For quite some time, Stargate Atlantis has been probably my favorite show. Now that it is over, my new favorite is a show on NBC called Chuck. I am writing my first fan fic over in the Chuck stories, but this one popped into my head while I was plotting my story for Chuck, so I thought I would take a break from that one and knock this one out. (I'm hopeless, aren't I?) If you Stargate fans haven't checked out Chuck, I encourage you to do so. I gave friend a copy of the Chuck Season One DVD's for Christmas and now she's hooked.
This one is pure McKellar fluff.
RODNEY LEARNS A LESSON FROM CHUCK
The airman from the Daedelus pushed a pallet of medical supplies on a cart into the infirmary. Doctor Jennifer Keller, the Atlantis CMO, was there supervising the receiving, cataloguing and storing of the various supplies. "Karen," she called to one of the nurses, "those bandages are for off-world missions. They need to go over in those cabinets."
The airman handed her a clipboard. "Doctor Keller? I need you to sign for these supplies."
"Sure," Jennifer said, scribbling a hasty signature across the bottom of the form. She turned to go.
"And here," the airman said.
Jennifer turned back, signed, then turned again.
"And here," the airman said.
"Didn't I see this in a M*A*S*H episode?" Jennifer asked.
"Sorry, Doctor. You know the Air Force. All forms in triplicate," the airman said by way of apology.
Jennifer hastily scribbled her name. She turned to go one last time, when the airman said, "Oh, Doctor?"
Jennifer turned and shook her pen at him. "If I have to sign one more form…"
The airman hurriedly raised his hands, putting the clipboard between him and Jennifer's pen. "Doctor Coleson, at the SGC, asked me to give this to you when we got here." He held up a disk in a plastic case.
"Is that…?" Jennifer asked, grabbing the disk from the airman. She looked down at the label written in Sharpie on the surface of the disk. "Yes!" she exclaimed.
The airman beat a hasty retreat before the crazy lady doctor could shake her pen at him again.
# # #
Rodney was in the cafeteria, hunched over a pad, when Jennifer walked up to the table, tray in hand. "Excuse me, sir. Is this seat taken?"
"Yes," Rodney said, waving a hand without looking up from the pad. "I'm waiting on someone. Go away."
"That's too bad, you're kind of cute."
"Yes, yes, I… What?" Rodney said looking up. "Oh, Jennifer!" He stood quickly, bumping his tray and knocking over his container of jello, which spilled all over his tray.
He looked down at the mess. "Now look what you made me do," he moaned and started scooping the jello up off the tray and dropping it back into its container. "I'll probably get food poisoning from the dirty tray."
"It's good to see you, too, Rodney," Jennifer said. She tried to sound serious, but there was laughter in her eyes. She sat down and Rodney sat down again across from her. "So don't eat it," she said.
"Eat what?" Rodney asked.
"But I swiped the last blue one," Rodney said, then frowned. "Do you really think I shouldn't eat it?"
"It'll be fine, Rodney," Jennifer laughed. "I checked the temperature of the dishwasher last week. It's hot enough to kill any bacteria."
Rodney looked at her dubiously, but then brightened. He picked up a cup from his tray and shook it. "I also managed to snare the last fruit cup."
"And I do love the fruit cup," she said, snatching it from him.
"You wouldn't believe the dirty looks the Marines gave me for taking two desserts," Rodney said indignantly.
"My hero," Jennifer said with a laugh. "Standing up to those big, bad Marines."
She ripped the cover off the fruit cup.
"Hey! That's dessert!" Rodney said.
"My Nana always told me, 'Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first,'" Jennifer said, sticking her spoon in the syrupy concoction.
Rodney, ever the stickler for the proper order of the Universe (which included proper dietary categorization) frowned, but refrained from further comment.
"Oh!" Jennifer said suddenly, pulling the disk out of her jacket pocket. "I was going to ask you: I need help with this."
"What's that?" he asked, taking the disk from her and looking at the label. "Didn't whoever wrote this take penmanship in school? What does that say?"
"It's from Doctor Coleman at the SGC," she said. "Doctors aren't supposed to have good handwriting."
Rodney gave her a look.
"It says 'iTunes downloads,'" she said. "Kara downloaded these on my account and sent me the disk."
"What's iTunes?" Rodney asked.
Jennifer gave him a look of incredulity. "You don't know what iTunes is?"
"Hello?" Rodney said. "Stuck in the Pegasus Galaxy for five years."
"They've been around a lot longer than that," Jennifer said. "Surely you've seen some of the personnel running around with their iPods."
"Those personal music player things?" Rodney asked.
Jennifer nodded. "iTunes is where you download music for those. And videos, too. Kara downloaded the latest episodes of my favorite televisions shows for me to play on my computer."
"I see," Rodney said. "Does Sheppard know about this?"
"Why?" Jennifer asked. "It's not a security breach or anything, is it? Am I going to get in trouble? I didn't think there was anything wrong with…"
Rodney placed a hand on her arm. "And people say that I'm paranoid. No. I just thought this sounded like something John would be into. He's always lamenting the lack of television in Atlantis."
"Oh," Jennifer said, sheepishly.
Rodney smiled at her. "So, you said you needed my help?"
"The problem is," Jennifer said, "when you transfer the files from one computer to another, you need to verify that you have rights to the files."
"Right," Rodney said. "Makes sense. A primitive form of copy protection."
"Anyway," Jennifer continued. "In order to check that you have the proper permissions, your computer uses the internet to access the iTunes server. Which isn't fair! I bought the files! I gave Kara my iTunes gift cards to pay for them."
"But it's a little hard to access the iTunes server from the Pegasus Galaxy," Rodney said, nodding. He slipped the disk in a jacket pocket. "Piece of cake," he said.
# # #
The next morning, Radek came into the lab to find Rodney hunched over a laptop. And not, Radek noted, one of Rodney's many laptops. "What are you working on, Rodney?" Radek asked.
"Stupid copy protection!" Rodney fumed.
"What?" Radek asked.
"Jennifer got these downloads for her iTunes and asked me if I could fix her laptop so that it recognized her permissions since she can't access the internet from Pegasus."
"Of course," Radek said.
"What do you mean, of course?" Rodney said. "This is ridiculous. She bought the files, but the damn thing won't play them. I can break Wraith encryption, I can break Janus' insanely complicated passwords, but I can't get this iTunes software to recognize that these files have the proper authorizations!"
"Rodney," Radek said. "Allow me." He turned the laptop toward him.
"Look, Zalenka," Rodney said. "I seriously doubt…"
"There," Radek said, sliding the laptop back across the table to him.
"How did you…?"
"Lieutenant Anders brought me her laptop to fix that problem last month," Radek said. He got a bit of a dreamy expression. "She was very grateful. If she wasn't dating Lieutenant Byrnes…"
"Well that explains it," Rodney said, cutting off Zelenka. "I couldn't dumb down my thinking enough to break such a simple code."
Radek looked at Rodney, then threw up his hands and stormed out muttering curses in Czech.
Rodney hurried to the infirmary and handed Jennifer the laptop. "You fixed it?" she asked excitedly and threw her arms around him.
"Well, Zelenka might have helped a little," Rodney admitted.
"Then I'll have to thank Radek, too" Jennifer said.
"No," Rodney said. "It'll just go to his head."
Jennifer laughed. "Want to come by tonight and see some of these episodes?"
"I really don't…"
"I snatched some popcorn from the commissary," Jennifer said.
"Well, okay," Rodney said.
# # #
Rodney was a little late for his 'iTunes watching party' with Jennifer as a result of having to deal with a loss of power in the East pier. He stopped at her door and rang the door chime.
Jennifer answered the door dressed in pink sweats, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. "You're late, McKay," she said, feigning annoyance.
"But I brought M&M's to sprinkle over the popcorn," Rodney said, shaking the box.
"I guess you're forgiven," Jennifer said. She gave Rodney a kiss and they sat next to each other on her couch. She had her laptop propped on the coffee table.
"I was just watching Chuck," she said.
"You mean that guy in the Gateroom?" Rodney asked, confused.
"No, Rodney," Jennifer answered in that tone. "The television show Chuck. It's one of my favorites."
"Not the Gateroom guy?"
"Okay, okay. What's it about?"
"There's this guy, Chuck, who works as the supervisor of the Nerd Herd at the Buy More… it's kind of a takeoff on the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Anyway, his old roommate from college got him kicked out of Stanford for cheating but it turned out that his old roommate, Bryce, was really a spy and he stole all these government secrets which were encoded in video images which are then downloaded into Chuck's brain and then…"
Rodney's eyes started to glaze over, so Jennifer said, "Let's just watch an episode, shall we?"
She hit a key and the familiar opening, "Hi. I'm Chuck. Here are a few things you might need to know about me…" came from the laptop speakers.
A few minutes into the show, Rodney said, "Wait. All the government's secrets were encoded in images?"
"Just watch the show, Rodney," Jennifer said.
They watched one episode and Jennifer insisted on watching another. Rodney didn't complain because Jennifer was snuggled up against him. And besides, he had popcorn sprinkled with M&M's.
"So what did you think?" Jennifer asked when the second episode ended.
"That was totally unbelievable," Rodney said. "First, why would the government encode their secrets in images? Second, all the government secrets downloaded into a guy's head? That couldn't happen!"
"You mean like an entire Ancient database getting downloaded into Colonel Jack O'Neill's brain. Twice."
"Well, that was different," Rodney said. "And do you know how long it would take to transfer that information over the internet? Not to mention the hard-drive space required to…"
"Rodney," Jennifer said. "Have you ever heard of the willful suspension of disbelief?"
"Well, yes," Rodney said.
"And you're missing the real point of the whole show."
"Oh, Rodney said. "What's that, may I ask?"
Jennifer put her arms around Rodney's neck and gave him a long, slow kiss. "The point," she whispered, "is sometimes the Nerd gets the Girl."
"Oh," Rodney said. Then his eyes got wide and a smile blossomed on his face. "Oh!"
They had to put off watching any more episodes for another night.