SAMARITANS part 1 Charity begins..
A/N thanks to TJ for her wonderful betaing...
Sheppard leaned back against one of the infirmary beds, arms folded across his chest, legs crossed at the ankle. A small smile played about his lips as he watched their chief medical officer disgustedly throwing equipment and medications into boxes.
"All I'm sayin'," continued Beckett, "Is why does it have to be me? Dr. Weir knows any one of my team could do this as well as I could."
"Ah, but she promised our CMO would go. It's a goodwill thing."
"It maybe goodwill for her. It's no' fa me."
"You just don't want to go through the Stargate."
"I canna see why anyone would want tae have their molecules unscrambled like tha'. Besides,… It makes me feel sick."
"There's nothing to worry about. I'm going with you."
"Now there's another thing tha's botherin' me. You coming along. It's all bound ta end in tears."
"Hey! My track record isn't that bad."
"Oh no? You should see it from ma' side. You know, you could give me a hand here."
Sheppard got up, and went over to give him a helping hand. Truthfully, Beckett was right. It didn't really have to be him that went on this mission, but Elizabeth had managed to negotiate a trade deal with a race called the Marasians, in that they would trade food and other essential supplies for medical knowledge and help. The Marasians were experiencing an outbreak of a viral illness, similar to Measles that was sweeping through their communities, causing great distress and some deaths. Dr. Beckett had worked tirelessly with samples brought back from the SGA teams to formulate a vaccine with which to treat the so far unaffected members of their society. They were also going to provide medicines for symptomatic relief of the disease.
The Marasians were a race of isolated communities, scattered across the face of a planet more water than land. They managed to communicate effectively with each other, to trade and pass on information, but they were far less technologically advanced than the Atlanteans, and had expressed reservations about the vaccination programme. Dr. Weir had promised that their chief medical officer himself would bring the vaccine, and would inoculate the community leaders, then train some of the inhabitants in how to give the vaccinations themselves.
It was a simple, straight forward mission, and as the major was still recovering from his run in with the Wraith that had killed Gaul and Abrams, Dr Weir had decided it should be the major that accompanied the doctor, light duties only.
Chief ranking military officer, and chief medical officer Elizabeth had said. How much more demonstrative of their goodwill could they get?
With Beckett still muttering under his breath, they finished packing the equipment. Half an hour later saw the pair ensconced in a puddle jumper waiting for Dr. Weir's go ahead.
"Jumper One," she said, "You have a go. Keep in radio contact once a day." She clicked off, giving them a small wave.
Sheppard looked over at Beckett, to ask if he was ready, and couldn't help a small grin when he noticed the doc had a white knuckle grip on the seat's armrests. "Ready, doc?" he asked.
"Eh? Oh, aye." Beckett swallowed convulsively. "Go ahead."
The grip tightened even more as the jumper headed towards the event horizon. A few moments later they were exiting the wormhole on Marasia's largest landmass, and Beckett let go of the breath he'd been holding.
"Right then," he said as the village came into view. "Let's get on with it. The sooner we're done, the sooner we can go home."
Sheppard set the jumper down near the village, just on it's outskirts. Although the Marasians had so far been the epitome of politeness, they had just had one too many episodes where the planetary incumbents had been as nice as you please to their faces, while planning on how to sell them out at the same time. What you saw wasn't always what you got, and despite the villagers willingness to quarter their guests, Sheppard preferred to return to the jumper at night.
As he opened the rear hatch, the Major saw several of the younger members of the village running out to greet them, and help with transporting the equipment to the village. Their friendliness was infectious and it wasn't long before there was an easy camaraderie between Sheppard and the youngsters. "Like goes with like," thought Beckett watching them.
A groaning, creaking noise heralded the arrival of a slow moving transport vehicle which seemed to be moving under it's own power. Some of the younger children jumped up and down excitedly as they pointed the vehicle out to Sheppard. He learned from their enthusiastic explanations that the cart was solar powered. This one was slow, they said, but there were several much faster ones.
They loaded the equipment, and some of the youngest ones onto the transport, and followed it into the village.. The Elders were there waiting, and greeted them graciously.
A spacious and airy building open to the sea breezes that were ever present on this planet had been set aside for their use, and under the influence of all this royal treatment and being in his natural element, Beckett began to mellow. It wasn't long before he'd set up shop, vaccinated the elders, and taught some of the other villagers how to perform the vaccinations themselves. Several hours after that, and the village was done, and Beckett had doubled as family doctor to several other villagers with minor problems.
Neighbouring villages had been invited for the following day, so after a pleasant meal and evening spent with their hosts, John and Carson retired to the Puddle Jumper for an early night.
The following day saw the two of them up and busy, bright and early. Sheppard soon found himself with nothing much to do, so he spent the morning teaching the local kids how to play soccer, but by the middle of the day, even that was beginning to pall. He became aware that one of the councillors, Maroni by name, was coming towards him accompanied by a serious looking Beckett.
Maroni addressed the Major. "We have just received word from one of our outlying communities that they are experiencing an outbreak like ours," Maroni said. "Dr. Beckett has offered to go there, and assist as much as possible."
Sheppard looked at the Doctor. "You sure about this, Doc.?" he asked.
"Aye, we're done here now, so if we can help, then I think we should."
"Okay, we'll load up the jumper and-"
"I'm afraid you will not be able to take your craft." At Sheppard's look, he continued ,"The community is on a heavily forested island. Access is by boat only. It will take several hours to get there, but the person who brought the message is waiting, and will take you back with him."
"A boat trip?" Beckett didn't look too happy. "How much room will there be for all this stuff?" He gestured at all the equipment lying around him.
"The boat that will take you has been built for speed rather than carrying cargo. We will put aboard as much as we can, but space is limited However,. I would suggest you take your weapons," he gestured at Sheppard's P90 that was never far from his side, "Some of our fauna is less than friendly."
"What can we expect?" questioned the major, unhappy at going into a situation with such limited ordnance and intel.
"Our oceans abound with life. Sometimes we see it, sometimes we do not. However, it is best to be prepared."
Beckett looked even less happy, but having said they would go, couldn't back down now without losing face, and possibly the trade agreement.
"Okay," said Sheppard running a hand through his unruly hair. "Just give me a few minutes to get back to the gate and contact Dr. Weir, let her know we'll be out of contact for – how long?"
"No more than a couple of days." Replied Beckett, having already been briefed by Maroni on how long it would take to get there and back.
"Okie Dokie then, I'll let Elizabeth know we'll be out of radio contact for about 48 hours. Doc, you stay here and pack up the essentials. Be back shortly."
Beckett watched as the jumper powered up, then headed in the direction of the gate. He felt misgivings watching the major go, but nothing he could put his finger on. Instead, he turned his attention to sorting out the equipment into the bare essentials they would need.
Carson became engrossed in the task, and so it seemed no time at all that the jumper was back. Sheppard exited it, and closed the rear hatch, securing it so that no curious children could get in and inadvertently cause themselves harm. He was dressed in full kit, including P90 clipped to his vest, and Beckett did a double take.
"Do you really need all tha' stuff, Major?" he asked.
"Yes I do. And so do you," he replied, handing the doctor a vest weighed down with supplies, but no P90, thankfully, just a 9mil with a couple of extra clips of ammunition. He looked ruefully at all the stuff Beckett seemed to consider was necessary, then divided it in two, filling each of their packs with as much as they would hold, and securing it before swinging it onto his back.
Beckett tried to lift his. "Bloody Hell!" he shot out, "I'll tip over backwards ."
"There's a knack to it," smiled Sheppard, helping the doctor to comfortably secure his own burden. Groaning under the strain, Beckett morosely followed Sheppard to where their guide was waiting.
Fortunately, it wasn't far to the jetty where the ship was waiting for them. To Beckett it seemed woefully small to be going out into the open sea but their guide, Dalen reassured them that the boat was regularly used to communicate between islands, and barring attacks by unfriendly sea monsters, he felt reasonably certain they would get safely to their destination.
Carson goggled at the sea-monster part, But Sheppard nudged him in the ribs and merely said that Darlen was pulling his leg. The Marasian compressed his lips but said no more, and seeing them securely aboard, cast off.
For the first three or four hours, the trip was uneventful, pleasant even. Sheppard laid back against the bulkhead, and tipped his face towards the sun, relaxing. It was almost – not quite – but almost as good as flying. The sea air was crisp, and the only sound came from the hiss of the keel cutting cleanly through the water. The boat was making it's way through clusters of islands, with deeper water between them. The major was almost dozing off, when Beckett grabbed his arm and hissed urgently.
"I didna' wan'ta worry anyone," he said anxiously, "But I'm sure I just saw – well – Nessie."
Sheppard sat up, and looked at him as if he thought the doctor had had too much sun.
"Nessie?" he repeated incredulously.
"Aye, ya know, the Loch Ness Monster."
"I know what Nessie is," he said, "But here, really."
Beckett's face was deadly serious. "Aye, and if you look behind you, you'll see it too."
Sheppard whirled round and saw, incredibly, loops of …sea-serpent heading towards them. Fast. The loops were topped by a head easily as big as their boat, with huge teeth, and great big eyes, and at the other end was a huge honkin' tail, thrashing around. He swallowed. It was heading right at them.
Dalen's face was white with fear, but he was gamely trying to steer their boat away from onrushing doom. Sheppard brought up his P90, as the creature bore down on them, and flicked off the safety. He wasn't sure just how much good the weapon would be if it decided to attack, but he had to try. It kept coming. He fired a warning burst over the creature's head, but it didn't deter it, so he took careful aim at one of its eyes, and fired again. At the last moment, the creature swerved and his shot went wide, glancing off one of the thick scales behind its head, leaving a bleeding gash. The beast screamed, no other word for it, and began to thrash. Dalen, in a panic, dived over the side. The thrashing coils began to batter the boat.
"Beckett!" yelled Sheppard. "Hold on!" But it was no use. The boat began to break up under the onslaught and Sheppard was catapulted into the water. The last thing he saw before the icy water closed over his head was the creature's thrashing tail catching Beckett, and flinging him into the side of the boat. Then he was under water, the weight of the vest and his boots dragging him down, fighting and kicking to get back to the surface.