SPOILERS: For RISING.
A/N: Last chapter!
A little help with a phrase that I think is predominantly Scottish, I'd love to know if it exists elsewhere. It's the "I'll give you…" dressing down. It goes something like this…
you help me wash the car, son?"
"No, dad, I'm too busy."
"Busy, I'll give you busy!"
It's a grand phrase, but becomes quite surreal, as here…
I need a new bike."
"Bike! I'll give you bike!"
Anyway, hope you understand…?
Oh dear, I seem to have swiped the motto of the Royal Navy. Hope they don't mind. Oh, crumbs, maybe I'll get a visit from MI5… Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound…
'Havering' is talking rubbish, I do it a lot. First syllable pronounced like 'hay'.
Carson fingered the handkerchief that his mum had given him when he went home to say goodbye. He'd slunk off to sit alone for a moment. He just needed to be quiet, among the hubbub of preparation, deep in Cheyenne Mountain. Sitting in the stairwell, he could hear the echoes of his mum, and other friends and loved ones, in his mind, bringing a lump to his throat.
"I know you can't take anything heavy, sweetheart, I just wanted you to have something to remind you of me, if I might not see you for a while. Maybe it'll help you not to worry. I think you worry more than me, now."
"Keep your nose clean, you daft gowk."
"Your mum'll be gutted."
"Away, you softie."
"Those boys need you."
It was as if his whole life had brought him to this point, this step into another galaxy that he would soon face. He was going to lead the Medical Team. It would be responsible for the health and welfare of 93 people, with only the equipment and supplies they took with them, plus what they could find or make there. Less than a third of the crew of Ocean, but with back-up a galaxy away. To cap it all, he was in the middle of gene therapy development. He shut his eyes and breathed deeply to calm himself.
"I think you can handle it."
"Right up your street, Carson."
He sensed something, and opened his eyes. A tall, stern-faced Marine was looking at him, very much down on him as he stood a few steps above. He recognised Colonel Sumner, the ranking Marine for the expedition. He was an imposing presence.
"What are you doing here? You do not have clearance for Level 23."
Carson stood quickly and frowned angrily, "Jings man, you gave me a scare. Did you follow me? Have you nothing better to do? Listen, pal, I'll tell you this, no Marine I ever knew skulked around spying on his own team. Anyway, what are you havering on about? Clearance? I'll give you clearance! You're a guest here same as me, you can't go down there either. I'm only in the stairwell, pal. Ach, what's the use?"
Carson pushed past the Colonel and jogged up the stairs. He didn't want to lose his temper more, it wouldn't achieve anything. He'd once held a rank almost as senior as Sumner, and didn't have to take that crap from him, or any other Marine in this scientific expedition. He had work to do anyway.
As soon as the city has risen from the depths of the ocean, Carson had his team prepare the medical areas. With Dr Weir's permission, he had commandeered two large chambers close to the 'gateroom. He set one team to work making an infirmary ready for any casualties, and another laying out the diagnostic and research equipment. He had already stood down the mobile incident team that had been ready to react, if the city shield had begun to collapse. The adrenaline was flowing, and he felt his team gel together well.
He'd heard word of the gateships. Remembering the hologram he had found when they had first arrived, Carson figured this city had many more surprises to come.
The Marines hadn't found a safe haven, but Sergeant Stackhouse had brought him down the severed arm from the enemy they had encountered. Carson had immediately examined it in his makeshift lab. The team worked around him, unpacking what they might imminently need. He had told Weir his preliminary findings, and they weren't pretty.
Carson knew that Major Sheppard was attempting to rescue Colonel Sumner and the others. It was enough to set in motion the procedures to prepare for returning casualties of unknown severity. He had asked Dr Weir if one of the native survivors could provide him with any information as to the likely nature of injury from the newfound enemy. She had informed him that someone called Jinto had told her that he had never known any that had been taken to return, injured or otherwise. That scared the hell out of him, but he set his team to work, to be ready anyway.
Carson gently steered the young Athosian woman from the infirmary and let her rejoin her waiting family. She had been in shock, but he was happy that she was now sufficiently recovered to be released from his tender care. Her warm smile directed at him over her shoulder warmed his heart. She had been the only casualty to return with the Major. Knowing Colonel Sumner did not return, and that an Athosian man had also died, was extremely sobering. He had never actually lost a patient in all his working life. True, those two had not been under his direct care, but it still hurt. He wondered how many more deaths they would suffer in this galaxy, how many he would see die.
As the Athosians left, Rodney McKay appeared at Carson's doorway. Carson's heart sank a little more, wondering what the Canadian was wanting in the way of medical care.
"Come on, Carson. It's party time!" The big lopsided grin was infectious, and Carson succumbed easily.
"You really love this place don't you, Rodney, despite what's happened today?"
"You betcha! OK, sure, I'm sorry about the big fella, but hey, this place is amazing! Wait 'til you see what Peter found!" Rodney was talking so fast, Carson found it hard to keep up.
The two men made their way towards the central balcony area, Rodney continuing to recount his findings at length. As he walked, Carson stared in wonder at the form and structure of the city. Knowing every panel responded to chemical activation did nothing to lessen the impact of the intricate design and colour of every edifice. He'd heard some of the Americans mention a couple of designers that were brought to mind, but he didn't recognise any of them. Personally, he thought it had sympathy with the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and it made him feel quite at home.
They leaned over the balcony, surrounded by many of their peers and newfound friends. The ocean was far below, supporting the huge city structure. Carson breathed deeply, and if he shut his eyes, he might have been on top of the hill overlooking the Clyde. When he opened them, this city was truly an awesome sight. He exchanged excited looks with Rodney, and they made their way to a table loaded with food and drink. Morale booster, Dr Weir had said.
As he and Rodney moved into an open space, Carson looked around him at the happy throng. He watched Rodney take a huge bite from the small kebab, and smiled. This city had grabbed them by the throat, but he felt he belonged, and it felt good. He was a part of something big, and this team was going to work.
Special thanks to Fanwoman for the help, Emma for the ideas, Dr Dredd for Highlander Medic, and all the kind words and support from them and PurpleYin, NenyaVilyaNenya, and McRaider.
Thanks to EVERYONE who has reviewed – you are all SO kind and WONDERFUL! I really enjoyed doing this fic, but please, if I ever tell you that a heard a voice in my ear telling me to write a fic that covers 12 years again, remind me that I need to put it in a stew and serve it with hot crusty bread…
Seriously, thank you all, and glad you liked it!