War Games by Ravenfur
Disclaimer: Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis are not owned by me.
AN: I really need to stop getting these plot bunnies. I swear, they're breeding. Anyways, happy reading!
Italics indicate radio/phone speech.
"They want what?" Jack O'Neill asked his former second in command over the telephone.
Sam Carter laughed. "They want a half million water balloons, or if we can't get that, a half million surgical gloves. I'm not sure what they want them for, they didn't say exactly on the requisition sheet."
Well, that would be interesting. "So Landry told you to call me and get the OK?"
"Landry doesn't want water balloons anywhere near Atlantis, but yes, he told me to call you and get the OK. I want to know what they would do with them - besides the obvious."
'Jack hummed, then grinned. "Send them the balloons. If we didn't, they'd just end up requisitioning more surgical gloves on the sly and using those. See if you can figure out what they're up to, maybe get Caldwell and the Daedalus to ask around. Now, are we still on for dinner when I get out to the Springs?"
"Of course we are," Sam said as they shoved business aside for the moment.
"You've reached the Atlantis expedition. Unfortunately, Atlantis is closed, and we do not have the time to take your call. If this is Earth or the Daedalus then please send a radio message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. If this is the Wraith, please reschedule your invasion for at least week and a half after tomorrow. Thank you for your time." Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard's voice echoed out from the speakers on the Daedalus, obviously a recorded message.
"Did I hear that right?" Colonel Caldwell asked his bridge crew.
"Yes sir, you did," the weapons officer replied.
"Set up a radio link with Atlantis, I want to know what's going on."
It took a couple of moments, then the Lieutenant in charge of communications nodded to the Colonel. "Atlantis base, this is Colonel Caldwell. Please respond."
It took a couple of minutes before John Sheppard's voice was heard in the speakers again. "Pause game, pause game, everyone take a knee." There was a small wait before he spoke again. "Hello, Daedalus. This is a surprise. You weren't due back in the Pegasus Galaxy until next week. Something the matter?"
"We needed to make the run a little earlier for technical reasons. What in the world is going on there, Colonel?" Caldwell demanded.
"Uhm..."Sheppard said, then started shouting, "Hey, I said pause game! Red group in A53, level 1, you have a ten minute penalty once we start again. Now, take a knee! Thank you. Colonel Caldwell, why don't you see what we're up to? You are cleared to touch down."
"Thank you, we'll be there in a moment. Caldwell out." The Colonel turned to his bridge crew. "Is anyone else curious now?"
"We all are," the Captain manning the weapons station said as the Daedalus exited hyperspace and arrived over the planet Atlantis base was situated on.
It took a few minutes for the Daedalus to land and for Caldwell and his senior staff members to disembark. Even from outside they could hear shouting.
After hurrying inside, the first thing Caldwell saw was a purple water balloon coming straight towards his face. The surprise prevented him from ducking, and the commander of the Daedalus spluttered, wiping water off his face.
"Pause game, pause game, everyone take a knee." John Sheppard said over the city-wide PA. The ten people - dressed in either red shirts or blue shirts - the Daedalus crew saw in the hallways ceased their water balloon throwing and either sat or knelt. Each person had a stash of water balloons and puddles of water and popped balloons littered the halls. Nobody was even remotely dry.
The voice over the PA continued. "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have the Daedalus crew here. Anyone who throws a balloon at them gets to sit out from our little war game and visit Dr. Beckett. One of the Blue group in C21, please lead Colonel Caldwell to the control room."
One of the men in a blue shirt stood up and saluted the Colonel. Major Lorne handed his balloons to one of his teammates and motioned the crew of the Daedalus to follow him. Caldwell noted with a mental laugh that as Lorne walked, his waterlogged boots squished.
Passing numerous groups of kneeling or sitting men and women, Caldwell spoke. "What in the world is going on here, Major?"
"We're on vacation, Colonel sir," the second in command of the Military in Atlantis replied as he escorted the group into the gate room and gestured up the stairs. "Colonel Sheppard will answer your questions up there. I've got to get back to my team," he said, then jogged past the groups of people back to the 21st corridor.
Caldwell climbed the staircase and met up with Colonel Sheppard in the control room. Hiding in the control room were also Dr. Elizabeth Weir and Dr. Rodney McKay.
Once he saw that Lorne had reached his earlier position in C21, Sheppard gave the command to resume the game. From his safe - and dry - position in the control room, Steven Caldwell watched as the two sides stood up and started bombarding each other with balloons. Suddenly there was a cheer from those in red shirts as the small number of blue people were forced from the gate room.
"Alright, Colonel, what's going on," Caldwell demanded as he turned back to face the control room.
Sheppard had been lounging in one of the chairs looking at a map of the first level of Atlantis. It was covered in red and blue dots, representing where the people from either team were. "Welcome to the first, and hopefully annual, Atlantis Water Balloon Fight," John said with a grin.
"You shut down the entire base to have a water balloon fight?" Caldwell asked, feeling a headache start. "Whose idea was this?"
John turned serious. "It was mine, sir. The people here needed a little break after the latest Wraith attack. They also needed to learn to work together better, and needed to brush up on their tactical skills. What better way than a water balloon fight?"
When put that way, Caldwell could see the sense in their little vacation. "What's the goal? How do you decide what team wins?"
"The goal of the game is to, when it is over, control the most territory. The team that does gets a prize we bought from Dr. Zelenka." Sheppard said.
"Is that the doctor that requisitioned the barrels, copper tubing and a copy of How to Distill?" Caldwell asked. Thankfully for Sheppard, they were interrupted.
"Colonel, a group of Blues are trying to get into Lab 27," the Chief Scientist reported. "The locks are still holding."
Sheppard turned to the display, inspected it for a moment, turned the security cameras on to show the group in question and then activated the city-wide PA. "Blue group in C42, near Lab 27, you have a five minute penalty." From the monitor showing the blue group there, Caldwell watched the group of three men and one woman go down on one knee, eyes on their watches. They were summarily bombarded by a red group at the end of the hall.
"At least it's not complete mayhem," Caldwell conceded.
"We declared some sections off limits, including the entire third level, and moved all electrical equipment to off-limits areas. Penalties like the ones that you just saw can happen for a number of things. Fighting during pauses or trying to get into off-limits areas are just two of them." Weir said from where she was keeping an eye on the third level, making sure nobody ventured out of the 'legal' areas.
Watching the monitors, Sheppard activated the city-wide PA. "Red group in C21, ten minute penalty. You're lucky I'm not sending you to Carson." The group of men in red shirts in the mentioned corridor took their penalty under a furious barrage from the blue team in the same corridor.
"What did they do?" Elizabeth asked.
"Tripped Lorne up and almost sent him down the stairs. His teammates aren't happy." John said, showing the scene to the group.
"Why would they be sent to Dr. Beckett?" Colonel Caldwell asked curiously.
"John's idea," Dr. Weir spoke up, "was if someone injured someone else, they got a one-way trip to Carson for a colonoscopy."
"It's been a remarkably good threat to keep them in line," Rodney added.
"So how are you keeping them supplied?" Steven asked as he sat down next to Sheppard.
John smiled. "We had everyone - and I mean everyone - filling balloons for a day. Then we sent everyone to the mainland to help the Athosians with something, I forget what our excuse was. Elizabeth, Rodney and I then hid the balloons all around the designated areas. If you find them then you can use them. Participants weren't given anything prior to the start, making them search for the caches."
The room was quiet for a moment. "John, take a look at this!" Rodney angled the monitor he was looking at towards the two military men. It showed Radek Zelenka, the Czech scientist that worked under Rodney, putting the final touches on a very large slingshot. He had a sizable stash of water balloons next to him, no doubt commandeered by the blue-shirted teammates that were helping him position his invention. After a few more preparations, Radek began launching balloons at a group of reds surrounding the entrance to the gate room. After a few minutes of bombardment the reds that had formerly controlled the gate room retreated to the hallways outside of it.
"Now that, that there was nice." Rodney said in approval.
Caldwell looked at the picture on the monitor, then at John. It normally took him two weeks of arguing with his crew to do any tactical training or drills, and Sheppard had figured out how to make it fun. "So you got them to do tactical training, team building lessons and enforced leave just by starting a water balloon fight? Nice, Sheppard."
John grinned. "Thank you, sir."
Secure in his Washington DC office, Jack O'Neill answered his ringing cell phone. "O'Neill here, what?"
"Oh, hello Sam. What's up this week at the SGC?" Jack grinned, leaning back and propping his feet up on his desk. Not like I use this thing for anything else, he thought as his boots made prints on rather important paperwork.
"Daniel managed to get kidnapped again," Sam's laughter was audible. "Turns out this Princess on P4C-221 thought he was rather handsome."
"What else has been going on? Any word from Atlantis?" Jack asked.
"TheDaedalus returned. You probably haven't even read the report Colonel Caldwell made, have you?" Sam received a noncommittal response, that she properly interpreted as an embarrassed no. "Well, Caldwell figured out what they were using the water balloons for. He actually landed right in the middle of the Atlantis version of a war game." The astrophysicist proceeded to explain what had been going on during Atlantis' 'vacation'.
"So, someone nailed Caldwell with a water balloon?" Jack laughed. "I would have paid to see that!"
"Well, that's what they wanted with those water balloons they requisitioned a month ago. Now, you know what you want to do?"
"What do I want to do?" Jack asked.
"I know a certain Lieutenant Colonel is going to be in DC tomorrow night and would love to go to dinner with you," Sam's words sent a grin to Jack's face.
"I'll see you tomorrow. I know a great steak restaurant nearby."