Takes place immediately prior to and during The Storm/The Eye.
"You are one sick puppy, you know that?" said a voice with an unmistakable brogue as John Sheppard walked toward the infirmary. Great, thought John. That sounded potentially gross. Maybe he'd go see Carson later. He wasn't feeling that bad.
"It's never going to heal if you keep licking it like that." Yeah, that was definitely TMI. John was turning to leave when he heard a noise that he'd never thought to hear in the Pegasus galaxy. He quickly peeked into the infirmary to be confronted by the sight of their chief medical officer working on...
... a small puppy. John gaped at the brown and white animal that whimpered and wriggled on an exam table. Carson was just finishing applying a bandage to a cut on the pup's hind leg. The physician looked at John rather sheepishly and shrugged.
John raised an eyebrow. "Let me guess. This is your latest gene therapy protocol."
Carson rolled his eyes. "Hardly, son." He pointed to Jinto, who sat on a chair next to the exam table. "Halling and some of the other Athosians came to talk to Dr. Weir. Jinto asked me to take a look at this little fella."
John cocked his head at Jinto, who blushed. "So you just decided to bring your dog to Atlantis for a visit."
"It's not really a dog, Major," Carson said to divert attention from Jinto. "It has a prehensile tail and is more intelligent than most terrestrial canines. But it's quite friendly." He removed a piece of gauze from the puppy's mouth. "And very playful."
John was skeptical. "How do you know it's more intelligent? We've never seen anything like it."
"Because unlike some individuals that come through that door, Pete here actually listened to me."
For a moment John felt guilty. He'd ignored his friend's advice to take it easy after the mist creatures messed with their minds, and had subsequently "passed out" from dehydration and serotonin depletion. He knew he'd be hearing about it for awhile.
The guilt only lasted a moment, though. Then John did a double take. "Pete?" he asked incredulously. "And what do you mean, he listens?"
Jinto spoke up for the first time. "His real name's Petelon. In our language, it means 'curious.'"
Pete definitely displayed that characteristic. The pup eagerly sniffed at everything he could find. Fortunately for him, Carson had wisely placed all the sharp, pointy objects out of his reach. As John held out his hand for Pete to sniff, Carson jumped in again. "He does follow commands. He held still, and he was cooperative for the most part."
Privately, John wasn't convinced. Still didn't sound any different from a terrestrial dog. But he kept quiet, since both Carson and Jinto looked ready to defend their champion. So he just grinned and asked, "Has Grodin met his namesake yet?"
Carson sputtered, "Why, you cheeky..." Seeing Jinto, he quickly modified his language. "... little bugger. You know he isn't named after Dr. Grodin!"
"Uh-huh. And I'm sure he'll believe that." John turned around so that Carson couldn't see, and winked at Jinto.
The Scot sighed. "Major, how is it that every time you come in here, I get a headache? No, don't answer that!" he said quickly. He put a hand on John's shoulder and steered him towards the back of the infirmary. "I'm sure you're here for a reason. What's wrong with ya this time?"
Jinto was bored. The trip to the city of the Ancestors had been fun at first. He and his father got to fly over the ocean in the Atlantean craft, and it had been no trouble to sneak Pete on board hidden in his baggy coat. But once they reached the city, things got less interesting. He had wanted to show Pete to Teyla, but learned that she was about to leave with Major Sheppard on some mission. His father left him in the quarters they used to share with a warning to stay out of trouble, so he and the pup wrestled for awhile. That was staying out of trouble! Except for the broken... thing that used to sit on a table.
Unfortunately, the unknown object had smashed into numerous sharp-edged fragments. After taking care of business on a pad Jinto had laid out for that purpose, Pete wandered over and accidentally cut his leg. Jinto had frantically tried to stop the flow of blood while Pete howled piteously, but soon realized that he wasn't going to be able to fix this on his own. He didn't know what to do at first, but then remembered the kind man in the white smock who'd asked them questions and poked them with pointy metal sticks. Teyla had called him a doctor. Maybe he would know what to do.
Someone had helpfully pointed Jinto in the right direction, and Pete was okay now. But since Major Sheppard and the doctor had disappeared, there wasn't anything else to do. Jinto decided that there wouldn't be any harm in looking at the little machines with the blinking lights that sat on a storage cart in the corner. He turned away from Pete and went to check them out.
Before Jinto and Pete arrived, Carson had also been bored. Rodney was studying the data device taken from the Genii and had barely left the lab for the last several days. John was also nowhere to be found. In other words, it was quiet.
Some of his more superstitious friends from residency would have told him not to use the "q" word, since all hell tended to break loose after that. Carson didn't believe in such nonsense, which was why he nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard the high-pitched whining. After a minute, he realized it wasn't Rodney, and hurried into the main treatment area.
He had barely been able to believe the sight that greeted him. The young Athosian lad, Jinto, was holding a puppy that couldn't be more than a few months old. The pup, who was the source of all the noise, was bleeding briskly from a small but deep cut on one of his hind legs. Poor Jinto looked frantic as he tried to help his friend.
Carson had grown up on a small farm, so he had some experience with animal care. "James Herriot, I'm not, though." he muttered. He also knew that he would be the butt of countless jokes if either Rodney or John caught him practicing veterinary medicine.
"What's this, then?" Carson asked, grinning as he reached out to gently stroke the soft fur. The dog immediately tried to lick his face, getting blood on his uniform top in the process. "Settle, easy does it," he said soothingly. "Let's just get you up on one of these tables." Carson stopped in surprise as the pup launched itself unerringly out of Jinto's arms and onto an exam bed, steadying itself by wrapping its tail around the back of a chair.
"It's almost like the little guy understood me!" Carson exclaimed. "Jinto, where did you get this wee puppy?"
"We used these dogs to guard our old homes. Some managed to bring them with us when we left." The boy looked sad for a moment, then brightened. "Pete is one of the first puppies born on this world!" Before Carson could respond, Pete started to attack the pillow sitting at the head of the table. "Stop that!" Jinto said. Carson could swear the dog looked disappointed, but it stopped.
"All of my patients should be this easy to deal with," Carson said under his breath. "Hold him still while I take a look at this, will you?" The wound had stopped bleeding, but was still too deep for the physician's liking. Probably best to just throw in a few stitches. Carson explained to Jinto what he was going to do. The boy looked a little green, but nodded.
Carson filled a syringe with local anesthetic and quickly injected it into the dog's leg, steeling himself against the resulting yelp. "We'll give this a few minutes to take effect. Ya shouldn't be feeling anything else, lad." He scratched Pete behind the ears, and the dog closed its eyes in contentment.
"Do you have animals like Pete back on Earth?" Jinto asked.
"Aye. They come in all shapes and sizes, too. We had two of them when I was growing up," Carson said wistfully, thinking of his parents and the simple farm life.
"Did they protect you from bad things like the Wraith?"
"They did guard our house," Carson said. "But they also herded sheep." As he spoke, he began flushing the laceration with sterile water. Then he carefully sutured the cut closed. After three stitches, he applied antibiotic ointment and covered the entire area with a bandage. Jinto watched, fascinated in spite of himself.
Carson turned away to dispose of used gauze and suture material, but when he turned back Pete was worrying at the bandage with his teeth. Although Jinto tried to stop the pup, he quickly ripped the bandage away. "I thought you were supposed to be intelligent," Carson scolded. "You are one sick puppy, you know that?"
Now Carson found himself dealing with Major Sheppard. "It doesn't sound too serious, since your headaches don't last long. They may still be an aftereffect of those mist creatures. But if they don't stop in a day or two, we'll need to work this up further."
John nodded. "Thanks. I'm about to go with Teyla to do an aerial survey of a part of the mainland that might be a good spot for a second settlement. I don't want to run into any trouble."
Major Sheppard, acting responsibly? The physician supposed there was a first time for everything.
"So what's with Rin Tin Tin out there?" John asked suddenly. Carson chuckled and explained what had happened. John shook his head. "Never a dull moment around here. But how did Jinto get from his quarters to the infirmary carrying a crying, bleeding dog without anyone noticing?"
"Let's face it, Major. Compared to some of the things we've seen around here, a dog is completely unremarkable."
It was now Pete's turn to be bored. The two-legged creatures had disappeared. There were plenty of interesting-looking things here, but he couldn't reach any of them. He also couldn't figure out where any of the neat smells were coming from. On the positive side, at least his leg was feeling better. He decided he'd go exploring to see if he could find someone or something else to play with.
Pete stood up on the exam table and walked stiffly toward the edge. Using his front paws and his tail, he jumped from the table to a chair and down to the ground. Nose to the floor, he snuffled his way to the infirmary door. No one noticed as he wandered out and went away down the hall.
As Carson and John walked into the main treatment area of the infirmary, Carson handed the pilot a small bottle of pills. "These will help if your headaches last longer than a few minutes, and they won't make you drowsy. But remember, I want to know immediately if they start to get worse or if they don't go away."
"Um, Carson? Does Dr. Weir know that there's an Athosian dog in the city?"
"I haven't had a chance to tell her yet. Why?" Carson asked, confused at the abrupt change of subject.
John pointed at the unoccupied exam table. "I think she's going to find out pretty soon."
The puddlejumper flew towards the mainland. John had beat a hasty retreat after learning of the runaway puppy. He didn't want to be around when Elizabeth started yelling. Turning to Teyla, he asked how her people were doing. She told him they were fine, but suddenly appeared distracted by something in the distance. "Do you see that?"
John followed her gaze and swallowed hard. "That can't be a storm – it stretches across the whole horizon."
"I've never seen something like that from so high."
"I've seen a lot of things from this altitude, but nothing like that. Atlantis base, this is Jumper One. We're gonna change our heading to investigate a storm."
What do you think so far? Please R&R