Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate SG-1, Atlantis or Star Trek's Q and will not seek profit from this story.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Q?

Quixotic Introductions

Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter was rubbing the back of her neck when the reflection of a bright light flickered across her laptop.

"Well, Cam, you were right. I have been up too long."

"Do you always talk to yourself?"

Carter whirled around on her stool to find a tall man with brown hair and a widow's peak standing in the middle of her lab.

"Who are you? How did you get in here?" she asked, reaching for the phone.

"No need to call security," the man said. "They wouldn't be able to do anything anyway."

Sam scanned the man for visible weapons, and, seeing none, hung up the phone.

The man struck a pose and grinned. "Like what you see, eh? I can do better."

There was another flash of light, and the man was wearing tight swim shorts. He flexed his biceps and said, "Grrr."

Sam wasn't sure if she was offended or attracted. Either way, this stranger shouldn't be her lab. "You've got ten seconds to tell me what you're doing here."

The man frowned and snapped his fingers.

"Q," he said, back in a green SGC jumpsuit. "I'm here to warn you."

"Warn me? About what?"

"A serious threat to this galaxy."

Sam smiled at the man's smug expression.

"If you're talking about the Ori, we know."

The smugness was replaced by a dejected frown. "Oh. Well." He held up his fingers.

"Wait! How do you know about the Ori? Where are you from?"

The man considered her question, tapping his chin thoughtfully. "I'm from many places."

"What does that mean?" Dr. Daniel Jackson asked in the briefing room later that morning.

Q pointed at Sam.

"He belongs to the Q Continuum," she said.

"Ok, I'm guessing by the way you said there's a threat to 'this galaxy' the Q Continuum is in another galaxy," Daniel said.

Q looked between Daniel and Sam. "Were you two separated at birth?"

Vala Mal Doran laughed.

"It's not another galaxy," Sam explained. "It's not even a place really."

"So what is it?" Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell said. "A state of mind?"

"In a manner of speaking," Q said with appreciative surprise.

"You sure he's not NID?"

Sam and Mitchell stood as General Jack O'Neill entered the room and took a seat beside General Hank Landry.

"He looks a hell of a lot like-"

"I assure you, I am not affiliated with any organization on your quaint little planet."

"Quaint little planet?" Jack muttered.

"What exactly is this Q Continuum?" Teal'c asked as Sam studied the man, considering Jack's observation.

"It's an extra-dimensional plane of existence," Q said.

"Oh well, that explains everything," Vala muttered.

Jack smirked in agreement.

"So, you're like the Ancients or the Ori," Mitchell said. "You're ascended."

"Of course not," Q snapped.

"Extra-dimensional means outside our dimension," Sam explained. "It doesn't mean his race lives on a higher plane like ascended beings."

"Wrong!" Q leaned down and jabbed a finger in Sam's face.

Sam pulled away in surprise.

"Well, not completely wrong," Q continued, pacing around the table. "Extra-dimensional does indeed mean outside your dimension. But the Q occupy any and every plane of existence we so desire. Being omnipotent, immortal and the most intelligent beings in the universes, not to mention the most attractive, we naturally gravitate toward the higher planes." Q giggled and muttered, "Gravitate."

"Ok, you're not ascended," Daniel said.

"We have no need for ascension. It's beneath us."

"But entering other planes and dimensions isn't beneath you," Daniel said snidely.

"Other dimensions are a source of amusement for us. Entertaining and, on rare occasions, educational. Hey," Q snapped his fingers and pointed at Daniel. "I thought you seemed familiar. You were that woman's prodigy. What was her name? She was very interesting. Quite rebellious and…refreshing."

"Are you talking about Oma Desala?"

"Yes! What a visionary." Q wagged a finger at Daniel and smiled mischievously. "You caused quite a bit of trouble."

"Not surprising," Jack said.

Everyone turned to him.

"What?"

"What kind of trouble?" Vala asked, grabbing Daniel's arm and leaning seductively toward Q.

"Let's bottom line this," General Landry said. "Why are you here?"

"I told you."

"Thank you for warning us about the Ori," Landry said with a false smile. "You can go now." Landry started to rise from his chair, but Jack motioned for him to stay seated.

"That's it?" Q sputtered. "Just a thank you? No party or-"

"We'll send ya a nice fruit basket," Jack said. "I think what my elder colleague meant to say is why are you still here?" Jack said.

"Can you help us?" Daniel asked.

"Help you what?" Q asked.

"Defeat the Ori," Daniel said.

Q laughed loud and long, slapping his knee. "You humans, you really slay me." He sobered. "No."

"Why not?" Daniel and Jack asked.

"Because."

"Because why?" Daniel and Jack asked.

"Do any of you have original thoughts?" Q asked.

"Just answer the question," Jack said. "And the answer better not be 'because I said so'."

"If I help you, I'd be interfering with your evolution."

"And there's a law against that?" Daniel asked, his tone indicating he knew there was.

"Nope."

"No?" everyone but Teal'c said.

"Then why will you not help to defeat the Ori?" Teal'c asked.

"Because I don't want to." Q folded his arms and sat on the edge of the desk at the back of the briefing room. "That's not what Q do."

Jack turned to Daniel. "Shouldn't that be 'Q does'?"

Daniel sighed. "I don't know. This is a bit confusing."

"A bit," was Jack's response.

"Maybe he can't help," Mitchell said.

Q sputtered and stood, hands on hips. "I most certainly could help if I wanted to. And if it was necessary."

Mitchell shrugged. "Prove it."

"You don't seem to understand." Q leaned over the table. "I am an omnipotent being. You guys are merely human."

"Oh, here we go again," Jack muttered.

General Landry stood and strode around the table to Q. "Look, these people are all busy trying to save the galaxy. So if you don't have anything to add, leave them alone."

"Yes, sir." Q snapped off a salute.

Landry glared at the uninvited guest and stood his ground, arms folded.

"What do mean, 'if it was necessary'?" Daniel asked.

"Well if you make a huge mess of things, somebody will have to clean it up, especially if you're all-"

"So, that's what the Q do?" Daniel said. "Clean up after everyone else? I find it hard to believe that such a superior race would consent to be galactic janitors."

Jack beamed with admiration. He couldn't have said it better himself.

"I wouldn't put it that way," Q said, wrinkling his nose. "If the Q cleaned up after everyone, we'd have no time for anything else."

"Well, then how would you put it?" Daniel asked.

"The Q, when necessary, use our powers to maintain a certain order in the universe."

"Like hall monitors?" Jack asked.

Q's face turned a sick shade of green.

"Too far?" Jack asked.

"I'd say so," Daniel said.

"I'd love to stand here and debate your job description all day," Landry said, startling everyone with his voice, which was so loud it seemed to echo. "But we've got work to do."

"You know, I've studied humans from your future. They seem to have overcome a number of problems." Q backed away from Landry.

"You've studied humans?" Daniel asked, not liking the taste of the words.

"Ew," Vala said.

"Observed may be a more appropriate word."

"Can you help or not?" General Landry almost shouted.

Q trembled and threw his hands up to block his face. "I don't know. I'll need to see how far you've come."

Landry sighed. "Can you do that and stay out of the way?"

"Of course I can," Q said, affronted. "Haven't you been listening? I'm omnipo-"

"See that you do so," Landry commanded.

"General," Sam started to protest.

"You're doing the best you can, Colonel. No one doubts that. But if there's even the remotest possibility that this man can help, I suppose we shouldn't pass it up."

"Yes, sir."

Jack swiveled his chair toward Sam. "If he gets in your way, feel free to use any means necessary to defend yourself. Even if you have to bite his hand," he added in a whisper.

Sam smiled.

Q clapped his hands. "So, where do we start?"

Sam bit her bottom lip and stood. "Follow me."

As everyone else filed out of the briefing room, Jack joined Landry at the window overlooking the stargate.

"You made the right call."

Landry turned to Jack. "Elder colleague?"

"What?"


"Ooh, what's this?"

"That's an anti-Prior device," Sam said.

"How does it work?" Q tried to activate it.

Sam snatched it away from him. "Please don't do that."

"Why's it so big?"

"We've been too busy making sure it works to worry about aesthetics."

"You need something smaller," Q said, thoughtful. "Something that can be hidden easily or worn. Can I see the specs?"

Sam went to her computer. "We've been working on enhancing the device's function."

"This?" Q pointed to something on the device. "It's not on these specs."

"Right." Sam pulled up another set of plans. "We've modified it to emit EM radiation. That should make it possible to penetrate a Prior's personal shield."

"Should?"

"Well, we haven't tested it yet."

"Would you like to?"

"We need to at some point."

"I'll need some things." Q walked around Sam's lab, collecting various objects. He picked up a modified Geiger counter. "Wow, I haven't seen one of these in…well, I can't remember when. What's this?"

"That's Goa'uld technology," Sam said, gently taking the device from Q and setting it back on its shelf.

"Goa'uld technology? You're trying to combine the two?"

"I've been successful," Sam boasted.

"But not with this one."

"Well, no. That one's unstable. I have an idea on how to fix it, I just haven't had time to work on it."

"You might want to put it somewhere safer." Q scooped up the objects he'd put down so he could examine the Geiger counter and continued through the lab.

Sam pushed the counter further back on the shelf and ran to stop Q from activating something else she'd been working on.


"So," Jack said, leaning against Daniel's office door.

Daniel looked up from an open book on his lap. "Why do you do that?"

"What?"

"Just appear like that."

Jack smiled and shrugged. "You're easy. You'd think after ten years on this base you would have learned to be more alert."

"I'd be putting Teal'c out of a job. And you."

Jack entered the office. "So, what do you think of Q?"

Daniel rolled his eyes.

"That much?"

"He could help us or he could be more trouble than he's worth."

"Well, at least you learned something from me."

"That and cynicism."

"I prefer to think of it as caution," Jack said, picking up a miniscule urn and twirling it. "Besides, a little cynicism did you good."

Daniel took the urn from Jack and set it on a shelf. "So, how long are you here?"

"As long as Q's here."

"Yeah?" Daniel smiled.

"Boys in Washington want me to keep an eye on him."

"You did explain the omnipotent thing, right?"

"Yeah."

Daniel raised his eyebrows. "So, if he screws us, we probably can't do anything."

"Lunch?"

"Sure."


Mitchell grunted and collapsed onto his stomach.

Teal'c strode across the mat and hauled the Colonel upright.

"Bravo! Bravo!" Q applauded as he came further into the gym. "That was impressive."

"Thank you," Teal'c said with a bow and a smile.

"Not you," Q said with a sneer. "You've spent too much time sparring with those weaker than you."

Teal'c's smile turned into a glare.

"But you," Q said to Mitchell. "That flop…" Q dissolved into laughter and flashed in a scorecard with the number 10 on it.

Mitchell rolled his eyes. "Aren't you supposed to be learning what we know about the Ori?"

"I did." Q tossed the scorecard into nothingness. "I'm also here to observe humanity in general. And Jaffa of course."

"You already know everything we do about the Ori?" Mitchell said, doubtfully.

"Well, I've encountered them before."

"Why have you concealed this information?" Teal'c asked.

"I haven't concealed anything," Q said, raising his chin.

"You claim to have encountered-"
"Oh, well by encounter I meant in passing. I was on my way to an encounter at Farpoint. I was also trying to elude someone so I went via the back roads of Earth history. Of course when you've been around since the beginning you're bound to encounter everything at some point."

"She kicked you out." Mitchell said and laughed. "Don't mess with Sam," he said seriously.

"She did not kick me out. I am Q. You humans have no power over me."

"Perhaps we should do as Colonel Carter did," Teal'c said.

"You think you can take me?" Q challenged.

Teal'c took a giant step forward and glowered down at Q.

Q made his body shrink then sprang back to his full height, catching Teal'c off guard. But not so much that Teal'c wasn't able to land a punch on Q's jaw.

Q staggered off the mat, shaking his head. "Just help me find Dr. Jackson, and I'll leave you to your playing."

"This is not recreation," Teal'c said.

"We're training," Mitchell said. "Keeping ourselves in pique physical condition."

"I guess you have to do what you can while the brains try to save the world."

Teal'c took another step toward Q.

"Kidding!" Q backed toward the door.

"Jackson's probably in his office."

"Checked there."

"Well, he's in one of the science labs then."

Two flashes of light later, and Q shook his head. "Nope."

"Perhaps he is avoiding you," Teal'c said, a teeny twinge of teasing in his tone.

Q looked confused and hurt. "Why would anyone avoid me?"

Mitchell shared a glance with Teal'c. "I'll help you find him, but we'll have to do it the old fashioned way." As the two men left the gym, Mitchell added, "Maybe you can help me find my keys."


"And stay out!!"

"Carolyn?"

Dr. Lam spun around in the – from Landry's vantage point – empty room with fire in her eyes.

"Easy." Landry held up his hands.

"Oh, it's you." Lam let out a loud sigh and strode from the room.

"Nice to see you too."

Lam stopped in the middle of the hall. "It's not enough that I have to treat Q related injuries all day. No. He has to come into my infirmary flaunting his, his, how did he put it? Oh yes, 'higher being's intellect'."

Landry motioned for curious onlookers to get lost, and walked toward his daughter. He put his hands on her shoulders, gently turned her and guided her down the hall.

"He's gone."

"For now. Yes, he may be way smarter than anyone on this base, not that I've seen any proof. Daniel and Colonel Carter seem to think he is, and they're the smartest people here, so, where are we going?"

"You like key lime pie, right?"

Carolyn looked surprised that he remembered and relaxed a bit.


"Just because I can read the manual doesn't mean I understand how it works," Daniel said as he and Q entered Sam's lab, Vala trailing behind with an amused grin.

"You said you had Merlin's knowledge downloaded into your brain," Q said. "That must have been weird."

"You have no idea."

"You're right." Q snapped his fingers. A long scroll and an oversized quill appeared. Q finagled the long roll to get to the bottom and began writing.

"What's this?" Vala asked.

"My to do list."

Vala picked up a part of the list further up from where Q was writing. "'Give a Klingon Targ a belly rub'," she read. "'Realign asteroids in the some place I can't pronounce. Take Lwaxana Troi skinny dipping on-' Hey!"

"Would you get rid of all this?" Daniel said, gathering up the roll, pushing it at Q, and ignoring Vala's pout.

"Still can't remember anything from Merlin?" Sam asked Daniel with a sympathetic look.

"No."

"Well, you know what they say," Q said. "Use it or lose it."

"Lose what?" Mitchell asked as he and Teal'c entered the lab. Mitchell tripped over part of the scroll and gave it a curious glance.

"You tell me," Q said, winking at Daniel as he began stuffing his to do list into his pocket.

Mitchell looked from Daniel to Q.

"He's talking about Merlin's knowledge," Daniel reluctantly explained.

"Oh," Mitchell said, sounding disappointed. "Maybe you can contact Atlantis and get Dr. Weir to send you all the info they have on Merlin. Would that help?"

"Dunno."

"Atlantis?" Q's head snapped up, the tip of his to do list sticking out of his pocket. "You've even discovered Atlantis? You have been busy."

"You didn't know that already?" Mitchell asked. "I thought you knew everything about the universe."

"The Q do know everything about the universes, which means I have access to all the knowledge."

"And you are part of the Q; therefore, you know everything the Q know,' Teal'c said.

Q shrugged and slapped Vala's hand away from his list.

"You've been around since the universe was born, and you expect us to believe you don't know what goes on in every nook and cranny?" Mitchell said.

"Oh, I've seen every 'nook and cranny,' but not everything deserves a second look."

"Gee, thanks."

"What makes us so deserving?" Daniel asked.

"Rumor has it the Tau'ri have become a formidable force in this galaxy. You've got bounties on your heads."

"Oh, well if that's all it took to get noticed," Mitchell said, sharing a look with Daniel.

"I've gathered you all here to announce…" Q snapped in a drum roll. "I have a plan. But it will have to wait."

"What do you-?" Daniel started.

Q vanished.

"mean," Daniel finished.

"Guess he had something important on that list," Sam said.

Vala giggled. "I'll say."

"Tell me that's not what I think it is," Daniel said.

"Oh my," Sam said, blushing at the portion of Q's list Vala had snagged.


"I'm just sayin' Spiderman comes closer to Batman than-"

"Please," Dr. Rodney McKay scoffed. "He flings webs!"

"That's not all he does," Lt. Colonel John Sheppard said.

"Whatever. Peter Parker was a loser. But Bruce Wayne-"

"Spiderman is so good he doesn't need a sidekick."

Rodney stopped walking and frowned. "Plenty of superheroes don't have sidekicks."

"Name one."

"Uh-"

"Aha!" Sheppard thrust a finger in Rodney's face.

"Superman! You didn't give me a chance."

"You weren't fast enough."

"Did you see that?" Rodney pushed past Sheppard and entered a nearby room.

"Do you think I'm stupid? I'm not fallin' for that." Sheppard followed Rodney.

Rodney turned a circle in the room. "Someone poked his head out of this room."

"Someone poked his head out of this room?"

"Yes."

Sheppard laughed. "Who?"

"I don't know. If I knew who I would have inserted a name," McKay snapped.

"Was it one of the visiting Athosian children?"

"No. He's not Athosian nor part of the Atlantis expedition."

"You don't know every member of this expedition," Sheppard said.

"Not personally, thank God. But I do at least know most people by sight."

"Really?"

"Yes."

"What about the 5'3 woman with toffee colored curls?"
"Toffee colored curls. Hmm." McKay walked further into the room, glancing around. "Ok, so there's one person I wouldn't recognize."

"That woman isn't in Atlantis."

"What?"

"She was my neighbor back on Earth."

"Well, I was a bit distracted what with trying to find the stranger," McKay sputtered.

"You just don't want to admit I stumped you." Sheppard folded his arms and grinned. "Twice."

"Oh yes, that's it. I'd hate to lose our meaningful superhero slash people who aren't on Atlantis debates because the fates of two galaxies ride on them."

The two men heard giggling.

McKay gave a high-pitched squeak and jumped closer to Sheppard. Sheppard looked at him, his grin turning wry.

"What?" McKay defended. "Ever since the incident with all those ghosts, I like to be cautious."

"Cautious like waltzing into a room where you saw a stranger? I thought you didn't believe in ghosts."

"You're no fun," Q said, emerging from behind a large crate.

"Excuse me?" McKay said.

"Who are you?" Sheppard asked, pulling his weapon.

"Geez, I was only hiding," Q complained. "You were supposed to find me. Haven't you ever played hide and seek? This is a great place to play. All these long, dark corridors. An infinite number of dark rooms."

"We've found too many surprises in these dark rooms," McKay said. "Most of them not so good. So the thrill is kinda gone for us."

"Who are you?" Sheppard asked again, enunciating each word.

"I heard you the first time. You can put that away." Q pointed to Sheppard's gun.

"Not until I'm convinced you're harmless," Sheppard said.

Q rolled his eyes. "What would it take to convince you of that?"

"Come with us to the infirmary, let our doctor check you out, then we'll talk."

Q snapped his fingers.

"Hey!" Sheppard took a step toward Q, and Q pointed the weapon he'd taken at him. "That's mine." Sheppard raised his hands.

"Well, if you're going to be a baby about it." Q flashed the weapon back to John.

"How'd you do that?" McKay asked.

"Magic."

"There's no such thing," McKay said.

"This is Sheppard," John said into his radio. "I need a security team-"

"That's not necessary."

"Give that back," Sheppard ordered.

McKay started to step closer to Q, and Sheppard put a hand on his shoulder.

"Come on," McKay complained. "If he was going to hurt us, he would have done so already."

"We just met. He hasn't had a chance for us to deny his demands."

"Oh, well he can kill us now that he knows we won't negotiate with him. I hope you're happy." McKay backed toward the door.

"I'm not." Sheppard jumped when his radio appeared in his hand.

"What about now?" Q smirked.

"Surprisingly, no."

"John?" Dr. Elizabeth Weir called over the radio. "We've been having reception problems all over the city. Did you call for security?"

"Yes, I did."

"They're on their way." As Elizabeth finished speaking, she turned to find Sheppard, McKay and Q standing in the control room behind her.

When the trio appeared out of thin air, two scientists were startled and dropped their equipment.

"Don't worry," Dr. Radek Zelenka said, stooping to help the scientists. "You'll get used to people beaming into the city soon enough."

"Thanks," the scientists said and went on their way.

"Newbies," Zelenka mumbled on his way upstairs.


"Daniel." Vala lead a curly-haired woman into Daniel's office.

"I said I'd take you to that movie when I'm done. Now, the more you interrupt me, the longer you'll have to wait."

Vala cleared her throat.

"Yes, we'll buy popcorn and chocolate and Sarah!" Daniel exclaimed, turning from the shelf he'd been facing while he flipped through a book.

"Sarah?" Vala said, and glanced at the other woman.

Daniel came around a table, tossing the book on it. "What are you doing here? Why didn't you tell me you were coming? I could have picked you up. How long are you gonna be here? What's wrong?"

Sarah looked confused. "I'm not sure. I don't really understand what's going on." She glanced at Vala, her confusion increasing.

"She doesn't know how she got here," Vala said. "I tried to explain about Q, but…" Vala shrugged and threw up her hands.

"I was studying a tablet from my last dig," Sarah said, pacing instead of accepting the chair Daniel hastily cleared for her. "The next minute, I was standing in the corridor here. Daniel, what's going on?"

Daniel groaned. "Q!"

Sarah jumped at Daniel's shout and again when a man appeared out of nowhere.

"There's a reason I didn't want to stay here," she said softly.

"I know, and I'm sorry you got dragged into this." To Q, Daniel said. "Put her back and leave her alone. Take her back to before you took her so she doesn't have to be bothered with this memory. You can do that right?"

"I'm OMNIPOTENT. You're a linguist; don't you know what the word omnipotent means?"

"Just do it."

"Wait," Sarah said. "I'd rather not have someone messing with my timeline, if you please."

"Ok, I'll try to explain. Then Q will take you back and leave you alone."

Sarah glanced at Q and sank into the chair.

"Fine, fine. I was only trying to help," Q muttered.

"Help?" Vala moved beside Q while Daniel and Sarah talked.

"You like him don't you?"

"Daniel?! That's crazy." Vala crossed her arms and laughed.

"Well, I thought I'd bring in a little competition anyway."

"Competition?"

Q whistled innocently.

"Who is she?"

"Ask him."

Vala studied Daniel and Sarah. Daniel's eyes were soft.

Vala frowned thoughtfully.

"That makes me feel a little better," Sarah was saying. "I think. I mean at least it wasn't…" She looked away from Daniel.

"You could hang out for a while," Daniel offered.

Sarah smiled. "I'd like to someday. Just not here."

Daniel nodded. "Ready?"

Sarah nodded.

Daniel motioned for Q to get on with it.

"Keep in touch," Sarah said, standing. She gave Daniel an almost wistful smile before she and Q vanished.

"So," Vala said, moving closer to Daniel and flipping one pigtail behind her shoulder. "Who was she?"

"What did Q tell you?"

"He told me to ask you."

"That's it?"

"Yep."

'Why don't I believe you?"


"Q?" Elizabeth Weir called into the empty holo-room. She jumped when Q appeared. "I wish you wouldn't do that."

"Occupational hazard."

Elizabeth gave him a skeptical look. "I just came by to see how things are going."

"Is that it?"

"Well, if you're hungry I was on my way to lunch."

"I meant is that all you have on Merlin," Q said. "Although Dr. McKay did say the food here was quite good."

Elizabeth smiled uncomfortably.

After they'd sat down to eat, Elizabeth answered Q's question. "I'm afraid that's all we have on Merlin. You can try looking up Morgan Le Fey, but after Dr. Jackson's encounter with her, that may be a problem. Unless you can find the real Morgan Le Fey." Elizabeth laughed.

"She didn't want to talk. Neither did Merlin. You know, this steak isn't half-bad. Mind you it's no blood pie."

Elizabeth grimaced. "Did you really talk to the real Morgan Le Fey and Merlin?"

Q nodded with a mouth full of steak. He swallowed and dabbed his lips with his napkin. "They were so arrogant, I couldn't stand them."

"Oh, really. I can't imagine how annoying that would be."

Q studied Elizabeth and smiled. "Usually, I would take offense at such a comment. But you're so beautiful. Do you really think I'm arrogant?"

Elizabeth blushed and swirled her spoon in her soup before answering. "I suppose it's another occupational hazard," she said, not looking at him.

Q chortled. "Say, what are you doing for the rest of the millennium?"

"Uh, um."

"Granted, you're not really my type. Although I do love a woman in power."

"I'm sure you'd rather be with someone who can keep up with you."

"You know that's the nicest rejection I've ever received. Not that I've been rejected much, mind you."

"Oh, sure."

"No, you're right. It wouldn't work. Thanks for lunch anyway. I've got to pick up something from McKay then I'm headed back to Earth." Q picked up one of Elizabeth's hands and brushed it with his lips. "Enchante."

After he left, Elizabeth stared at her hand, lost in thought.


"Yes, yes," an impatient McKay said, dismissing Radek with a wave. "I'm sure your calculations are correct."

"Since when?" Radek countered.

"Since I'm busy!!"

Radek took a step back and bumped into Q.

"Watch where you're bumbling," Q snipped.

"Watch where you pop in, you $&," Radek said, using a colorful Czech word.

"Cranky," Q said. "And rude."

"Rodney, I will be in the puddlejumper if you-"

"Sure," McKay said with another wave.

Radek stalked out of the room, muttering in Czech.

McKay moved to another control panel, bumping into Q on the way. "What do you want?" he snapped.

"What's with everyone?" Q asked, sounding wounded.

"Crisis with environmental controls. Some areas of the city are too hot, others too cold. Now if you don't mind, I need to fix it before things escalate."

"This could be interesting," Q said, leaning against a panel, crossing his arms and ankles.

McKay sighed. "Easy for you to say. You won't be blamed for it."

"Oh, and you will?"

"I have a reputation for fixing things, especially things that are impossible for normal people to fix. So if I can't fix this and things get worse, yes I could be blamed."

"But you didn't cause it."

"Of course not. I've got enough to worry about without causing a malfunction that makes everyone irritable. Wait a minute." McKay raised a finger at Q. "You did this."

Q stood, hands on his hips, mouth agape. "Moi?"

"Yes, this is your style. You beam in out of nowhere and hide. Then you redecorate the gate room to make the incoming team think Atlantis had been taken over by bionic beings."
"Borg," Q corrected.

"Whatever! Then all of a sudden, people crowd into the infirmary with some sort of rash they got from today's steak. And we don't get steak often you know, so that was low." As he spoke, McKay absently scratched his arm.

"What do you mean, rash caused by the steak?"

"As if you didn't know"

"I ate the steak!"

"Oh, well it was something in the rub."
"Something?"

"I don't remember, ok. Besides, you're immortal, what do you care?"

"I feel itchy."

McKay rolled his eyes and went back to work.

"Ok, I'll fix the environmental crisis." Q snapped his fingers, and McKay's tablet beeped.

"That's it. It's fixed." McKay held his jaw open in incredulity.

"Things are cooling off down here, McKay," Sheppard said over the radio. "It's about time. Oh, and good work."

"It wasn't me."

"What?" Sheppard asked.

"It was Q."

"I thought he left."

"I've got some diagrams to pick up then I'm gone," Q said into Rodney's radio.

"Miss you already," Sheppard drawled.

"They're in my lab." Q transported himself and McKay to McKay's lab.


"Where have you been?" Sam demanded.

"Atlantis. Charming place, if a bit crowded in certain areas. Now, assemble everyone again and we'll go over my plan."

Sam folded her arms and stared at Q.

"You're a Colonel; you should be used to taking orders."

"Not from you."

Q morphed his eyes into puppy dog eyes. "Please. Oh, should they be blue?" His eyes changed to blue, and his face morphed into Daniel's face. "Please," he repeated.

Sam shook her head. "Fine. I don't always give in to Daniel, you know," she said as she reached for her phone.

"Not from what I've seen," Q said, his eyes and face back to normal.

"You've been here two days. I'm assembling," she said as Q made dramatic gestures to the phone.

"You'll probably want to inform the generals too."

Sam glared at him, and Q took a step back.

"He's been through a lot," Sam said as she and Q waited for the others in the briefing room. "You can't blame me if I give in to him on occasion."

"Hmm?" Q stood looking through the window at the gate. "Oh, you mean Dr. Jackson."

"Ok, maybe I do give in too often, but sometimes I'm afraid we'll lose him again and…" she cleared her throat and stared at her folded hands on the tabletop.

"You know, he's very capable of taking care of himself." Q sat across from her. "If you'd seen him with Oma-"

"He got kicked out and abandoned."

"It was his own fault."

Sam humphed. "He was trying to save everyone."

"Who?" Jack asked, entering the briefing room and sliding into a chair at the head of the table. "Did I miss something?" he continued when no one answered.

"You know, I think you're right, sir. He does look like Colonel Simmons."

Jack smiled and leaned back in the chair. "Clone?"

"Well, he does have the same arrogance."

Q looked offended.

"So…"

"But with the powers he has, he's not a clone, sir."

"Good. We've got enough of those runnin' around anyway."

Sam nodded as everyone else filed into the room.