Title: The Pink Gas (SGA)
Author: HeatherF
Characters: Beckett, McKay, Sheppard (Ford and Teyla too)
Warnings: My first SGA fic
Season/Episode: Season One sometime (certainly before Ford jumped through the gate with his bizarre eye and Sheppard became a Colonel).
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Not mine, no money being made etc.
Thanks: Tipper--she works hard and does all sorts of neat things with color changes and the such. Half the time I don't know what to change. She does.

Summary: Ford and McKay want to prove to Beckett that going off-world isn't as terrifying as the physician thinks it is. You just know it's not going to end well.

A/N: Any and all mistakes are mine. If there are supposed technological glitches, those are mine and are just cleverly hidden good ideas that no one else has thought of yet.

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PART ONE

"Hey, McKay," Sheppard tipped his chin up in greeting as he entered into the small curtained off area of the infirmary that housed Drs. McKay and Beckett. "How's the arm?" he asked as he neatly slid his way between the foot of the two beds.

Sheppard was relieved to find that McKay was looking better this morning than he had the previous evening. With the broken arm set and casted and the drug induced lethargy and malaise worn off, the astrophysicist was looking more like himself.

The morning before had been a hell of an off world adventure. It had started off smooth enough, if one allowed for Dr. Beckett's great hesitancy in leaving Atlantis and adventuring out into the unknown and if one ignored McKay's blustering as he tried to soothe the medical doctor's fears in his own roundabout, strangely obtuse manner.

The planet had been pleasant. High alpine forest, little undergrowth, wide game trails, occasionally grassy glades, all very picturesque and postcard like.

Sheppard had known it was too good to last.

When Ford had stumbled across the small stone building with its cracked, grayish wood planked door and wrought, iron hinges, no one gave much thought to it. There were no life signs, no evidence of advanced technology and certainly no readings indicating a ZPM.

That was when McKay, in his rush to prove to Carson that off world exploration was indeed 99 pure tedium, managed to expose the 1 of pure unadulterated terror that was known to occur on not so rare occasions.

McKay had pushed open the heavy wooden door with too much enthusiasm, scanner in hand, he grabbed the vid cam from Ford and confidently entered through the small doorway. The heavy door swung surprisingly easy, but the strength of the iron forged bolts and hinges gave testament that their appearance was not just for show. The door swung ominously silent, revealing an apparently dark, dirt floored, windowless room.

Sheppard knew, just knew he should have reached forward and yanked Rodney back by his collar. He kicked himself now, because he knew that deep down McKay and Ford were jinxing the mission by trying to down play the dangers of off world travel to ease the mind of Beckett.

Sheppard had been certain it was going to backfire and bite them all on the ass.

In the end, it was Rodney who was catapulted into the room by some unknown force, slammed hard enough against the far wall to snap a forearm like twig and knock the wind out of him before he could even get a yell off. The vidcam skittered across the floor following the hastily flung scanner. And surprising no one but probably himself, it was Carson, not thinking and acting as only a bull headed Scotsman would do, who charged into the room, which suddenly started quickly filling with a sweet smelling pink vapor, yelling for Rodney.

Sheppard sighed, remembering back on yesterday morning's fiasco of a mission. He and Ford had donned their breathing regulators, stole deep breaths and charged into the room after the two impulsive doctors. They managed to find them with little difficulty or mishap and dragged them both out. Teyla, similarly protected, ducked in after the vidcam and scanner.

Rodney had still yet to get his breath back, and lay on the ground gulping for air like a landed fish with panic rampant in his eyes. The hand of his broken arm twitched and flopped, nerves firing as his mind worked feverishly to keep the pain blocked.

Beckett knelt beside him, trying to capture the flopping hand, avoiding the gross misaligned forearm while all the while coughing uncontrollably.

Sheppard had slammed the door closed and ripped off his closed breathing mask. With Ford and Teyla's help he managed to dragged and cajole the remainder of his jinxed team far from the little stone shed to the protection of the surrounding high timber forest.

Rodney finally managed to gasp in a breath which was followed closely by moans of pain and distress, which, after looking at McKay's arm, Sheppard couldn't blame the man. The twisted extra backward bend in the forearm just below the elbow was horrifically unnatural and nauseating just to glance at.

Sheppard couldn't seem to stop staring at it and wincing.

Beckett had managed to get his own coughing under control, drugged Rodney to alleviate some of the pain, and then outwardly asked what they all thought the purpose of the pink gas was for.

Two hours later, back in the Atlantis infirmary, Rodney's arm had been set and he was comfortably smothered under some of the strongest pain killers in Carson's arsenal.

Zelenka and Grodin were able to download and decipher the information recorded from Rodney's scanner and the vidcam.

Apparently the little stone house had at one time been used for storage. Of what? Grodin nor Zelenka could decide. The booby traps had been designed by the builders to protect their stash and prevent future visits. Trespassers were to be incapacitated not killed. Sheppard could only imagine that the builders didn't want to have to deal with rotten and decaying bodies when and if they returned to their little building of keepsakes. Empty now of whatever treasures the mysterious builders had once stored, it appeared as if their little house of tricks was still working

The pink gas, a mimicker of certain cytokines and prostaglandins, was used to incapacitate an intruder, but not kill. Strong evidence that a sick trespasser who could run away with out their bounty, was better than a dead trespasser stinking and rotting in close proximity to whatever the original builders held dear.

Beckett smiled widely. He had just the antidote for the misty pink gas whose chemicals sailed easily in his blood stream and sat concentrated in the vascular beds of his lungs.

He felt fine.

And the pleased grin was evidence enough that he would continue to feel fine.

Sheppard still couldn't shake the crestfallen expression on the good doctor's face only hours later.

Apparently the cytokines and prostaglandins in the vapor were just different enough from earth cytokines and prostaglandins that the normal inhibitors Dr. Beckett and his group would have used to combat such substances failed. Miserably.

And apparently the chemicals were just different enough that the effects of the pink little gas were delayed.

Dr. Beckett's grin had been replaced by a worried frown when the realization had finally settled that he would not continue to feel fine for much longer.

McKay had remained ominously silent lying in his bed watching Dr. Beckett pace back and forth, with his white coat billowing behind him as he tried to brainstorm ways to beat the startlingly familiar, yet frightfully different chemicals.

Sheppard understood the guilt Rodney was feeling and certainly sympathized with him in the helplessness of it all. There was apparently nothing they could do but wait for the cocktail of agents to simply take hold and run their course.

It was with some trepidation that Sheppard, McKay, Ford and Teyla waited and watched from the side lines as Beckett and his medical virtuosos tried to find an antidote for Carson's impending illness.

Beckett had eventually stopped his frantic pacing and sharp u-turns which resulted in him hastily pulling books off a shelf and flashing through pages. He would eventually stop his furious reading and note taking, lay his pencil down and rest his forehead in his palms and sigh. After a while, he simply put the books away, stopped the harried scribbling and noted McKay's unusual silence.

It was then Sheppard realized just how much Beckett cared and sacrificed for his patients. Sure, the Major knew the Doctor had compassion for those under his care but when Beckett had stopped his frantic research to offer reassurances and unconcerned smiles to ease McKay's building sense of guilt and self assumed blame, Sheppard began to understand just what Beckett was willing to forgo for the sake of a patient.

The Major had leaned crossed arm against the wall while Carson assured Rodney and Weir, though as unpleasant and as uncomfortable as the next few days would be, he would survive and be back to full duty before Rodney.

McKay had scoffed and sputtered but Sheppard recognized the look of relief that relaxed Rodney's muscles.

Sheppard appreciated the Scotsman's reassurance and light tone but he did not miss the underlying worry or the tinge of apprehension that haunted Beckett's smile when he left the small group and exited the infirmary in retreat to his lab.

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TBC