OK, this is purely bonus material. This was a cut scene from an earlier draft. I decided to go in a little different direction with Sheppard's "injuries", i.e. the whole bioweapon bacteria thing came on late in the planning process. It also was similar to the John/Rodney conversation so I decided not to rewrite it and instead used some of Keller's material at the end. But I like the scene, especially Ronon, so feel free to read or not! It would take place in chapter 4, between the flashback and John leaving the infirmary if it had remained.
"I just don't get it," John blurted from his infirmary bed. Teyla, Rodney and Ronon were gathered around, standing in companionable vigil as Keller sewed up his hand. They had wired him up with IVs even before he made it to the infirmary, so he was still dressed in his uniform, still dusty and filthy. "Who could hate me enough to go to all the trouble to print out 'Most Wanted' signs?"
"I can only think of a couple dozen people," Rodney said, sounding thoughtful.
"Kolya's dead," he snapped, rather too harshly, and his friends exchanged a knowing look of concern that just annoyed John further.
"Maybe the Coalition of Planets has decided to continue their prosecution of our supposed 'crimes' through you?" Teyla offered quickly.
"I dunno. I thought we left that pretty settled. They seemed more the high and mighty type." John scrubbed his face with the hand that Keller wasn't working on and sighed fretfully.
"So, what do we do about it?" Ronon said.
"Woolsey wants to take me off 'gate duty. He said Ladon has threatened to hang anyone else in the Genii military that tries to collect on the reward."
"But that doesn't stop the hundreds of other mercenaries running around out there who might give it a try to make a buck," Rodney scoffed as if no one else had thought of it.
"Exactly. I've been thinking. Remember that run-in we had a week ago at the pub on 354? I think that might have been related." There was a collective moment of silence as they were each lost in the difficulty of the problem. John just felt frustrated. If he couldn't 'gate offworld, he couldn't do his job.
He pressed his elbow into the side that had been aching off and on ever since Michael's box had zapped him, especially after physical exertion. It was killing him at the moment and serving as painful reminder: He couldn't do his job, either, if he was under constant attack from random idiots. He wouldn't put more of his people in danger. Xiang and Hicks had already paid too high a price.
"Maybe a break from offworld duty isn't such a bad idea." Keller spoke into the silence, a hint of something in her voice that turned John's head to glare at her. He had a suspicion of where she was going. When she looked up from the stitch she was making, her face was deadly serious. "You could use the rest."
"Doc…" John's voice was a warning growl.
"I'm sorry John, but we've been through this."
"And I've been taking it easy." Keller ignored his embarrassed glance at the friends hovering nearby and shook her head.
"You call this," she waved her needle over John's filthy and bloody shirt, "taking it easy?"
"This wasn't my fault. We had no reason to expect that ambush."
"But that's exactly what I'm talking about. It's dangerous out there. You had major surgery less than a year ago. Shortly after that, you nearly died from exposure to Michael's ATA eradication device. A couple of months ago you stumbled off the mainland looking like something the cat dragged in -."
"It's been a crappy year. I get it."
"No. No, you don't. If you don't give yourself a chance to recover properly, you're going to find yourself in a situation where you've been compromised too badly to defend yourself."
"So what am I supposed to do? I feel fine." He suddenly realized that he was still pressing his hand against his side and quickly moved it back to the bed. "Well, not right now, but you know what I mean."
"You're supposed to rest. Take leave time. Go on vacation while Woolsey and Lorne sort this thing out."
"I won't send my people out there if I'm not willing to go myself."
"You're the commander of this base. We can't afford to lose you, John. Let someone else take the bullet for a few weeks."
John leaned into Keller's face and pointed a threatening finger. The rest of his team suddenly found other things in the room to become interested in.
"Hicks already took a bullet meant for me today. I will not let that happen again. No one in my command is expendable, Dr. Keller. No one."
"Then it's a shame you feel that way about yourself." Keller stared John down with all the ferocity of a caged kitten, then touched John's hand gently before she snipped off the last of the thread. "Someone will be by to clean that up and dress the wound." And then she left to check on her other patients.
John lay seething, trying to ignore the shocked and uncomfortable look on Teyla's face. Rodney was fidgeting with the hem on his shirt and Ronon – well, Ronon was grinning like a fool.
"What?!" John snapped when he also started to chortle.
"I was just wondering how much that bounty is worth."
Rodney giggled and John sighed, closing his eyes.