Episode tag for episode of the same name. Part of "Snacks" series of episode tags that take place in the cafeteria or mess hall, or at least around food. Minor spoilers contained within.
A/N: Minor Spoilers from Stargate: Atlantis episodes contained within. The idea for this is my own, but I have to admit that I was inspired by dietcokechic's The Barista series and by Dr. Dredd's Memoranda from the Edge series. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
As always, I do not own any of the Stargate folks. Wish I did, but I don't.
Additional Note: Re-edited July 2011, mostly cosmetic changes - hopefully I caught all the typos this time.
Major John Sheppard walked into the area that had been designated "the cafeteria." He was still getting used to the use of civilian terminology in place of military – like "cafeteria" instead of "mess hall." He rounded the corner to where the kitchen had been set up and found a woman there.
She was short and curvy, but well within military standards. She was dressed in camo pants, a regulation military T-shirt, and boots. Her hair was in a long red braid that swung as she worked. She was scrubbing down the counters in the kitchen area.
"Oh, ah, sorry to interrupt," he frowned.
She stiffened and turned to face him. "Major! Is there something I can do for you?" She almost snapped to attention.
Sheppard half-grinned and shrugged. "No. I – ah- I was looking for a snack. You are?"
"Chief Warrant Officer Helena Leiter, Master Chef," her blue eyes twinkled, as she quickly pinned up her braid, set at ease more by his manner than his words.
John's eyebrows went up. "Master Chef? The military has 'Master Chefs'?"
Helena smiled and responded with "What can I get for you, sir?"
"I've been jonesing for a turkey sandwich all day."
She smiled, "That I can do." She turned to a stack of drawers that seemed to be randomly placed and opened a drawer. "We have very limited choices right now, pre-packaged sandwiches, Power bars, water, an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, more of the same in cans –"
She paused and smiled back at him. "Now what military operation would be complete without MREs?" She tossed a plastic container with a pre-made turkey and Swiss on white bread in it to him.
He caught it easily and sat on a table nearby. "One run by civilians, I guess."
Helena picked up the cloth and spray bottle she'd been working with when he walked in and sprayed a counter. As she wiped, she said. "It'll take some getting used to, huh?"
He let out a short laugh. "That's for sure."
As if cued, Dr. Rodney McKay walked in. He stopped short. "Oh. Uh, sorry."
Helena paused. "Good evening, Dr. McKay. Another snack?"
"Well, yes," he looked at John, who was smiling as he munched on his sandwich. "It is very easy for me to have a hypoglycemic reaction. I have to eat regularly."
"And you're 'deathly allergic to citrus'," Helena seemed to have heard all of this before.
Rodney's eyes moved from John to Helena and back. After a moment, he continued. "I'm looking for something sweet."
Helena turned back to the drawers and opened a different one. "I have chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar and…" she moved something. "Peanut butter cookies."
Rodney thought for a moment. "Are the peanut butter soft?"
Helena eyes widened even as her eyebrows knit together in a look that read 'You're kidding me, right?'
"Never mind, I'll take the oatmeal," Rodney made a motion of "give" with his hand.
Helena threw the package containing two cookies to him.
He caught it and looked. "No, no, no, no; these are oatmeal-RAISIN."
Helena smiled. "Yes?"
Rodney's mouth formed a thin line and he shook his head as he looked to the ceiling. "There is only one way raisins should be eaten: uncooked, straight from the box. Not in cookies, puddings, pies…"
"I'll take 'em," John interrupted after swallowing a bite of sandwich.
Helena smiled as John caught the cookies tossed to him by Rodney. "So," she said, patiently. "Chocolate chip or sugar?"
"I'll take the peanut butter."
Laughing out-loud, Helena turned, chose the correct package of cookies and threw it to him.
Rodney caught it and turned to John. "Good job, by the way."
John's eyebrows rose. "Hmm?"
"The rescue thing. I mean I know we lost someone, but you brought everyone else back…" Rodney looked uncomfortable, then. "You did a good job."
John stopped chewing and sat, looking at the scientist until Rodney cleared his throat and nodded.
"Yes, well, good-night Major," He glanced at Leiter. "Chief."
After he left, Helena moved from the counters to the table next to where Sheppard was sitting. She sprayed it down and started to scrub.
"He's only repeating the sentiments of everyone here." She said it without looking at him.
John swallowed the last bite of his first cookie and repeated the words he'd spoken to Elizabeth Weir only hours before. "I have to live with it."
She paused and looked at him. "Yes, you do. But you're not here by yourself."
He looked at her, head tilted.
She looked back, expectantly.
He looked at the last cookie in his hand and offered it to her.
She shook her head with a smile. "No, thanks. Now get out, so I can finish disinfecting my 'cafeteria' and get it ready for the breakfast shift to set up."
John hopped off the table and headed for the door. He stopped. "You know, we're in a different galaxy; how do you know the germs here are the same?"
Helena held up the bottle. "Doesn't matter. Bleach kills everything."
He looked thoughtful for a moment, then smiled. "Maybe we should try it against the Wraith."
She laughed. "Maybe."
With a wave, he left, and she returned to the counters.