When the jumper comes to retrieve him at the end of three weeks, Carson still hasn't decided to return to Atlantis. He's expecting Kate or maybe even Elizabeth to step off the jumper, to talk to him reasonably about facing his fears and resuming his duties as CMO. He is puzzled but pleased to get Radek Zelenka, instead.

They walk for a bit, ambling through the settlement to Carson's garden. Small green shoots are beginning to peek out from the soil. He stoops to pluck an errant weed, then dusts his hands on his pants. Radek has his hands stuffed deep into the pockets of his jacket. "You look good," he says.

It's true. Carson is tan and he's lost weight. He feels fit and healthy and at peace, and he's not ready to give that up. "Aye. This life suits me."

Zelenka nods and shoves his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Is a nice place," he agrees. "Peaceful. Quiet."

"Did Kate tell you I was thinking of staying?"

"She did."


The Czech shrugs. "Understandable. No one ever wants to face consequences when they make a mistake."

Squinting into the sun, Carson trails his fingers in the soil. "Is that what you think I'm doing? Avoiding consequences?"

"Of course. What do you think you're doing? Starting a new career path?"

"Why not? Maybe it's time I tried my hand at something else. I've a good temperament for farming."

"Please. You did not need to come all the way to Pegasus Galaxy to be a farmer. This you could have done on Earth. Right in Scotland, I'm guessing." Radek crouched down next to him, lacing his fingers together. "Carson, if you want to stay, stay. But at least be honest with yourself about why."

Carson stood abruptly and walked a few paces away. "You're so sure, aren't you? So sure you know what's goin' on in my head?"

"Carson," Radek answered wearily, "I know. You're embarrassed – "

"Embarrassed? I'm bloody humiliated!" Carson paced, scratching his beard in agitation. "How many people know?"

"Only those you know about. Rodney is suspicious. We had to tell him you were infectious to keep him from flying out here."

"I hate the thought of facing them. The pity, the mistrust."

"It will be hard," Radek agreed mildly. "But they are all your friends. They want you to be well. And they want you back where you belong."

"I don't know if I can do it," Carson admitted quietly.

"You can." Radek clapped him on the back. "Get your things," he ordered cheerfully. "Time to go home."