Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate Atlantis or any of its characters. They belong to MGM. I don't own Army of Darkness, either. That pleasure belongs to Sam Raimi and company. I also don't own the Coolness that is Bruce Campbell, that's all him.
The Great Geek Uprising…
"Show some fucking compassion!" the bedraggled, pony-tailed scientist exclaimed.
Of all the people attending Major Edwards' mainland obstacle course on this miserable and rainy day, Kavanagh was the last man anyone expected to stick up for Miko Kusanagi. Kate Heightmeyer was quite impressed with her patient. At least this time, his outburst was well founded.
When Dr. Weir had informed her that she'd be participating in a training exercise with twenty four of the non-military personnel, Kate had been less than thrilled. She had resolved to do her best, figuring that it wouldn't be any different from the handful of self defense courses she'd participated in at the SGC.
How wrong she'd been. Had she known things would turn out this way, she might have paid Carson a visit in the infirmary and had herself removed from the training list. But Kate didn't know and now she was standing in a pair of soggy, mud clumped BDUs. Her fingers and toes were numb with cold and it took serious effort to keep her teeth from chattering. Even her hair was heavy with water and muck, having long since escaped the confines of the knot she had secured it in earlier.
The people around her were just as bad off, worse if they had glasses like Miko. Mud-smeared glasses made seeing difficult, factor in rain and tears and the petite scientist was pretty much blind.
Kate wasn't surprised that it had come to this. She just hadn't expected to be the one to fling the first ball of mud in what would later be known as the Great Geek Uprising…
It all began, like most things usually began—with the best intentions.
Major Jeffrey Edwards had just recently been assigned to Atlantis. He certainly looked the part of a drill sergeant. Tall with a muscular frame and dark hair recently buzzed close to the scalp. As Edwards' first tour of duty outside his home galaxy, he was like an over-eager recruit—desperate to prove his worth. Being the lowest man on the totem pole, he had the pleasure of training the non-military personnel for Colonel Sheppard's upcoming war games.
Edwards had been less than pleased with his assignment. He would have preferred to be assigned directly to an SG team, but he accepted his duty with little complaint. In fact, he informed the Colonel that he would personally transform the yellow-bellied, weak-kneed bunch of four-eyed geeks into a semi-capable defensive unit.
The spiky-haired military commander had smiled sheepishly at the man and replied, "Easy, Major. We're just making sure the civilians know the basics of firing a weapon and staying alive off world. This is purely to get everybody's self defense training up to speed."
"Of course, Sir…"
Kate had started the day far earlier than she liked with twenty four other groggy fellow scientists and techs. As the majority quickly guzzled down their morning coffee, Kate pondered on the army green BDUs she was wearing. It felt odd to be wearing military gear. Sure, she understood the practicality of it, but it didn't make her feel any less strange.
Scanning the jumper bay, she automatically began gauging the emotions of the people around her. A little excitement, some nervousness, a dash of dread, and a lot of irritation, but nothing terribly unexpected.
Her gaze came to rest on a pair of soldiers. She watched intently as they loaded supplies into one of the puddle jumpers. Kate frowned. What does the Major have planned that could would warrant such a supply load?
"Dr. Heightmeyer?" A voice with a heavy Czech accent caught her attention.
Turning, she smiled at the crazy haired scientist as he fidgeted in his slightly over-sized BDUs. "Just call me Kate, Radek. How are you this morning?"
"Well, I am thinking I have better things to do than pretend I am soldier for a day," the scientist grumbled. He looked at her with a curious expression. "Why are you here?"
"Same reason as you."
Radek's brows shot up and he asked in surprise, "You were blackmailed, too?"
Humor lit up Kate's eyes and teased her lips into a smile. "Um, no. However, I didn't have any excuse not to be here and Dr. Weir thought it would be a good idea. Radek? Did you just say you were blackmailed?"
"Yes, Rodney is holding my laboratory hostage. If I play soldier, I get my lab back. If not, I get sent back to the planet of the children. I refuse to go back there and so I am here."
Kate laughed and Radek flushed. Quickly he amended, "Well, I will go if Dr. Weir asks me, but the last time it was nightmare! Did you see what they did to my hair!"
Instantly, she recalled the memory of him with his face painted like an Indian from an old western movie with his hair braided and sticking out in funny angles. With a grin she replied, "It's a little hard to forget."
Radek made a face and cursed fluidly in his native language and then he noticed the marines loading up supplies. "I am worried," he confided in hushed tones. "We are not training like the others. This Major Edwards, I heard he is improvising with the training plans. I am not liking the improvising part."
"I know what you mean. I've been watching them load supplies into the puddle jumpers and it seems like he plans on everyone spending the night out on the mainland."
"That is not good," Radek murmured, shaking his head. "I am not so good with the outdoors."
"Me neither. I figured we'd practice at the firing range. Maybe learn a little self defense. None of that really requires us leaving Atlantis…It makes me wonder what the Major has in store for us."
A short while later they were all loaded up onto the puddle jumpers and forty-five minutes after that, they were on the mainland. Major Edwards' first order of business was to separate them into groups of five.
Somehow, Kate ended up in a group with Miko Kusanagi, Daryl Flyn, Caleb Jansen, and Lindsay Novak. With the exception of Miko, who harbored a strange case of McKay hero-worship, every one else in Kate's group were regular patients. Lindsay Novak with her nervous hiccups, Caleb with his phobia of germs, and Daryl with his invisible friend Harvey. Kate supposed that from Daryl's point of view, they were in fact a group of six.
Kate sighed. It was going to be a long day. A loud hiccup and the string of curses that followed drew her attention to the jittery Daedalus engineer. When Colonel Caldwell found out about Sheppard's upcoming war games, he had volunteered some of his most inexperienced scientists for Major Edwards' training program.
What we're going to learn is very important! Kate chided herself. Never mind that I'll never actually be able to put it to practical use... Giving herself a mental shake, Kate flashed her teammates a reassuring smile. Miko and Daryl smiled weakly back at her. Caleb scowled and Lindsay choked back a hiccup. Kate looked away. Oh, yeah. It's going to be a very long day.
An ominous feeling swept over Kate as she watched the puddle jumpers take off and head back for Atlantis.
"Whoa! Where are they going?" a voice in the crowd demanded.
A cacophony of voices arose from the people around her, their questions and demands flooding the air, "They're leaving us here? What's going on? I didn't sign on for this! What the hell?"
Taking advantage of their momentary panic, Major Edwards hollered loud enough to blow out the nearest eardrums, "Shut your pie holes! For those of you who don't know me, I am Major Jeffrey Edwards, other wise known as God—your God, for the next three days."
The rather high and mighty remark stunned the group into a confused silence. Kate arched a brow in response and listened as the Major informed them of the events to come. In her professional experience, it was never a good sign when the leader in question proclaimed himself God…
As she expected, the day got progressively worse from there. The first thing that they had to do was set up tents. Kate had figured that with veritable geniuses in every group, that setting up a tent would be easy. She should have known that nothing was ever that simple.
Thankfully, Kate's group had Daryl. If anything could be said about anthropologists, they were quite good at roughing it with the natives. Their tent and camp site was set up in a relatively short amount of time, which Daryl credited his invisible friend Harvey for.
Radek's group wasn't so lucky. The Czech scientist sat on a rock and separated all the tent components while Dr. Parrish studied the native fauna around them. Dr. Kavanagh argued with Dr. Benson about who was going to decide what went where and Dr. Simpson was nowhere to be found, not that Kate blamed her. As Kate's gaze slid around the camp, she found that the other groups weren't faring much better.
Major Edwards and his marines wandered around until every group had their tents up. MREs and water were distributed before he proclaimed that each group would build their own fire, dig their own latrines and set up a schedule for night watch.
After much grumbling, duties were assigned and night watch detail was set up. Taking third watch, Kate sat by her group's fire and gazed at the stars and thought to herself, Three days in the same clothes, training until exhaustion, and eating crappy food...Yep, should have talked to Carson.
The very next day they were all hustled out to a make shift gun range. Kate was a thankful they hadn't set down too close to the Athosian encampment. Even knowing the cartridges were blank, didn't make Kate feel any better.
Lieutenant Dern was the marine assigned to their group. He showed them how to load, unload, and clear their weapons safely. They all practiced until he was satisfied that every member in Kate's group understood exactly what to do. Then he took them out to their section of the gun range and showed them the three positions from which they would learn to shoot. Before they moved onto actual target practice, Dern handed them live rounds and their weapons training began in earnest.
It wasn't the first time Kate had ever fired a weapon. Before she'd been cleared to work off world, she'd had to pass the SGC's physical and hand gun proficiency tests. She had passed, but that had been awhile ago. She hadn't ever needed to carry a gun much less shoot one. In fact, she hadn't bothered practicing since they'd arrived in Atlantis.
The sound of gunfire was deafeningly loud. Familiar, but loud. Dern helped them one at a time. Lindsay Novak was the first one to practice. The noise and recoil of the gun caused her to jump back and hiccup, preventing her from aiming properly.
Caleb was only slightly more comfortable with the gun than Lindsay was. His main problem was flinching when he squeezed the trigger, a snag the marine was trying to correct before Major Edwards made his was down to their group.
Kate didn't flinch at the recoil or the sound, but her aim was off. She barely nicked the outside of the target. Of their group, only Daryl and Miko hit the target—right in the bulls eye, too.
With a sweet smile she shyly explained, "I was in the archery club in high school."
Daryl had just shrugged. "Harvey and I are licensed to hunt in several states."
Kate smiled at him in good humor.
They practiced shooting in different positions, standing, kneeling, and on their stomachs while Major Edwards wandered from group to group checking everyone's progress.
For a while, Kate was worried he come and tear into her group's less than stellar ability to hit the target, but the Major had other problems. Two scientists from opposing groups were reenacting their most exciting moments from Doom3 and a gate technician kept causing his group members to drop to the ground every time he swung his gun around.
"If you bunch of delusional rejects don't pull your heads out of your butts, I'll do it for you!" the Major bellowed. His eyes narrowed on one engineer as he pointed a meaty finger, "And you, Thompson, if I see you flinch one more time or point that weapon at any place that isn't your target, I'm gonna take your gun and beat you over the head with it. Never take your eyes off the target! And I sure as hell better not catch any of you firing your weapon with your eyes closed!"
Edwards eventually made it over to their group and decided to share a few pointers.
"Novak! What if the Daedalus were overrun? You gonna wait for that scrawny little alien to save your hide? Or did you plan on hiccuping your enemy to death?"
"Jansen! Quit flinching! Eyes always on target!"
"Flyn, stop talkin' to yourself and shoot the damn target!"
"Kusanagi, good shooting… Now try firing faster than a snail's pace! The Wraith aren't gonna stand there and wait for you to hit them in the chest!"
"Heightmeyer! The point is to hit the target, not shrink the target!"
Kate rolled her eyes at that crack. She wondered if he'd be half as funny once his psych evaluation came around.
The scientists practiced firing their weapons until their marine mentors were satisfied with their performance. She fell asleep with her head ringing and she woke up the following morning that way, too. She wasn't the only one. There were quite a few disgruntled scientists running around the camps. Most were used to a certain routine in the morning—one that required coffee. So far, they'd been two mornings without and moods were starting to get ugly.
According to the Major, coffee that hadn't been included in the supplies because there would be no coffee off world or on a Wraith cruiser. Sure, he had a point, but that didn't really translate over very well to those that depended on the steamy drink. Egos being what they were and tempers running hot, Kate didn't even need to look at the dark rain clouds over head to know that the day was going to suck.
The first activity of the day was a run through a marked path in the forest to an undisclosed location. Each group followed their assigned marine down the path at a pace they could barely follow. The non-stop running caused about half the people to fall behind and a quarter of that to move off to the side of the pathway to puke their guts out.
Because of her bi-weekly sparring sessions with Teyla and her nightly runs around the city, Kate didn't have any problems jogging through the forest. Still, she ran at a slower pace to keep an eye on the members of her group who were falling behind. The end of the trail signaled the end of the running, which came as a relief to those who had already used up all of their energy.
Upon closer inspection of their rest area, Kate's groan was joined by the numerous people who also stared in dismay at what awaited them—a boot camp style obstacle course. Kate made a face and brushed a loose strand of hair away from her face. Where in the hell did Edwards get the time to set up an obstacle course? Better still, where did he get the tires?
A small part of Kate was impressed. He certainly had this all planned down to the last detail, but it was a bit much.
While everyone took the opportunity to rest, Edwards explained his course. "The first part consists of getting over the crates—jumping, crawling, whatever it takes. The second part consists of belly crawling beneath the cargo net all the way to the other end. I don't want to hear anyone whine about getting dirty. It rained last night and it will rain again. Expect to get muddy."
His gaze swept over the crowd as he continued, "The third part of the course is climbing the rope up the log wall and then climbing down the other side. Part four is running through the tires." Looking pointedly at some of the less coordinated individuals, he warned, "Try not to trip and fall. I don't want a pile up over there."
Pointing to a huge cavity in the ground, he continued. "The fifth part is getting across the log set over the pit without falling off. Finally, you will sprint all the way to the finish marker where Lieutenant Dern and Sergeant Billings will test your ability to shoot from the standing, kneeling, and stomach positions."
Edwards stood with arms crossed over his chest, grinning expectantly. The scientists stared at him in disbelief. Just when Kate thought things couldn't get any worse, it started to rain—in buckets.
Kate steeled herself as Edwards turned everyone loose one group at a time. She followed closely behind Lindsay Novak, jumping over crates and crawling through the mud beneath the cargo net.
Fighting to keep her grip on the rope, Kate climbed her way up the wall and over. Carefully, she step hopped from one tire to the next, tripping up only once before quickly scooting over the log. As soon as she cleared the pit, she ran for the finish line as fast as her water-logged BDUs would allow.
She was almost to the end when her footing slipped across a mud-slicked stone and she went sliding across the finish line, ending up with a face full of mud. She was quickly followed by Doctors Kavanaugh, Novak, and Parish. The scientists that were waiting in line to take the weapons test scrambled out of their way, narrowly avoiding the collision of bodies.
They had the pleasure of being the first major accident of the day. The field medic swore in fluent Spanish as he separated the bruised egos from the truly injured and helped a limping Lindsey Novak to the medical tent. Unfortunately for Sergeant Hernandez, they weren't the last accidents. Because of the heavy rains, the obstacle course had become something of a nightmare.
By the time the majority of the scientists had been released through the obstacle course, one quarter of them ended up falling off the wall, tripping over the tires, or falling completely off the log into the pit below.
Sgt. Hernandez called Major Edwards over and suggested they wait out the rains and resume the course when it had dried out a little. The Major had resolutely declined. "No one is leaving until everyone has completed the course."
Hernandez shook his head and flatly replied, "Not the injured ones."
The Major scowled, turning on his heel and made his way back to the beginning of the course. That was when everything began to unravel.
Kate had just completed her weapons proficiency test and the scores were proof positive that she was a lousy shot. Good thing psychiatry is all about the listening skills rather than my aim, otherwise I might be out of a job.
She spotted Radek underneath the med tent watching the last of his group finish the course. The rain had lessened into sprinkles, but the field had grown soft from soaking up all water.
Kate plopped down beside him and rotated her neck from side to side to work out the kinks.
"I am—what is the saying? Dead to the world," Radek announced. "Rodney will have to live without half his science team for one more day. I won't be of any use until I am rested."
"I know exactly what you mean. I'm going to have to clear my schedule when I get back."
That was right about the time they heard Edwards shouting at someone in the course. Only a few people remained, stuck on the climbing side of the wall. Kate frowned as she tried to make out what was been said, but all she could hear was crying. She and several of the other scientists got up from where they sat beneath the med tent and followed the noise.
The Major was bellowing his displeasure at a mud slicked scientist who was desperately trying to climb up the rope. When the individual's grip failed, they slid down the wall and landed on the ground with a squish. The muffled sob that escaped from the person indicated to Kate that Edwards was hollering at one of the female scientists. In fact, Kate didn't even know it was Miko until he yelled the woman's name…
"Kusanagi! Allow me to explain this in terms you can understand. Until you climb up and over the wall, you won't be going anywhere. If you don't go anywhere, your fellow scientist won't be going anywhere. Now suck it up and get to climbin'!"
Miko sobbed in abject failure. Radek rushed over to her and pulled her up and out of the mud. Dr. Simpson stepped out of the fast growing crowd and wrapped a protective arm around the crying woman. Pulling a damp green bandanna out from one of her many pockets, she tilted her friend's face upwards so that the soft shower of rain could help wash away the mud.
Radek crouched down and searched for Miko's glasses, cursing loudly in Czech all the while. "How can you expect her to go anywhere blind? She can not see without glasses!"
That was the moment Dr. Kavanagh surprised everyone by adding in his two cents. "Show some fucking compassion! We aren't trained for this and you can't expect us to perform under these weather conditions!"
"Shut your pie holes! The reason you egg heads are out here is because you might be of some use to your military counterparts. Your ability to defend yourself in a hostile environment, be it in a siege or during an off world assignment, may mean the difference between life and death. And just so you know, your enemy isn't going to care whether or not you can handle a little rain and bad weather. Don't expect the sun to be all shiny when the shit hits the fan."
"Right this very moment, I am less than impressed by you squirrelly bunch of runt-sized brainiacs! You especially," Edwards pointed an accusatory finger at Miko. The woman's face crumpled all over again.
Kate's eyes narrowed on the Major. Intellectually and realistically, she understood where he was coming from. It wasn't the first time she'd heard this speech and she doubted it would be the last. But right that very second, none of those reasons mattered to Kate. Edwards had crossed a line, one she didn't know existed until she felt herself slowly crouch down to the ground, her hands clawing into the soften earth.
People moved around her, pushing forward to see what was going on while Edwards continued to rant. "What the hell are you gonna do if getting to the gate means climbing? Roll over and die? Or worse, end up a POW, flappin' your lips to the enemy, telling all you know? I don't think so!"
Radek stood in front of Miko, as if to shield her from Edwards' tirade. He pressed a pair of cracked glasses into her hand and set a sympathetic hand on her shoulder.
Kate slowly stood upright. Her hands coming together, shaping and molding earth and bits of grass. She took in a deep calming breath and told herself that she ought to go up front and defuse the situation, smooth things over peaceably.
And then Edwards shoved Radek out of the way. Moving right up into Miko's personal space, he snarled, "Listen up, princess. You are gonna get up and get your muddy little backside over this wall. Then you're gonna finish the course! I don't wanna hear anymore blubbering out you or anyone else. If I do, you and your little egg-head friends can add another round to their trip through the obstacle course. Am I understood?"
Exhaling with a hiss, Kate squeezed the wet earth between her fingers into a compact ball. What little calm she managed to accumulate dispersed.
"You can't talk to her or any of us like that! We aren't real soldiers and we don't need this crap!" Kavanagh spat incredulously.
"Everyone, thank Dr. Kavanagh," Edwards replied acidly. "You all get to run around the course one more time."
Kate could feel the tension between her co-workers and Major Edwards. On the one hand, they knew what the Major had said was true. On the other hand, they weren't used to standing in the rain, being physically exhausted, while being verbally abused by an officer they barely knew and really didn't like.
Watching the faces of the people around her, Kate felt the tangible push-pull of their fight and flight response. Her gaze settled on the Major who turned back to Miko and thundered, "Didn't I tell you to get you muddy little backside over that wall, four-eyes?"
Suddenly, Kate felt something inside her snap. Before Edwards' could utter another insult, a ball of mud streaked through the air and nailed him on the side of his face, splattering on impact.
For a moment, everything went silent and Kate held in a shaky breath, unconsciously dropping her throwing arm down and wiping her mud cover hands on her rain saturated pants.
Edwards' looked around wildly. Kate searched the faces around her, finding only disbelief and confusion. None of them directed at her. It dawned on her then, everyone had been so focused on the Major they hadn't seen what she'd done.
"Who did that?!" He demanded angrily. "We aren't leaving until I know which one of you little maggots did that!"
The shock the scientists experienced vanished at that final insult. Their faces were devoid of all emotion except for the manic glimmer in their narrowed eyes.
Registering movement behind him, Edwards realized that he was surrounded.
The marines that had come along to help with the training exercises flicked their eyes around warily. Hernandez assessed the situation and cursed. Whether Edwards' knew it or not, he had already lost. His words and actions in the next few moments would determine just how badly he would pay.
"I meant what I said. Those puddle jumpers won't be called back until I call them. Now which one of you chuckle-heads assaulted your superior officer," Edwards growled out again, trying to reassert control over the angry mob around him.
Hernandez and Dern slowly backed away, eyeballing the emotionally charged scientists.
Another ball of mud went flying, which Edwards' dodged. The one he didn't see coming hit him square in the chest and suddenly, a whole barrage of mud came at him as everyone began scooping up clumps of wet earth and hurling it into the sky.
After that everything was a blur. Chunks of mud hit the Major and other earthen missiles nailed nearby scientists. Suddenly, it wasn't so much about pelting Edwards as it was just taking their frustrations out on someone else.
People scrambled, ducking for cover wherever they could find it. Others continued launching mud balls at Edwards.
Kate ducked behind the climbing wall and tried to stay out of everyone's line of fire. Radek huddled beside her. Scooping together clumps of mud, he formed two large projectiles.
"Are you sure you want to do that?" Kate glanced at him warily. "People who see you packing that are more likely going to nail you with a mud ball of their own."
"Are you sure you want to bring that up? I am not the one who threw first ball of mud. Good shot, by the way!" Radek laughed at her guilty expression.
"I, uh, don't really know what came over me," Kate stuttered.
The Czek handed her a mud ball and exclaimed, "This is war, Dr. Heightmeyer! There are no non-combatants in war!"
Accepting the offering, she grinned. "I told you to call me Kate!"
Edwards staggered past them, a hail of mud flying in his wake. Kate screeched and Radek muttered more curses she couldn't understand as he threw his arms up over his head to shield himself as they were pelted.
A few not-so-sorry apologies floated in the air as people ran after their tormentor, flinging more mud balls at the retreating Major.
Kate and Radek ran after them returning fire and muttering a few apologies of their own. They split up from the main group when they realized the mud covered man they were now chasing after wasn't the Major.
Radek spotted Edwards just ahead of them, tripping over the last section of the tires in an effort to make it to the med tent.
Edwards could hear them behind him, gaining on his position. He ran as fast as his he could, despite his blurred vision. After catching a ball of mud to the face, his vision had gone south. Flecks of grit were still making his eyes water.
If he'd been able to see properly, he might have noticed that he was headed straight for the log, balancing precariously across the open and watery pit. He also might have seen that Miko Kusanagi was standing right between him and that pit. But he didn't see her and he didn't slow down.
When he came with reaching distance, Miko grabbed the front of his BDUs and let herself fall back into the mud. She used his momentum to rock him up and over, sending him flying. Edwards twisted in mid-air as he howled, crash landing astride the log with squeaky falsetto.
The masses that had run him down slid to a screeching halt when they'd seen the little Japanese scientist fling him judo-style onto the log. With a twitch, the Major went cross-eyed and pale. He cupped his sensitive nether regions and slid off the log with a whimper. The resounding splash caused everyone to rush to the edge of the pit and look down.
Kate made a face and murmured, "That had to hurt!"
Radek clapped Miko on the back. "That was most excellent! Simply amazing! If I am going off world, you are coming too. You can maybe throw Rodney like that the next time he gets a big head."
Miko blushed in embarrassment. "Should we not get him out of the pit?"
Beside her Kavanagh snorted. He looked as bad, if not worse than everyone else. He hadn't made too many friends on his first tour through Atlantis and certain people had taken the opportunity to get back at him for it during the mud fight. "His head's above water and he only suffered a knock to the nuts. Sure it hurts, but he'll live. I say we leave his ass."
There was an affirmative grunt all around and a few nods. Kate stared down at the Major and knew that she should at least suggest they fish him out. Unfortunately, she just couldn't quite bring herself to say it. She supposed that if Radek were right and this was a war, she had chosen her side when she'd thrown that ball of mud.
"I think we should go to the med tent and see if one of the marines called in the cavalry," Kate calmly suggested. "They can retrieve the Major."
"Yes!" Radek exclaimed. "Let's go home!"
"Where there's temperature controlled rooms!" Dr. Benson sighed.
"Hot showers and clean clothes!" Kavanagh hollered.
Dr. Simpson sighed longingly. "Real beds and hot food!"
"Mmm, pie..." Lindsey Novak breathed. "Pie sounds so good right now!"
"You know what I could really use right now?" Radek asked of no one in particular. Looking around him. He shared a knowing grin with is fellow expedition members. As one, they answered, "Coffee!"
When John Sheppard woke that morning, he'd known from the start that it was going to be a terrible day. First, he'd run out of hair gel, then the mess hall ran out of waffles, and just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, he spilled coffee all over his completed reports. Elizabeth had given him until the end of the day to complete his outstanding reports and now he'd have to redo everything.
He was in the process of banging his head on his desk when he'd gotten the call about Major Edwards' early return. Lifting his head from his desk he griped, "Aw, come on! One thing! I just want one thing to go right today!"
Carson and his med team were already in the jumper bay prepping several stretchers, when John arrived. He mulled over the many ways in which a simple training session could go wrong. Neither he, nor Lorne had problems with their groups and yet, instinctively John knew—something had gone horribly wrong with Edwards'.
"Is Elizabeth coming down?" Carson asked, breaking his train of thought.
"Yep, she's on her way as we speak."
Carson's brow furrowed. "I thought this Major Edwards planned on coming back tomorrow."
"What one plans and what happens are two very different things," John replied sagely.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
John shrugged. "I don't even know. All I got from Hernandez was that they were all coming back due to injuries incurred during the training session. He assured me that it was nothing serious or life threatening."
As the jumper bays doors opened and the first puddle jumper arrived, Carson murmured, "Well, looks like we'll all know what happened in a minute or two."
Elizabeth showed up just as the occupants of the final puddle jumper disembarked. She came to a full stop at the sight in front of her. Staring around the room in shock, she muttered, "What in the world?"
It looked as though Edwards' training group had participated in mud wrestling event rather than a self defense training course. And apparently, they decided to bring in half the dirt from the mainland with them.
Chunks of fast drying mud littered the floor. As they milled around, clumps of earth and bits of grass and leaves fell from their BDUs. Elizabeth watched someone who looked an awful lot like Dr. Kusanagi, run a hand through her tangled hair. She shook off bits of dry dirt from her scalp and let it rain down in a dusty cloud causing several nearby people to sneeze and cough uncontrollably.
Turning on her heel, Elizabeth searched the room and found Carson and his medics busily sorting through which mud-encrusted individuals were injured and which ones weren't.
Moving through the crowd, she bumped into a tall individual with long bedraggled hair. She was about to apologize when she stopped mid-sentence and squinted in recognition. "Dr. Kavanagh?"
The man looked down at her warily and sputtered defensively, "I don't care what anybody says, it wasn't me this time!" Without another word, the aggravating scientist limped away, following one of Carson's nurses out of the jumper bay.
Stupefied, Elizabeth pushed through a mob of people and found John trying to be heard over the crowd. "Would everyone just please calm down? You will all be debriefed, but right now I just need to know what happened down there. "
After a brief moment of quiet everyone began talking all at once, determined on telling their version of the tale.
From the way his brow was twitching, Elizabeth could tell that John was at the end of his rope. She was surprised he hadn't threatened to shoot anyone yet. Coming up alongside him she she asked, hoping he could hear her over the noise. "Colonel Sheppard, where is Major Edwards?"
John turned at the sound of her voice and sighed in relief. Finally, someone who could talk sense to these people! He pointed to an unconscious man that Carson was wheeling away in a stretcher. "He's over there."
Elizabeth blinked incredulously. "What happened to him?"
Gesturing to the scientists that were tripping over each other to get their complaints in first, he replied, "I'm still working on what happened to them."
"You think we should have stayed?" Radek asked as he and Kate walked down the corridor to the nearest transporter.
"I'd prefer to get a shower in before Carson's team looks me over." Looking down at herself, Kate cataloged some bruising and a few scratches. Nothing to fuss over, but she could already feel the aches and pains of the training ordeal begin to catch up.
"You are right." Radek removed his glasses and tried to clean up the lenses. "Besides, it is not like they don't know where to find us. Come we should hurry. They last thing we need is to be caught by Rodney."
As they rounded a corner, a familiar and dreaded voice exclaimed, "What they hell happened to you?"
The Czech scientist hissed in dismay. Putting his glasses back on and he quipped, "Too late."
Kate stopped in her tracks. Her gaze slid over Rodney and rested on his companion. Up until a moment ago, all she could think about was a hot shower and a change of clothes. She really hadn't cared who they might run into.
Of course, that had been before she'd run into Ronon. Why am I not surprised? I only ever run into the man when I look like I've been dragged through seven different kinds of hell.
Glancing at the Satedan, she noticed that he looked thoroughly amused, a slight smirk curved his lips as he looked her and Radek over.
Kate groaned internally, feeling herself go bright red beneath the layers of mud. Without so much as a backward glance, she walked past them. "If you'll excuse me, I have things to attend to."
"Wait? Is that Heightmeyer?" she heard Rodney ask.
Following her lead, the Czech scientist replied, "Excuse me. I too, have somewhere else to be."
The two of them hightailed it to the transporter, leaving a trail of dirt behind them. Kate sagged against the wall of the transporter and released a long suffering sigh. Radek jabbed a dirty finger at crew quarter level on the transporter map and leaned against his side of the transporter wall. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and mumbled something Kate didn't quite catch.
As the doors slid closed, he grumbled, "We are never going to be hearing the last of this, are we?"
Kate shook her head and smiled ruefully at him. "No, no we aren't."
It was late in the evening when Kate finally made it to the mess hall. Relieved didn't even begin to describe how she felt about the entire ordeal being over. All she wanted now was to eat and then maybe sleep forever.
Despite the hour, the mess hall was still busy. As Kate scanned the room, she noticed a few of the occupants had vacated the area, leaving behind an empty table. Setting her tray down, she cracked open her bottle of water and took a bite of her macaroni and cheese, sighing contentedly.
Closing her eyes, she let the events of the day slide away and mused on how she'd spend tomorrow. Maybe I'll go to the Athosian settlement. I always feel more relaxed after visiting with Andra. If its sunny maybe we can go to the lake and--"
"That looks good," a familiar voice commented, interrupting her train of thought.
Kate's eyes snapped open to find Radek taking a seat across from her.
"I think Dr. Weir must have felt sorry for us because look, fried chicken strips! Yum!"
Another person took the empty seat beside her. Careful not to spill the small pot of hot water sitting on her tray, Miko Kusanagi greeted her with a small smile, "Good evening Dr. Heightmeyer."
Mentally shaking herself, Kate recovered after a moment's pause. "Miko, how are you?"
Ripping open a packet of miso soup, the scientist dumped the contents into an empty bowl. "Much better now that we're home."
"Yes!" Radek nodded emphatically before taking a bite out of his friend chicken and digging into his mashed potatoes. "I am hoping we won't have to be doing that for a very long time."
"Wishful thinking, Zalenka," an irritated voice corrected. Kate's brow arched involuntarily as Dr. Kavanagh took the seat beside Miko.
As Radek bemoaned their fate, Kate ate her macaroni and watched as her empty table began filling up with people from Major Edwards' training session.
"Is this seat taken?" Lindsey Novak asked.
Kate shook her head and spoke around a mouth full of macaroni, "Please, sit."
Her attention was called back to Kavanagh as he announced, "Chuck overheard Sheppard tell Weir that he'd be taking over our training session."
"At least its Sheppard this time. We're pretty much guaranteed it won't last any longer than it possible should," Dr. Simpson pointed out before guzzling down some coffee.
Looking up from her bowl of soup, Miko asked shyly, "If Colonel Sheppard takes over do you think Dr. McKay will be there as well?"
Radek rested his elbows on the table. With a long suffering sigh he dropped his head into his hands and cursed long and low. Several other moans erupted from the around the table.
"You don't suppose Ronon would be there?" One of the newer female scientists asked. "I wouldn't mind being trained by him."
Kate tried to smother a chuckle as she watched several of the men at her table roll their eyes and make disgusted noises.
"Yeah, until he snaps you in half or bites your head off!" Kavanagh scoffed. "The man is a modern day Neanderthal!"
Gate tech Chuck grinned. "You're just embarrassed 'cause you passed out during interrogation."
Laughter rumbled throughout the table, as Kavanagh exclaimed, "You'd pass out too if you had that comin' after you! And I wasn't interrogated. I was tortured."
"Don't be such a baby! He never even laid a finger on you. It's your own fault for bein' so contrary," Simpson chided. "If you hadn't pissed everyone off during your first tour no one would have looked twice at you when they were looking for the NID traitor. Besides, Weir apologized."
"Yeah, that made me feel so much better," Kavanagh muttered sarcastically.
"What about Edwards?" Dr. Parrish asked. "You think he'll be stickin' around Atlantis?"
"They might want to consider shipping him back to Earth," Radek whispered. "Things could get ugly here for him, if you know what I mean."
"Should we warn his bunkmate then?" Parrish asked. "You know, before one of the techs start messing with the environmental controls in his room?"
"Its entirely possible that he'll transfer out," Kate piped in before eating another spoonful of mac and cheese.
Lindsey made a face, "Ugh! I am not looking forward to the month long trip home with that guy! When I was in the infirmary, all I could hear when I looked at him were those cracks he made about my nervous hiccups!"
"Psst, Lindsey! Gimme a slice of your pecan pie and I'll take care of him for you!"
"No way!" the Daedalus engineer cried. " I've been craving pie all day long!"
"Trade you 3 snickers bars for your pie," Simpson offered.
"You've got snickers?" someone demanded.
"Hey Lindsey, if I give you 2 bags Sour Patch kids and 3 bags of gummy worms, could you use your technical skills to maybe make Edwards' trip back home as miserable as possible?"
The engineer flushed and shook her head. "Oh, I don't know about that..."
"If you throw in some Twixes and find me an Army of Darkness dvd, I could work something out for you," Kavanagh stated. "The techs from the 302 bay owe me some favors."
"Who? Bill and Ted?" Lindsey nodded, mulling the idea over. "That could work, actually. All you'd need to do is get them stuck in the elevator with Edwards. After a little quality time with him, they'd probably do it for free."
"Oh, they're into Twixes. Army of Darkness is my price for negotiating," Kavanagh admitted sheepishly.
"I love Army of Darkness!" Chuck blurted out.
Leaning forward, Radek asked Kate, "What is this Army of Darkness?"
Kate shrugged and watched as several people from her table and some passerbys began re-enacting a scene from what seemed to be a very popular movie.
Standing up with a foot propped up on his chair, Chuck held up a celery stalk and announced in unison with several other rabid fans, "Alright, you primitive screw heads, listen up! This is my boom stick..."
Beside her Lindsey crooked a brow and muttered, "He does realize he's brandishing a stalk of celery, right?"
Kate shrugged. "Normally, I'd be wondering about his mental health, but we live in a galaxy with soul sucking aliens and I'm off the clock. I'm just going to let it pass."
"Oh, that reminds me," the engineer said excitedly. "I was just thinking about how Colonel Sheppard is going to finish training us. We've got a chance to improve our, uh, techniques. I still can't shoot straight and I remember you were having a hard time hitting the bulls eye. You wanna practice shooting down at the gun range tomorrow, Kate?"
Before she could answer, Radek chimed in wickedly, "Oh, I don't know, Lindsey. From what I saw, I'd say Kate's aim is not so bad."
Kate blushed crimson and flashed him a dirty look before stuttering, "I don't know about that, Radek. I could use a little extra practice."
The Czech scientist just laughed.
"Say, Chuck here has a copy of Army of Darkness," Simpson announced. "How about we all have a movie night?"
"What is it about?" Miko asked curiously.
"It's got everything that make a movie great," Chuck stated. "Its about a guy who gets transported back to the dark ages and accidentally releases the forces of darkness. There's dudes with swords, demons, and zombie hordes."
"So, its a B-movie horror flick," Lindsey replied dryly. "I think I'll pass."
"Sounds interesting. I'll bring the popcorn," Parish announced, drawing Lindsey's complete and undivided attention.
"Consider me sold!" The engineer exclaimed, standing up. "Let's go, people! I can't even remember the last time I smelled popcorn!"
All around her, techs and engineers polished off the remaining food on their plates, intent on having an impromptu movie night. Finishing off her own food, Kate wondered what she'd do until she felt sleepy enough to turn in.
Miko tapped her on the shoulder and asked, "Aren't you coming?"
"Yes, yes!" Radek hooked his arms in hers and Miko's, steering them out of the mess hall. "You should come and relax. We have been on Atlantis nearly two years and I have never seen you at movie night. After the day we've all had, watching mind numbing movie for fun is a must. Weren't you the one who said we should relax more often, hmmm?"
Kate smiled sheepishly. "I guess I did. Okay, it's been awhile since I've seen a movie. Lead on!"
The following morning, John Sheppard walked down the halls in confusion. Looking at his clipboard, he crossed Kate Heightmeyer's name off the list. Tapping his ear piece, and tracked down his second in command. "Lorne?"
"Yes, sir?" a voice replied after a burst of static.
"I'm having an issue here."
"I've got the list of people that attended Major Edwards' little shindig on the mainland and I've knocked on six of the doors. No answer. According to McKay, there's no on in the rooms."
"Zalenka, Kusanagi, Chuck, that weird new anthropologist Dr. Flyn, and Heightmeyer," John replied. "And I just checked Heightmeyer's office. That's empty, too. I'm starting to get worried."
"Gate tech Chuck or Chuck from marine biology?"
"Gate tech Chuck. Why?"
A chuckled rippled through the com line. "I think I know where they are. Rawlings told me this morning that he saw a bunch of science geeks in the mess hall last night talking about Army of Darkness."
"Really?" John perked up as he headed for the movie room. "Haven't seen that one in awhile. I might have to confiscate that one..."
"Huh..." Jonh stood in the doorway of the movie room and stared at the scene before him.
The tv was still on and the dvd was looping through the main menu selection. Music from the Army of Darkness played in the background like an eerie lullaby. Damn, they actually fell asleep to that?
As he did a quick head count, John recognized a some familiar faces curled up on and around the couches. Everyone else was asleep on the floor curled up in blankets they brought or huddled together for warmth. Popcorn kernels littered the ground as though it had been hurled through the air some time during the movie. John crooked a brow when he noticed empty bottles of water and bags of candy lay around haphazardly.
Where in the heck did they get all this swag? Ooh, Red Hots! And then he saw it, an unopened triangle shaped cylinder. It can't be!
Gently prying it from Dr. Parrish's fist, he gasped. It is! A Toblerone bar! His eyes flicked around the room as he slid it into one of his many shirt pockets. "I accept this token as a tribute of good faith and a day of rest."
Parrish muttered in his sleep, "Just five more minutes, momma..."
John froze momentarily, before whispering, "As you were." And snuck out of the room.
Kate's eyes fluttered opened at the unknown disturbance. Shifting slightly on the couch, she yawned and let her eyes close. As she slept, a smile crept across her face while she dreamed of mud balls, friends, popcorn, and boom sticks.
A/N: This oneshot was inspired by BiteMeTechie's First Sentence Challenge 'Show some fucking compassion!'
As always, feel free to flame or praise as the mood suits you, constructive of course.