Author's Note: OK, this is it. Hope my updates came fast and furious enough for everyone.
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis is not mine, and no profit is made from this story. It's for fan reading pleasure only. Enjoy!THE CRASH
"Hey McKay, wait up!" Sheppard hollered as he rapidly hobbled down the hall. He had become quite adept at using crutches and could actually move on them faster than the average person could walk. Nevertheless, McKay stopped and turned around.
"So I hear you're going back to the planet," said the colonel with studied nonchalance as the two began walking towards the jumper bay together.
"Well, since the ZPM was so depleted, we decided that we'd get more useful information from reinstalling it and studying the weather machine, not to mention investigating all the devices in the lab. Zelenka and his team have already been down there a full day; I've got to catch up." McKay spat the last bit in frustration.
Sheppard eyed him slyly. "Sooo…how did that glucose tolerance test go?"
"Just like all the others I've had," McKay snapped, picking up the pace. "I had to spend the entire day in the infirmary, choke down that disgusting syrup, turn into 'The Human Pincushion', and ultimately puke up my toenails. A fun time was had by all."
"So what did Beckett say to do? Did he prescribe any medicine?"
"Sure." Rodney came to a complete halt in the middle of the corridor and began rummaging through his pockets. "Whenever I feel an attack coming on…" he produced a PowerBar from some fold of clothing, "I should take two of these and call him in the morning."
Sheppard raised an eyebrow. "Eat a candy bar?"
"Like I didn't already know that," snorted the scientist, pocketing the treat and resuming his pace.
"Then why didn't you have any on you?"
Rodney had the grace to look embarrassed. "I forgot," he mumbled.
"You're kidding!" Sheppard gaped.
"No, I'm not. Like I said before, you Americans always seem to have food laying about; it simply slipped my mind." He got a determined scowl, then continued, "I'll remember from now on."
'So will I, Rodney,' thought the colonel, although aloud he commented, "I'm glad to see you're prepared today. Have a safe trip." So saying, he waved goodbye at the door to the jumper bay and headed to the mess hall to scrounge up some coffee.
This trip to the planet was much less eventful; in fact, looking out the viewscreen McKay could see vast plains of green interspersed with lakes and oceans. 'Without the overwhelming cloud cover, it actually looks habitable,' he mused. They landed near the ruins, piling out into a clear day. As McKay began to head towards the tunnel entrance, however, Lorne called out, "Doctor McKay! This way, sir." He pointed towards the breach in the wall through which they had originally approached the building.
McKay shook his head. "No, no Major. Don't you remember? The outer shields keep us from going that way."
Now it was Maj Lorne's turn to look confused. "Didn't you hear? Dr. Zelenka raised those shortly after entering the building. He said that it was too far to haul equipment otherwise."
McKay was dumbstruck; he stood motionless as his face first went chalk-white and then beet-red. Lorne took a step backwards; the scientist looked none too stable. After what seemed like eternity, the astrophysicist spun on his heel and marched to the research building.
Unfortunately the front door had hydraulics which prevented his slamming it open, but McKay gave it the 'old college try'. Grabbing the first tech to cross his path, he ground out, "Where…is…Zelenka?" The tech, wide-eyed, silently pointed towards the control room. McKay drooped the man and strode toward the indicated door.
Just then the object of his search strode out, flailing his arms and cursing in Czech. Unfortunately he was still staring behind himself at the object of his wrath, and ran full-force into Rodney. As the two men staggered back from the impact, both managing not to fall, Zelenka turned his multilingual tongue-lashing towards the idiot who had gotten in his way. This continued for only long enough for the slighter scientist to readjust his glasses and get a good look at who he was raging against. With the alacrity of a lightswitch being thrown, his face lit up into a welcoming smile.
"Rodney! You're here! You have got to see what we've discovered…" So saying, he grabbed McKay's elbow and began dragging him towards the experiment lab.
McKay planted his feet and did his best imitation of the 'immovable object'. "And just what kind of welcome was that?" he demanded.
The Czech didn't flinch, but rather pulled himself up to his full height, stuck out his chin defiantly, and replied, "The kind of welcome I give nincompoops who walk into me as I'm exiting a room."
"Maybe next time you should look where you're going." McKay fired right back.
To his surprise, Zelenka took his hands off his hips, smiled, and shrugged. "Ahhhh, perhaps you are right. It is not important. What is important is that we've found…."
McKay would not be mollified. Crossing his arms, he demanded, "How did you do it?"
Zelenka stopped mid-sentence as he ransacked the corners of his mind. No, he hadn't rerouted Rodney's plumbing or switched out his private stock of coffee for decaf…for the life of him he was at a loss. Hands outstretched, he asked, "To what do you refer?"
McKay narrowed his eyes menacingly. "You know very well what I'm talking about." His foot began to tap.
Zelenka's eyes darted to and fro as he struggled to discern Rodney's meaning. It was a puzzle, but he was sure he was missing a piece somewhere. Finally he shrugged again, "I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. However, if you want to see something interesting…" he tried to drag the man forward without success.
"The shielding, Radek." McKay felt he couldn't be plainer than that.
Zelenka glanced at the main door. "I'm…sorry?" he said, still not understanding. "The plating was inconvenient - it made us to walk over a mile extra distance through tunnel. I raised it so we wouldn't have to haul heavy equipment all that way." Surely Rodney would understand the concept of conservation of labor.
"HOW, Radek HOW!"
Zelenka stared at him in awe for a moment before he mumbled something about never having seen that shade of violet on a human being before, then replied, "I just hit the switch."
McKay hissed, "That console button controls the weather, Radek, the weather."
Radek nodded. "Yes, yes of course. But that button," he pointed to a switch on the wall next to the main doorway that was mounted at about the height of a lightswitch, "controls the outer shields."
McKay followed Zelenka's finger with his eyes, finally settling on the indicated switch. What could he say? "Oh," about summed it up. He had been concentrating so hard on that central control panel that he neglected the obvious; if someone wanted to go out, they would need a button next to the door…All the fury at being upstaged instantly drained away, leaving him momentarily at a loss.
"Now will you come?" asked Radek, once more trying to steer him towards the research lab. "There's this machine that appears to transmute matter, but only temporarily and only on a small scale. If we could refine the research…"
"Transmutes matter?" asked McKay, grabbing the sentence like a life preserver. "Why didn't you say so?" Ignoring Radek's rolling eyes, he strode toward the room. Zelenka shook his head, threw up his hands, and followed.
AN: So, what did you think? Please review - also, any preferences for the hero of my next story? I'm leaning towards a McKay/Zelenka tale myself…maybe with a little Sheppard thrown in?