An Error in Judgment

Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate Atlantis. If I did, Carson and Zelenka would have much bigger parts.

Warning: Slight language and spoilers for season two. Tag for Trinity.

This is un-beta'ed, so all the mistakes are my own. Also, this is my first SGA fanfiction.

He was upset.

No, upset wasn't a strong enough word. Upset just didn't cover it.

He was… distraught, distressed, disturbed, discombobulated, disheveled, destructive, distracted…

He was completely and totally drunk… or, as Carson would say, pissed.

He just sat there, his back to the wall, on one of Atlantis' many balconies, staring out at the ocean. Occasionally, he would come back to himself, remembering his recent actions, realizing what he had done.

It was just an error in judgment. Just a small error… and it had destroyed 3/4 of a solar system.

'Well, more like 7/8 of a solar system,' he corrected himself, exhaling slowly.

He shifted, and the world swam, spinning around. He closed his eyes and fought the losing battle against the alcohol and the guilt.

'How could I have been so stupid?' he mentally berated himself. 'How could I have been so incredibly stupid? I'm supposed to be a genius. I'm supposed to know better.'

But apparently, he hadn't. He hadn't known better. He had refused to listen, so sure that he was right. So sure that his calculations were correct, that he could make it work… even when the Ancients, its own creators, could not.

He was so sure… so very sure, and he was wrong.

'Zelenka was right. Sheppard was right. They were all right… and I was wrong,' he mused dejectedly, the alcohol making him sway, even as his back touched the wall.

'I was wrong, but I'm never wrong. I'm McKay… Dr. McKay: genius of two galaxies and all-around intellect extraordinaire. I'm never wrong. But somehow, I was this time. Just this one time. It was just an error in judgment.'

He thought of his friends then, recalling their reactions to his sheer stupidity. Their distance looks, their avoiding eyes, their disappointed expressions. He sighed then, but it came out as more of a sob.

'They must all hate me now. Elizabeth… Radek… John…'

He shook his head and tried to dispel the thoughts, but they kept appearing.

'I've betrayed their trust. I said that I could make it work; I promised that I would make it work. And they believed me. Hell, Sheppard even vouched for me. I promised… and I was arrogant enough to actually believe it. They all hate me now; they're just too polite to say it out loud,' he reflected bitterly, remembering Sheppard's reaction. He raised a shaky hand to his face and rubbed his gritty yet moisture filled eyes.

'I failed them. I failed all of us. They expected results… and all I succeeded in doing was destroying the planet and the most of the solar system.'

An odd idea entered his head then, his tired eyes widening suddenly.

'And what about the other planets in the system?'he reflected rapidly, his hands trembling with more ferocity at his dawning horror. 'Were they even inhabited?' He hadn't thought about that earlier, when he was performing the experiment.

'What if they were?'His mind raced, 'No one told me if they were, but what if…' Bile rose in his throat at the thought, and he had to fight against his rebelling stomach.

'There were five planets destroyed, completely annihilated…nothing left but a few rocks. How many people lived there? Just how many people did the explosion destroy; how many did I kill?'

He closed his eyes at the thought, not ever wanting to know the answer. His stomach ached and again threatened to empty its contents, but somehow, he fought it off.

He sniffled then… once… twice. And soon, the tears came. Faster and faster, only interrupted by the sobs and gasps for breath.

'It was just an error in judgment. Just a small error. Tiny and almost insignificant,' he thought as the tears continued, obscuring his vision so that the ocean view was now just a blob of different colors.

His hands quivered even as he wiped away the moisture.

It was just an error… a mistake. A mistake that had destroyed so much, that had possibly taken thousands… if not millions of lives. An error that had caused his friends to look at him in contempt, that had caused them to turn their backs on him.

It was just a mistake. An error in judgment.

But nothing would ever be the same again.

Ever Hopeful,