Title: Cultural Competence

Author: Dr. Dredd

Spoilers: None

Season: 1

Genre: Humor

Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, characters, concept, etc, aren't mine.

Summary: John once again volunteers Carson for something he doesn't want to do.

A/N: Fic had to include the sentence "What exactly did you do this time?"

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"Just so you know, Major, I do not find this amusing," growled Carson Beckett. "It's like every bad B-movie cliché rolled into one!" The good doctor glared at John Sheppard, arms folded stubbornly across his chest.

"Lighten up, doc," John smirked. "Besides, you're doing a good deed here. The people of this world will be eternally grateful for your services." Carson could swear that John deliberately put a little more emphasis on the word "services."

"Go ahead, be as cheeky as you like. But I'm sure I can think of many inventive methods of revenge for when you're back in my territory." Was that fear in John's eyes? If so, good! Maybe it would break him of the habit of volunteering other people's services willy-nilly.

John grinned and shrugged it off. "Come on, Carson, we can't put this off any longer. Your adoring public is waiting." He put a hand on the physician's shoulder and propelled him towards the door of the temple they'd been waiting in.

They stepped into the courtyard to the sound of applause from a large crowd. A well-dressed elderly dowager and her entourage were off to one side, and they positively beamed at the two men. Teyla and Aiden Ford stood in the forefront of the crowd. Ford's face went through a series of the most interesting contortions before he finally gave up and started laughing. "What exactly did you do this time?" he asked Carson.

The chief medical officer of Atlantis was dressed in one of the more ridiculous costumes they'd seen in the Pegasus galaxy. He wore long, flowing robes of green and purple, and an orange sash adorned his waist. Blue face paint and the remarkable shade of red his face was turning completed the multi-colored ensemble. "I didn't do anything!" he hissed. "Your bloody fool of a commanding officer…"

"Hey!" John broke in, looking hurt. He quickly subsided, though, when Carson's eyes almost started to bulge.

"Right!" snapped Carson in a stage whisper, preparing to launch into a lengthy tirade. "Like I was saying, this daft bugger told the local royalty that I would be happy to cure their "Queen Mother" of whatever ailed her. And that I would do so in a manner respectful of their traditions. Next thing you know I'm dressed like this and getting ready to perform a voodoo ceremony!"

"Now, now, Carson, you're not being very culturally sensitive to voodoo practitioners," said John archly. "And you're just giving Rodney more ammunition to use in his diatribes against medicine."

"Hush!" whispered Teyla. "These people are very sensitive about their royalty and their customs. If we upset them, we will lose this trade agreement."

The men subsided and listened quietly as Carson was praised as a "healer-priest of high renown." Official after official droned on about the generosity of their new friends and the happy future they would have as allies. Finally, as John and Ford were about to doze off, the head healer led Carson off to prepare for a healing ritual involving the elderly woman. The crowd then dissipated.

Teyla watched the procession. "Did you inform Dr. Beckett of the ceremonial dance he will be required to perform?"

"Oops," said John innocently. "Must have slipped my mind." Ignoring Teyla's look of disgust, he gestured towards his 2IC and the two men stepped out of earshot. "Did you bring your video camera?"

"Of course, sir!" replied Ford, pretending to be insulted at the thought that he would forget.

FIN