Antarctic Antics

Carson Beckett walked gingerly around the cluttered Ancient outpost, enjoying a rare moment of peace and silence. Antarctica—not very high on his lost of places he wanted to be. The whole place was incredibly bleak; white, white, and more white as far as the eye could see. Still, he'd gladly endure that monochromatic landscape to be a part of what was down here.

Minus the whole gene thing, of course. That he could do without.

He kept his hands safely jammed deep into the pockets of his parka where they wouldn't be able to touch and thus activate something dangerous. But he couldn't help but to be fascinated by some of the things they'd found down here. During the day, he scarcely had a chance to study these things because of all the people working on them. But he could take his sweet time examining them at night. 'Night' was being used as a relative term, of course, as the sun would not set for another three months. Everyone else simply followed the standard 24 hour day cycles, but Carson just couldn't get used to falling asleep in broad daylight. The resulting insomnia was why he was here. He walked past a defense drone, a couple other doodads, and came to a halt in front of a chamber about half the size of a broom closet. He stared at it curiously, wondering what it could be for. He probably would have stood there for a while longer, had it not been for the call from across the room.

"Ah! Carson! I've been looking all over for you."

Beckett winced. It was too late to escape now; he had been spotted. Time to go to plan B: pretend he was too busy to sit in the chair right now. Of course, he didn't exactly look busy, as he was just standing around alone with nothing in his hands. Cursing the fowl bit of luck and insomnia that had made him come out here instead of remain in his quarters, he vowed to make a plan C before this mission went on for much longer.

McKay jogged up beside him. Noticing what he was looking at, the scientist said almost as an afterthought, "Oh, you probably don't want to go in there."

Carson blinked. If Rodney McKay didn't want him near an Ancient device, then that probably was reason enough to stay several miles away from it at all times. But that damnable, evil little bugger more commonly known as 'curiosity' got the best of him, and he asked with trepidation, "Why?"

"Oh, you remember hearing about how General O'Neill had the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into his brain, which led SG-1 to this outpost, etcetera, etcetera, we all know the story. Well, that is where he went in order to put himself in suspended animation so his mind wouldn't essentially overload before the Asguard could remove the Ancient database."

Beckett took an involuntary step backwards as he fixed the chamber with an uneasy look. Yeah, he could have been better off not knowing that.

The scientist, however, traipsed on, completely oblivious to Carson's reaction. "Probably wouldn't be good for you to get stuck in there, seeing as you're the only medical doctor down here, and probably the only person qualified to revive anyone who got themselves frozen in there in the first place."

Not sure whether he had just been complimented or not, Carson gave McKay an amused sidelong look. The scientist could be as irritating as hell, but he had a certain inexplicable appeal. Sure, there was the whole sarcastic front, but there were also moments like these when he seemed to almost be trying to act friendly. The truth was, Carson found himself liking the acerbic Canadian. He thought he was generally a good guy. When he isn't shoving Ancient devices in my face and making me turn that chair on, he added mentally.

"Oh! That reminds me!"

Here it comes, Beckett thought, bracing himself for the terrifying demand: sit in the chair.

"Does this look like frostbite to you?" Rodney asked, holding up his index and middle fingers on his right hand.

Carson tried not to let the enormous sigh of relief escape. After getting over his initial feelings of being let of the hook, he attended to the scientist's 'injury.' He knew right away the fingers weren't frostbitten in the least, but he made a small show of examining the proffered hand to keep McKay from launching into a rant about "voodoo medicine" and "malpractice."

After a few minutes of 'diagnosis', the Scot said in a chipper tone of voice, "No, you're perfectly fine."

"Are you sure? Because they look a little discolored to me. They're starting to get numb." He blew on his hands and rubbed them together to increase circulation. He looked up, concernedly. "There's no chance you're going to have to amputate them or anything, is there?"

"No, I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to keep all ten of your fingers," Beckett remarked dryly.

"I can't lose my fingers, y'know," McKay said gravely.

"Well, put on a pair of gloves, and I think you'll be just fine," the doctor replied with what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

Now successfully armed with sufficient ammo, McKay began an all-out rant. "Gloves? Gloves? Ha! One can hardly be expected to examine alien devices while wearing gloves. One cannot type on a keyboard wearing gloves. One--"

"You didn't bring any, did you?" Carson interrupted, asking dryly. A hint of an amused smile twitched at the corners of his mouth.

Rodney opened and closed his mouth a few times, possibly trying to form a witty retort. When none was forthcoming, he toed the icy ground and mumbled sheepishly, "No. No, I didn't." He looked around the small room, suddenly found something to interest him, and muttered a quick goodbye before rushing away. Beckett looked after him with a grin and shook his head. Yes, Rodney McKay was quite a man. Quite an annoying man.

And possibly, quite a friend too.