Author's Note: My tag to Trinity. I think it's mandatory, right?
"You wanted to see me?"
Elizabeth Weir looked up from her PC tablet and managed a small, tight smile. "Yes, Radek, thank you. Please sit down." Zelenka looked frayed and exhausted, his face stubbled with whiskers, his hair lank and unwashed. He dropped gracelessly into the chair across from hers and gazed at her expectantly.
She folded her hands in front of her to keep them from fidgeting. "It's certainly been an interesting few days, hasn't it?"
"Doctor Weir, forgive me for being rude, but I am very tired and would like to go to bed. Can you please skip to the point?"
"Of course, sorry." She took a second or two to marshal her thoughts, then asked him point-blank. "I need to know if you're going to be able to continue working with Doctor McKay."
Zelenka looked vaguely surprised. "Of course I will."
A small frown creased her brow. "He said some fairly cruel things, disregarded your opinions."
The engineer waved a hand in dismissal. "He has already apologized for that. I will make him suffer a bit longer, but we will put it behind us."
Weir was frankly amazed. "That's it?"
"I know what it's like, to get carried away by the work," the Czech shrugged. "We all make mistakes, even Rodney."
"He destroyed a solar system!"
"He is Rodney," came the unruffled response. "He does everything on a big scale. If that is all?" Zelenka began to rise.
"Actually, there is something else." The engineer sat back down, unable to completely mask a look of cranky impatience. Weir tapped a finger on her pad and released a small sigh. "I'm no longer sure I trust Rodney's judgment. I'm considering sending him back to Earth with the Daedelus and making you Chief Science Officer."
Zelenka's eyes widened. His mouth opened and then shut again.
"I know I can count on you to do what's best for the city," she nudged.
His face closed, he took off his glasses and began cleaning them fastidiously on the tail of his shirt. "I'm sorry, no," he finally said.
"No. I will not accept the job. In fact, I feel I should tell you that if you send Rodney back to Earth, I will return as well."
It was her turn to be flabbergasted, a feeling that quickly turned to anger. "I wasn't aware he'd earned that level of personal loyalty from you," she said, her voice tight with the effort to sound neutral.
Zelenka met her eyes and gave her a look filled with sadness and…disappointment? "Is not personal loyalty, is self-preservation. For all he is obnoxious blow-hard, he is the most qualified person to head Atlantis science department. Without him, our chances of survival decrease significantly. Under those circumstances, I would not feel safe remaining."
Elizabeth returned his look with a stern glare of his own. "I never thought you'd be one for blackmail, Doctor Zelenka."
"Is not blackmail. I am simply stating my intention." He put his glasses back on and stood to leave. "Frankly, Doctor Weir, if you are willing to endanger this expedition because of your own personal feelings of betrayal, then it is I who no longer trust your judgment." Radek stopped in the doorway and looked back at her. "I hope you will give some more thought before making such a big decision. Time gives perspective, ano?" She gave a small nod, and he returned it with a weary smile. "Dobrou noc."
"Good night," she responded, watching his retreating form. She sighed and shut down her computer, deciding to visit one of the city's balconies for some fresh air and solitude.
She had a lot to think about.