Noise started flitting like a butterfly's wings into his ears. Soft murmurs, scraping of metal on a floor and the beeping of a monitor were all recognized by his brain. None of it was real close.
Then the sheet hit him just right.
Sheppard flew out of the bed and toppled an IV pole. It crashed into the bed he had just vacated, rolled off, and landed on the floor.
"Ow! Shit!" He looked down at his hand as the port imbedded in his skin pulled.
"Colonel! Watch your language! Children are present," admonished Carson. "What happened?"
Embarrassed, he looked at one of the other beds. A small child was asleep with who he assumed were his parents sitting in the chairs bedside. They acknowledged him with smiles and nods.
"Sorry." He looked back at Carson. "The sheet. Well, let's just say, it felt like lots of little legs."
"Aach, I understand. Here climb back in and let's have a look at that hand."
"You Okay, Carson?"
"Yes. No physical damage."
John could see a flicker of something else in Carson's face as he undid the port.
"I think we can put this away for now. You were dehydrated after over 24 hours of no food or water. First Mender Gezble was many things, but a good hostess was not one of them. Then you were packed in a stuffy crate."
"You sure you're…I'm sorry, did you say crate?"
"Perit thought you were a nice antique chifforobe. He was going to offer you up on the auction block." McKay chimed in from another bed.
'The laundry basket,' he thought and shivered. Sheppard noticed the soft cast on his hand.
"What happened to you?"
"I believe he was foolishly defending your honor," replied a bemused Beckett. "He punched Perit."
"Perit? Okay, I'm lost. The last thing I knew, I was a lab specimen. Now you're saying my status got upgraded to commodity?" He shook his head. "And then you say that McKay punched the bad guy. What else was in that IV Doc, 'cause it sure ain't Gatorade."
"Dex punched him too. I think he broke the bastard's jaw." McKay seemed a little too satisfied with his last statement. "It seems Specialist Dex does not like it when humans betray humans."
Rodney inspected his cast again. "Speaking of Perit, his ship was the dart. It had a cloaking device. He could make it resemble a number of different ships. Combine that with the Wraith transporter, he made a very convincing dart. We, of course, called salvage rights." McKay seemed downright proud now.
"Where is he?"
"We dumped him off with First Mender Gezble. They probably had a few things to discuss. We also severed all ties with the Tage government," answered Carson. "Allies don't kidnap allies, usually."
Sheppard looked confounded.
"Elizabeth will be in soon to debrief. So all the holes should be filled in," said McKay.
"I think I'm going to need a scorecard." Sheppard looked back at the bed with the child. "Is that the kid you were trying to help?"
"Yes, the diagnostic bed from Parcini was able to diagnose and create a treatment for the toxins in his system. We administered it and he is improving. It is not a cure, but we will see how it goes."
"Well that's good to hear. Do they know they can't go back home? Are they willing to stay with the Athosians or here?"
Deriam and family had found out the secret. Atlantis was not a charred cinder of a city.
"The Athosians, Deriam is going to help with certain medical issues that come up. He picked up a thing or two working at the commune. He's a wonderful student and a good man." Carson sent a forgiving smile the young man's way.
"You sure you're okay, Carson?"
"Truthfully, no. But I'll be fine. I guess I'll just have to get use to the crazy, detestable things that happen off-world."
"You never get used to it, Doc."
"Now, I see why the Asgard are always so reticent about sharing technology." He looked Sheppard in the face as he finished pressing the band-aid on needle mark.
Sheppard appeared thoughtful.
"What's wrong?" Carson asked hesitantly.
"Oh, I was just thinking. I haven't forgotten what got us into this mess. And I was just mulling over different scenarios in my head on what payback would be appropriate." He leveled a dead pan gaze at both men.
Simultaneously, dread overtook Carson and Rodney and they gulped.
Four weeks later…
Carson hit the mat with a nice solid thud. Tears formed in his eyes and the wind escaped his lungs.
"I told you that I was going to devise a physical regimen for you." John leaned casually against the wall. "I guess I forgot to mention Ronon was going to assist."
"I do believe you left out that little tidbit, Col. Sheppard," coughed Carson.
"Well, don't feel too bad. Rodney will be joining you when that cast comes off." He tilted his head in McKay's direction. "I wanted him to see what to expect in about 3 or 4 weeks."
Rodney sat and stared dejectedly into space.
Well, at least this was still better than what he did to Elizabeth.
A/N: Well that's all. Just a short romp in the SGA universe. Just wait though, the team heads back to the Pavilions. Thanks for all the reviews and please let me know what you thought of the story as a whole.