Title: Waiting for Rescue SGA
Disclaimers: Don't own them, no money made etc.
Warnings: Grammar, spelling, total disregard for proper punctuation. Imagine that
Thanks: NT and Meg T. they are much smarter than me, and have infinite patience.
Summary: Beckett and McKay are off world waiting for a rescue, hence the title. Pretty sneaky isn't it?
The first thing he noticed was the mound of fine particulate matter that piled and collected just within his view. He couldn't see beyond it or directly around it.
He blinked a few times. The pile didn't move and he didn't feel inclined to, either.
Then, the heap of fine matter seemed to expand. He rolled his eye upward. Grey flakes, hundreds, perhaps thousands or maybe millions silently floated down around him.
Everything was deathly still.
Except the flakes. Grey flakes. They trickled downward, not making a sound.
Everything within his view seemed muted behind the thin veil of fine grey. A particularly large flake landed with a delicate puff just within his fine focal point. It blended seamlessly with the powdery grey that covered everything within his limited sight.
There was no noise. No voices or footsteps, no laughter or conversation. Nothing. Not a sound penetrated the falling grey particles.
He wondered if he had gone deaf. More dust rained from above, silently covering everything---even the still fingers of his curled hand.
It was his hand, he'd recognize it anywhere, even masked behind the thin shroud of dust, it was his hand.
Perhaps his left---or maybe his right. With undue concentration, he focused on unfurling his index finger. A gash with protruding edges curled outward along the lateral edge of his first and second phalange. His finger moved slightly with the creaky stiff feel of an old door with misaligned hinges. The dried skin edges cracked and pulled. Serum ran in a zigzag fashion from the wound, effortlessly diverted by the accumulating grime.
It should have hurt. It looked uncomfortable if not a little painful.
Another overtly fat flake drifted pass, easily capturing his attention. He watched it absently, his hand forgotten. The grey dust drifted all around him, wavering gently, floating lazily left and right, methodically falling in its own unhurried manner toward the ground. Perhaps a floor?
Was it snowing?
The flakes were off. They were more grey than white, more particulate matter than actual snow. He wasn't cold, but then nor was he hot, or warm for that matter. Perhaps comfortable? But something deep inside indicated that his situation was anything but comfortable.
His eyelids peeled apart and he discovered some grey flakes had fallen onto his eyelashes. He could see them but not focus on them. They didn't melt.
It was then he realized he lay with his head against something cool and solid. A side of his face buried in the accumulating soot.
More grey flakes whispered their way down. As far as his eye could see they were everywhere, falling ghost like; slowly burying him.
He didn't want to be buried yet.
Carson stared at the flakes. They landed on his face, his hand, his lips. He darted his tongue out and tasted a few.
Not cold, not wet, not refreshing. Not snow.
Instead, it made paste. Dry, tasteless paste. Perhaps a hint of smoke? A hint of construction?
He must have shifted.
Something moved beneath him and it sparked searing bolts of pain in both his hip and head. A sharp intake of breath marked his movement and articulated the piercing flash of discomfort. He squeezed his eyes shut and dragged in hissing shallow breaths of air.
Beckett opened his eyes. His breath sounded harsh to his ears even over his roaring pulse.
Dust continued to fall. Unending. More landed on his face. More covered his eyelashes seemingly weighing them down. There was pressure at the small of his back. He moved a leg and again distinct spears of pain shot from his hip spidering up through his lower back and around lashing deep into his abdomen.
He gasped squeezing his eyes closed. His head hammered in echo.
How could pain in his hip be connected to his head? He let his eyes flitter closed. Perhaps his cousin was right: his head was up his posterior at times. Unlikely though---cousin Brendon never had a positive thing to say about anything, except fishing, and even then fish he'd say were stupid. Not that Carson ever felt inclined to argue the point.
The flakes were becoming bothersome. Weighty on his eyelashes. An ear itched.
Beckett settled cautiously, relaxing muscles that seemed too fatigued to be tense. He closed his eyes. His back burned with the movement and his hip sent tendrils of cautionary pain up and down his side.
The ground was lumpy. Or was it a floor? Why would he be lying on a floor with lumps? He opened his eyes again. The grey flakes were still descending, taking their time, no hurry really.
Through the curtain of grey above him he saw light blue. Perhaps sky? A few broken beams stretched high above him. Some dangled like broken bones, swinging quietly back and forth from partially snapped joints. Gusts of grey spilled from them with each pendulous swing.
Not all above him was blue. There were areas of intense darkness. He squinted his eye. His head thrummed with pain but his hip remained quiet. Perhaps his head was not squarely up his butt as his older cousin once told him. He stared at the area of black which slowly took on dimension and fleshed itself out through the sea of drifting matter. More criss-crossing beams, joists and joints. A ceiling. Parts of an intact ceiling.
Directly over him was blue—sky. He let his eyes travel slowly left then right examining the jaggered boundaries between roof and sky. A sawtooth hole encompassed most of the ceiling or lack there of.
There was a hole in the roof; a very big, rough, giant sized perforation. Perforations were never good. Not in the body, not automobiles and certainly not in ceilings.
Beckett smiled. One, possibly two mysteries were solved. There was an unsightly hole in the ceiling far above him and perforations were usually pathologic.
"Carson?" A disembodied voice sounded irritated. A familiar exasperation. "Carson, can you hear me?" A touch of concern mingled with the impatience.
"Rodn'y?" Beckett furrowed his brow. A concerned Rodney was never a good sign. It normally led to pathologic and occasionally catastrophic conditions on and to Atlantis and her occupants.
He missed Atlantis. It was time to go back.
"Thank God," McKay muttered. "You going to stay awake this time?"
"Where 'r ya man?" Beckett asked slightly confused. Speaking to the ethereal voice of a friend seemed a bit odd. A haunting? Surely not. Of course, Rodney could do just about anything he set his mind to. A frustrating man, that one.
"Under you," Rodney's ire was muffled.
"Well, that can't be too comfortable, lad," Beckett pointed out tiredly somewhat puzzled.
There was a slight pause as if McKay was gathering his patience and collecting his breath. "No, Carson, its not." There was another slight pause, more puffs of air, "Get off of me!"
"Oh, right, good man," Carson paused as his gaze was once again captured by the blue showing through the ceiling. "There's a hole in the roof, Rodney," he pointed out without moving. "Why's there a hole in the roof? It's never a good thing to have holes in the roof."
"Its not important right now, Carson. I think my leg 's broken and something's wrong with my shoulder. You laying on me isn't helping." The anger and frustration quickly faded and replaced by a plaintive, "now please move."
"My head hurts. So 's my hip," Beckett informed his unseen friend. "There're big flakes falling on us."
"Carson, just move," McKay pleaded with a hint of a whine and desperate impatience.
After a few false starts and numerous groans and moans from both quarters, Beckett slowly rolled to his left after a false start to his right. It had been then that he learned his right hip had issues. He also learned that Rodney's pelvis was just to his right, at elbow level.
The subdued quiet of their little area was broken with the initial and unfortunate misplacement of Carson's elbow in Rodney's groin.
Beckett clumsily rolled free, stopping once he settled onto his stomach, his face half buried in the pulverized remains of a grand building. He stared at the powdery grey flakes that covered the floor near his head.
He took a breath and, with fractured focus, watched them move about. The unsettled dust rolled forward and backward with each exhale and inhale he took.
Rodney shifted about just to his left, gasping and hissing.
Beckett couldn't bring himself to follow the ranting and movements of his fellow off world teammate. Rodney was a busy man most times. Always moving, never still. If it wasn't his mouth that was speaking, trying to do the impossible of keeping up with his brain, then it was his hands that were waving and flapping about like a seizuring bird. And he was paced, back and forth, back and forth, like a gerbil on wheel. Perhaps it was the gene therapy. Maybe the urge to move in repeated staccato systematic manner really was a side affect. Perhaps Rodney was part rodent---in a good way. Beckett smiled. Perhaps Rodney was now related to Lady Abigail white mouse number 5. Maybe Rodney would have a cheese fetish like Lady Abigail and horde it in his cheeks for later. Silly mouse. Silly man.
They were off world, weren't they? Not the mouse. He didn't bring his mice off world. They were delicate creatures, hardy but strangely fragile. His mice were quick though, they could wiggle from your hands and scamper down the front of your shirt in seconds. It was always a good idea to wear a belt. Loose waists could lead to uncomfortable situations for everyone; including the mouse. Many lab technicians and researchers alike had done the "the willies" mouse dance when rodents inadvertently escaped down their clothing. His mice stayed nice and safe back on Atlantis. They needn't travel through the Stargate.
Carson shut his eyes. He should be so lucky.
He didn't like going off world. He didn't enjoy the molecule mixer, aka Stargate. It made a slurry of all his molecules and instantaneously put him back together again at the end of the ride, supposedly with his molecules in their proper place. It just seemed there were too many little teeny weeny, wee pieces that needed to be put back together again just right. It stood to reason a few minuscule molecules could be lost in the wormhole or put in the wrong place. And when more than one person went through the wormhole at once, who's to say molecules didn't get mixed up and put in the wrong person? What if all the SGA teams had their genes intermingled and put together like cards from different decks shuffled together?
Maybe he would radio-isotope someone and send them through with a non-labeled someone and see what happened. Maybe Rodney and Lady Abrigail.
He chuckled. Grey particles swirled into the air.
And even the name 'wormhole' struck him as an odd choice of names. He had seen depictions of what people thought the wormhole looked like and Carson couldn't really help but think it looked a little like a flushed colon. To think someone named it a wormhole and would then flush his molecules through it struck him as something a kin to a 'crap chute.'
He groaned. It hurt his chest, his hip too. He was really beginning to not like his hip, whichever one it was. His head really wasn't much better.
He closed his eyes.
"Carson." Rodney received no response.
"Damn it, Carson." Rodney gingerly reached out with a grey, shaky hand and nudged Beckett's shoulder. Pain erupted from his own shoulder and radiated down to his chest and paralyzed him. McKay froze as dust and fine particulate matter cascaded from both of them.
With shallow gasping breaths, McKay slowly fought back his focus. Shoulder too. Something was wrong with the shoulder to match his leg. Not good. Not good at all.
He watched with some despair as Carson stared at the floor with an unfocused expression. Beckett would not be any help to himself or Rodney any time soon.
Blood covered the Scot's ear and neck. Drifting flakes darkened as they mingled and partially dissolved with thick tenacious blood that congealed at the temple region of Beckett's head.
"Oh, this is so not good," McKay muttered quietly.
With shaky bruised fingers, he carefully lifted matted wet hair behind Carson's ear. He squinted his eyes and tried to see through the pasting dust to get a look at the hidden wound that was sure to be there. Beckett's hair was stiff and clumped with falling insulation, dust and blood. This couldn't be good. McKay's fingertips ghosted over the edges of a jagged cut that seemed to have its edges everted. He could feel the underlying meat and adipose under the outwardly curled edges of thickened skin. Not good at all.
"Damn it, Carson," McKay muttered, "You're supposed to escape these kind of scrapes unscathed and leave the bleeding to the Marines." Rodney left the wound alone, dropping the stiffened and jellied hair back into place. Maybe it would act to protect the wound somewhat.
McKay carefully peeled Beckett's earpiece free leaving a small clean spot, which was quickly filled in with trickling blood and falling dust. A gruesome pate of hybrid mud quickly formed over the CMO's left temple and ear.
McKay dropped his hand back to the floor and delicately settled onto his back. His lower body shifted. His leg moved, bones ground against one another and muscles contracted tightly, pulling an audible hiss and truncated cry from his lips. He clenched the bloody earpiece tightly in his fist and squeezed his eyes closed.
Falling flakes landed on his bared teeth. They soaked up what little moisture he had and clung tenaciously to the enamel.
Rodney lay on his back amongst the ruins of the one time two-story stone building that was now reduced to a smudged hodgepodge of collapsed floors. He and Carson had been investigating this building together with the Chancellor. Apparently the Chancellor and others in the vicinity were now smeared and flattened elsewhere under tons of debris.
It was amazing how quickly promising moments and events in the Pegasus Galaxy got flushed straight down the sewer pipe to Hell.
Simply amazing, and Sheppard wasn't even with them to blame.
Rodney sighed despondently. It triggered a sharp spike of pain through his shoulder and chest. He squeezed his eyes shut and panted for breath. It hurt, everything hurt, but this particular sharp, incredibly focused pain hurt more than any thousands of pains he thought he had suffered in his life.
After a moment it slowly ebbed. Rodney cautiously opened his eyes. Still not back on Atlantis.
He stared up at the gaping hole in the ceiling that had just moments ago captivated Carson's attention.
At least they no longer heard the whine Wraith darts overhead. It seemed like ages since the first Wraith dart crossed the sky. The screams of the running, panicking populace still echoed in his mind.
God, where was Sheppard, Teyla and Ronon when you needed them?
Why did they have to be back on Atlantis?
Fate hated him. That had to be it.
McKay lay quietly, squinting against the falling dust and fine debris, wondering what had happened to the SGA team that had 'borrowed' himself and coerced Beckett off world with them for this simple meet and greet and the obligatory check for unexplained energy readings.
SGA-9 and its leader Lieutenant Phillips had lots of hope for this mission. Phillips was new, cocky, self-assured, and seemed to think his team carried the luck of the Irish. Phillips with his light hair, blue eyes and pale freckled skin looked something akin to the Lucky Charms type Irish as opposed to the dark.
McKay had half expected the Lieutenant to jump up and click his heels as he stepped through the gate.
Rodney could understand why Phillips insisted that McKay accompany his team off world. Who wouldn't want McKay on their team? He was, after all, the foremost expert on Ancient Technology and a genius by the standards of two galaxies. He was just incredibly useful to have around. Somewhat equivalent to a human Swiss Army knife. An all purpose 'McGyver' type guy. Hell, sometimes McKay even surprised himself, which he often found hard to believe. But then again, he was a virtual bottomless well of intelligence and resourcefulness.
It didn't take any deep introspection or speculation to realize that Phillips and half the team leaders begged Sheppard to borrow McKay.
That made perfect sense.
Why Carson was here, Rodney couldn't be sure. Of course, he didn't pay much attention to Beckett's duties off world unless they pertained directly to himself. Then, well, then McKay paid close attention. However, Carson's duties usually employed more wishy washy, sensitive mumbo jumbo that seemed to waste more energy than Rodney was willing to expend, especially on a population that may not prove to be all that helpful. Plus, Carson occasionally had to deal with gruesome open sores, productive coughing or other expulsive discharges from orifices better left unimagined. McKay wanted no part of that.
Why Beckett was coerced to go off world this time, Rodney could not really be sure. It was probably for some sort of mushy pseudo-science reason like a medical crisis. McKay freely admitted Carson was good with medicine, better than any Doctor he had met in either galaxy, not that McKay would ever admit it publicly. However, medicine was more sleight of hand and mirrors than true science. It had its uses. It had its place. It just belonged on a different tier than real science. Hard physics. Hard sciences were truer sciences. More pure. Better.
McKay fingered broken radio he had peeled away from Beckett's ear. He could feel the drying blood flake away while still congealing parts smudged and smeared under his fingertips. The tiny radio was broken. His fingers, uncalloused and highly tuned to the feel and texture of Ancient technology, especially communication devices while off world, easily discerned the running fracture that creased the body of the mechanism. The radio would not be working anytime in the near future, not without some repair.
Like himself and Carson.
Rodney's leg pounded with each beat of his heart. He refused to look at his leg. It was broken--- he knew just from the intensity of the pain. He also knew it wasn't bleeding. If it was twisted and mis-angled Rodney didn't believe he needed to bear witness to it. It would remain mis-angled and misaligned until Carson could fix it. Rodney turned his gaze to Beckett.
If Carson could fix it.
McKay stared critically at the Scotsman. Blood trickled and wound a meandering, uninterrupted path across Beckett's temple, over his cheek and down toward his chin. Fat dark droplets rolled from his chin, hung for a moment before snapping free and falling to the gathering dust just below the line of his jaw. A small congealing pool of blood admixed with dust slowly began to jelly and clot. Drifting ash particles landed in it floated for a bit and then seemed to dissolve and disappear, thickening the pool and changing its color.
Rodney watched the streaming blood for a while, knowing head wounds bled a lot. The sight of blood no longer put him on the sharp edge of panic like it used to. Well, unless it was his own blood…and well then, blind panic was expected. His blood after all was unduly precious. He, himself, was a prized commodity. No boast needed. It was fact.
There was nothing he could do for Carson at the moment. The CMO needed help and Rodney didn't have access to that kind of aid. Their packs lay outside the room. They had deposited them just in the hallway at their host's wishes.
Rodney tried to crane his head and get a glimpse of the hallway. His shoulder stopped any type of foolish movement which was spawned by curiosity. The hall outside this particular room no longer existed. Not much of the building remained intact. Except maybe the small piece of room he and Carson had managed to fall into and a chunk of ceiling.
It had been such a normal day. Well, normal for the Pegasus Galaxy and her occupants. But still normal, nonetheless. The sky had been blue, the sun out, big white clouds dotted the sky in a refreshingly non-threatening manner. Thick pine tree forests surrounded the small city. Hills rolled stretching out away from the city and eventually grew and morphed into sharp, rugged mountain peaks. Lush tall grass fields dotted the area. Small homes with startlingly familiar fences stood nestled a comfortable distance from the hard packed dirt roads that lead into the budding city.
The forest and mountains had reminded Rodney so much of back home. So much of his beloved Canada. Funny, how moving away from home, facing constant danger and a questionable future made one realize just how much home was missed. He was born and raised Canadian but never gave much thought to his roots until moving to the Pegasus Galaxy and suddenly Canada became very important to him. It was home. Earth was his planet, but Canada; Canada was his. His turf, his country, his place. No one bad mouthed Canada in his presence. Great things came from Canada---maple sugar, pine, ice hockey and Rodney McKay.
Rodney stared up at the blue sky, ignoring the broken beams and the dangling shingles and insulation. He ignored the debris and destruction and stared at the gentle firmament with its soft white clouds and wondered how could a day remain so beautifully clear and warm and promising, with birds chirping, when all around him was physical destruction and death?
The creaking of wood shifting in the light breeze seemed distortedly tranquil. The flap of partially trapped paper rattled somewhere out of sight. A stiff breeze kicked up every once in a while, moving about bigger dust particles, causing the overhanging beam to swing a little more.
Not a voice was heard, no sounds of human movement, no footsteps, no frantic calls for survivors. No cries, no anxious sounds of searching.
The Wraith had hit P39-604 with a vengeance. Nothing moved. Nothing probably survived.
Rodney and Carson were alone. They had survived. Dumb luck. At the moment, Rodney would take any form of luck, dumb or otherwise.
McKay stared at the blue sky through the massive rent in the roof and watched clouds drift by. He, they, were stuck until Carson decided to come back around.
Rodney rolled his head and stared at the Scot. Carson lay slack jaw, breathing evenly, with blood rolling down the side of his face and dripping into the building dust.
They weren't going anywhere. Rodney couldn't move his shoulder--- perhaps it was his collar bone that had snapped. His lower leg was no longer in one solid piece. Shins shouldn't slide about like his did. No, they were stuck. He was stuck. For now.
Rodney stared back up at the hole in the roof and waited. The colonel would come searching. He, Teyla and Ronon would be here soon.