Here comes another one. Thanks to DaniWilder for beta and of course the inspiration. Sgt "Gunny" Richards belongs to DaniWilder, who has been kind enough to let me borrow him. Setting is right near the end of The Lost Tribe, spoilers for season 5.
"Hey McKay," called Sheppard jogging up to the physicist.
"What's up Sheppard?" asked McKay turning around to face his teammate and friend, before continuing on with him.
"I got a job for you, since you seem to have been released from the infirmary and it's going to take a while for the new gate to arrive Woolsey wants you to do some ship repairs"
"What do you mean ship repairs, the only thing Conan did to the Daedalus was damage a few control crystals and I thought they had already been replaced," he replied sounding exasperated.
"Besides I'll have you know I wasn't released from the infirmary. I only went there to visit Jackson. And another thing, you don't have to make it sound like a prison sentence, Jennifer takes good care of all her patients," he interjected. If anything Rodney treasured the time he got to spend with Jennifer.
Luckily Sheppard quickly stopped him before he could go into full rant mode.
"McKay," he almost yelled. "Rodney, I didn't mean the Daedalus. The Travellers' ship is still in orbit. It seems they are still experiencing a little engine trouble and I promised them you'd lend a hand along with Zelenka and give the thing an overhaul".
"Ah I see"
"Glad you do," replied Sheppard, daring to let a little relief enter his voice.
"You promised them I'd help?"
"Yes, yes I did". Well that went easier than I thought it would.
"So it wasn't Woolsey then?"
Sheppard was brought a little short by that comment but didn't let it show.
"Well naturally I asked Woolsey first and he said it would be good for our peoples' relations."
"Yeah I can imagine whose relationships it will be good for," he muttered not so quietly that Sheppard didn't catch it. "So tell me their Captain, you know that female captain, what was her name, Kaitlin wasn't it?"
As they came to the transporter Sheppard was attempting to play cool even though he could see his friend's smirk.
"Katana, her name's Katana"
"Right Katana, so when does Woolsey want me to start?"
"I think he said ASAP."
"Ok, fine I'll go pick grab Zelenka and take a jumper up their since the Daedalus should have left by now, but only after I have dinner," McKay stepped into the transporter alone. He departed with a final, "Bye, Kirk."
Sheppard sighed, "Bye Rodney."
Sheppard continued down the corridor toward the infirmary, he couldn't avoid that check up any longer. He wasn't too far from his destination when he started to hear voices up ahead.
"Actually, I'm kind of interested in someone else."
Recognising the CMO's voice he quickly doubled back and around a corner. He knew that most of the Marines on Atlantis were interested in dating Keller. At first this had given Sheppard some grief as he saw Keller as a good friend and wanted to protect her from the sex deprived members of the military contingent, of course with Sgt "Gunny" Richards and Lorne keeping an eye on them his fears had quickly dissolved. Though the fact that two members of his team were competing for her affections hadn't escaped his notice, luckily he knew them both quite well and that neither Ronon nor Rodney would do something stupid.
Peering round the corner to see who it was that had just had their hopes dashed away; he spotted Ronon heading up the corridor. Quickly ducking back round the corner so the Satedan wouldn't see him he pondered the situation. If he was honest with himself he would have placed his money on Rodney getting the upper hand. Now a year ago it would have been a different story but its amazing how a little time travel can change ones perspective. Anyone who was willing to screw with the time line in an attempt to save the women they loved had it bad in Sheppard's opinion. The fact that Rodney turned into a much kinder person when he was with Keller was another plus.
So lets see, thought Sheppard, processing what had just happened. She just blew off Ronon and the only other person that she has even shown a remote interest in is Rodney. Looks like McKay just hit the jackpot.
He continued down the corridor before realization hit him. This is McKay we're talking about he probably doesn't even realize she likes him. He knew he needed to come up with some sort of plan and hopefully an opportunity would present itself.
On board Katana's ship Radek and Rodney were being escorted to the engine room.
"You realise Rodney that this is not just some minor repair job this thing needs a new engine period."
"Oh don't worry I heard all about the situation from Sheppard on the way back home."
"Oh you did."
"Yes according to Sheppard you were completely useless while a fifteen-year-old girl managed to fix the problem by herself."
Radek muttered incomprehensibly to himself for a few moments before finally switching back to English.
"I'll have you know that I did not want to touch that thing out of fear of it exploding. Did I mention that the thing burned out when we arrived at the planet?"
"Oh I heard about that all right, and I seem to recall it was this same girl who managed to fix the thing and save everyone," he retorted respect edging into his voice. That little incident had almost led to the death of the woman he loved, but because of this girl Jennifer was alive and well. This single accomplishment had meant the girl had gained immediate respect from the physicist, and the fact that she was only a child meant he felt he had found a kindred spirit.
"You know I may even ask her if she would like to stay on at Atlantis, who knows what she could accomplish, she could maybe replace you someday Radek."
Radek knew that Rodney was just teasing him and of course being Rodney, he decided to let it go. Still despite this Rodney seemed rather cheerful and he suspected he might know why.
"So Rodney how was dinner with Doctor Keller?"
"Oh fine, fine…wait how did you know I was eating with Jennifer?"
"Oh I thought I saw the two of you together" Zelenka lied. I knew it.
"Yes well if you focus on your work instead of my personal life you might be able to get their hyperdrive working without us checking on you."
"Well we're here anyway."
The engine room was just as Radek remembered, it was rather disappointing actually, he had hoped there might have been some improvement. Still that was why they were there.
"Hey Zelenka, welcome back to my engine room. I see you brought a friend. You must be Rodney," said Mila stepping out from behind a rather jerry rigged looking piece of equipment.
"And you must be Chief Engineer Mila," said Rodney, for once giving off an air of friendliness.
"Chief Engineer Mila, that's me," she replied curtly. "Katana told me you two were coming."
"You two can take off now," she said, nodding to their two escorts.
"So what do you need us to do," said Rodney eager to begin.
"Mostly some rewiring and rerouting, we might need to replace a few things but I'd rather try to avoid it given how hard parts are to come by these days. Don't believe Radek when he says none of this will work again it just needs a little maintenance."
"I understand, just give us our tasks and we'll get stuck in and try to replace as little as possible", said Rodney. He gave Zelenka a look that the Czech interpreted easily. She certainly knows what need done, eh Radek.
Mila grinned happily; she had finally found a member of the Lanteans who believed in her ship, "Well first up I need you to get this power converter back online while I and Radek have a go at the field generators."
Oh brother, thought Radek as they set to work. It seems I've found someone who can work miracles as easily as Rodney. I just hope the similarities don't get much further.
Rodney was in a cheerful mood in the morning despite the little sleep he had gotten during the night. But when he met Jennifer for breakfast his cheerfulness shined through even more.
"Good morning Jennifer," he said, setting his tray on the table and taking a seat.
"Good morning Rodney," replied Jennifer sweetly, "You seem cheerful this morning"
"Yeah you do don't you Rodney, what happened, did Radek get transferred?" Sheppard chose that moment to join them along with Katana.
"Morning, Sheppard, actually I have been spending time with the Travellers' Chief Engineer Mila," replied Rodney turning to look at Katana. "She really is quite a find you know, your lucky to have her."
"Don't I know it. I can't tell you how many tight spots she's gotten us out of," said Katana.
"I believe you, I've seen those engines of yours. She is an absolute miracle worker".
Sheppard noticed the look in Jennifer's eye. Seems the good Doctor wasn't too happy that this girl had captured Rodney's attention. A plan was forming in his mind and he quickly whispered to Katana, "Follow my lead on this one."
Katana looked slightly puzzled before she too noticed the look in Jennifer's eye then grinned and quickly nodded. Luckily the two Doctors were too busy watching each other to notice this exchange.
"So Doc, how much do you know about this Mila?" Sheppard enquired innocently.
"Oh not much just that she's this brilliant, genius engineer," said Jennifer, attacking her food a little aggressively.
Katana decided to make her contribution, "You know I have heard some say she is quite attractive to the right person, would you agree, Doctor Mckay".
"Oh well yes…yes I suppose so." That one had caught him a little off guard, seeing he had been distracted by Jennifer's war against the contents of her plate. Besides Rodney hadn't given the issue much thought. "Yes I would definitely say she is attractive, to the right person that is."
Sheppard flashed Katana a nice one look, knowing full well how the uninformed doctor would take that statement.
"So Rodney how goes the work, think you'll have to do much more before you finish giving Katana's ship a tune up," enquired Sheppard.
"Oh, well there's not too much left to deal with Mila is quite a competent engineer. Of course the work might take a little longer since Radek had bowed out; still someone has to keep an eye on the rest of my staff."
Katana quickly interjected, "So I guess you and Mila will be able spend more time together."
Jennifer could feel her temper rising and chose to depart with her unfinished tray.
"Yes I guess we will," said Rodney slightly puzzled at Jennifer's abrupt and silent departure.
Jennifer wasn't silently fuming in her office under the guise of doing some paper work.
Brilliant. I turn my back for five minutes and suddenly this Traveller girl appears and grabs his attention. He already called her a genius and now I find out he thinks she is attractive as well. I had better do something soon before she steals him from me. I don't care what it takes I am not going to lose him.
She spent the next few hours carving her way through paper work before she was interrupted by her ear wig.
"Sheppard to Keller."
"Keller here what's up Colonel."
"I need you to meet me in the jumper bay. Woolsey would like you to check over the radiation levels of the traveller ships make sure they aren't too hot for our liking. It's nothing to worry about if anything the levels are only mildly annoying to us and nothing to the Travellers but better safe."
"I understand, Colonel, I'll meet you in the jumper bay in ten. Keller out."
The radiation levels were most likely not an issue but considering Rodney was a famous hypochondriac it was always safe to have your bases covered. If a potential McKay meltdown could be avoided then it should be, besides after the whole parasite incident she would never risk his safety by not performing the proper tests.
When Jennifer arrived in the jumper bay Sheppard was already waiting for her with a jumper prepped to go and the roof access open. They wasted no time and soon were in sight of the Traveller ship.
"Attention Traveller ship this Colonel Sheppard, requesting permission to land, I believe Katana is expecting us."
To Jennifer's surprise she heard Katana's voice in response, "You bet I am, Sheppard, permission granted, the bay is cleared and the doors are open".
"Thanks, Katana, beginning landing procedure."
"So I take it you called ahead then, John."
"Ah, you know how it is, Jennifer, professional courtesy and all. Wouldn't like our allies thinking we don't trust the quality of their ships, especially not after they just bailed us out."
Katana was waiting for them by the bay doors after they had landed next to Rodney's own jumper.
"Welcome aboard Doctor Keller, I understand this your first time aboard one of our ships"
"Yes I haven't had the opportunity before, besides I won't be here long anyway," Jennifer replied curtly.
"Well I'm sorry to say most of our ships are pretty jerry rigged so you can expect all of the corridors to look like this". Katana had noticed the way Jennifer had been looking at the conduit covered walls, she wasn't really angry, everyone who went on their ships noticed it, especially if you were used to corridors like those on the Daedalus. "Don't worry about it if I'm honest I wish we could do something about it, who knows maybe someday if you lot continue taking out hive ships the way you do."
"Its fine, its fine, from what I hear from Larrin the first comment Sheppard made was about the quality of our ships," she said, smiling sweetly at Sheppard.
"To be fair she had just kidnapped me and I wasn't in the best of moods."
"Ok I'll give you that one Sheppard," said Katana, her teasing having gained the desired result.
They eventually arrived at the engine room to voices coming from inside.
Katana, who had been leading the party, stopped before they reached the engine room so they were just out of earshot of the conversation.
She turned to face her two guests, "Tell you what I'll let you check on the radiation levels around here first while I see how my engines are coming along, most of the generators are near here so this is probably a good place to check out, that ok with you two."
Sheppard just turned to Jennifer expectantly who said, "Sure thing."
While Jennifer pulled out a hand held scanner and began checking the levels Katana headed into the engine bay, the only one insight was McKay. Perfect.
"So what's the status of my engines then?" she enquired.
Mila's head appeared from behind the hyperdrive, "Hey Katana, we should be just about finished soon enough."
"Good to know, so has McKay managed to get the blueprints for our blasters out of you yet."
"I can assure you I have been focused on my work, although now that you mention it…"
Katana cut him off there, "Sorry McKay, but you'll have to bribe our engineer, remember she likes learning about machines. Bye you two." And with that she turned and left.
"So about those blaster blueprints," started McKay, but Mila had already disappeared behind the engine again.
"Sorry McKay but as she said you'd have to bribe me and I can't be bribed."
"Oh please, I could so bribe you"
"Ok then, give it your best shot, and make me an offer I can't refuse."
Outside the corridor.
Keller had finished the scans and having found no danger from the levels of radiation headed over to the entrance to the engine room, where Katana and John were standing. She arrived in time to hear part of the conversation from inside, when she looked inside she saw Rodney studying a piece of equipment and Mila no where in sight.
"Ok then, give it your best shot, and make me an offer I can't refuse," Mila's muffled voice came from behind the engine.
"Ok, fine," said Rodney sounding a little nervous, "Ermm."
"I'm waiting Rodney," said Mila.
"Right then, since I know you like engineering and since you already know so much," Rodney babbled.
"Yes," said Mila expectantly.
"Maybe you'd like to spend some time on Atlantis, I'm sure it would be a good experience for you," Rodney finished lamely.
"Hmm, spending time in the lost city of the Ancestors, it's a tempting offer," she said, feigning interest. "And who knows maybe you could show me round, you could teach me a few things," Mila added.
"Yeah I probably could."
Jennifer couldn't believe what she was hearing, she was about to lose the man she loved to someone who appeared out of nowhere. "Not on my watch," she muttered.
She marched into the engine room, and Rodney turned to face her as she shouted, "You can't have the man I love, Rodney's mine."
"Jennifer what are you doing her…." But he never finished that sentence as Jennifer had reached him and was kissing him passionately.
A good minute later and they were still kissing. Mila meanwhile had come out from behind the hyperdrive to stand with Sheppard and Katana, who were standing in the doorway and grinning at a job well done. Sheppard decided the couple had had long enough and coughed loudly.
The two reluctantly pulled apart and turned to face the group.
"Err…hi," said Rodney a little embarrassed.
Mila then took the opportunity to step towards Jennifer and held out her hand, "Hi, you must be Jennifer? I'm Mila."
It was Jennifer's turn to look embarrassed.
"Hi," she said, taking her hand. "How did you know who I was?"
"Easy, you're all Rodney talks about, I should have guessed you were a couple."
This was treated to a round of "Um…Err…Well you see". Both Doctors having lost their footing so to speak, before looking at each other and smiling warmly.
"So Mila," said Katana, still grinning. "What's the status of my engines?"
"Hyperdrive's ready to go Captain we can be away in no time"
Realisation dawned on Jennifer, "So Colonel Sheppard about that radiation?"
"Hey, I had to get one of you to say I love you. This way sure seemed to work."
Jennifer, her eyes blazing with that unspoken question, turned to Rodney who merely nodded.
Jennifer quickly kissed him again in response.
"Well since I have my own jumper with me I think I'll head back," said Sheppard as he retreated down the corridor toward the hanger bay.
"Thanks Sheppard, I definitely owe you one," said Rodney, smiling at Jennifer.
"Just keep Keller distracted for me," John called back before rounding a corner.
"Don't worry I will."
"I can certainly think of a few ways you can distract me Rodney," said Jennifer with a mischievous grin before kissing him again.
The two broke apart and hand in hand headed back to the hanger bay.
"So I was wrong those two weren't a couple," said Mila.
"Maybe, but they are now," said Katana. "Thanks to some aid from a passing Traveller".