See Chapter 1 for notes and disclaimer

Chapter 5

Sam liked to imagine that you could hear the ocean at night on Atlantis, that if you stood very still you could even feel the slight rocking of the waves. Rodney had told her, in no uncertain terms, that it was ridiculous, that the cities internal dampeners prevented any rocking ad that the heavy set walls and door blocked any ocean sounds. But Rodney wasn't here right now, and so she was free to indulge herself in any way she wished.

She was, in fact, all alone in the control centre – which, to be perfectly honest, was how she liked it. She had her steaming mug of coffee, the light from the gate, a head full of calming ocean sounds and screens full of data from the diagnostic she was running. For Sam, this was better than a day at the spa, and just the relaxation she needed after a long day of running the city. As such, it was with no small annoyance (though she liked to think she hid it well) that she turned to face Chuck when he interrupted.

"Ma'am? You're up late. Is there anything I can do for you?"

She fixed him with what she hoped was a kind but 'please-go-away' smile. "No need Chuck, I'm just running the monthly diagnostic."

Chuck started slightly, "I was just about to start it myself ma'am, I -"

"Relax Chuck. You're not behind, I just thought I'd do it since I was here."

He calmed slightly at her words, but still looked a little uncertain. "If you're sure, ma'am. I would have thought you'd be tired of running diagnostics by now."

Sam got the impression that by the end of her tenure as commander of Atlantis, he would be well used to her oddities; the technicians at the SGC had long since stopped questioning the head of sciences need to run basic diagnostics herself. Not to mention the strange enjoyment she seemed to glean from it.

"I know what you mean," she smiled. "'Not this again', and all that. But it does me good to keep my hands dirty."

Nodding his dismissal, Sam turned back to her work as Chuck headed off to bed – confused, but grateful for the night off. As her fingers skipped over the controls, Sam felt the peace rise up from the machine, through her body, and settling over her like a warm blanket.