Author's Note 8/21: I've done a second pass on the first five chapters. The storyline remains the same, but I've polished some of the dialogue and worked on some areas that had been bothering me. If you've read both versions, would love to hear what you think of the revisions.
"This isn't possible." McKay stared at the lab results not believing what he was reading. "This can't be correct."
"We've run the tests numerous times," Beckett responded. "They're correct."
"But..." Rodney was having a difficult time accepting the evidence in front of him.
Carson went over it again. "The nearest we can figure out is that the first set of tests for the Ancient gene were false negative. After we administered the ATA gene therapy we found out otherwise."
"That's an incredibly accurate understatement!" Rodney was definitely not happy. "Why wasn't I told about this immediately?"
"It happened while you were away. Dr. Weir thought we could handle it without you."
"Without me! Did you think I wasn't going to find out about this?" Rodney was pacing back and forth.
"It's not like we were hiding it from you," Dr. Beckett replied. Sometimes Rodney could be more than just a little bit unreasonable. "We just waited until you got back to let you know."
"How does this happen?" Rodney was going over the ramifications in his head. "How can anyone have two Ancient genes?"
"Rodney, I ran the tests myself." Carson was starting to get irritated himself. "And you certainly can't ignore the effect she has on the Ancient machines."
"What kind of effect?"
"Things happen when she's around them." Carson reluctantly admitted.
"What kind of things?" Rodney barked. He had a bad feeling about this, and Carson wasn't making it any easier. Whatever was happening, Carson was taking his own sweet time in telling him.
"She has an uncanny ability to make some of the Ancient technology blip.
"Blip. It seems she can activate the technology by her close proximity to it. It's really quite amazing." Carson smiled, remembering her attempts to take a relaxing stroll the day after it happened. The halls had lit up like Christmas.
"Well that's just terrific. Why would I want anyone in my lab who can activate Ancient technology simply by standing next to it. Has anyone thought this could be just a little bit dangerous?" Rodney was getting more frustrated by the minute. "Can she control it, or can we expect the city to plunge back into the ocean at any moment?"
"She's been working to control it. She's coming along quite nicely."
A look of sheer horror swept over Dr. McKay's face. "Beckett! You cannot think for one minute that I would ever consider working with this person!"
"She's doing quite well actually. Dr. Weir thinks she could be a great help to you. Besides, she's been able to tap into the Ancient main frame. She's found information encrypted in the Ancient texts that will be very beneficial to us."
It had become clear to Rodney that he couldn't depend on Carson to defend his side in this matter. "Give me another treatment," Rodney demanded. "Give me another treatment and then I'll have two genes."
"It doesn't work that way, Rodney. We still don't know what happened," Carson replied. No one was getting additional gene therapy until he was convinced it was safe. And considering the side effects, quite possibly not even then.
Rodney glanced at her file. She was assigned to the Archives section of Atlantis. Linguist, archaeologist, anthropologist. Worked with Dr. Daniel Jackson at Stargate command. "Impressive credentials for a glorified librarian, but I have no use for someone like her. I can translate quite well myself thank you very much. Oh, and did I mention I have more than a passing knowledge of Ancient technology?"
Carson ignored Rodney's sarcasm. "You haven't even given the girl a chance." He knew Rodney's curiosity was piqued.
Rodney dismissed the notion of a new member on his team. "Thank you, but if I did need someone, which I don't, it would be an engineer, not some silly schoolgirl with good typing skills."
Carson tried not to smile. Dr. Emma Grayson was an old family friend and she was anything but a silly schoolgirl. Matter of fact, Rodney may finally have met his match in her. But he was not willing to divulge that piece of information just yet. He'd wait to let Dr. McKay find out for himself what a formidable opponent Emma could be.
"Rodney, you don't have a choice in the matter. Elizabeth has made that quite clear. So just make the most of it." Carson was tired of trying to convince his friend that this would be a good thing. The truth was, he had major misgivings about introducing the two of them. He had managed to keep them apart so far, but this latest turn of events had made their meeting inevitable.
"What's she like?" Rodney asked looking away. The last thing he wanted Carson to think was that he might actually be curious about Dr. Grayson. "Another one of these insipid research types I suppose." He imagined her mousy with stringy brown hair and thick glasses. She probably sniffed a lot. Or maybe she was another one of these socially inept geeky types who giggled. Either option was more than he could bear in his domain. Perhaps he could pawn her off on Zelenka.
"She's a lovely girl from a nice family." Carson retorted. He wasn't going to give Rodney the satisfaction of describing her finer attributes. "And be nice to her. Like I said, she's an old friend."
"I don't suppose she's at least half attractive?" Rodney looked at Carson for reassurance. Carson purposefully ignored the remark. "Of course not, "Rodney answered himself. "If she were you would have kept her to yourself."
"This is not a dating service, Rodney." Carson snapped back. "She is here to help you with your research and nothing else."
At that moment Dr. Weir entered the infirmary. "Well, what do you think Rodney? Could you make use of our new Ancient prodigy?"
Rodney sneered "New Ancient. Very funny." Rodney was ready with his long list of reasons why someone who made Ancient technology "blip" should not be hanging around Ancient technology – meaning his lab - until they could get a handle on their new found skills.
"Good. Then that's settled." Dr. Weir stated before Rodney could get a word out. She was not willing to listen to any excuses as to why Dr. Grayson should not work in Rodney's lab. This was an extraordinary opportunity to make real progress in their research.
Dr. Weir looked at Rodney firmly.
"Okay. Fine. May I return to my lab now? I'm in the middle of some experiments that can't wait."
"Of course." Dr. Weir responded. "We don't want to do anything that interferes with your research."
She had a smile on her face that Rodney couldn't quite read. 'Like assign a ticking time bomb to my lab,' Rodney thought to himself. But he was done arguing. He would save his energy to think of other ways to get rid of Dr. Emma Grayson. "If you will excuse me," he replied smugly as he stormed out of the infirmary.
"Do you think this will work?" Elizabeth turned to Carson. She was concerned about putting someone with very little experience in with someone as volatile as Dr. McKay. "This may be very difficult for her. But at the same time any information that comes out of their work together will be invaluable to us.
"Don't worry about Dr. Grayson. I think she can handle Rodney." What he didn't say was that if Elizabeth were going to worry about anyone, it should be Dr. McKay.
Rodney strode down the hall towards his lab, the recent events playing in his head. He knew he was still the foremost expert on Ancient technology here on Atlantis, correct that, the Pegasus Galaxy, no, actually, the Universe. There was no way this glorified research assistant was going to invade his territory. He would work out a plan of action that would have her in tears within the week. She would go running to Dr. Weir begging to be sent straight back to Archives where she could spend the rest of her time on Atlantis cataloguing reference material. Rodney started planning his assault even before he got back to his lab.