Establishing a Connection

Part 3

By MacGateFan

Disclaimers in Part 1

"Colonel Caldwell, may I have a word?" Elizabeth asked arms crossed as she glared at him.

Caldwell nodded and followed her to her office. She made certain the door was shut before turning to face him. "How dare you allow your men to bully everyone in this city? I don't care how you got this position or who got it for you, but I will not have the people here looking nervously over their shoulders! I expect the men you had "watching over" Dr. McKay will be punished."

"You're losing control here, aren't you?" he asked with a grin.

"Excuse me? I don't think so!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "You are way out of line and I will contact the SGC as soon as I can and explain the situation to them."

Elizabeth nodded to Major Lorne and Lieutenant Ford who were standing outside her office. "Colonel," Lorne said. "If you'll come with us."

When Lorne was close enough, Caldwell grabbed his weapon and pointed it at Elizabeth. She involuntarily took a step back even knowing that it wouldn't prevent a bullet slamming into her brain.

She wondered what on Earth (or Atlantea) happened to this man that he seemed to have cracked. Before she could even blink, Lorne and Ford had tackled him to the ground, the weapon discharging in the scuffle.

Lorne grunted as they effectively subdued Caldwell. He called out to two Marines, who readily went to get him and take him down to the brig. "Dr Weir?" he asked, turning to face her.

"Ford, get a medical team up here!" he said. There was an alarming amount of blood pouring from a small wound on her head. Elizabeth moaned and blinked. Lorne left out a sigh of relief. "Doc? Can you hear me?"

"M'jr? Head hurts," she said. He could see her unfocused eyes. "Miss John."

"Me too, Doc."

"Gonna sleep now, k?"

Carson rushed in and replied before Lorne could. "Stay awake for me, Love," he replied as he picked up some gauze to stem the flow of blood. "Elizabeth!"

"Cars'n. Sleepy."

"I know you are, but I can't let you fall asleep right now." Unfortunately Elizabeth didn't listen and lost consciousness. "Bloody hell!"

John knocked on General O'Neill's door. "Sir," he said. "You wanted to see me?"

Jack looked up at younger man. "I have some good news for you, Major... Or should I say Colonel?"

"Sir?" John asked, staring at him in shock.

"The President has read some astounding reports on your work in Atlantis. Dr. Weir, and many others, speak very highly of you. And just for the record, I would have done the same in your position."

John smiled. "Thank you, General. That means a lot. Especially after..."

"Yeah, the President's been notified about that too. Any clearance he's had here has been revoked. You leave on the Daedalus' sister ship, the Odyssey within the hour."

John was about to reply when the alarm went off, signaling that the 'Gate had been activated. Jack got up and headed down the stairs and John followed out of curiosity. Walter met them halfway.

"Walter?" Jack asked, noting the way he was looking at John. "What's wrong?"

"It's Atlantis, Sir. Colonel Caldwell sort of snapped."

"What do you mean by that?" John asked.

Walter took a deep breath. "He shot Dr. Weir, Sir. She's in a coma."

John was silent as he felt his world tilt. "Whoa there!" Jack was saying, as he helped him. "I knew it," he muttered.

"Nevermind, Sheppard."

Walter spoke up, "Major, Dr. McKay is waiting to speak with you."

"Thanks, Sergeant," he replied, almost feeling numb. Nothing him scared him as much as hearing something happened to Elizabeth. He had no idea why he was feeling this way. The last time he did it didn't end so well for either of them. John shook his head and walked over to monitor. He did a double take when he saw Rodney's black eye.

"What the hell happened to you?"

"Colonel Wacko's soldiers did this to me, but that's not important right now."

"Like hell it isn't! What is going on over there, Rodney?"

John listened to his friend in disbelief. He knew what a jerk Caldwell was, but he didn't think the man would stoop so low. John decided he was going to have a long talk with his Father before he the Odyssey left. "I'm leaving soon, Rodney."

"Oh, Major Lorne is requesting we send Caldwell and his two flunkies back to Earth right now. He doesn't want anymore trouble and I'm going to have to agree with him on that."

John turned to face Jack, who nodded. "Send them through, Rodney."

"Carson, quit fussing over me, I'm fine."

"You'll excuse me that, as your physician, I do not agree with your assessment," he replied. "Elizabeth, you've been in a coma for nearly two weeks! Your body is tired and needs rest."

Elizabeth yawned. "Maybe I am a little tired. Do you think I'll be well enough to go to John's welcome home party?"

"I'm sure we can arrange that."

"Are you kidding, Carson?" Rodney asked in disbelief. "You just said so yourself, she's been a coma! She needs to rest so her head doesn't... explode or anything."

Elizabeth smiled at the concern in Rodney's voice. "As long as I rest up, I should be able to join you all for a bit tomorrow evening. Besides, who's more better qualified to agree than Carson?"

Rodney was about to make a comment when Teyla glared at him. "I know when I'm not wanted," he replied, leaving.

Teyla and Elizabeth chuckled. "It is good to see you awake, Elizabeth," the Athosian said. "We were quite worried."

"Thank you, Teyla. What have I missed?"

"Elizabeth," Carson warned.

"I won't be able to sleep until I've talked to Teyla, Carson."

"Very well, but no longer than five minutes!"

Elizabeth nodded. "Of course."

Teyla explained what happened after Elizabeth lost consciousness. "Rodney immediately went into action and informed your people. He had them send Colonel Caldwell and the other two men working for him back to Earth."

"Is Rodney all right? I know how nervous he can get sometimes."

"I think once he spoke with Colonel Sheppard, he was fine."

Elizabeth blinked. "Did you just say Colonel Sheppard?"

"Yes. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel just before Rodney contacted Earth."

"That's wonderful," she replied, thinking of John. He was always there for her no matter how crazy things on Atlantis had gotten. "He deserves it."

Teyla nodded, nothing the slight color forming on her cheeks. "Elizabeth, are you all right? Should I get Dr. Beckett?"

"You've seen right through me, haven't you?"

"I have, but I promise not to say anything, however, you should."

Elizabeth shook her head. "I'm not so sure, Teyla. Things are complicated and I'm afraid of what would happen if we did start seeing one another. The military has strict rules about relationships between their people."

"But you are not in the military, Elizabeth," she replied. "And you cannot help who you fall in love with. Perhaps they will take into consideration the fact that you were cut off from your planet for so long. Perhaps they will understand that these things happen."

"Perhaps. Or maybe they'll send John right back to Earth."

"Dr. McKay, the Odyssey has arrived. They're requesting permission to land on the east dock."

Rodney continued typing away at his keyboard, but looked up when he felt all eyes on him. "What? Do you really need my permission to let the Odyssey land?"

"Just following--"

"Procedure, I know," he said, waving his hand dismissively, "Let them land."

Suddenly there was flash of light and one Lt Colonel John Sheppard was standing before them. "I'm baaaack."

"Damn it, Sheppard! Give me a heart attack, why don't you!" Rodney cried.

John laughed. "Sorry."

"No you're not."

John looked around the Gateroom, everyone nodding to him and shaking his hand to welcome him back. He gestured to Rodney to follow him and soon they were in the corridor heading to the infirmary.

"Is everyone all right?"

"For the most part. Did you ever find out what the deal was with Colonel Wacko?"

John nodded. "I did, but I'll wait until we're in the infirmary. I'm sure everyone else will want to know as well."

Upon arrival in the infirmary, Carson greeted John warmly. "It's good to have you back. And congratulations, Colonel, it was well earned."

"Thanks, Doc. How's Elizabeth?"

"She's doing much better. She woke up a few days ago and it's been very difficult trying to keep her in here."

John grinned. "Someone has to keep you on your toes."

"I supposed," Carson replied with a chuckle. "Elizabeth is in the private room back near my office. I'll call Lieutenant Ford and Teyla and let them know you're here."

Rodney was following John to Elizabeth's room. "Rodney, leave them alone."

"What? Oh fine, I'll see if Lorne wants to hear the story of Colonel Wacko."

John began his story with his arrival at the SGC. When he got to the part with his Father, everyone understood where Colonel Caldwell came into the picture. John's friends could tell he was feeling the blame for this, as usual.

"Sheppard, you can't blame yourself for your Father or Caldwell's stupidity," Rodney said.

Teyla nodded. "Rodney is right. We should be happy that they are gone and you have returned to your rightful place."

"I'll second that!" Carson replied.

"Definitely!" Ford said.

All eyes turned to Elizabeth, she was crying. "Hey," John said. "I'm really sorry about all this."

"It's not that. I'm just... I'm just so happy that you're here."

Carson and Teyla had to each grab Rodney and Ford by the arms to pull them out of the room. The pair each glanced at the on pulling on them, who both proceeded to glare and they finally understood.

"I'm very glad to be back too, Elizabeth," he replied, taking her hand.

"I missed you so much. My heart seemed to ache for you, John."

He smiled with a nod. "I know the feeling."