group of new friends. Amazing how they each see things differently. Thanks! You know who you are!
The Last Witness by nebbyjen
Dr. Aloyna Mika, Pennatroca's chief energy scientist, studied the display on the small datapad that the visiting off world scientist continued to type upon and then hand to her. "Dr. McKay, I don't understand. We've used geothermal energy for decades to power our cities. Not once has there been any type of serious malfunction." The middle-aged woman glanced up at the smug visiting physicist seated across the table. His attitude wore upon her and she felt her patience failing fast. "Are you trying to tell me that our previous six years of clinical testing and data collection is wrong? Who do you think you are? Coming here from some place we've never seen, tearing our work to pieces."
"I didn't say you were wrong. I said your data was inconclusive due to the fact that it was compromised, because you apparently hadn't taken into consideration the movement of the planetary plates." Rodney eyed Dr. Mika with contempt. He had spent the better part of the past two days arguing with this woman, trying to make her understand the dynamics of plate tectonics, only to listen to her feeble attempts to disprove him. Shifting on his uncomfortable stool, he pressed his hands firmly down on the table and tried to keep himself from calling her the absolute idiot he thought she was. "I think we've come to an impasse, doctor. If you're not willing to accept what I've been telling you, then I have to believe that there is nothing left for us to discuss. Good day."
Rising to his feet, he picked up his warm jacket and he made his way over to the door, letting himself out. "Advanced science," he grumbled, walking stiffly down the bustling hallway. Tapping the call switch on his radio, he signaled Sheppard, "Major, I'm finished here. There's no reason for me to continue."
"Understood," came the swift reply. "Ford and Teyla should be finished soon. Meet us back at the jumper in fifteen."
"Roger that, fifteen minutes. Out." Shoving the radio back inside his front pocket, Rodney realized that in his haste to leave, he'd left his datapad back on the table with the science director. The mere thought of having to confront that stubborn woman again made tightness between his brows form as he turned and marched once more towards the main office of the center.
His determined pace slowed when he heard loud, angry voices emanating from behind the closed doors of the lab. One was from a male that Rodney didn't recognize, and the other was clearly an agitated Dr. Mika. The sound of something heavy impacting the wall with a thud ended the yelling, before the door was brusquely flung open and a large man dressed in blue stormed out, practically knocking Rodney down in his haste.
"Excuse me," the physicist snapped at the retreating figure. "And people think I'm rude." Tugging his jacket, Rodney straightened his shoulders and readied himself for another confrontation. "Dr. Mika, I left a piece of my equipment in your office," he announced as he entered the doorway.
Greeted with silence, he walked over to the table in search of his datapad, only to be stopped when he spotted the crumpled figure of the science director on the floor. "Dr. Mika?" Quickly kneeling, he checked her pulse to see if she was alive and discovered to his dismay that she wasn't breathing. "I need some help in here!" he yelled over his shoulder towards any passerby in the hallway.
Carefully straightening Dr. Mika, Rodney placed his hand behind her neck and tipped her jaw forward. Something warm and wet coated his left hand and he knew without looking that it had to be blood. Without a second thought, he wiped the substance off on his pant leg, then pinched her nose and began artificial respirations. Totally focused on attempting to revive the fallen scientist, he didn't hear the security detail enter the room behind him.
"Stop!" The first guard commanded as he grabbed Rodney by the scruff of the neck and tossed him painfully back against one of the legs of the lab table, away from the scientist.
Confused for just a moment, Rodney shook his head and then tried to see around the foreboding figure blocking his view. "I was trying to help her."
The guard didn't look impressed. "I am not familiar with the customs of your world, but on ours, we do not molest our injured."
"Molest! I was giving her CPR. Cardio pulmonary resuscitation. I was helping her breathe." A bad feeling began to niggle in the back of Rodney's brain.
Several more members of the Pennatrocan science community came rushing in to the room, gathering around their scientist. "She's dead," one exclaimed. All eyes turned and looked at the stranger seated on the floor with blood on his hands and clothing.
"What did you do?" an elderly, dignified man demanded, glaring at Rodney.
That niggling feeling erupted into a full-blown warning bell. "I didn't do anything other than try to help her." Glancing down at his hands, the physicist realized things couldn't look any worse; that was, until his radio came to life.
"McKay, where are you?" Sheppard's voice snapped. "I thought you said you were ready to leave."
Rodney looked up at the looming security member before him, and then to the others. Slowly sliding his hand in his pocket, he activated his radio. "Major, I need some…" he began to say before the guard quickly reached down and painfully yanked his arm free. Next thing he knew, he no longer had the radio. He watched the other man shut it off and stuff it in his own pocket.
"Ouch! Take it easy there, Brutus," Rodney griped as he rubbed his shoulder. "I was only going to notify the major that I needed some help." A quick look at the shocked surrounding faces, he shifted uneasily further back against the table. He hadn't experienced this much animosity since the day he'd activated one of Kavanaugh's projects without asking, and set the man's lab on fire. 'Hurry, Major,' he silently pleaded.
'Brutus' reached back down and grasped Rodney once again by his sore arm, pulling the physicist to his feet. "Dr. McKay, you do need to come with me. Your friends will have to wait."
"McKay!" Sheppard yelled into his radio for the third time, still not receiving any response from the missing scientist. Mentally replaying Rodney's last transmission, 'Major, I need some...' he grimaced, looking to Teyla and Ford's apprehensive expressions. Was the scientist in trouble? Did his radio die? Did he touch something he shouldn't have…again?
Pacing inside the small Jumper cabin, he stopped before the others as they both stood patiently waiting for his orders. "Come on," he decided, attaching his P-90 to his vest, "let's go see what he's done this time."
A/N Here we go again!