Everyone wants to "go green" right ?......Yeah right.
Rodney stopped at the door to the lab. A handwritten sign had been sloppily taped on it roughly at eye level. "KEEP OUT" was printed on it in large red letters.
"Humph," he snorted. No one was going to keep him out of his own lab. He punched his master code into the door panel and walked in as the door slid open.
"OK Radek," he said. "What..." Rodney stopped in mid sentence and squeezed his eyes shut as he was hit full in the face with a very bright beam of light. He opened them again and stood still, blinking as his vision gradually returned.
"Rodney..." Radek said. "Did you not see the sign ?" He looked surprised and a little shocked. The lab tech standing next to him was holding his hand over his mouth.
"Of course I saw the sign!" Rodney snapped. "But no one keeps me out of my own lab! What are you doing anyway ?"
"We were...er...exposing the monkey..." Radek said pointing just beyond where Rodney was standing.
"The what ?" Rodney said turning to look. A small chimp was sitting in a cage watching him with wide eyes. "Oh my God. You know what," Rodney said raising his hands and walking towards his office. "I don't want to know, OK. Just leave me out of it."
Radek looked thoughtful as the lab tech watched Rodney go into the back room and sit at his computer.
"Perhaps it won't work," the lab tech said quietly.
"I hope not," Radek replied.
Rodney yelled loud enough that everyone stopped and stared as he stormed into the lab. Everyone was staring already however...
Radek stood looking at the monkey sitting in it's cage. He stiffened slightly at the sound of his name even though he'd been expecting it ever since he'd checked on their experiment that morning.
"Radek! What the hell were you doing ?"
Radek turned to face his irate supervisor and forced a casual smile. It wasn't easy. He wanted to laugh out loud.
Paul Bauer, the lab tech standing next to him, was having less success. he covered his mouth with his hand to smother his laughter when Rodney glared at him.
"Green, Radek!" Rodney yelled. "Why am I green ?"
"It's only temporary Rodney," Radek said removing his glasses and pinching his nose. It didn't help. With his vision blurred it only made Rodney look even more like the Hulk. "It should wear off in a few days," he added as he put them back on.
"Should ? Days ?" Rodney pushed Radek to the side to look at the chimp. It was sitting calmly watching them. Although, like Rodney's hair, it's fur had remained unchanged it's skin was clearly a bright pea green - the same color as Rodney's. The chimp was chewing on a large piece of banana and watching them intently.
Rodney turned to face Radek and Paul. As he got angrier there was a pink tinge to his cheeks that made him look even stranger. "Why would you want to turn a monkey green ? Oh my God am I radioactive ? Is that a Gamma Ray Generator attached to that thing ?" His voice was getting more high pitched as panic set in.
"Relax Rodney," Radek said holding his hands in front of him. "Calm down."
"That's easy for you to say," Rodney said loudly. "You're not the radioactive Hulk impersonator." He glared across the room at the other techs. "If you lot don't have something to do I'm sure that I can assign some suitably crappy detail," he said as they all hurriedly turned away. "Now," he said turning back to Radek and taking a deep breath. "Again. Why were you turning a monkey green ?"
Radek looked awkward. "P47698," he said quietly.
"What ? Oh no no no no no no no. Is this Sheppard's idea ?"
"Did someone mention my name ?" John said from behind him. "Wow, Rodney," he added as Rodney turned to face him. "You're....er..."
Rodney crossed his arms and cocked his head to one side. Somehow the stance wasn't quite so intimidating with the color change. "Do you have something to do with this...experiment ?" he asked crossly.
"Well I...er...sort of suggested," John said awkwardly. "That we might um...be more appealing to the residents..."
"The female residents I presume," Rodney interjected.
"Precisely Rodney. You saw them. They were just like on Star Trek..."
"Only they were repulsed by our pink skin."
"Exactly. This way we'd...er...blend in more," John said with a lopsided smile.
"Is this safe ?" Rodney said turning to Radek. "You couldn't have just tried body paint ?" he added turning back to John.
"Didn't...um...want it er rubbing off," John replied grinning.
"We think that it's safe," Radek said. "That's why we were trying it on the chimp first."
"Oh great," Rodney said walking towards the door.
"Where are you going ?" John asked.
"To the Infirmary."
Doctor Jennifer Keller was trying very hard to stay professional and stop giggling. Really. She was. Unfortunately she was failing miserably and tears were streaming down her face as she fought for control.
Rodney was sitting on the end of a bed with his arms crossed looking fed up. "Have you quite finished ?" he asked.
"I'm...sorry...Rodney." Jennifer said flapping a printout as a fan. "It's just...so...I mean...is it ? Does it...?"
"Yes it does and no you can't look," Rodney said firmly. "Look Doctor," he added. "All I really want to know is if I received a dangerous dose of radiation so that I can cloister myself in my office until this...this..."
"Kermit attack ?"
"This hue wears off !"
"I'm sorry," Jennifer said taking a deep breath. "No you didn't get a large radioactive burst. There's no residual radiation. You'll be fine. Are you sure you won't let me...?"
Rodney glared at her as he got off the bed. "I don't think that it would help my self esteem for you to be looking at me and busting yourself laughing," he said. "You can reach me in my office," he added. "By radio."
"Oh no no no no no no no," Rodney said over his radio. "There is no way that I'm leaving this office. I don't care how long this mission has been set or what's on the planet. They can have fifty fully charged zed p m's for all I care ! I'm not going, Sheppard, and you can't make me !" With a flourish he pushed the button on his earpiece.
"We thought you'd say that," Ronon said from the doorway. He was holding Rodney's gear in his hand.
"Whose idea was it to give the military an override code to every door ? I can not believe that you're doing this. This is so not fair. How am I supposed to go on a mission looking like this ? Will you stop shoving me ? I'm going. I'm going."
John couldn't help but smile as he watched Ronon "helping" Rodney into the gateroom. Rodney's skin was still as bright a green and he looked like a dressed up Shrek. Apart from the accent he kinda sounded like him too.
Teyla was being more polite but even she was smiling.
"Come on Rodney you'll be fine," John said as Chuck dialled the gate. "You know that you sulk if you get left behind."
Rodney stopped in front of him and crossed his arms. "If I promise not to can I stay ?"
John laughed. "No," he said. "You're part of the team."
With a sigh Rodney followed Teyla through the open wormhole. As John stepped through and the wormhole closed Chuck let out the laughter that he'd been holding in and everyone else joined him.
As soon as they stepped out into the sunlight Rodney took his data padd from his pocket and started to roughly punch at the display with one finger. "OK." he said. "Let's see if we can find this reported zed pm and get out of here before anyone sees me."
"Well we haven't seen the natives Rodney," John said smiling. "You might blend right in."
Rodney stopped and turned to glare at him. "You must be joking," he said.
"Actually yes I was," John said. "Now. Which way Shrek ?"
"This way," Rodney said pointing ahead. "And enough of the comments. Everyone's a damned comedian. If I'm Shrek does that make you the donkey ?"
"I could live with that," John said as they walked. "He was the irritating one wasn't he ?"
"Yes he was and you're extremely good at playing that part," Rodney said still concedntrating on his screen. "Not too much further. It's just through those few trees."
Ronon and Teyla just exchanged looks as they followed.
"Don't go in those bushes Rodney. We might lose you."
"Oh funny Sheppard. Who writes your material ? Spongebob ?"
They walked past a few straggly trees and came to a large cave. Rodney walked towards it still staring at his screen.
"Wait Rodney," John said grabbing him by the arm and stopping him in his tracks. "Much as I want to see if you glow in the dark let me go first. At least until we find out what's in there."
"Fine," Rodney said with a wave of his hand.
As John and Teyla switched on the lights on their P90's and entered the cave Ronon stood outside with Rodney. He kept looking around warily.
Rodney looked up from his padd. "What's wrong ?"
"Dunno," Ronon replied. "I feel like someone's watchin'."
"I don't see anyone," Rodney said looking around. "Are you sure ?"
Before Rodney could reply John and Teyla came out of the cave. "It's all clear," John said. "I think we've found the ZPM."
"You didn't touch anything did you ?" Rodney asked pushing past him.
John followed him with a sigh. "No, Rodney, I didn't touch a thing," he said as Teyla and Ronon followed them inside.
The cave wasn't very deep and there was only one artifact inside. A stone pedestal with a fully charged ZPM sitting on top held in an open hand carved in jade.
"This is great," Rodney said. "It's never been used. "What...? Sheppard !" Rodney turned to glare at him as John switched his light off leaving Rodney with only the glow from his hand held padd.
John was grinning from ear to ear.. "My God Rodney," he said. "You really do glow in the dark."
Rodney looked at his hand. "Wonderful," he said. "I'm so glad that my probable radiation poisoning is keeping you amused. Now can you put the light back on please ?"
"Sorry," John said as he turned the P90's light on again.
"Thank you," Rodney said turning his attention back to the ZPM. He tapped at the padd. "Well it's not attached to anything," he added. "I see no reason why we can't just take it." Rodney put his padd away in his vest pocket and reached forward and picked up the ZPM. He froze in place for a moment as if waiting for something and then turned around to face John.
"You OK ?" John asked.
"Yeah. Whenever I pick something up like that I'm always looking for a boulder. You know. Like on Indiana Jones"
John grinned as he led the way out of the cave with Teyla and Ronon just behind him and Rodney bringing up the rear.
John stopped in his tracks as soon as they emerged from the cave entrance.
About fifty men, armed with spears and bows, surrounded the cave. They were all poised ready to strike and watched them in silence as they stopped outside the cave.
John put his hand out to the side to stop Ronon, who had tensed behind him. "Easy," he said quietly. "We don't want a slaughter here."
The leader, a tall muscular man wearing more feathers than the others, stepped forward. "You dare to steal the Kunar ?" he said.
Rodney pushed his way forward shoving John aside so that he could see. "What's going on ?" he said. "Why have we...? Oh." he said.
As soon as the leader saw Rodney his eyes opened wide in shock. "Vojo," he cried out suddenly. "Vojo!"
Almost as one body every one of the natives, including the leader, flung themselves face down onto the ground, prostrating themselves at Rodney's feet. "You have returned for the Kunar," the leader said. "Forgive us Lord Vojo. We did not see you behind your followers. Please do not destroy us. We have kept it safe for you as you commanded."
Rodney looked puzzled for a moment and then quickly composed himself. "Finally," he said to John. "Someone who appreciates me." He turned towards the natives. "You may stand," he said loudly with a wave of his hand.
"Our great Lord Vojo," the leader said as he got up, still bowing. "Allow us to serve you and your people a feast in your honor."
"Rodney..." John said quietly.
"A feast ?" Rodney said ignoring him. "What an excellent idea. Lead the way."
As the people surrounded them and they started to walk towards the village John was looking concerned. "I have a bad feeling about this," he said to Rodney under his breath.
"Oh they're just going to feed us," Rodney said. "What could go wrong ?"
Teyla and Ronon glanced at each other as they followed the crowd.
"Depends what's on the menu," John said quietly while still smiling uncertainly.
Rodney sat back in his chair and patted his stomach. "Oh my God," he said. "That was so good. And no citrus in sight. I'm in heaven."
"I think you're the god here Rodney," John said gesturing towards the ten foot tall statue of a man holding a ZPM that was on a pedestal just a few feet from them. It had been carved from a jade-like stone and was a bright green color. The same color as Rodney.
"Hum," Rodney said adjusting his newly acquired feathered headdress so that it was out of his eyes. "Well maybe being green has some advantages after all. Thank you," he said as a dark skinned native girl refilled his cup with the smooth honey flavored juice that they'd all been drinking.
"We should be returning to Atlantis," Teyla said evenly. "Your loyal subjects await your return."
"Lord Vojo," the native leader said with a deep bow. "Forgive me but surely your servants know that it is unsafe to travel once the Sun god leaves the sky."
"Why ?" Ronon asked as he pulled off a piece of meat and ate it.
"Because of the Bajan beast of course," the man replied looking surprised at the question.
"Of course," John said with a wave of his hand. "The Bajan beast."
"With your permission," the leader continued. "Please stay in my palace tonight. Let us prepare rooms for you and then you may take the Kunar when the sun returns. It would be my honor." He bowed and waved his hand towards the largest building in the settlement.
Rodney stretched and yawned. "Well I am tired," he said. "And we're not actually expected back until tomorrow..."
"Rodney..." John said quietly.
Rodney looked at him. "You heard the man," he said. "Bajan beast. Sounds like something that I'd like to avoid." He stood up and swayed slightly. "Wow. What's in that juice ? Lead us to your palace," he announced. "We will be staying there tonight."
As Rodney strode ahead of them, walking side by side with the leader, the rest of the team followed behind. John still looked worried.
"Do not concern yourself, John," Teyla said resting her hand momentarily on his shoulder. "Everyone seems friendly and we'll leave in the morning."
"I realize that," John replied rubbing the back of his neck. His head was pounding and he was sure that there was alcohol in the nectar juice that they'd been drinking all afternoon. "Heck it's probably just as well. I think we're all drunk anyway."
"Speak for yourself," Ronon said as he climbed the steps leading to the ornate front door of the palace.
They followed Rodney into the palace. Compared to the simple huts that most of the people lived in this was a mansion. Rich tapestries covered the walls and dark furs were strewn on the floor. There was even a throne carved out of the same green stone as their statue facing the entrance. A carved black statue of a dragon like creature stood on each side of it, the creatures tails interlocking at the top of the throne.
Rodney, of course, had walked over and sat in the throne as the leader watched and bowed before him.
"I will take my leave, Lord" the leader said with an even deeper bow. "If you need anything just strike the gong and a servant will attend to you."
John watched him intently as the man bowed again and left, closing the door behind him.
"I could get accustomed to this," Rodney said with a yawn.
"Don't get too used to it," Ronon said as he sat in another, more comfortable, chair nearby. "We ain't bowing to you."
John gestured towards the twin statues. "The Bajan beast ?" he asked.
"Probably," Teyla replied. "I have seen creatures like these on other worlds. Some of them have poison in their claws."
Rodney looked at them wide-eyed. It was a strange effect with his green skin. "Then it's official," he said. "I'm not going anywhere until morning." He got up and stretched. "I'm claiming the master bedroom," he added as he walked to the hallway at the back.
"Naturally," John said with a lopsided smile. "And I used to think that he was arrogant before," he said quietly.
"I don't see any difference," Ronon said as Rodney checked all of the rooms for the one with the biggest bed.
"Goodnight Lord whatsit," John said loudly as Rodney disappeared into a back room.
"That's Vojo," Rodney replied as he flopped onto the bed.
John and Teyla had woken up first and were sitting in the main room drinking water from their packs when Ronon walked in. Despite his claim that he was unaffected Ronon had passed out on one of the beds soon after Rodney had.
Sometime during the night someone had left a large bowl of a banana like fruit on the main table. John offered one to Ronon who just shook his head and sat down heavily on the ornate couch which creaked under his weight.
Suddenly Rodney flung open the bedroom door and came running into the main room. He was still wearing the feathered robe and had obviously just flopped onto the bed to sleep. "Look," he said excitedly holding his arms out in front of him. "Look, look, look! Isn't it wonderful ?"
"Rodney, you're..." John said.
"Pink again. Isn't that great ?"
"No ? What do you mean no ?" Rodney replied looking indignant.
"I mean that the only reason that we're being treated like royalty and being allowed to walk out with the ZPM was because they mistook you for their green guy."
"Oh," Rodney said looking at his hands. "I was so excited at being my proper color again that I forgot about that."
"What do we do now ?" Teyla asked standing up.
"We could run," John suggested.
"All of your military experience and that's the best that you can come up with ?" Rodney said with his hands on his hips.
"You're the one that wanted to stay the night," John pointed out. "This wouldn't be a problem if we'd left yesterday."
"Well how was I supposed to know that it would wear off now ?" Rodney snapped. "And for the record I didn't want to come in the first place."
"You didn't seem to mind it here," Ronon said. "We could shoot our way out," he suggested.
"I don't want anyone getting hurt," John said.
"Well maybe they'll let us take the zed pm anyway," Rodney said. "It's not like they were using it."
"I do not think that they will see it that way," Teyla said.
"So let's see if there's a back door to this place," John said.
"Wait," Teyla said with a smile. "I have an idea..."
"I feel ridiculous," Rodney said from under the sheet as they stepped out through the main door. "And I can't see."
"Quiet," John said quietly. "Hold the sheet away from you and look down. Haven't you ever dressed up as a ghost for halloween ?"
"Actually no I haven't."
"Well better late than never."
"If you say so."
Teyla turned and glared at them and put her finger to her lips before turning back to face the small crowd that had gathered outside. The leader stepped forward. "Is something wrong ?" he said looking scared.
Rodney stood still and posed on the top step, holding the ZPM in front of him while staying covered by one of the heavily embroidered sheets from his bed.
"Lord Vojo will not appear in public before the Sun god," Teyla said pointing to the sun which had just crested the horizon. "Has risen far into the sky. It is an age old tradition."
"Then stay my Lord," the leader said. "We will bring you refreshments."
"That's not a bad idea," Rodney muttered. "That fruit didn't go far."
"Shhhh..." John said.
"Unfortunately," Teyla continued. "Lord Vojo has commitments elsewhere. Commitments that cannot be delayed any further."
"I see," the leader said bowing low. "Then we will detain you no longer."
Teyla led the way down the five steps, followed by John and Rodney with Ronon walking behind.
"I hope that he doesn't want his sheet back," Rodney said.
"You're a god," John muttered. "Gods take what they want."
"Really ?" Rodney said stopping on the bottom step and turning back.
John grabbed his elbow and steered him forward. "You've got the ZPM," he said. "Just keep going." John smiled broadly as the people stepped aside to let them pass. Several of them bowed while others simply looked down, afraid to look at them.
They walked through the forest with the people following just behind them.
"How much further ?" Rodney said. "I'm getting hot and I still can't see."
"We're almost through the forest," John muttered. "Then it's just a short walk to the gate."
As sweat started to drip into his eyes Rodney tried to wipe his face as he walked. When he moved his arm the embroidery on his sheet snagged on a nearby tree branch. Momentarily pulled off balance, Rodney tripped over his feet and fell forward leaving the sheet dangling from the branch. Everyone froze in place as the ZPM rolled from Rodney's hands into a ditch by the path. Rodney suddenly felt very exposed as he lay sprawled on the ground bereft of his covering sheet, his skin now a glaring pink against the black of his uniform.
"Imposter!" the leader shouted pointing at him. "You have come to steal the Kunar!"
As the natives started to pull out knives and blowguns John reached down and pulled Rodney to his feet. "Now we run," he said. "Fire over their heads!" he yelled to Ronon and Teyla as he pushed Rodney towards the gate.
"The zed pm," Rodney said trying to turn back.
"Forget it, Rodney," John said as a blowdart zipped by his ear. "Dial the gate," he added as he shoved Rodney towards the DHD and he turned and fired his P90 into the air, scaring the people with it's noise.
Rodney punched the buttons on the DHD and the wormhole formed with a loud whoosh.
They glanced back at the leader who was picking up the ZPM as they stepped through to Atlantis.
Radek was waiting for them in the gateroom. "Rodney!" he said with a big smile on his face. "You're back to normal."
Rodney was standing bent over with his hands on his thighs catching his breath. He stood up and glared at Radek. "Yes I am!" he snapped. "And it's all your damned fault!"
Radek watched open mouthed as Rodney walked away without a backward glance. John gave Radek a half hearted smile as they followed.
"Now what did I do ?" Radek asked.
It had been several days since the incident and Rodney had remained in his lab for most of that time. John knew that Rodney was in a snit because of losing the ZPM and he sighed as he walked back towards his quarters. He'd just finished a workout session with Ronon and he stopped at his door and wiped the sweat out of his eyes with the towel that was draped around his neck. "First a shower," he said quietly as he punched his code in. "And then I'll see Rodney."
He noticed the machine in the middle of his room just as it activated. He shielded his eyes from the bright flash and stood still for a moment.
"Rodney!" John said loudly turning around and heading towards the physics department.
"Rodney!" John said as he walked through the door and into Rodney's lab.
Rodney looked up from his laptop. "Morning," he said with a smile. "Good workout ? Although that's a contradiction of terms if you ask me."
John stopped briefly as he realized that he was still in his sweaty exercise clothes. "Don't change the subject," he said. "You know what's wrong."
Rodney tried to look innocent. "Wrong ? I thought that you were the one who wanted to go green ? P47698 ?"
John stood and scratched his head. "Well, yes. But..."
"Well ?" Rodney asked. "Tomorrow morning then."
"But you didn't...er...did you ?"
"I've had enough of that machine. I'll stick with body paint thank you," Rodney said as he stood up. "Now if there's nothing else I have work to do even if you haven't."
"Uh. Yeah. Sure." John turned and walked back towards his room. When he got there Radek was removing the machine.
"We brought this to you," Radek said adjusting his glasses. "Since you've been avoiding the lab."
"Thank you," John said as he watched him wheel it away. "I think," he added.
When John woke up the next morning he checked himself in the mirror. Sure enough he was a bright shade of green - everywhere.
"Still," he thought. "I'll blend in nicely with the locals." He slipped into a black tee shirt and pants and headed to the mess hall for breakfast ignoring the stares and nudges as he walked by. "Should have done this at halloween," he thought as he sat down with his food tray.
At eight o'clock he made his way to the gateroom. Rodney was waiting by the gate with Jennifer. He had his arm around her shoulder . They were both dressed in tee shirts and slacks and were both painted...
"Blue," John said looking at them. "Why are you blue ?"
Rodney signalled to Chuck who dialled the gate. "Don't worry," he said casually. "We'll all blend in." With a broad grin he stepped through the event horizon along with Jennifer.
John wasn't at all sure but he had to follow. One of Richard Woolsey's rules was that scientists had to have some kind of military escort when travelling offworld, even to friendly worlds. "Wait," he said as he ran through after them.
As soon as he stepped onto the planet John knew that he was in the wrong place. There were four domes circling the area where the gate was. Each dome was a different color. One was blue, one white, one yellow and one green. The sound of harp like music filled the air and different colored people were entering into the domes as if for a ceremony. Each person had dyed their skin to match the dome that they were entering. John caught sight of a green skinned woman in a dark dress. He smiled at her but she glared at him and turned away.
"Rodney," John said grabbing his arm. "What's going on ? This isn't P47698."
"I couldn't get Woolsey to give us permission to go to a planet just to satisfy your..curiosity," Rodney said holding Jennifer close. "I've been studying this world and it's quite interesting. Each clan has it's own color according to their preference. And we're just in time for the annual gathering." he added moving towards the entrance to the blue dome. The people seemed very friendly.
"Preference ?" John asked.
"Yeah," Rodney replied as he was entering with the crowd. "Blue is heterosexual, white is celibate, yellow go either way..."
"And green ?" John yelled as Rodney disappeared from view.
"Why hello handsome," a deep male voice said from behind him. "Why don't you come on in ?"
Oh I am soooo bad ;D Figured that Rodney had to win at least once.
Love some reviews (as always)