Title: The Rabbi's Son
Author: Dr. Dredd
Spoilers: Siege III, Intruder
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, characters, concept, etc, aren't mine.
Summary: Current events through the eyes of Steve Schwartz, Carson's 2IC. Written for the SGAHC challenge "Fathers"
My father, may he rest in peace, always wanted his only son to become a doctor. But he never told me that it could lead to anything like what I've experienced over the past year. Twelve months ago I was a reasonably competent surgeon with a reasonably rewarding career at a reasonably prestigious hospital. Now I'm practically in charge of an entire medical department in a 10,000 year-old city in another galaxy. How unreasonable is that?
Another wise doctor once said, "Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!" He might have been describing the wonders of the lost city of Atlantis. But I doubt Dr. Seuss was thinking of the Wraith when he said, "And when you're alone, there's a very good chance; you'll meet things that will scare you right out of your pants." Those things would make even the Lorax cut down all the trees to make an impenetrable barrier.
If by a miracle I could talk to my father one more time, he probably wouldn't believe anything I told him. Rabbi Schwartz believed in the mysteries of God, but was surprisingly skeptical about other non-Earthly phenomena. For instance, he'd scoff if I told him that we found a species of human almost indistinguishable from us when we stepped through the gate. And if I mentioned that their leader was an incredibly beautiful woman who could kick the snot out of our ranking military officer, he'd really have a field day.
He might take me seriously about the Wraith, though. Ever since my mother died in a botched robbery attempt, he was well aware of evil in fleshly form. My mother was his whole life, and the punk who pulled the trigger sucked that life right out of him. Is an alien life-sucking vampire that much different?
Anyway, even without the Wraith, there are still plenty of unbelievable things to go around. I've been a surgeon for almost ten years, and I've seen my share of trauma. People getting hit by cars, people falling from great heights. But Peter Grodin's wrist films after punching "Mr. Invincible" looked for all the world like he'd punched through a plate-glass window. Fortunately for him we have Ancient healing machines to work with, or I would have been practicing my hand surgery skills. Do you see what I mean about unbelievable?
But if the aliens and technology are incredible, the members of the expedition are all too human. I work for a man who's a cross between Star Trek's Scotty and Dr. Frankenstein. Easygoing on the surface, but you do NOT want to piss Carson Beckett off. I thought I was going to get fired that one time when I had to assert my authority while treating him. Instead, I wound up getting promoted to his second-in-command, and some days I'm still not convinced I wasn't being punished! But I've also seen the way he reassures the hurt and scared, so he's not all bluster.
And take Mr. Invincible himself, Dr. Rodney McKay. When I first saw him in Antarctica I didn't think he'd last a week. I figured he'd either blow himself to hell with one of his gadgets or one of the other scientists would commit justifiable homicide. But that was before I saw him handle the nanovirus crisis and before he managed to save the city multiple times during the siege. He's still a jerk sometimes, but at least now I know he's a good guy underneath.
Then there's the military. I got my share of recruitment pitches during med school and residency, and it was definitely tempting to have them pay off my student loans, but I didn't want to sign my life away for military ideals. Here on Atlantis I've had the opportunity to meet men and women who truly believe those ideals. Major -- oops, Colonel -- Sheppard is a prime example. Here's a guy who paid the price for not writing off fallen teammates just because someone higher up declared them expendable. Yet he seems to consider himself expendable when it comes time to volunteer for suicide missions. I'm glad he received his promotion, even though I heard it was grudgingly granted.
It goes without saying that Sheppard cares deeply for all of those under his command. He was absolutely devastated when Lieutenant Ford vanished in that puddlejumper. Heck, I was, too. Ford was like everyone's kid brother, wide-eyed and enthusiastic. Some of the "names" he came up with were so outrageous that you knew he was trying to yank everyone's chain. I hope we can find him and fix what's happened, since I'm pretty sure he's suffering now.
I could continue like this for the next twelve months. My father, of course, would alternate between rolling his eyes and laughing his head off. He may never have told me that becoming a doctor would land me here, but I definitely wouldn't have missed any of it.