Part 10 (epilogue)
Sheppard and Rodney hobbled through the sliding door and into the partially darkened Rec Room. The flickering glow of a plasma screen and transient light of the corridor offered the only illumination. The door slid closed behind them.
The plasma screen offered just enough light to outline various silhouettes around the room. A battered Foos ball machine was pushed off to the side creating more room for an assorted collection of hastily gathered desk chairs, commissary chairs, which were not allowed to leave the commissary, and lab stools.
Bodies occupied every free space of floor, reclining, sitting up, leaning, stretched out or scrunched. All eyes remained riveted on the screen.
The novelty of the plasma screen had not quite worn off yet. DVDs were practically as prized as various snack foods.
The voices on screen sounded with digital clarity. The room brightened slightly with a sudden scene involving a snow field.
The smell of real buttered popcorn hit Sheppard and McKay like a wall.
McKay shambled past the colonel, manipulating his cane with more grace and agility than he had shown all day or the day before. Sheppard watched Rodney for just a moment, making sure he didn't smack anyone with his cane or tumble off to the side with the loss of his equilibrium.
Apparently, the dizziness Biro was worried about concerning the head wound dissipated with the smell of buttered popcorn.
The colonel watched the individual holding the bowl, hoping it wasn't one of the newbies from the Daedalus. Some of the new recruits were slow to recognize the blind fervor in which scientists attacked free food.
Corporal Herring smirked and held the bowl steady as McKay took a handful.
There was something about scientists and free food that the military contingent couldn't quite understand. You put free spinach on a plate and leave it unattended and a blue shirt would be sure to scarf it down. Put cooked spinach on their plates in the commissary and it would end up in the recycling bin.
It was joked, quietly, that if free ice-cream was draped around a Wraith neck the poor drone wouldn't stand a chance against the scientists, especially the oceanography department. They were animals.
The blue shirts were like piranha when it came to unexpected snacks.
The movie played. An internationally mixed crowd of scientists and marines lounged around the screen enjoying….
Sheppard did a double take. "Death Hunt's on DVD?"
"Apparently," McKay mumbled around a mouth full of buttered popped kernels. "Filmed in Canada, you know. Not terribly accurate, though."
"I love this movie," Sheppard stated and slid his injured leg onto the overstuffed arm of the Pegasus Galaxy's version of a leather couch. "We should tell Ronon."
"He's seen it," Major Lorne quietly whispered from a recliner someone had dragged into the room. The major sat with his ankles crossed resting against the opposite arm of the couch. The leg extensions had broken a week ago when an impromptu game of football broke out on a rainy afternoon. The touchdown counted. Sheppard's team won, naturally.
"Shh." John waved away the annoyed voice as he watched Lee Marvin chase Charles Bronson across snow capped mountains.
"Colonel, he shouldn't be here. This is a public room." There was a pause. "Colonel!"
"Dr. Kavanaugh, who shouldn't be here?" Sheppard asked slightly annoyed. The Daedalus was still in orbit around Atlantis. They left in the morning. The Daedalus crew was normally fun to have around, a bit more serious than the Atlantis group, but a sea of temporary fresh faces was nice. Some not so fresh faces were not as pleasant.
"Dr. Beckett," Kavanaugh stated again with a hint of a whine, "He has no right to be sleeping on the couch in here."
"What?" Sheppard shook his head as he pulled his attention away from the giant plasma screen General O'Neill so graciously sent them.
"This is a Rec. room…meaning Recreation Room," Kavanaugh continued. "Meaning a public room."
"Will you shut up?" The German accented voice sounded like it belonged to Burns from the Zoology department. Burns was a no non-sense kind of guy. The few times Sheppard had inadvertently run into him during the daylight hours, Dr. Burns had the look of someone who ate tacks for breakfast.
"There a point to this, Kavanaugh?" McKay asked, begrudgingly handing the giant popcorn bowl over to Zelenka.
"He should either be in his quarters sleeping or in the infirmary. I would prefer the infirmary as he is still under the influence of alien toxins and could prove to be dangerous---as in violent."
It was discovered that the flies carried a toxin that acted synergistically with the toxin from the bite wounds of the MPTs, but in combination they delayed their clearance. Biro and her group had an explanation for it all. Sheppard honestly didn't care. Carson would be fine in a few days, until then he was just a little more off than usual and required a bit of a shadow. It wasn't difficult to farm out the duty. It consisted of simply redirecting him from his lab, the infirmary and the piers. The pier quirk was proving to be a bit challenging. He slept a lot, ate a little and generally made little sense when he opened his mouth. Between the thickened accent and the random stream of conscious dialogue, most people just kind of nodded and moved along.
"Carson?" Sheppard asked slightly perplexed. He peered at the couch. Beckett slept stretched out, facing the back, arms curled in front under his chin and his injured leg cushioned by a couple of donated pillows. The sock on his good foot hung like an ill used slinky from his toes. A blanket was bunched at his shoulders. It wasn't doing much, but it wasn't terribly chilly either. Someone probably draped it over him as a gesture of good will.
Blankets just made sleeping more comfortable.
"He's not looking terribly threatening." Sure Carson had the brains to be dangerous, and sometimes his good intentions lead to not so great results, but on the whole he wasn't an inherently dangerous or violent individual. Well unless, you got between him and the last cup of tea on a morning that started earlier than he deemed necessary. He could potentially bow his back a bit.
Then there was the whole drug reaction late yesterday when they wanted to nip a secondary infection in the bud. The combination of different alien salivas and Earth drugs mixed poorly; just as Biro and Morrison had feared. Carson had become bit anxious and a little more hyper, but again not threatening. He could talk as fast as he moved. Kind of like Rodney, but not as bad, or so Biro and Morrison had agreed. They simply let him walk it off. The infirmary certainly got quieter. Morrison had been displeased, but the leg wasn't broken, the wounds were protected under thick bandages, that didn't thump nearly as loudly as the bandage in the tree. The wounds apparently didn't pain him any. With Ronon shadowing, Beckett, had wandered down corridors, up stairwells and into and out of various towers until whatever electrified his system sparked out. It only took and hour or more before Ronon hauled him back to the infirmary and dropped him onto a bed. Biro had marked Beckett's record. They would be certain not to use that chemical again.
"He's not in his right mind." Kavanaugh persisted.
"Oh, well there's a news flash," McKay dismissed. Rodney settled awkwardly on the floor next to Zelenka, elbowing the Czech out of his way. Radek dutifully slid to the right using the front of the couch as a back rest. He created a wave like effect, forcing Simpson to nudge Haynes who bumped Williams from the opposite end. Private Williams simply leaned against Dr. Claudia who gladly accommodated the closeness.
"He shouldn't be sleeping in a rec. room. This is not the place for it."
Sheppard shrugged. That was true. Though, the couch was sinfully comfortable. He really out did himself when scrounging for furniture. He had even crashed and burned on that couch a few times himself. Yeah, he was pretty much an amazing guy all around.
"He bothering anyone in here?"
Various 'No's' rebounded around the room. Someone in the deep shadows off to the right injected, "Billy's feet stink, that's been bothering me. And you guys not shutting-up…Sir" A few deep 'Yeah's' circled the room.
"He is under the influence of an unknown drug," Kavanaugh continued, ignoring the DVD and groans from the audience. "That is not conducive to a safe environment."
Kavanaugh had a valid point.
"Has he done anything that would be construed as dangerous?" Sheppard opened the question to the darkened room. He peered down at Beckett who slept with his face mashed into the corner of the couch. John hoped Carson wasn't drooling. Leather just wasn't all that absorbent.
"Well, he did say something about Thrombin causing endothelial cells to produce something…" Zelenka struggled with the memory.
"T.P.A. or some such thing," Galley finished from somewhere to the left.
"Sounds very----dangerous." Sheppard nodded. "Potential forced production of maurading….."
"tPA," McKay filled in, raising his eyebrows and shrugging his shoulders.
"Oh and he said something about Morgan Le Fey being eaten by a chicken hawk that escaped from the aviary over the loch." Peterson from supplies added.
"Probably a red tailed hawk," Fortuna corrected.
"Morgan Le Fey?"
"Character in a book, Colonel. A big important book, in some circles," McKay informed with a disappointed sigh. Mensa indeed.
"Banty hen, apparently a good layer," Callahan injected. "Sounded like it was a sad day when ole Morgan got snatched up in the barnyard buffet of life."
"You're real sympathetic, Brian," Simpson taunted and tossed a piece of popcorn at the botanist.
"Any of you mind if we leave Dr. Beckett, here sleeping?"
"No's" echoed around the room.
An annoyed voice finally uttered, "Stop talking, please." It sounded suspiciously like Hermiod.
"Sorry, Dr. Kavanaugh. He stays," Sheppard settled on the arm of the couch, stretching a lazy arm across its back pillows. His injured leg stretched out, partially supported by the arm rest. He silently hoped the little nude alien had some pants on especially if he was sitting on a chair.
Over the next forty-five minutes, the room remained captivated by the snow bound chase between two accomplished trackers.
During that time Sheppard occasionally nudged Beckett's shoulder to squelch any building snores, and to rouse him from the occasional building nightmare.
Death Hunt ended to a small applause, gleeful sighs and then muffled groans as people began moving about and filtering from the room. Most headed for their quarters, while a skeleton crew meandered to their stations.
After just a few minutes all that remained were Major Lorne, Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay.
"Who's got duty, now?" Sheppard asked Lorne as the door slid shut behind the last of the group. Beckett still slept wedged close to the back of the couch.
"I do," Lorne answered, settling back into his chair. He picked up the remote and flipped to the menu looking for another movie selection.
"He having any more nightmares about…"
"No," the Major answered before Sheppard finished. "He's been pretty relaxed. Gets a bit confused, was disoriented last time he woke up. Biro and Morrison weren't concerned." Lorne shrugged. "Oh and he made a phospholipid membrane out of green beans, peas and rice tonight at dinner, added some sort of spaghetti receptor to it." Lorne shrugged. He wouldn't be looking at his vegetables the same way again in a long time. "Did you know that you can't use ALT to assess woodchuck hepatocyte damage?"
Sheppard merely shrugged and shook his head. He never gave much thought to woodchucks or their hepatocytes.
"Me neither. He knows some pretty bizarre facts," Lorne added staring at Beckett unsure if he should be frightened or intrigued with what bizarre facts the doctor had stored away.
"Don't we all," McKay muttered. The astrophysicist limped toward the door, leaning heavily on his cane. He exited the rec. room, turned to the right, disappearing down the hall with a clump and a slide. The labs seemed much further away with a cane and a bum leg.
Sheppard watched him go and then shook his head despondently and called out. "McKay, what are you doing?"
"Work, Colonel, you should try it once in awhile." The disembodied voice floated into the room.
Major Lorne laughed at Sheppard, who cursed McKay.
John ground his teeth, silently berating scientists and their ilk, and headed down the hall after Rodney.
Lorne smiled like a fat cat in the sun. Beckett slept oblivious to the world around him. It was about time. The last few days since returning from the Planet of the Pigs, as it was called amongst the general public, the doc hadn't had a restful night.
SGA-1 was on light duty for the next few days. Last Lorne saw Ronon he was sparring with Fitzgerald from Special Forces. Teyla was still instructing stick fighting. Albeit, light contact.
As typical with SGA-1, light duty was a concept they just did not understand. It usually drove Beckett to distraction. This time it was Biro and Morrison. Morrison was going to blow a gasket soon. Biro gave the appearance of not caring.
Lorne pushed his chair back, forcing it to recline even further. He cast a glance toward the sleeping CMO. "Doc, you find yourself some seriously bizarre trouble. It's a damn good thing you got Sheppard and his team looking out for you." Though, SGA-1 often times was the common denominator in the scrapes that embroiled Beckett. The Major amended his statement. "You're lucky you've got us, Doc."
Lorne picked his next video selection and settled back into his chair. He caught sight of a scar on the back of his arm. It had been deep, ran longitudinal and he had been afraid that he would have lost the use of his arm and be sent back to Earth as damaged goods, useful to no one. Beckett had fixed it without a hitch.
Lorne settled back in his chair, draping his arms up over his head and the back of the recliner and settled in to watch Jeremiah Johnson.
"Guess we're pretty fortunate we got you here, too."