AN: Thank you for the reviews, you guys are the best! I meant to comment last time that the LSD was not a typo, LSD life signs detector. I've been using the abbrev. for a while, mostly cause it just makes me smile than anything. So, this little fic is at an end, it was only meant as a light hearted rump so I hope the lack of heavy won't be too missed!
Oh, this was…this was going to save his ass, literally. Forget the 30 gauge needles, Carson…here is a diagnostics room to make Star Trek pale in comparison.
McKay's head almost vibrated with the ecstasy of the find…this was science.
"We should be working on door, McKay."
"Do you realize what this is?" Rodney turned to Zelenka, his hand still touching the control panels on the wall. "It is way more than a simple diagnostics room, if what I'm reading is right – you can turn off different levels, like…" McKay pulled out a powerbar and held it up. "See this…take off the wrapper and what do you see?"
Ronon stopped arguing with Teyla about feeding Sheppard and said, "A bar of food. If you're not gonna eat that, Sheppard wants it."
McKay turned and gave the runner a 'stop stating the obvious' look. "I know it's a bar of food, and Teyla all ready told you Sheppard can't eat because he'll throw up on her…"
"The door, McKay," Zelenka prodded. "The food bar, yes, is interesting, but possible bleed on the brain…" the scientist took the powerbar from Rodney's hand and quickly smushed it into a ball. "See this…Colonel's brain if we don't get help."
"Oh, that's wonderful." McKay took the sticky mess and fought down the impulse to shove it all over Zelenka's face. "That's what I was getting at if you would've waited instead of ruining a perfectly good powerbar. This isn't just a diagnostic room…it lets a doctor, healer, whatever… connect to the patient, pick the depth of a bond. The sympathetic sensations – that's a default setting! And that --" Rodney pointed at the door where Simpson had disappeared, bits of powerbar crumbling to the floor, "it's the Ancient's equivalent of an observation room!"
Zelenka folded his arms, his hair looking even more askew than usual. He raised one eyebrow and asked, "This fixes Colonel how?"
"Well, that…I haven't…" Rodney stared at the ball of food, then the panel he had been reading. His excitement leeched away as he admitted self-consciously, "I haven't figured that out…yet." His eyes met Ronon and Teyla's and he realized Sheppard wasn't awake any longer. "Is he?"
Teyla shook her head firmly. "He is merely sleeping, Rodney."
"Oh, good." He stared for another minute, feeling conflicted. He'd been incredibly stupid, short-sighted, and dim for dragging Sheppard along. Looking at his rumpled body, closed eyes, it made things clench inside of Rodney that hadn't since that time they'd been trapped in the Jumper with the bug on Sheppard's neck…or that time on Dagan when Kolya had made him stick his palms on the altar of death…and then there was that time when the retrovirus…oh, fuck it, he might as well just accept this feeling as part of normal and get past it.
Determination trampled his fear, and McKay turned back to the panel. "I don't know, but I will…now, work on the door. I'm sure it's within your realm of capabilities."
Zelenka glared, but started on it. "Door, yes, not strangling you…perhaps not."
Rodney's hands paused and he considered a scathing reply.
"McKay, work," Ronon growled.
Right. Priorities. Insulting Zelenka was definitely a step below saving Sheppard's life. But for the record…it was close.
The trip was taking too long.
Carson's nervousness increased exponentially. Having personnel out of contact was disconcerting on a regular basis, but having one of those personnel suffering from previous medical conditions serious enough that he'd almost kept the man in the infirmary worried him further.
An ulcer. He had an ulcer.
No, seriously, he had an ulcer. Biro told him to stop worrying, take some Xanax, learn to meditate, but every time he tried, he was paged to go attend to the newest medical calamity.
He knew his nurses had nicknamed his ulcer McKay-Sheppard, like some kind of space anomaly, on the scans. He'd endured it with the knowledge they were scarily right. Now, he was sure to have a new one, or this one would get worse, because no amount of meditation was easing the growing anger at the stupidity of two certain individuals.
Carson shouldn't be marching to the south pier right now. He should be in his quarters, enjoying the bulk of his day off. He'd treated Sheppard that morning out of…oh, hell, because he couldn't stand anyone else doing it. Days off were rare, precious, and he'd finally scheduled one, putting in for it a month ago, only to learn Sheppard's team was going off world that morning. He'd woken up and waited, sketching the city from a memory of his flight in the Jumper when they'd tried to shoot down the wraith dart only for it to self destruct, losing Markham in the unsuccessful encounter.
When the call had come through to gather a medical team for off world transport of an injured Sheppard back to Atlantis, Carson had insisted he go and Biro had known better than to argue.
Maybe if he hadn't had the day off, he would've insisted on keeping Sheppard in the infirmary, and none of this would've happened…
Oh, bloody hell, who was he kidding? One pitiful look and Carson would give in if he thought it was at all possible.
"Doctor Weir, this is the door."
Simpson had stopped in front of an innocuous door like any other stretching down the corridor. Everyone drew up alongside, no one sure who was going to try first, or even what they should try.
Lorne cleared his throat and said, "Want me to open it, Doctor?"
"Do you think you can, Major?"
The major snorted. "Ma'am, I can get you through that door, just some methods have a lot more collateral damage than others."
A severe eyebrow moment and Lorne cleared his throat, again, this time with a sheepish look. "Right, we'll try 'open' first."
He stepped forward, placed his palm on the control panel and stared at the door, concentrating. A moment passed, nothing happened. Carson was about to say screw the clean approach, bring the torch, because his ulcer was going to start bleeding if he didn't see for himself that Sheppard was still in one piece, when Lorne dropped his head against the door, closing his eyes.
"Major?" Carson asked, concerned.
He lifted his other hand in a 'wait a sec' gesture. "Hang on, Doc."
The door jerked, then slid open, revealing an angry Czech, in mid swear, "Neser me!"
"Woah woah, don't let it close!"
McKay quickly ran forward, yanking Zelenka out of the way, while Lorne shrugged in, and between the two of them, they got the door propped open with bodies. Rodney snapped his fingers at the marines standing off to the side, startled by the rapid shift in the situation. "You three, stop gaping and use those weapons for something besides looking scary."
Marines might be stupidly brave, bulky Neanderthals, but one thing they also were, was quick on the move when it came to guns and trouble. The men had their weapons off the clips and stacked in the space between the floor and the wall. When they were finished, they straightened and looked at Rodney for 'what next'.
Jesus, did he have to tell them how to wipe, too?
"Everyone that's coming in, now would be good!" The door was pushing persistently against him, shoving McKay against Lorne.
Elizabeth shook off her shock from the rapid unfolding of events to say, "Rodney, you five should come out. We are here to rescue you, not get stuck ourselves."
He shook his head angrily. "Look, Elizabeth, I don't have time to explain, just get in here!"
She hesitated until the door pushed forward enough to send Lorne's head smacking against the wall. With a frustrated sigh that expressed just how much she hoped this wasn't the wrong decision, she nodded at Carson.
The next few moments required contact closer than any of them had had before with one another, but in less than five minutes all but Simpson and two marines were in the room. Beckett took his bag from Simpson, quickly, then McKay and Lorne pulled their torso's out of the door's path.
It slid forward, hitting the P90's with a dull thud, and held there.
After a few moments passed, relieved faces spread throughout the room. Carson straightened, fixed in on Rodney and scowled. "First, I'm going to deal with Colonel Sheppard, but don't think I've forgotten who dragged the colonel down here!"
The room was suddenly really crowded for McKay's tastes.
The shaking was starting to really piss off Sheppard. He was tired, and some jerk wouldn't let him sleep.
"Colonel Sheppard…I need you to wake for a bit…that's it, Colonel…just open those eyes for me."
Who was that? Wait…he heard that!
"Well, that's some good news at least, it seems your hearing has returned. Now, open those eyes for me, like a good boy."
"Carson, he's not ten!"
"Then why have you two been acting like you are?"
Sheppard was kind of glad he was too woozy to really wake up, because Beckett sounded pretty mad. Let Rodney deal with the pissed Doc…
"Colonel, open those eyes or I'm taking you off flight duty for a month."
Sheppard groaned and mumbled, "Not fair." Playing dirty, Beckett. He was trying to open his eyes, really, even though he knew the empty threat for what it was, but his body just wasn't cooperating. Seriously. It'd hung a 'gone fishin' sign, or something. Maybe 'gone flying' because he felt loopier than a roller coaster in Six Flags. "Did'yu drug me?" he asked.
"No, I didn't drug you." Beckett's hand tightened on Sheppard's wrist. "Rodney, did you give the colonel any medication…he's got a head injury, you know better than that."
Even through Sheppard's dull senses the annoyance bled through.
"Of course I didn't drug him, how stupid do you think I am?"
John heard silence, then an awkward feminine cough. A distinctly sounding Rodney sigh followed. "Right. Forget I said that…look, we think he might be bleeding intracranially, maybe you should do something useful like examine him while I try to finish making this room work, because if I'm right, it's going to fix him."
Bleeding? Sheppard managed to get his eyes to work for a few moments, just to see where he was bleeding from…but there wasn't any blood that he could see through his cracked eyelids, and why was he laying on Teyla. "Where'm bleeding fr'm?" God, they had to have drugged him, 'cause his mouth wasn't working, at all.
Carson's worried face met his lidded view. "Colonel, I'm going to ask some questions, try to answer…"
Answer…sleeping was better.
"No, no, Colonel, wait…damn it!"
Carson moved away from the unconscious Colonel, concern making him furious. "When did his altered condition start?" he demanded. Because Beckett was very, very worried about Sheppard's mental deterioration.
"Probably when he was still in diapers…" McKay stopped when Elizabeth cooled to frosty. "Oh stop it, he's going to be fine…just watch." Rodney slid one more crystal in place, and pushed two buttons.
Teyla narrowed her eyes, suspicious. "Rodney, you are not --"
"He is, get ready," Ronon interrupted, all ready dropping to the floor.
Beckett hadn't the slightest idea of what was going to happen, and when the overwhelming sleepiness, headache and nausea hit, he slipped to his knees without making a sound.
"Ro'ney!" he managed to shout after piecing together that McKay's actions resulted in his current condition.
"Working on it…"
Oh, God…he was going to throw up. Or pass out. Or possibly both.
In the span of one breath to the next, it was gone. The blinding headache eased, the fogginess cleared, his stomach took the longest to respond, but even that recovered quickly. Stumbling to his feet, Carson reached to help Elizabeth to her feet.
She accepted gratefully. "Rodney, what was that?"
McKay pulled his fingers off the panel and smiled smugly. "That was me curing Sheppard. Carson, I think I might have just signed your medical retirement papers."
"Doctor Weir, would it be possible to save explanations for later?" Zelenka smiled hopefully. "I have been trapped in here for six hours and there are pressing needs…"
The next few moments would remain embedded in Carson's mind for what would most likely be the rest of his short life, as only escaping imminent death can do in engraving permanent recollection in his memories. The room was filled with a painful high-pitched noise. Zelenka and Rodney both turned to stare in shock at the panel, the marines, Major Lorne and Elizabeth all covered their ears, while Beckett shared a confused look with Ronon and Teyla. Then Rodney shouted, "Out! Get out, it's going to explode!"
The noise grew to levels intolerably loud, but with Ronon and Teyla, they hauled and staggered Sheppard to the door. As the noise whined louder and louder, something Beckett hadn't believed possible, Lorne pushed through, the last one out.
"The rifles!" a panicked Rodney shouted.
Lorne and Teyla yanked the weapons free, and the door slid shut. Stunned, they all stared and Carson wanted to ask what the hell had just happened, when a loud boom shook the hall.
All eyes shifted to Rodney.
He smiled weakly. "Or not."
Seemed he was always hearing arguing. He woke up to it, fell asleep to it, and frankly, it was making a positive mark in the 'go stand near another big explosion and spend twelve more hours deaf' column.
Sheppard had figured out -- from overhearing the ass-chewing he'd told Rodney to expect -- that John had developed a complication, an intracranial bleed, but by some fluke, McKay's luck had landed them literally into a piece of Ancient technology (the room) that wound up saving his life…well, he might have lived without it, but he might've needed brain surgery, too, so as far as John's side of the whole fiasco weighed out, he was going with McKay on this one.
Of course, then, from what he gathered, the room had exploded, almost killing everyone, and that meant that in addition to Beckett's wrath, Rodney was dealing with a lot from Elizabeth, too.
"See that…he twitched…he's awake, I told you!"
Sheppard peeled one eye partially open and glared at Rodney. "Traitor."
"The heat needs to spread, Colonel, it's a principle law of thermodynamics."
"I'm here because of you," grouched Sheppard. "Isn't that enough?"
The bitter laugh spoke volumes.
Beckett heaved a very long, drawn out, and overly dramatic -- in Sheppard's opinion -- sigh. He pulled his penlight from the pocket on the breast of his lab coat and ordered, "Both eyes open, Colonel."
He did so, but as Beckett waved his light and judged Sheppard's physical condition, he had to ask, "Look, Doc, this isn't going to count against me for future early releases, is it?"
Apparently satisfied in what he saw in Sheppard's pupils, he snapped the pen light off and tucked it away, before testing his reflexes, the entire time staying eerily silent. "Uh, Doc?"
"Face it, Colonel, you just earned a one way ticket to no early releases…ever."
"Shut up, Rodney," Sheppard grouched, then yelped as Carson whacked his knee with what he considered unnecessary roughness.
Beckett smiled at him sweetly. "I'm sorry, Colonel, did that hurt? Because after experiencing your typical level of discomfort when you claim to be fine, I might have misjudged your tolerance for pain."
Sheppard's mouth went dry as he looked from the saccharine danger radiating off Beckett to the delighted waters washing in at him from McKay. The room… "He didn't?"
"Oh, aye, Rodney most certainly did."
McKay's grin was insufferable as he pointed out, "I saved your life, so the allowable anger at what amounted to indirect tattling has to be considered in that venerable light, don't you agree?"
The smile slipped. "Fine."
Okay. Maybe he was being a little harsh, but Sheppard felt floaty and hung over and getting his knee whacked made him grumpy, especially having some Ancient machine ruining his odds for ever being taken at face value again in the infirmary. John knew the blame fell squarely on both of them. Rodney for asking him to go, Sheppard for doing it.
"Then we're all…fine." Rodney shrugged lower in his bed…his bed.
Sheppard's forehead scrunched in a spike of concern. "What happened to you?"
Beckett chortled and looked up from the clipboard where he'd been noting Sheppard's vitals. "He fainted."
Instant irritation crossed Rodney's face. "I hadn't eaten in over four hours, my blood sugar bottomed out, no thanks to you…some rescue."
"You almost blew us up!"
The clipboard dropped to Carson's side.
God. Arguing when he fell asleep, arguing when he woke up. "I've got a headache," he mumbled, not thinking through his actions.
Carson and McKay turned to him.