Summary: Not everyone is happy about Rodney coming to work at Area 51. I guess this can be classified as a missing scene fic for The Return Part I.

This is set during the six weeks Rodney spent on Earth. I was silly enough to comment to Sable that we wouldn't get more than fluffy fics about Carson and his turtles set in this six-week period. Not that I have anything against nice fluffy fics but I was desperate and craving some serious Rodney whumping. Next thing I knew there was a rabid plot bunny attached my neck much like an iratus bug. This is the result. It is Rodney centric with John and a sprinkle of Carson. Blame the damn plot bunny… and Sable – I do :-)

Contains spoilers for The Return Part I

Warning for language

I also discovered I can't write a threatening message to save my life. Oh the things we learn while writing fan fiction.

Thanks to my wonderful Beta Annie. All remaining errors are mine. And thanks to Sable for the inspiration and help with the finer plot details.

This story has been written - and I will be adding chapters as every few days as I squeeze in the time to correct mistakes my beta picked up while I'm writing the results section of my thesis - whumping Rodney is much more fun - but I dont think my supervisor would agree.

Note: Why did Woolsey single out McKay for a mention when he was telling Landry and John about the replicators coming to destroy Atlantis? Was he really trying to make Rodney feel better?


Shifting Perspectives

Rodney was very aware of the moment when he lost his mind. He was aware that he was surrendering to fear and terror, aware that once he allowed himself to give up he might never be able to claw his way back to the light, to the rational world, to sanity. But after tottering on the brink for so long it was really only a matter of time before he let go.

He had called out before hoping to be heard, yelled even, in his desperation, until his voice had begun to get hoarse. But now he screamed, he screamed ignoring the soreness in his throat, he screamed in terror and horror as he thrashed his body around in the small space. He allowed the fear to completely take over his mind. He lost control as he hit the metal with his feet, his knees, his shoulders, any part of his body that he could use to hammer and bang the inside of his prison. Time lost meaning as he was caught in a whirlpool of panic, there was no room, no escape as he spun in a sea of terror, until finally his mind, his precious brilliant mind, withdrew into itself to hide from the torment and only a shell remained.



Rodney tugged up the roller door of his room in the storage facility and stepped in. It was quiet and musty – well, it had been a while since he was here. He ran his eye over the storage boxes. Now that he was back on Earth he would have to resurrect his life. If he took the position at Area 51, which was likely, he would have to get a place here in Nevada and move all this stuff. At least he didn't have to move it far.

He had just been to Area 51 where he met the current heads of the scientific research facility so he could have an overview of what work was currently being done. It had been confirmed yesterday that if he chose to accept the job, he could be heading up the research site and have his pick of projects. Rodney knew that it was a great offer and that it was in recognition for the work he had done on Atlantis. He should be thrilled to finally be achieving recognition from Stargate Command. He had no regrets leaving the payroll of the IOA, he rather liked the thought of working for Stargate Command directly.

However, he was finding it hard to be pleased about it. He missed Atlantis, and he missed the former inhabitants even more. He had tried, thus far unsuccessfully, to get hold of the ones who had come back to Earth. Sheppard was busy at the SGC heading up some new off world team and never seemed to be around. Carson had headed off to Scotland for a few days to visit family, and Elizabeth wasn't returning his calls. He hadn't even been able to get hold of Radek who was in the Czech Republic for a couple of weeks checking out a job at Masaryk University. Once Rodney was at Area 51 he planned to headhunt Radek, if it wasn't too late. He wanted to be with at least one of his friends. Or were they former friends? Time would tell.

He had made a trip out to the storage facility to collect a few essential items. Problem was he couldn't remember where they were. Rodney walked over to the nearest box. At least he had labelled them – or most of them. He had packed in a bit of a rush – packing really hadn't been high up on his priority list at the time.

He opened the nearest box. It was full of DVDs. He couldn't help looking through them. He spotted the Tardis box that housed part of his Doctor Who collection. Underneath that he saw his Batman DVD, he wondered if more of the old TV show had been released on DVD yet. Now that he was back he could buy stuff like that again. He would have to spend some quality time on Amazon. He reminded himself that there was a lot he could now do since he was home. It wasn't all bad.

He pulled an unlabelled box over and opened it. He found himself looking down on a model he had made many, many years ago. His own version of a Flux Capacitor. That's something Sheppard would never find out about. He made a mental note to hide the thing in a dark corner somewhere, then it occurred to him that he wouldn't be seeing Sheppard much, if at all any more. He felt a stab of pain deep inside his chest as he looked away.

The next box was one of many that were full of books. He made a little snorting sound as he spied Hawking's Brief History of Time, he would sure like to tell that man a thing or two, damn the classified information clause he had signed. His eyes caught his collection of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books. Now that was a funny read, probably exactly what he needed. Although at the moment he thought he would probably identify most with Marvin the depressed robot.

He hadn't even really said a proper goodbye to anyone – except Carson, and only because the man insisted. He particularly regretted not saying goodbye to Teyla and Ronon, he found himself really missing them. Rodney hated that he would never see them again. He hadn't known how to approach them to say goodbye – he hated that sort of thing, he had kept hoping they would come to him. Maybe they had tried. At the time it had seemed easier to just go, and avoid all that emotional stuff. He realized that he had made a mistake in not making an effort. The whole thing seemed unfinished. He wished that he could have been the type of person who could vocalize how much his former team mates actually meant to him. His team mates. His own personal Xena and Conan. He liked having them to look out for him. He had liked that a lot.

He forced his thoughts back to the task at hand. He rearranged the boxes and opened the ones he wanted. Within half an hour he had a box packed with clothes and the other personal items he wanted.

Before he rolled the door back down his eyes scanned the room one last time. His treasured possessions, too numerous to be allowed to be taken to Atlantis. No, not all bad to be back.

Of course there was one thing missing. He wondered if there was any chance of getting his cat back. He imagined what his new life would be like. Lying on his sofa contentedly after a challengingly busy day heading up the scientists at Area 51, with maybe a pizza and a new DVD box set ordered from Amazon, and his little feline pal curled up beside him. See? Life could be good again. Atlantis? What Atlantis?

Yeah, right. He could only take his Pollyanna impression so far and that image was definitely pushing it.

Rodney walked to the car loaned out from Nellis Air force base. He put the box in the back seat and got in, turning on the engine. He had a plane to catch.


Rodney walked up to his apartment door trying to juggle his overnight bag, the box of personal items he had picked up from the storage facility, as well as a bundle of mail and his keys. At least it was a ground floor apartment and he didn't have to tackle any stairs. He opened the door and stepped inside, putting down his bag and the box, closing the door behind him.

He walked over to the kitchen area and put his keys and mail on the counter, and grabbed a soda out of the cooler. He sat down on one of the bar stools by the counter and opened the bottle of soda. He took a sip and placed it on the counter, picking up his mail. He was surprised to get any mail, since he had only been here a few days. The apartment had been rented for him by the SGC, they were sure rolling out the red carpet this time round.

He flicked through the mail. Most of it was advertising flyers. Two were letters addressed to the occupier saying he had won something. He put those on the pile of junk mail. One was addressed to him personally. He slit open the envelope and unfolded the letter. The message was typed in large bold font.


Don't assume that everyone is happy to see you. You weren't up to the job last time, don't embarrass yourself by stuffing up again, or you might find yourself in Russia permanently this time.

You are a self-promoting arrogant man who has no talent for science and you alienate everyone around you. No wonder you are alone and friendless.

Leave now – you are unwanted.

Concerned co-worker

Rodney stared at the letter in shock. He pulled his mouth into a grim line. He crumpled up the letter and the envelope and got up, throwing the paper into the garbage. He didn't know who this idiot was, but he wasn't going to let some imbecile with a brain the size of a sub-atomic particle get to him. To hell with the bastard, it wasn't like he wasn't used to people's scorn. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Rodney walked over and picked up his overnight bag, muttering the whole time, "… world is full of imbeciles… takes more than a single-celled idiot with an ability to type to get to me!

Nope, something so silly wasn't going to get to him. He would change and see what he could find to watch on TV, and relax, maybe with a hot drink and some snacks.

He looked at the time. It wasn't too late to make a phone call. He might try Sheppard and Elizabeth again. See, he did have friends.


Rodney woke to the sound of the phone ringing. He reached blindly for the phone on the nightstand as he tried to focus his eyes.


"Doctor McKay?"

"Yes. Who is this?"

"My name is Alistair McGovern, I am the manager of the Keep-it-Safe storage facility here in Nevada."


"You have a storage room here with us."

"Yes. Is that why you rang? I'm aware of that already," Rodney said gruffly as he pushed himself up so he was leaning against the headboard.

The voice hesitated.

"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you."

"Bad news? Have you rung me at," Rodney squinted at the digital clock by the bed, "at eight o'clock in the morning to tell me your charges have risen again?"

"No, sir. I'm very sorry to inform you that there was an incident here last night."

"An incident? What?"

"Arson. The facility was broken into last night. Someone opened your storage room and set a fire. I'm afraid the damage was extensive."

Rodney felt himself go cold. "How much was damaged."

"I'm sorry to say everything. The firefighters investigating the incident say that a propellant was used. Everything was destroyed. I'm very sorry, sir."

Rodney didn't know what to say. "I guess you didn't live up to your name."

There was a pause and the sound of a throat being cleared, then, "A full report of the incident will be forwarded to you for insurance purposes. Please give us a call if there is anything we can do. I'm sorry again, sir. This is the only time anything like this has ever happened at this facility."

"Oh, that makes me feel so much better."

"I'm sorry, sir. If there is anything we can do just call."

"Is there really nothing that could be salvaged? Maybe I should come and have a look."

"I'm really sorry, sir. There is really nothing to see, it's all gone. I'm really sorry," McGovern repeated, "Please call if there is anything else I can do."

The line went dead. Rodney hung up and stared at the phone in his lap. All his stuff. Gone. His things were his consolation prize for being forced to come back to Earth. His books, his DVDs, his memories. Gone. He felt like someone had forced all the air out of him – he was deflated. Empty.

He sat propped up in bed for a long while, trying to come to grips with what had happened. He started by feeling shocked, trying to come to terms with what happened. Then he started to think about why it had happened. Was his the only storage room vandalised? Or where a few of them broken into?

He suddenly needed to know. He extricated himself from the duvet, which had managed to wrap itself round his legs, and climbed out of bed. He padded across the carpet barefoot to the chair by the dressing table and grabbed his pants from yesterday. He took his wallet out and riffled through it till he found the number of the storage company.

He walked back to the bed and perched himself on the edge, picked up the phone and dialled, asking for the manager.

"Good morning, Alistair McGovern speaking."

"Hi, this is Doctor McKay, we talked a short while ago."

'Yes, Doctor McKay. How can I help you?"

"I just wanted to ask, were any other storage rooms broken into and damaged?"

"No, sir, just yours."

"I see."

Rodney hung up the phone. He rubbed his eyes, still trying to wake himself up. Why him? Why had his stuff been singled out?


Rodney was forced out of his apartment a short time later having found his coffee supplies sadly lacking. He had showered and dressed and was now out on the hunt for a good cup of coffee. Though not normally the coffee shop and shopping type, his long absence from Earth and a lack of anything productive to do forced him out into the shopping district.

At the back of his mind was also the fact that he was for all intents and purposes now without possessions. While he considered himself a man who didn't dwell on such trivial things, somehow the call this morning had hurt him somewhere deep within his soul. He was determined however that this new setback wasn't going to stop him from his plan, which was to make the best of a bad situation. Those ungrateful Atlantians had forced him out of Atlantis, but he was still Doctor Rodney McKay. Still a genius, still valuable, and he still had ambition. It was simply mind over matter. While he knew that others didn't necessarily think of him as being the most positive of people, he had met adversity before, and had overcome it. This time wasn't going to be any different. Okay, he wasn't normally a fan of the whole Pollyanna thing, but it was that or roll over. Over the last three years he had discovered that he wasn't the type of man to roll over, he was a fighter. Well, of sorts. Maybe not Ronon. Well, maybe mentally Ronon. He allowed himself internal smirk. He was going to try the positive thinking thing, and the most positive thing to do with his day today was shopping. He normally preferred to shop online. However, today browsing round a few DVD and bookshops held a certain appeal.

He spent two hours at the mall and came back to the apartment carrying a large takeout cup of coffee, his third, and two big bags of shopping. He cleared his mail on the way to his apartment. This time there was only one advertising flyer and one, now sadly familiar, letter.

He dropped his purchases by the side of the couch and sat down, placing his coffee on the table. He examined the envelope, it was typed with his name and address on the front. It had a Colorado Springs postmark and nothing else. He slit open the envelope and unfolded the letter. Like before, it was typed in a bold, large font.


Still haven't got the hint? Get out while you can. There is no room for you and your over-inflated ego here. You are not wanted. People hate and despise you - they were much better off when you were far, far away. Why don't you go find yourself a nice distant place to do something and leave the real work to scientists who actually know what they are doing.

From a better man than you.

McKay put the letter down on the coffee table. He was at a loss as to what to do. This was getting ridiculous. Should he find out who this psycho was? How could he do that?

McKay felt a fresh sense of determination as he reached for the phone and dialled the SGC, waiting for them to answer.

"Yes, hello, Colonel Sheppard, please."

"I'm afraid the Colonel is not available," said the voice at the other end of the phone. "Would you like to leave a message?"

"Err, yes, please ask him to call Dr McKay as soon as possible."

"Yes, sir."

"Thank you."

Maybe Sheppard was off world. Rodney dialled again and waited for Sheppard's cell phone automated message service to kick in. He was about to leave a message when suddenly he didn't know what to say. 'Someone is sending me threatening letters?' somehow that sounded a bit petty and childish. Yes, even for him. He hung up.

He wasn't going to let this jerk get to him. He had more than earned his status and respect, and he certainly wasn't some insecure teen who would let a couple of stupid letters get under his skin.

He decided to forget about it. He pulled up his shopping bags and laid out his purchases on the table. He had managed to replace a few books and DVDs he had lost in the fire. Others he would have to track down online. He tried not to think about the items that couldn't be replaced. He'd also gotten a few new things that had caught his eye, including a cool-looking computer game, but as he surveyed his new possessions, he felt oddly empty.

Rodney thought about the recent calls he had made to Sheppard and Elizabeth. He knew no one was deliberately avoiding him, it was just that they had full lives to go back to, and he, well, he had nothing. There was a reason why he could go to another galaxy without so much as a backward look over his shoulder. He had an empty life here. His real life had been in Atlantis, it was full, challenging and exciting. He had been valued, and for the first time in his life he felt as though he belonged. He was like a normal person, a person with friends who seemed to like him.

He was really missing that feeling of belonging. Time spent with Sheppard or Carson or his team, just shooting the breeze, talking nonsense and laughing about nothing. God, he missed them, and all the books and DVDs in the world didn't come close to replacing his real home and family on Atlantis.

He was sick of trying to be cheerful and look on the bright side. Fuck Pollyanna.

After a few more minutes of sitting on the couch he decided he needed to take charge of his life again. Rodney decided to accept the job at Area 51. The sooner he got back into working again, the better he would feel. It was the best offer he was going to get. He pulled out his laptop and started to compose an e-mail formally accepting the position. Of course he had a few stipulations he needed to make, and it was lunchtime before he finished and pressed send.

He got up and stretched, easing out the kinks in his back. He went into the kitchen to look for some food. Nothing. He wished he had thought to buy something when he was out earlier. He remembered passing a deli about a block and a half over. Rodney made sure he had his wallet and keys and headed out the door.

He decided on a sub filled with just about everything the deli had – he had really missed Earth food. He got a big bottle of Coke and took the food back to the apartment to eat. He turned the key in the lock and stepped inside the room. He stood on something that crinkled beneath his shoe and looked down. It was a letter.

He bent down and picked it up. He went to the kitchen and sat down on a bar stool, depositing his lunch on the counter. He looked at the envelope. He was beginning to hate mail. His name was typed on the envelope. No sender details. No postmark. It must have been hand delivered. He ripped it open. Same bold, large font.


You still here? Probably think you are untouchable, right? You are as stupid as I thought. If you don't leave Colorado you will end up as burnt as your precious boxes.

I burnt your useless junk. And if you even think about going to Nevada you will meet the same fiery end.


Rodney felt bewildered. Who could have done this? He wandered back to the living area, running his hands through his hair. What was going on? He sat down on the couch, and stared into space. He had come across a fair bit of dislike, hatred even, previously in his life, but never anything like this.

He refused to be victimized. Something had to be done, and now. He called Sheppard's cell.

"Sheppard, it's Rodney. Please call me as soon as you can. Some idiot has started a campaign to get me out of the SGC. Apparently they think they will achieve this by sending me childish, threatening letters and destroying my property. I'm not really sure what to do or whom I should talk to about this. Call me as soon as you can."

Okay, what next?

Wait for Sheppard to call back?

Wait, what the heck was he doing? He had to learn to stand alone again. He needed to be in control, remember? He had to talk to Stargate Command. He needed to speak to Landry. There was no other option. He pulled out his phone again and dialled the SGC.

"General Landry, please."

"May I say who is calling, sir?"

"It's Doctor McKay."

"One moment please."

Rodney was put on hold for a moment. This was more like it, the General would sort this out.

"Doctor McKay, General Landry is not available at the moment. May I give him a message?"


"Err, when will he be available?"

"I will put you through to his aide."

There was a pause.

"Sergeant Harriman."

"Hello. It's Doctor McKay here. I wanted to speak with General Landry."

"He is in a meeting right now, sir. Would you like to make an appointment?"

Rodney thought about it. It would get him out of this place, and it might be better face-to-face. "Can I see him today?"

"How is 1600?" Harriman asked.

"Yes, that's fine." Rodney hung up and looked at his watch. Three hours to kill, now what was he going to do with his time?

In the end he ate his lunch and watched one of this new DVDs on his laptop. It was one that Sheppard had recommended. The Princess Bride. It was a completely ridiculous movie. But it did make him smile. Inconceivable.

By the time the movie was over it was time to go and see Landry. Rodney got into the car and drove to Cheyenne Mountain. He arrived exactly at four, and after the normal formalities, found himself sitting in the General's office.

The General leaned back in his chair.

"Doctor McKay, what can I do for you? Did you want to talk about the job offer?"

"Actually, I sent them an e-mail confirming my acceptance, with a few stipulations of course."

Landry smiled. "Of course. I'm sure they can sort out the finer points. I'm glad you decided to accept." He paused. "Not that I'm not pleased to see you, but if that's not the reason for your visit, what is?"

Rodney felt uncomfortable, not sure where to start. He lifted his chin and decided to come straight to the point.

"I've been receiving threatening letters and I've reason to suspect someone has deliberately destroyed my property."

The General sat up straighter. "I suggest you start at the beginning, Doctor McKay."

Rodney told Landry what had happened while the General listened patiently, asking questions to clarify a few points. Finally Rodney took the letters he had received and placed them on the General's desk, flattening them out with his hands.

Landry took them and read them carefully. He finally looked up.

"I can assure you, Doctor McKay, that we will get to the bottom of this. The air force doesn't take kindly to someone threatening its employees. I will take personal charge of the investigation. I met with Doctor Jacobson earlier today. I trust you have met him?"

Rodney nodded. Jacobson was the acting head of the scientific department out at Area 51; he had met him just yesterday.

"I think he should still be around, he wasn't going back to Nevada till later on tonight. I'll call him back in. He can take charge of the investigation through Area 51."

Rodney nodded, relieved that the General was taking this so seriously.

"Are you okay about going back to the apartment?" Landry asked "We could sort out alternative accommodation for you."

Rodney stood up and held his head up high. "I'm more than capable of looking after myself. I think I have proved that."

"Indeed you have Doctor McKay. In any case, this individual, however sick and misguided hasn't shown any indication of hurting you personally. In my experience people like this are too cowardly to take direct action."

Rodney nodded. "You'll let me know what you find out?"

"Of course, and obviously you will let us know if there are any further communications from this individual?" asked Landry, nodding in the direction of the letters on the desk.

Rodney nodded again. "Thank you, General."

"You're welcome, Doctor McKay."

Rodney left Stargate Command and drove back to his apartment. He stopped for a pizza – pepperoni with extra onions. He arrived back at the apartment feeling a hundred times better. The General would sort out this mess. However, as soon as he got through the door, any feelings of contentment vanished.

There was a message waiting for him, but there was no letter this time. This time the message was in red paint and was sprayed all over the wall above the sofa.

'If you go to Nevada you will die.'

Rodney's mouth opened in shock. He slowly walked across the room and stood staring at the wall, the pizza forgotten and held at a haphazard angle in his hand.

It was someone at Area 51. My god, who would hate him so much?


Rodney opened the box of the now cold pizza and surveyed the scrambled contents. Truth be told, he was having trouble coming to terms with the ugliness of the situation he found himself in. He was no stranger to politicking and backstabbing, but this was in an altogether different league, and a very unpleasant one.

He had rung the General to let him know the latest. The General had been in a meeting with Doctor Jacobson and was sending him round. That was thirty minutes ago. Rodney had spent the majority of that time staring at the wall. He sighed and closed the lid of the pizza box. This was a rare occasion when food really wasn't going to do it for him.

Rodney looked up as there was a knock on his door. He went to answer it and found Doctor Jacobson on his doorstep carrying a cardboard tray with two paper cups.

"Doctor McKay, I believe the SGC told you I would be coming by?"

"Yes, yes. Come in."

Jacobson walked into the room. He looked at the red writing on the wall and made a whistling sound. "General Landry briefed me but it's another thing to see it for myself. I'm so sorry, Doctor McKay, this must be devastating for you."

Rodney's mouth set in a grim line. "You have no idea."

"Maybe not, but I can imagine. I've also seen a copy of the letters you received and together with this," Jacobson waved at the wall, "I can understand why you think the perpetrator is from Area 51, but I'm finding it hard to believe that anyone on my staff is capable of or has the desire to do this. Would you mind if I asked you some questions?"

Rodney shook his head. "No, I expected that you would. But apart from the notes and messages, I'm as clueless as the next person. I don't know why anyone would hate me this much. I know I'm not the always the nicest person, but-"

"Stop right there, Doctor McKay. This is about some person's sick mind. Not about you. How about we sit down and you can run through the events since you arrived back." Jacobson nodded in the direction of the sofa and offered the tray of drinks. "I have coffee."

"Ah, sure."

The two men settled themselves and began to talk.


Jacobson was okay, thought Rodney. He was very obviously disgusted by the actions of the person who held a grudge against Rodney and was quite frank about his opinion. He sincerely promised to get to the bottom of the matter.

They had spent a long time going over what had happened but after a while the conversation drifted to work. The men were now sitting in the living area chatting about some of the projects currently being undertaken at Area 51.

"Well, Schuster thinks he can replicate the trial using the naquadah deposits found on PX830, that should boost the generator's power by another twenty percent," Jacobson stated.

"Yeah, and pigs might fly. Schuster needs to look at his analysis again. I only looked at it briefly and I could tell he hadn't allowed for the drift of particles caused by the reaction. The man doesn't know what he's doing."

Jacobson frowned. "Actually, I think Schuster is a good man. I think he does know what he's doing."

"Well if he trying to total half of Area 51 with a really big explosion, then yes, he knows what he's doing." Rodney shook his head in irritation. "Things may need to change when I come aboard."

"So you will be starting as you had planned? This business hasn't put you off?" Jacobson inquired.

Rodney looked Jacobson in the eye. "I don't know what you have heard about me. Plenty, I'm sure, and I'm betting it includes stories of how paranoid I am about my safety."

Jacobson held out his hands palms up. "No, no, Doctor McKay-"

"I know, Jacobson." Rodney said angrily. "I know what people say, and yes, maybe there is some truth in it, or there used to be. But I've faced death, and if I can survive the Wraith then I can survive some idiot at Area 51 who think he can scare me off with a temper tantrum in my apartment and a few rather clichéd and overly dramatic messages."

"I see. Yes, maybe you're not the man people think you are."

Rodney nodded, frowning. "Yes, thank you. I think."

Jacobson smiled, getting up and moving to the kitchenette. "I could do with another drink, have you got anything here? One for the road. Then I'd better go, it's getting very late."

"Yes, there's some soda in the cooler." Rodney started to get up, but Jacobson waved him down.

"I'll get it, no problem." Jacobson grabbed a couple of glasses and poured the soda. Rodney looked at his watch. Surprised to see that it was past eleven, he stood up, stretching. "I've got it, no problem," Jacobson repeated.

Rodney pointed towards the bathroom. "Nature calls." Jacobson nodded his understanding.

When Rodney came out, Jacobson was back on the sofa with the soda on the coffee table.

Rodney picked up the glass. "Thanks."

"At least some of us at Area 51 know what we're doing."

Rodney grimaced and took a long swig of the soda. He really needed to learn not to piss off the locals. Doctor Jacobson seemed nice enough. Maybe he should make more of an effort, after all he would be working with him at Area 51 shortly.

Rodney lowered the glass. "I'm sorry, Doctor Jacobson, I didn't mean to talk ill of one of your colleagues, it's just his analysis. I mean, did you even look at it?"

Okay, he wasn't very good at being diplomatic. Oh well.

He took another drink, thinking about what he should say.

"So you plan a few shake-ups when you take over the role of Head Scientific Advisor at Area 51?" Jacobson asked. "I would really appreciate your honesty."

"Honestly? Yes, I do. I think we could get a lot more done if we reassign some of the projects. And quite frankly some of the reports coming out require a hell of a lot more scrutiny. How they pass by their supposed superiors is beyond me. Do they even get read?"

"So, I'm not doing my job properly either?" Jacobson sounded pissed.

Rodney took a gulp of soda looking down at the glass in surprise to see only a mouthful remained.

"No, I didn't mean... Well, I didn't mean to say you-"

"Don't worry, Doctor McKay. I know exactly what you were trying to say. You were trying to say that you know better than me. That you would do a better job as CSA than me. You plan to have me demoted to some mindless project while you keep all the interesting ones to yourself. But you have a surprise coming because from now on you are going to do exactly what I say. To the letter. Stand up, Doctor McKay!"

Rodney found himself on his feet without knowing how he had gotten there. He tried to figure out what was happening but his mind suddenly seemed muddy and slow.


"Quiet!" ordered Jacobson.

Rodney's mouth snapped shut.

"You are going to do exactly what I say. Turn around."

Rodney did as he was told. It was as if he was no longer in control of his body. He wanted to shake his head. He wanted to tell Jacobson exactly what he thought of him but his body refused to obey him. It only obeyed Jacobson. Rodney's mind screamed at him in frustration, but there was nothing he could do.

He felt his wrists being tied behind him. It felt like rope, it hurt.

"Go to the door."

Rodney walked to the door and stopped in front of it.

"Good." Rodney's eyes remained staring at the door, but he caught sight of Jacobson's hand in his peripheral vision as he turned off the lights. Jacobson opened the door.

"Step outside."

Rodney walked forward then stopped, standing outside his apartment. He heard his front door close behind him.

Jacobson came and stood by his side. "I want you to walk to my car."

Rodney turned slightly and saw the outline of a car parked in the driveway in the dark, its nose pointing out towards the street. He knew that he should be panicking but he couldn't make his mind do more than feebly protest.

He walked over to the car, praying that someone would walk past. His immediate neighbours couldn't see him past the bushes and tress, but someone walking past on the sidewalk would. But nobody came.

"Go stand by the trunk."

Rodney did as he was asked. Jacobson unlocked the car. He reached in and popped the trunk. The globe normally inside the truck had obviously been taken out, as it was dark inside. Jacobson came to stand beside Rodney.

"Get in the trunk."

Rodney mind screamed in response and he used every ounce of will he had to stop himself getting into the car.

"Now," ordered Jacobson again in a quiet but firm voice.

Rodney couldn't stop himself and he awkwardly hooked his leg into the truck. Jacobson grabbed his arm and helped him in. It was hard going with his hands tied behind his back but eventually Rodney found himself lying on his side scrunched up in the trunk of the car.

Jacobson took some more rope out of his pocket and leaning into the trunk, threaded the rope between and around Rodney's ankles. He pulled and knotted the rope tightly then stood back.

"Comfy?" asked Jacobson with a sneer.

"No," replied Rodney solemnly.

Jacobson looked shocked for a moment then smiled. "Of course I asked a direct question. I thought for a moment that the Richta was wearing off already." Jacobson leaning in towards Rodney. "I want you to keep still and quiet. The Richta will probably wear off in about an hour, until then you are not to move a muscle."

The last thing Rodney saw before the trunk closed and he was enveloped in darkness, was Jacobson's smiling face.

He heard the engine start and the car bumped its way out of the driveway and onto the street, speeding up as it hit the open road.