He never thinks of himself as a lucky man. He likes to complain about most things, and that includes his lot in life, generally. Not that he's a moaner, as such... he simply aspires above and beyond what is here and now.. wants that little extra.. enjoys and values perfection.

Anyway, he's a scientist... when you're striving for excellence, luck doesn't come into it. He steps on the cracks, happily walks under ladders and was once proud owner of apartment thirteen.

But, he surmises, they'll be lucky today if they escape this planet unscathed.

And isn't it just like Sheppard to be peppering the walls with bullets? There is no one following them now, no one threatening them; in McKay's opinion, he just likes the noise.

McKay feels Ronon behind him and then recieves a push that means, get a move on, McKay, because, yes, the scientist is dragging his feet.. a little.

Bullets are ricocheting from the shiny walls and he thinks, steady on, colonel! That man has the luck of the Irish, but stray bullets can ping around and find targets just as easily as ones that are aimed. Ronon passes him as a blur of tan leather, and, irritated, he has to stoop to retrieve his pack, as it's been knocked from his shoulder when the big man sped by him. There's no time to get it on his back, so he simply grasps it to himself, and then is up and running with his team.

There isn't far to go and he's glad he's not navigating; all these hallways look the same, so he scampers on, following the others.

Then, from a dark opening that the others passed just moments before, someone appears.

It's like a movie; you know, the cheesy eleventh hour scene you've been expecting all along. Only he isn't expecting this. The man is still, and his weapon is raised - it's a crumby-looking, pistol type thing. He doesn't know why, but Rodney is sure that there's no time to drop the pack, reach for his handgun and fire it. So he doesn't even try... isn't that strange? he thinks. He doesn't try to save himself, he doesn't try to run... he's frozen. Of all things, it is images of the infirmary that flash before him now; bedpans, IV lines, ice chips, Carson in charge of him like he was a child. All this to look forward to...

Except, of course, he just might...


Crap... This man has him sighted, square in the chest, Sheppard and the others are ahead of him, already to the outer door, and they are seconds away from the jumper parked outside. He sees them from the corner of his eye, as if they move in slow motion; John and Ronon, like Butch and Sundance, about to spring up and leap around the corner. Maybe he could shout, but he's scared that something might provoke that grubby finger to pull the trigger... the trigger that's going to send a bullet or blast straight into his chest.

Into his chest...

Oh, God, he's a dead man.

He's not sure what comes first, the sound of the weapon firing, the impact, or the shouts from the doorway. He thinks it is the former, and, flinching only slightly, he feels a calmness descend as a mist, so that when the impact comes it is dulled somewhat by the haze that surrounds him.

He is not knocked backwards as he has imagined, instead, a vibration rolls through him right to the soles of his feet, and he staggers like a drunk. He looks down and sees he is still clutching his pack in front of him in his shaking hands. Smoke is curling from a ragged hole in its front, and now suddenly he laughs, because it's ridiculous, but Lady Luck has smiled on him and this pack has saved his life.

His eyes connect with his team at the doorway and he giggles even as Ronon, kneeling, capably drops the man with the crumby little shooter, with two economical blasts of his alien weapon.

"It's okay.." he says, a little breathlessly, seeing as how he's still recovering from the shock of near-death.

Then there is a loud crash, the pack slides from numbing fingers and he's left looking intently at his knees. When, exactly, had he decided to sit down?

He's wet and he thinks maybe his water bottle has burst. His right hand dabs and wipes ineffectually at his damp shirt. He has a sense that the others are moving from the doorway and are surrounding him.

"Is 'at... blood?", he asks, puzzled, as the hand he now holds in front of his face blurs and turns his whole vision to red.

"Oh... "

His concern grows, because, as he gazes up at his team, no one is smiling and congratulating him on his near-miss. Instead they have faces of stone and Teyla has a hand over her mouth like she's said something she shouldn't have; Sheppard rubs at his head as if it pains him.

The man who is always right, who is the brightest spark in two galaxies, has got it wrong this time. It would seem that even the pack of a genius, full of all manner of wonderful, genius things cannot, in fact, stop a small piece of lead travelling at just over half the speed of sound. Luck has nothing to do with it.

John says, "Rodney... stay with me here, okay?" Yeah, like he's going anywhere anytime soon. Sudden nausea makes him groan, then he feels himself lowered backwards until his head reaches a soft spot. John's fingers are searching his neck; they are surprisingly gentle...

They put him on a stretcher. He tries to help, it's kind of embarrassing having your friends grab bits of you and lift you like an invalid. But he's able to do nothing but lie there, feeling cold blood on his chest beneath the hastily applied dressing. Rodney has never climbed Everest, but he thinks he could imagine how it would be; the air is becoming thin here... it's getting hard to suck in enough of the stuff.

The three faces around him break up and become confused patches of dark and light.

Someone mumbles, it sounds like they are playing the tuba - badly.

Then someone mumbles back.

Just his bad luck to be the one who passed that opening...

His bad luck to get shot.

Trust him to have his hands full...

Wrong place... wrong time... blah, blah, blah...

He really doesn't believe in luck, so it's strange that, as the darkness takes him, he finds himself trusting to it and hoping that it holds until they can get him back to those wonderful bedpans and IV's and ice chips and Carson patting him patiently on the head...

Then he'll be alright.

(Touch wood...)


TBC and thanks for reading.