SGA-1's Survival Guide for Off-World Missions
Disclaimer: The following story is a work of fan fiction, and as such is for fan enjoyment only. All recognizable characters/settings are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended, and no profit is made. I made a few of them up and borrowed a surname or two from somewhere (like Corporal Gregson, Captain Laverne, Lt Peters, Major Wilson, Dr Matthews and so on…), but if anyone knows how I can get my hands on a certain Canadian astrophysicist, there could be a Snickers bar in it for you...
Summary: The boys write a field guide for the other SGA teams…
Central Character(s): Sheppard and McKay, with Elizabeth, Carson, Teyla and Ronon. Plus, a cameo (of sorts) from George the Turtle, who belongs to Tazmy.
Category (ies): Humour, friendship.
Placement: First half of Season Three.
Rating: +12 for some bad language. (What can I say? They're naughty boys with potty mouths…)
Spoilers: General ones for Seasons 1-3.
A/N: This is utter insanity and I freely admit it. I was inspired by 'The Atlantis Handbook' by Cammy – you have to read this! It's brilliant! Anyways, I always wondered whether there was a set of rules and regulations concerning off-world teams… so I decided to make one up. Oh and I hope you don't mind my borrowing of George, Tazmy. WE LOVE YOU, GEORGE!!! YOU ROCK!!!
After yet another SGA team came back through the Gate battered, bruised, broken and looking like something a Wraith dragged in, Elizabeth Weir was at her wits end. Calling John and Rodney into her office, she told them that unless they solved the problem ASAP, she would not be held responsible for her actions. The boys exchanged worried looks and scarpered.
"I don't know why she's picking on us," Rodney moaned as the two of them headed for the relative peace and calm of the mess hall. "It's not as if we have any control over the other teams."
John grunted in agreement. "Yeah, but we are kinda the main guys, aren't we? You know, like the guys? Atlantis' flagship team?" He waved a hand around vaguely, both eyebrows raised. "I mean, we're supposed to be setting an example and all that."
"What?!" McKay squeaked. "That's not fair! We come back injured more times than the others put together! We don't exactly have a perfect track record!"
"Hey, I don't disagree," John replied, "but it's better than Major Wilson and his guys." A guilty look crossed his face. "Even if we have been responsible for starting off a few new religions…"
"It was twenty five at the last count, I think," Rodney mused. "M8G-303 doesn't count because Sergeant Atherton was there before us and gave them the idea about the garden gnomes. But there was that time when we accidentally blew up that city…"
"No, no, that was definitely self-defence. Besides, they were Wraith worshippers. Not to mention the incident involving the seven foot gecko and the chocolate sauce…"
Both of them shuddered at that particular memory.
"So what are we going to do?" asked Rodney, wondering if the cooks had come through and delivered on their promise of double choc chip brownies. "Let's face it; Elizabeth's finally cracked if she thinks we're going to be of any help." He looked around for a moment, making sure that no one was eavesdropping and lowered his voice. "I could always blow up one of the Botany labs," he suggested. "You know, a misplaced grenade in the hands of untrained civilians…"
"For the last time, you're not going to kill Dr Grimes, Rodney. I don't care what he did to your laptop, it's still murder."
"Spoil sport," the Canadian harrumphed. "Alright, I say we run then. Maybe go and hide on the mainland. Just think about it: a few beers, a home-made barbeque, you could go surfing all day long…"
For a moment, John looked sorely tempted, but quickly shook his head. "That's quitter talk, McKay."
"No it isn't!" Rodney snapped. "Come on, Sheppard, it's not as if we can give them a handbook or anything… What?"
John had stopped walking, a slow grin forming on his face. Rodney suddenly felt incredibly uneasy – that was the same look he got whenever he decided to try an outrageous and suicidal plan. "You're a genius, Rodney McKay!" he exclaimed.
The physicist looked slightly confused by the Air Force man's sudden compliment. "I know I am, but what's that got to do with anything? And can you walk while explaining?" He sighed and rolled his eyes at John's baffled look. "One word, Sheppard – brownies."
"For real? With fudge sauce?" Sheppard's eyes lit up with an increasingly manic glee.
McKay shrugged. "It's possible."
They resumed their stroll at a slightly quicker pace than before.
"We'll write a kind of field guide for all the SGA teams," John continued. "You know, put together a list of 'do's and don'ts' for various situations."
"What, you mean like 'Rule number one – if a Wraith is about to eat you, don't scream like a ten year old girl'?" Rodney snorted incredulously. "And in case you forgot, we're not mind readers, nor are we psychic! How the hell are we supposed to know what the away teams are going to encounter? I don't know about you, but I left my crystal ball back on Earth."
"We don't need any hocus pocus, Rodney," John replied, too excited to take offence at the physicist's sarcasm. "We'll just use some of our own experiences and have a look-see at the other teams' mission reports." Seeing the disbelieving frown on his friend's face, the Air Force man shook his head as he continued, "Look, it'll be easy. We can split it into sections and just go over the basics."
Rodney thought for a moment before nodding. "Okay, you're on." Any further discussion was halted by a feeding frenzy at the mess counters over the chocolate brownies.
Later that evening, they met up in John's quarters.
"Okay, how are we going to start this epic work of possible fiction?" asked Rodney, booting up his laptop.
"Think logically. What's the first thing we usually see when we step through the Gate?"
McKay rolled his eyes. "The DHD. Trees. Rocks. More trees..." He grinned as a thought struck him. "Ooh! I know! The back of your head."
John sighed. "People, Rodney, people. We'll start with the locals."
"I think you might be onto something there, Sheppard," Rodney replied. He gave the pilot a sideways glance. "Did you hear about SGA-15's latest FUBAR? They were nearly skinned alive."
John nodded. Lieutenant Peters and his team had made a mess of the trade negotiations with the inhabitants of M9S-222 – and lost the corn plants as a result. The word from the rumour mill was that the chefs were on the warpath and weren't too bothered about innocent casualties getting caught up in the crossfire. "Perfect place to start then," he said as he reached over to the computer.
SGA-1's Survival Guide for Off-World Missions
As you all know, Dr Weir is not a happy camper at the moment – and believe us, the mood she's in right now, she could eat a Wraith for breakfast. It has a lot to do with the number of teams coming back injured, in trouble with the locals, messing up trade negotiations or being banned from certain planets because they've touched/looked at/eaten/destroyed something they shouldn't have. (Delete as applicable.)
So, in an effort to save your asses from a long and painful death, Dr McKay and I have decided to write this Survival Guide. And yes, you WILL read it otherwise we'll be forced to take extreme measures. (Trust us – you think Elizabeth's scary when she's mad? Wait 'til you face the unbridled fury of Dr McKay. You wouldn't like him when he's angry…)
So in short, we advise you to read this handbook carefully and consider implementing some of the suggestions – or it'll be boot camp for a year.
Part 1: Meeting the Locals
Okay, kids, imagine you've just stepped through the Gate and have come face to face with the natives of whichever planet you're on. The following are the basics – we suggest that you learn these by heart. Trust us, it'll be safer in the long run and will save you from entering a whole new world of pain…
Do not appear threatening.
In most cases, the locals are not going to sacrifice you to one of their primitive gods – unless you start waving the superior firepower around. Keep your inner 'Rambo' in check – and yes, that means you, SGA-12. Don't think your little stunt on P5X-444 has gone unnoticed…
Do not try and trade one of your team-mates to the Chief/High Priest in order to escape.
Seriously, it's not big or clever, and nine times out of ten only ends in tears. (For you, that is, once Colonel Sheppard gets his hands on you. Similarly, if you try and barter using your scientist as currency, Dr McKay will make you live to seriously regret ever being born.) It might seem like a good idea at the time, especially if one of your team has been annoying you lately, but just because Colonel Sheppard threatens to sell Dr McKay into slavery once a week does not mean you can do the same. In situations like this, try offering them power bars or chocolate. You'd be amazed at what sugar can do.
Do not claim that you are royalty from where you come from.
Once again, this will not end well. If you don't believe us, just ask Corporal Gregson – we think his limp's finally gone away. Most natives in the Pegasus Galaxy don't give a flying… frog… if you're a king/queen/marquis/whatever. The more you brag, the harder you'll fall.
Do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, agree to trading weapons.
The Genii. Enough said.
Do not be sarcastic or condescending to the village Chief/Priest.
This is a very, very bad move. If you don't believe us, just ask Dr McKay about M5R-989… and make sure you have an escape route or a human shield readily available.
"HEY! We agreed never to mention that ever again!"
"I don't remember making any deals, Rodney. It's not my fault you nearly had your tongue cut out for being insolent! I repeatedly told you to put a sock in it, but as usual, you didn't listen. And besides, I saved you didn't I?"
"THAT'S NOT THE POINT!!!"
Do not offer the natives foods that people are commonly allergic to.
Despite what you might believe, most inhabitants in this galaxy are, in fact, human – meaning that they are just as likely to be allergic to certain foodstuffs as we are. This includes: nuts, bananas, any type of citrus fruit, seafood, milk, cheese, eggs, cream, butter, bread, pasta… in fact, don't take any food off-world unless it's an MRE or a power bar. (See the next rule for slight loop-hole regarding chocolate…)
Chocolate is an intergalactic peace offering.
It works magic like you wouldn't believe. Guys love it, women would commit mass murder for it and even the loudest, most annoying kid can be pacified by the smell alone. (Dr McKay's addendum: Be aware that you can use it to bribe said small children. It's an incredibly powerful motivator for the small demons, so make sure you have an ample supply.)
NEVER mock the natives, especially if they are in possession of sharp, pointy objects or weapons of any kind.
Yes, you may well have the superior fire power. Yes, you can probably out-think them even when drunk. But for the love of everything holy, DON'T start making fun of them! We really shouldn't have to tell you this, people! The sharp, pointy objects hurt. A lot. And even though they look primitive, you'd be amazed at just how much damage an arrow can do. (Again, see Dr McKay for details.
"You're a dead man, Colonel…"
Even if you have been assured that it's completely safe, do not take part in any rituals…
Especially not if they're bonding ones. Don't ask questions – just trust us on this one if you want your virtue to remain intact. Also, never eat anything that is an unusual colour – it's probably been doped with hallucinogens. Being restrained in the infirmary and singing 'I'm A Little Teapot' in between screaming about the monkey pixies with the nasty, sharp, pointy teeth is not pleasant. (See Part 4: Food for further details.)
NEVER EVER flirt with the locals.
This is stupid for many reasons. You will probably offend someone. You will undoubtedly upset the father of whomever you are flirting with. You will almost certainly end up castrated. And there is a ninety nine percent chance that you'll catch an unpleasant alien STD. (Just ask Colonel Sheppard about the real reason he was walking funny for a month after our visit to P2X-511.)
"Oh, get over it, Sheppard. It was your own fault for flirting with that redhead. We warned you, but would you listen? Nooo. And besides, you were asking for it…"
Telling the native witch doctor that one of your team-mates has a disease that causes them to act like they do (I.E, a total jerk) is not a good plan.
Said Witch Doctor will most likely try an odd cure. Most times, these are not nice and involve having to drink/eat/bathe in/inhale something deeply unpleasant. The last time we checked, tossing your cookies was not the best way to spend an entire afternoon, so take our advice and don't do it. Ever.
Having arguments in front of the local chief/priest is a very, VERY bad idea.
Don't ask. Just… No.
Do not insult the native beliefs and/or culture.
If we have to come and rescue you because you told the locals that their gods were heathens and/or pagans, Colonel Sheppard will not be held responsible for his actions. Seriously, you're driving him to the edge! Remember, if you can't say anything nice, get one of your team-mates to tape your mouth shut. And yes, SGA-7, we're looking at all of you. Pointing and laughing because the local god/goddess is in what appears to be a compromising situation is not being diplomatic.
Never play Earth games with the locals.
Unless you want to be thrown in jail or executed that is. Our games confuse them, and a confused native is a cranky, homicidal native. Play nice or we'll sic Teyla and Ronon on you.
Do not drink the local hooch.
If we don't get to you first, then Dr Beckett will kill you. For the love of God, don't even think about it. Tell them you're allergic or tee-total or über religious – we don't care! If one more team comes home smelling like a distillery and singing 'All By Myself', we'll institute a city wide ban on Zelenka's vodka. And yes, SGA-14, we are being serious…
Do not try to convince the locals that you are actually gods.
It's an odd thing, common sense. This will not end well. Unless you want to end up being sacrificed in any number of horribly painful ways, don't go there. Really. Just don't. Creating new religions is not the way to start alliances, despite what you may have heard. (And anyways, it wasn't our fault that the natives of P5X-222 decided to start worshipping the Teletubbies.)
If the locals you have found turn out to be Wraith Worshippers, run like hell.
We shouldn't have to explain this, should we, SGA-3?
Do not accept flower necklaces/headbands/other unusual items from the natives.
Unless you want to gain a husband/wife, that is. If you come back married, we will make your life a living hell. Be told.
Do not taunt or intimidate the locals.
If the natives don't want you to look at their ruins/temple/mystic caves/whatever, replying with 'But my gun's bigger than your gun' is not an acceptable answer. Negotiation is a wonderful thing. (And a heads-up, SGA-4 – Ronon is really pissed with you at the moment. Telling the locals on M7G-111 that you were friends with a one-man killing machine with dreadlocks was very, very stupid. Yes, it meant that you got to see that Ancient outpost, but that's not the point. And no, we're not going to protect you. You brought this on yourselves.)
Never annoy the local guides.
They'll only get you lost or walk you off a cliff. (And yes, SGA-8, we know it was you.) Don't come crying to us if you end up lost in the middle of a forest with man-eating mongooses. You have been warned.
DO NOT TRADE THE JELL-O, PEOPLE!
Not unless you have a death wish that is. If you do this then don't bother coming back. Ronon and Dr McKay will kill you and it won't be pretty.
Do not sing songs. Ever.
SGA-9, you really have to stop this. It might have been funny the first time you sang the entire soundtrack from 'The Sound of Music', but after two and a half years it's starting to get annoying. Pack it in. We're sick of all the complaints and death threats from the nice people on M2G-433. (And if we end up losing the coffee bean trade through it, Dr McKay will go postal.)
If the locals tell you that something or somewhere is dangerous, LISTEN TO THEM!
They are not lying, fooling around or being superstitious. Just ask Colonel Sheppard about what happened on P3X-777 with the caverns. It's a hell of a lot different to the official version.
"You can't put that in!" John protested.
"I can and I have," Rodney replied, looking smug. "Don't think I haven't forgotten that particular incident, Sheppard." He held up a finger, looking dangerous. "Two days! Two days stuck in that stone tomb waiting for Lorne and Edison to dig us out! And all because you thought the Iridians were having a laugh!"
John squirmed uncomfortably in his chair. "Okay, you have a point," he admitted after an uncomfortable silence. "On the bright side, we've already finished one section. I told you it'd be easy."
The pilot scrubbed at his messy hair. "Star Wars and popcorn. We can carry on with this tomorrow."
Rodney seemed to be mollified by the thought of food and nodded.
The next evening, they met up in Rodney's quarters to continue. If asked, they would firmly deny that they were hiding from a certain female negotiator – who was currently on the war path. SGA-7 were officially dead men when the boys found them.
It was bad enough that they'd offended the inhabitants of P9X-202 and nearly been eaten alive by a pack of alien dingoes, but they'd managed to shatter the trade agreement in place for the Gillerus fruit – which tasted suspiciously like dark chocolate.
Oddly enough, it was quickly discovered that women suffering from severe (bordering on homicidal) PMT tended to react badly when confronted with the news that there would be no more chocolate for a while. Lt Rodriguez had only just escaped the conference room with his life.
"I've had an idea for the next part," the Canadian said.
"Do I have to guess or are you going to tell me?" asked John, quirking up an eyebrow.
Rodney pointed to his laptop. John stared and smiled.
Part 2: Flora and Fauna
As incredible and unlikely as it may seem, there are some things other than the Wraith that want to eat you… and that includes the flowers and trees.
Just because a plant looks harmless, it doesn't mean that it is.
Believe it or not, the more normal looking things in this galaxy are often the most dangerous. (If you're not convinced, read SGA-6's mission report about the tulips on M8S-888. Alternatively, you could try talking to Captain Dodson – we think he's regained the ability to talk without screaming.)
Do not touch brightly coloured plants.
Again, use some common sense, people. Red is universally known as the colour for danger, and it still applies in this galaxy. If it is brightly coloured, then the chances are that it is poisonous or dangerous in some way. Plants can eat people too, you know.
Do not bring back any flowers unless they've been cleared by the Botany Department.
Surely you all remember what happened two weeks ago? When we ended up having to torch the vines of that quick growing, man eating creeper from the outside of the city? If you want to bring someone some flowers, bribe the crew of the Daedalus. (Lt Col Sheppard's addendum: Stop sucking up to the Botanists, SGA-6. You're giving the rest of the science department ideas.)
Never EVER eat wild berries.
They may look like straw/rasp/black/blueberries, but don't even think about putting them in your mouth. The last time someone did something as monumentally stupid as that, all of SGA-9 were in the infirmary for a month with severe food poisoning. If you want to avoid finding yourselves on extra maintenance checks, don't eat any berries. Unless they've come from the mess hall.
Remember that some plants are sentient.
Again, we're not kidding about this. (Those damn creepers were way too friendly, if you catch our drift.) If a plant starts moving, run for your lives. Do not walk closer to it and say 'That's weird.' We do not want re-enactments of the possessed tree scene from 'Evil Dead'.
Use some common sense!
If you happen across an odd looking plant or tree, or find yourself following an unusual but enticing scent, chances are that you will end up as plant chow. (SGA-10 have had some experience with this.) Run like hell in the opposite direction.
Do not mess around with fungus.
Hallucinogen, vomiting, infirmary. If you come back on a mushroom induced acid trip, we'll let Dr Beckett loose on you… and point and laugh when he brings out the big needles.
Be wary of giant pods…
We do not want a real life version of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', people! SGA-3 knows all about this, so if you want details, go and talk to them. (We're pretty sure that they're our versions rather than pod people, but be careful around Corporal Sanchez.)
If you happen to stumble across a plant that seems to have eyes, run like hell.
Said plant will probably want to eat you. Running for your life is grossly underrated.
"That's a short section," John remarked as he spell-checked the last paragraph.
"Hey, there's only so many ways you can say 'don't touch, eat or smell odd plants', you know," Rodney replied hotly. "Unless you've got anything to add?"
John stole a glance at his watch. It wasn't late and the sooner they got this finished, the better. "Okay, my turn," he said, pulling the laptop across the desk.
Part 3: Wildlife.
Yes, there be dragons out there… of a fashion. Anyways, while some animals are cute and harmless, a lot of them aren't. (Pay attention, SGA-11, you might just learn something.)
Mind you, that said…
If you find something small, fluffy and cute, there is a very good chance that it will want to eat you.
Yes, kids, killer man-eating rabbits are real! Aren't they, SGA-12? And have you learnt your lesson yet?
Do not bring alien pets home with you.
Okay, we know we have George, but that's not the point. Besides, we're the senior staff, kids – that means that we're allowed and you're not. And using the excuse 'It just followed me' won't work, nor will, 'But I didn't know it was in my backpack!' (SGA-8 and 14, you've been caught red-handed. We expect the small lemur-like thing and the wombat/raccoon cross breed to be returned to their natural habitats ASAP. They're upsetting George.)
If in doubt, stay well away from the wildlife.
Self-explanatory – or at least we hope it is.
Do not go anywhere near bugs. Ever.
They are up to no good. They want to eat you. Don't trust the little buggers. (And if any of you try to freak Colonel Sheppard out by hiding slugs in his locker again, Dr McKay will make sure that you have no hot water for at least a month. Failing that, we'll get George to bite you.) See Rule 41 for loop-hole.
Never assume that animals are dumb just because they are large.
Yes, SGA-2, we know your injuries weren't from a rock slide. The last time we checked, rocks don't have claws.
If an animal has an unusual number of legs, stay well away from it (and that includes George).
You know, common sense is grossly under-rated. (Just talk to SGA-5 about the little blue badgers – if they've recovered, that is.)
Also, if said animal is an odd colour, DO NOT TOUCH IT!!!
If you're trying to put the command staff in the loony bin, you're doing a damn good job. You can be poisoned by touch as well as bites, people! As a general rule of thumb, said cute, unusually coloured animal with odd number of legs is deadly to humans. (We really hope that you're paying attention, Lt Cadman. Consider yourself lucky that you didn't get the full dose from those kitten things on M2G-001.)
Do not antagonise wild animals!
'Leave it be and it'll leave you be' springs to mind for some odd reason. If you encounter a native animal, leave it alone. You're the one on it's turf and the bigger the animal, the more territorial it'll be. (You might wanna remember this one, SGA-14.)
Glowy bugs are your friends.
They helped us save Colonel Sheppard's life – and are the only bugs he isn't afraid of.
"McKay! Give me the laptop back right now!!!"
Do not panic if you get bitten by something.
Panicking is the quickest way to death. If you or one of your team-mates is bitten by an animal, get your asses back to the Gate immediately. It may not hurt now, but we can guarantee that in about an hour, you'll be either comatose or dead. If the animal has injected venom into you, only try to suck the poison out as a last resort. Your best chance is to get to Dr Beckett and his scarily large stash of anti-venoms. If you are the one bitten, do not fight against travelling on a stretcher – movement only speeds up the effects of whatever it is that's gotten into your system. Stay still and stay calm. On the other hand, if you've been nipped by a mosquito, you are probably not going to die, right, Dr McKay?
"I could have gotten the Pegasus version of Malaria!" Rodney crowed, scowling at his friend. "And quite frankly, the amount of knowledge you possess about snake bites is scary."
John grinned. "Hey, I spent some time in the desert, okay? I know what to do. And anyways, that mosquito bite was harmless."
Rodney rolled his eyes. "At least I don't scream like a girl when I see a bug."
"I don't scream!"
"That's not what the surveillance footage from the locker room says."
"Bite me, McKay!"
"No thanks. I might catch something unpleasant."
"What, you mean like a better attitude?"
"Like a sudden suicidal streak."
"Better that than hypochondria."
"Shut up! And find the cookies."
"No time for cookies, Rodney."
"Colonel, there's always time for cookies."
Sheppard glowered. "Not tonight, there isn't. Skateboard finals, remember?"
Rodney sighed and reluctantly trooped out after his friend. He had a bad feeling about this…
The next time they started back on the handbook, they were joined by Carson. Rodney's unease had proved to be accurate – the boys had landed themselves in the infirmary thanks to John. The grand finale to his routine went wrong and he ended up crashing into the physicist and the wall at what had to be the world record for the fastest speed on a skateboard.
Unfortunately, John's beloved skateboard had bitten the dust. It was only after Rodney had reluctantly agreed to team up with Zelenka to build him a new one that he'd finally stopped wailing like a banshee.
"What are you up to, lads?" Beckett narrowed his eyes and glowered at them. "Rodney, you've got a concussion! You're not supposed to be working on a laptop!"
"Give him a break, Doc," John said. "It's official business."
"And as for you, Colonel, you may have only pulled the ligaments in your ankle, but that doesn't mean you can swing your legs over the edge of the bed! I have needles, son, large ones."
Rodney grinned as Sheppard blanched and quickly put his legs back up on the cot. "We're writing a field guide for the off-world teams," he explained, his grin widening as he saw the expression on Beckett's face.
Carson looked horrified. "Och, you can't be serious! You lot are the worst of the bunch!"
"I never knew you cared, Doc," John quipped.
"I know I'll end up regretting asking this, but how far have you gotten?"
Rodney pointed to the latest entry. "See for yourself."
Part 4: Food
In case you've all forgotten, we're in another galaxy. That means that there are going to be some food stuffs that don't agree with us. For those of you who don't have a Pegasus native on your team, we advise you to pay heed to this part.
Do not eat anything unless it's from your backpack
We really shouldn't have to tell you this. We don't have the same natural tolerances for certain foods as the rest of the humans in this galaxy so don't push your luck. If you come back with a strange rash, off your heads or being violently ill, we will not be sympathetic. And Dr Beckett will eat you alive.
Do not eat anything that looks strange, even if the locals tell you it's safe.
See above for the reasons why. Failing that, go and talk to SGA-8 about the pink and blue apples on P9X-944.
Always carry emergency allergy kits.
An Epi-pen is a wonderful invention. You may not even realise that you're allergic to something until you find that you can't breathe properly. ALWAYS have an Epi-pen with you. Seriously. It could save your life. Oh, and make sure you have a chat to Drs Beckett and McKay about anaphylactic shock and biphasic reactions.
Do not drink any alcohol.
See Part 1, rule 14.
Never EVER eat anything that is 'harmless'.
Don't do it. No! Never. It will kill you… eventually.
Murphy's Law is real.
Just because we're in a different galaxy, there are still a million things that can go wrong. Don't push your luck, especially when it comes to alien foodstuffs.
Remember, what doesn't kill you makes you ill.
We hope you're listening, SGA-5. Seriously, you must have a death wish. As for the rest of you, pay heed – eating something strange because one of your team-mates dared you to is not only monumentally stupid but quite possible suicidal. And if you do and Dr Beckett finds out about it, don't expect us to help you out. Consider yourselves officially warned…
Carson stared at the screen. "Well, I can see you've put some thought into this," he said after a while. He moved over to Rodney's cot as the Canadian grimaced and rubbed at his temples. "Headache, lad?"
McKay nodded and winced as the movement aggravated his already sore head. "Mother of them. Can I please have some of the good drugs?"
Beckett quickly injected a pain killer into Rodney's IV, giving him a worried look. If McKay was being polite and not complaining about the pain, it meant that it had to be bad. "Better?" he asked after a few moments.
Rodney smiled. "Yeah. Thanks, Carson."
Thanks as well – he was definitely hurting. Carson swiftly moved the laptop over to John, with only a couple of token protests from Rodney. "Has it taken you long?" he asked.
"Not really, Doc," John replied. "We're just using past experience is all."
"Aye, I suppose that'd work." He sighed and looked at Rodney. "So what's the next part going to be, then?"
Rodney grinned at John. John grinned back. Carson shuddered involuntarily.
"Something we know a lot about," Sheppard replied, reaching to the keys…
Part 5: Dealing with the Enemy.
At some point or other, you will meet unfriendlies. This is inevitable, but following these rules will save your life and that of your team.
Do not panic.
Easily said, but completely true. You need to keep a clear head and if you're running around like a decapitated chicken, chances are you'll make mistakes. (Lt Col Sheppard's addendum: after a while, you'll probably learn to panic and be useful. Dr McKay has.)
Do not engage said enemy unless you are sure you will win.
Again, this sounds obvious, but SGA-6, you really need to learn this lesson. If you are out-numbered, lay low and try to get back to the Gate. Failing that, hide and wait – if you miss your check-in, we will come and find you… and bring lots and lots of firepower.
The Genii are not to be trusted. EVER!
Okay, we know that Ladon's in charge now, but seriously, don't trust them. They're sneaky sons of bitches who will screw you over rather than look at you. You need to be wary of them… Especially that snake Kolya.
If you get kidnapped, stay calm.
Do not antagonise your captors. They have a tendency to beat people, so if you want to keep a hold of your dashing good looks and brain cells, don't annoy them. (Even if Colonel Sheppard does. Do as we say, not as we do.) Likewise, don't rattle off everything you know – for a start, they'll probably kill you once they've found out all the information they want. Keep your mouth shut – you know nothing.
We WILL find you.
Hang in there. We'll rescue you.
NO ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND.
We mean it, people. Stay positive and be patient. It may take a while, but we WILL save your asses.
Jail cells are not impenetrable,
It's amazingly easy to break out of a jail cell, isn't it, SGA-15? Just make sure that you know where the exits are.
"Pass me the laptop."
"No, Rodney! Concussion, remember?"
"Shut up and give it back. I've had an idea..."
A little strategy goes a long way.
Plans are brilliant things. If Plan A fails, try Plan B. If that doesn't work, Plan C will be the one that will save you. Trust us – we've had a lot of experience with this.
Never, under any circumstances whatsoever, mock your enemies.
This will just annoy them – and make them want to inflict an awful lot of pain. SGA-9 have already learnt the hard way, and we don't want anyone else to have to. Keep your mouths well and truly shut. (And save the mocking for when you've escaped.)
Strategic Retreats are not a bad thing.
Sometimes, it's best to run like hell. There is nothing to be ashamed of. If you end up dead because you fought when you should have run, we will not be amused.
The physicist looked at his two friends with an innocent expression. "What?"
"You can't say things like that!" John growled.
"Why not? It's worked for us in the past!"
"That's not the point!"
"It could save someone's life!"
"Boys," Carson cut in, stopping the argument before it got bloody. "I think that's enough for one night, don't you? Besides, Rodney's right. I seem to recall what happened on M9G-808."
John sighed, remembering that the 'run away! Run away!' idea that McKay had thought up had saved them from being on the receiving end of a sacrificial knife. It turned out that the locals on M9G-808 were in fact cannibals with no qualms whatsoever about eating Team Sheppard.
He nodded reluctantly. "Yeah, okay. Point taken."
The Air Force man's eyes narrowed as a thought hit him. "Hey, Doc, why don't you write an entry?"
Beckett blinked. "Me? What on Earth for?"
"C'mon, Carson," Rodney said. "Give us a section on basic first aid."
"But I've already given all the off-world teams training for field medicine," the physician argued.
"Yeah, but the personnel changes a lot and things can be forgotten in emergencies," John replied. "If you put the course in writing then everyone will have a reference."
Carson cursed in Gaelic before eventually nodding. "All right, you radge bastards. Give me that laptop."
Part 6: First Aid.
This next section has kindly been added by our Chief of Medicine, Dr Carson Beckett. We know you've all had Field Medicine 101, but everyone needs a little reminder now and then.
I know this has been said before, but it's worth repeating. If you or any of your team-mates are injured or taken ill while off-world, the worst thing you can do is lose you head. Focus on the important things and take a couple of deep breaths.
When a patient is badly injured, they will usually go into shock. You need to keep them awake and calm, and the best way to do this is to engage them in a conversation. If you're trying to patch up an injury, get someone to talk to the injured party: that way, they're distracted and you can concentrate.
Don't forget your ABC.
Airway, Breathing, Circulation. You've all done the drill with me, so I know that you're all well versed in this, but in an emergency situation, it's easy to forget the basics. Check their airway and clear it if you have to. Usually, this will solve the problem. If the airway is clear but they aren't breathing, you may need to perform CPR. Again, you all know how to do this, so stay calm and focus. And don't panic if you break a couple of ribs when performing compressions – it just means that you're doing it right.
Never EVER hide an injury or illness.
I know for a fact that a lot of you have a tendency to be less than honest about this – and the worst of the bunch are Lt Col Sheppard and Dr McKay. If you've been injured or are feeling unwell, for the love of everything holy, tell someone! 'I'm fine', 'it's only a scratch' and 'I've just got a cold' are not acceptable answers. There are a lot of nasty wee bugs and infections here in the Pegasus galaxy.
Pre and post mission checks are not optional.
We have them for a reason, and it's not to inconvenience you. How in God's name am I supposed to help you if you're injured and you don't tell me? I don't care if you've brought back a bloody man-eating killer haggis; you will get your arses down here pronto for a check-up or I'll sic Nurse Bella on you.
"How's that?" Beckett asked as he finished typing. "I know it's not overly long, but I think I've covered most of the important things."
John read it through and grinned. "Perfect, Doc, but I'm not so sure about Rule 63…"
"You leave that be, lad," the physician growled. "It's true and you know it."
The Air Force man had the decency to look sheepish and eventually nodded when Beckett started to look longingly at the needle cabinet. "Yeah, okay, you've got a point there."
Rodney looked at his watch. "Hey, aren't SGA-2 and 3 having a rugby match tonight?"
"Dammit!" Carson said, springing to his feet. "I'm meant to be the referee."
After a brief argument, Carson relented and discharged the boys – he needed a couple of linesmen and this way, he'd be able to keep half an eye on them. The three of them slowly made their way over to the east pier.
The rugby match had not ended well – the teams had taken the 'light contact only rule' to a completely new level. Three of Lorne's team were in the infirmary suffering from broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a concussion, and Elizabeth was somewhere beyond hopping mad. She promptly banned all physical contact sports and sent most of the soldiers into a massive sulk.
John and Rodney wisely chose to hide in the Canadian's lab.
"So what next?" asked Rodney.
"I was thinking about that," John replied, gingerly sitting down on a stool and balancing his crutches against the scientist's workstation.
"And?" McKay prompted. "What did you come up with?"
Sheppard grinned. "Something that you've got a lot of expertise in…"
Part 7: Ancient Outposts
At some point or other, you will come across an Ancient outpost. If you want to live, listen to us very carefully…
Do not mess around with abandoned outposts.
They're usually abandoned for a reason. If you end up destroying a solar system because you couldn't help but push the little red button, Dr McKay will seriously kick your ass. (He's got a record to maintain, after all.)
Never turn on Ancient devices without knowing what they do first.
Again, we know we do this quite a lot, but Dr McKay is our resident genius – meaning that he can fix any damage. You are not, so no touching anything unless it's been okayed by either him or Dr Zelenka. (And yes, SGA-12, we mean you. We haven't forgotten that little incident with the 'Insomnia Device'. 240 hours awake was not our idea of a good time.)
NO NAMING THINGS!!!
We mean it. ENOUGH ALREADY, PEOPLE!!!
If you do activate something, do not panic.
Run like there's an entire hive of Wraith on your ass and come and find Dr McKay. Do NOT try and turn it off or undo the damage.
Never try and rush your scientist.
If your team's scientist is studying a device, NEVER EVER rush him/her. Not unless you want to end up looking like SGA-15 did after their trip to P7X-444. (Although, oddly enough, violet really suited Captain Laverne…)
The Ancients were not infallible.
Even they messed up sometimes – and their screw-ups are often dangerous, bordering on deadly.
Just because the Ancients built it, it doesn't mean that it's idiot proof.
Do we really have to explain this to you, SGA-7? They may well be an advanced race, capable of creating Stargates and other such cool devices, but even they were flawed. However, that does not mean that you are therefore smarter than they were. If one more team comes home broken because they thought they knew better, we're gonna throw you to the scientists and watch as they tear you into tiny pieces. (Hell, we'll probably be the ones selling the tickets…)
If a device has a large, prominent button, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LEAVE IT ALONE!
SGA-13, we know it was you. We also hope that spending the better part of a week as purple donkeys made you learn your lesson.
If an Ancient machine seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
You may think you've found a weapon that will destroy the Wraith, but seriously, re-check the translations! Double, triple, quadruple check them. More likely than not, all you've found is the Ancient version of an X-Box. (You should be ashamed of yourselves, SGA-7. You made Dr Zelenka cry.)
If your scientist is going to experiment, make sure you supervise them.
Yes, we know it can be dull watching them tinker away with a bunch of pretty coloured wires, but the moment you take your eyes off of them, we can guarantee you that all hell will break loose. (See SGA-6 for details about their recent 'adventure' on M2R-246. Just make sure that Dr Tully isn't in the immediate area.)
Never let Ancient consoles come into contact with liquids, especially if said console is a highly advanced weapon.
We're still pissed with you about that particular incident, SGA-9. Dr McKay nearly had a mental breakdown over it. (He still twitches whenever any of you come near him…)
If a device has a warning attached to it, READ IT!
This shouldn't have to be said, should it, SGA-2? If you want to stay both human and in one piece, follow the instructions.
Do not bring back Ancient technology unless it's been cleared first.
We know all about the music box, SGA-3, and no, we haven't forgiven you yet. It may look innocent and harmless, but we can guarantee you that it most certainly isn't.
If you DO bring Ancient technology back with you, do NOT use it to get payback.
Just because someone's wound you up it does not give you the right to make them delusional using a dangerous Ancient device. Poor Major Lorne needs weekly sessions with Heightmeyer thanks to you, SGA-4.
"That should be clear enough," Rodney said as he saved the latest section.
John smiled. "I hope so," he replied. "Evan's been having a rough time of it lately."
Rodney nodded sympathetically, remembering how SGA-4's vendetta with SGA-3 had ended up with them using an Ancient hologram projector to scare the living daylights out of Lorne. Evan still screamed hysterically at the sight of bats.
Suddenly, the off-world activation alarm sounded. The boys looked at each other and ran (or rather, hobbled quickly in Sheppard's case) to the Gate room, wondering what was wrong this time.
As it turned out, SGA-11 had returned early from M9R-002 because they'd found that the odd life signs were in fact carnivorous, rhino-sized wolves. Luckily, no one was badly injured, but Carson insisted that they have a mandatory rest period to get over the shock of nearly being eaten alive. Surprisingly, no one had argued with him… but he'd been holding one of his larger needles at the time and grinning.
Elizabeth, meanwhile, was starting to get impatient.
"Are you two nearly finished?" she snapped as she caught them trying to sneak out of the infirmary.
The boys froze with expressions that were vaguely reminiscent of a deer caught in the headlights.
"Almost," John promised, trying to appease her wrath with one of his infamous 'puppy dog' looks.
"Tomorrow at the latest," Rodney added, seeing that his team-mate's attempt at soothing their irate leader wasn't working as well as the pilot had hoped. "Isn't that right, Colonel?"
"What? Oh, yeah, sure. Tomorrow. Promise," John babbled, bobbing his head like a nodding dog toy.
Elizabeth sighed and closed her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose.
The boys took advantage of the distraction to flee.
Once they had evaded the ball of uninhibited rage that was Elizabeth Weir, John and Rodney grabbed some lunch from the mess hall and retreated to John's quarters. Once they'd eaten, they decided to get on with the handbook.
John stared at Rodney.
Rodney stared at John.
They both stared at the computer...
Part 8: The Wraith
We've all met them at some point, and they don't get any prettier. They are our deadliest enemy (hence why they have a chapter all to themselves) and need to be handled with extreme caution.
If you meet the Wraith, do not bait them.
We know we do it all the time, but that doesn't mean you should. Generally, it only serves to piss them off, make them hungry and want to kill and eat you. (SGA-7, we know all about your last encounter. Screaming defiance is only a good thing if the words you are screaming are NOT 'At least I have a decent hair cut!' or 'Someone needs a manicure!'.) Likewise, yelling 'Back, evil demons from the depths of Hades!' isn't a good idea, even if it is funny. At least, not unless you're firing your P-90 at the time.
For once, 'shoot first, ask questions later' is a good thing.
If you see a Wraith, kill it. Straight away. No arguing, no questions and certainly no 'what ifs'. Just shoot the damn thing and be done with it.
Be aware of their self-destruct bracelets.
The Wraith are pesky sods. Not only are they hard to kill, they come equipped with their very own suicide bombs. If you see one of them push something on their wrist or chest, do NOT investigate it. Run as if the hounds of hell were on your heels and take cover. We mean it, people. We are scraping up your remains.
If you are fed on by a Wraith, even if it's only momentarily, get your ass down to the infirmary.
You may think that you're fine, but trust us, you're not. Do we need to remind you about Colonel Sheppard's encounter with Ellia? Or Ford? Better still; get an armed escort to take you there. And once you're in Dr Beckett's clutches, get someone to radio for us. We've had experience with this kind of thing.
If you are being held captive on board a Wraith Hive Ship and are trapped in a cocoon, make sure you can get to a hidden knife.
The old rule 'One for them to find, one for you to keep' comes into play here. Make sure you have a couple of spares squirreled away on your person. (See Dr McKay and Ronon for details.)
If a Wraith wants to make a deal, do not listen.
You should know this by now. They are not to be trusted EVER. If you don't believe us, ask Dr Weir about Michael – and be prepared to duck.
Never underestimate the Wraith drones.
Yes, they look stupid. Yes, they probably are stupid. But honestly, don't think that! SGA-10 had an up close and personal encounter with a couple on their last mission, and three of them ended up in the infirmary because they thought that the drones that attacked them were dumb. THEY ARE LIFE SUCKING ALIEN VAMPIRES!!! Use some caution!
If you think that a Wraith is dead, don't walk up and prod it with your boot.
Been there, done that, nearly got eaten for being monumentally stupid. Just empty another round or twelve into it from a safe distance and get the hell out of Dodge.
WRAITH ENZYME IS BAD, OKAY?
Remember, kids, just say 'no'…
Even if you're desperate, do not go one on one with a Wraith.
Seriously, these things can kick your ass. Even Ronon's. SGA-8, we hope you're paying close attention. Stop trying to kill them using your bare hands. God invented P-90's for a reason, and it wasn't as a fashion statement.
Only Colonel Sheppard is allowed to give the Wraith names.
Calling a Wraith 'Gertrude' may seem like a good idea, but trust us – if you name one, Colonel Sheppard will hunt you down and kill you. (He gets possessive over little things like that – just ask SGA-6 about the incident with 'Zach'.)
Remember that the Wraith can make you see things that are not real.
If you see any shadows, do not fire at them. It is a trick. The Wraith are just trying to fool you into revealing your location. Do not panic and make sure you get your finger off the trigger.
If you hear or see a dart, run for cover.
Getting scooped up by those things is not pleasant. Do not try and take it down unless you have a rocket launcher with you. The Hive Ship will notice something like that and will send more to investigate – and trust us, you'll be sorry. (Dr McKay's addendum – if you are scooped up with someone else and the dart is brought down by your team-mates, do not panic if you start hearing voices when rescued. Come and find me – I know what it's like.)
If you are off-world and a culling starts, your first priority is to get the locals to safety.
We know what you did on M3R-717, SGA-14. Don't do it again. You were just lucky it was a false alarm.
Never try to flirt with the Wraith Queen as an escape attempt.
Apart from the fact that it's seriously creepy and disgusting, it won't work. (We've scheduled you for mandatory psych evaluations, SGA-5. You're starting to scare us.)
Rodney stretched and groaned as his shoulders popped. "Man, I need a break," he moaned. "And more coffee. Possibly even chocolate. Do we have any chocolate? I need chocolate. My brain's going to go into meltdown otherwise."
John snorted a laugh at his friend's babbling. "We're almost done, but that sounds like a good idea." He stood up and offered a hand to the Canadian. "Come on, let's go find Teyla and Ronon. They can help us with the next part."
After dinner, SGA-1 was back in John's quarters, having been caffeinated. They'd even managed to find Rodney some chocolate – Teyla had taken pity on the scientist and given him some from her stash when she saw the pretty impressive looking black eye that he was sporting from the skateboard incident.
"So this is like a training thing?" Ronon grunted.
"Yeah," John replied. "Elizabeth's getting annoyed about the idiotic things that the teams are doing on missions."
"And somehow, we're the ones who were best suited to solve the problem," Rodney added. "Seriously, there are times when that woman worries me."
Teyla raised an eyebrow. "I suggest that you each keep a copy," she said pointedly. "After all, do you not get into the most trouble?"
The boys glowered, but nodded sheepishly when she started to mutter thinly veiled threats about 'extra stick fighting practice'.
"Last bit then," John said, reaching for the laptop.
Part 9: Team Dynamics
A good team is one that sticks together and trusts each other. When you're off-world, you need to be able to rely on those around you and vice versa. (Pay attention, SGA-15…)
The line between bravery and suicide is a very thin one.
It may seem like a good idea, but it will probably end up killing you. Leave the last ditch suicidal attempts to us. And please, SGA-8, you've got to stop hero-worshipping Colonel Sheppard. It's giving him a God complex.
Everyone makes mistakes – we're only human.
Shocking, but true. If one of your team has an error of judgement, do not hold it against them. Chances are it was just an accident. (This applies to you, SGA-15. Stop picking on Dr Matthews. Everyone's allowed an off day now and again. And besides, only Dr McKay is allowed to make the scientists cry.)
Do not let personal problems interfere with your missions.
Arguing amongst yourselves while off-world is not only stupid but monumentally dangerous. There is a time and a place to have a fight over who gets to choose the next film for team movie night and it's not during a mission. (Kiss and make up, SGA-6, or Teyla's gonna kick your asses.)
If you are going to use code words or hand signals, make sure that everyone on your team understands them.
Really, this isn't that difficult. (Although SGA-12 might not agree with us on that.)
Your scientist is not allowed to wander off unaccompanied.
We know that short of keeping them on a leash, there's not a lot you can do, but for God's sake keep an eye on them. If you get your scientist injured or lost, Dr McKay will butcher you. (Ask SGA-10 about Dr Brining and the lab on M2G-000.)
Do not tease your team-mates about phobias – even if they do seem ridiculous.
You're just asking for trouble if you do this. Remember what we said about Murphy's Law?
When off-world, never, under any circumstances, say the following:
'What could possibly go wrong?'
'How much worse could it get?' '
'Stay on the radio just in case.'
'I think we should split up.'
Really, SGA-4, 5, 7, 10, 13 and 15, DON'T DO IT!!! You're going to put Colonel Sheppard in the funny farm if you keep it up.
Sometimes, the crazier the plan, the more likely it is to work.
Seriously, trust us on this one. If a plan seems too whacked out to work, it'll be one of your best. Besides, it works for us…
NEVER play pranks on each other while on a mission.
It will not be pretty. (And yes, SGA-8, we know about the game of blind man's bluff. Consider yourselves officially dead.)
Do not bet each other that you will come back injured.
What goes around, comes around, and things like this will come back to bite you on the ass – hard. Right, SGA-2?
Nothing is impossible, just highly unlikely.
Wraith. Mad, militant alien cultures. Ancient outposts built on top of volcanoes. Enough said.
Do not try and skip pre and post mission check ups.
We know we've already told you this, but it's important. Dr Beckett is a nice man – unless you piss him off. Don't piss him off. He has very large, very painful needles. Be told, people. (And if we catch you sneaking off again, SGA-5, we'll tell Carson.)
When in a de-briefing, make sure that you've got your stories… er… versions of the events straight.
Trust us, Dr Weir is not a nice person when angry. She nearly massacred SGA-14 over the 'garbage' incident on P8X-200.
Remember, 'It seemed like a good idea' is not an excuse.
Talk to SGA-11 about the fireworks. Go on, we dare you.
Not everything can be solved with C4.
Isn't that right, Colonel Sheppard?
Last minute rescues are a specialty.
We're exceptionally good at these. You should be too. (Oh, and SGA-9, good job with the situation on M5R-999 – even Dr McKay was impressed. We never knew that singing the theme tune to 'Red Dwarf' could kill mutant foxes.)
Common sense is your new best friend.
Yes, we've said it many times, but this is important and bears repeating. Be sensible when off-world. (Yes, SGA-14, we're aiming that comment at you.)
Blaming each other will not work.
Note from Teyla and Ronon – we have had a lot of experience with this. Do not do as Colonel Sheppard and Dr McKay do. We beg you for the sake of our sanity.
"That was uncalled for!"
"I agree with McKay!"
"Admit it, Sheppard, you two argue like a couple of kids."
"Shut up, Conan!"
"Make me, little man."
"John, would you please stop comparing everything to Star Wars?"
"He started it…"
Shooting things is not the answer.
Ronon is a firm believer in this, but it doesn't work. (We know you've been spending a lot of time with him, SGA-3. Knock it off.)
Just because we've gotten away with it does not mean that you can.
Stop it. We're experts, people. We know what we're doing. (And we have the two aliens on our team who can kick your asses from here back to the Milky Way.) Besides, having a fan club will only make Dr McKay's ego even larger than it is now.
Listen to each other.
We know you've been having problems, SGA-7, but please listen to Dr Corrigan when he tells you that something is dangerous. We shouldn't have to remind you about the killer plants, should we?
Playing Truth or Dare on missions is a very, VERY bad idea.
Isn't it, SGA-10? Don't do it, people. It'll end badly and we'll be forced to take drastic measures. Being grounded for a month is not fun. (Nor is having extra training sessions with Ronon. Don't think we won't do it.)
Trust each other.
Remember, your team is your life. You need to be able to depend on one another if you're going to survive. At the end of the day, they're the ones who'll save your ass if things go south. Your friends only have your best interests at heart.
"Finished!" John cried as he hit the save key.
"Not bad," Rodney mused. "And it might just work."
"Can we go eat now?" asked Ronon. "McKay promised me brownies and fudge sauce."
"Oh he did, did he?" John looked at Rodney, who paled. "That's the first I've heard about it."
"Ronon's bigger than you," the Canadian replied. "And he has no problem with breaking my neck."
"Rodney, I do not believe that Ronon would hurt you," Teyla said, even though she gave the Satedan a very worried glance.
"Well, I wouldn't kill him," Ronon stated, grinning ferally.
"Brownies," Rodney declared in a worryingly high pitched squeak, in a desperate bid to move the subject away from possible maiming. "Follow me."
They wandered out of John's quarters and headed for the labs – where McKay had managed to hide a small stash of the dessert – arguing over whether to watch 'Batman Begins' or 'Hellboy 2'.