MGM owns a few of the characters, but most are OC's belonging to me.

A/N: Inspired by a favorite Star Trek: TNG episode called Below Decks. Thanks Betherdy for the beta and all of you for checking out an OC story.

Doctor Victoria Parker rolled her blue eyes at her lunch companions. Once again Elisa Reynolds and Doctor Juanita Esposito were talking about men as if they were teenagers and not women in their early thirties. Her other lunch companions were deep in their own thoughts and ignoring the juvenile banter.

Looking around the mess hall for something to concentrate on besides the bland food they always got before the Daedalus arrived, she saw Doctor Jennifer Keller stealing French fries from Doctor Rodney McKay's plate as Victoria's department head waved his fork around. Unable to keep from laughing and smiling, she said, "They're so sweet together."

"Who?" Juanita said loudly. The woman wasn't capable of speaking softly.

"Doctor Keller and Doctor McKay," Victoria said. "They're a cute couple."

"Oh, no, no, no," Doctor Esposito replied, shaking her head and wagging a finger at the petite brunette. "Do not say Doctor McKay and cute in the same breath."

"I think Doctor McKay's cute," Victoria stated. "He's got a great smile, when he shows it, and incredible blue eyes."

"Tori, you need to get to the infirmary if you think McKay's the best looking thing around here," Juanita laughed as she took a drink of coffee.

"I never said that. I only said I think he's cute," she replied, exasperated with the senior engineer. In addition to calling her Tori, which she hated, Juanita insisted on talking about the men on the base like they were cattle. Having three older brothers made her feel like she needed to protect all the men from this harpy.

"Doctor McKay is cute, in that... pompous, absent-minded professor-way," Heather added from Victoria's immediate right. She and Elisa worked at the help desk and was one of the first people Victoria befriended when she arrived six months ago. Heather's boyfriend, Sergeant Tommy Stackhouse, and she often invited the new arrival to watch movies or hang out with them, but Victoria didn't like being a third wheel.

"Puh-lease," Juanita said, rolling her eyes. "Now…" She sat up straight and flipped her black hair off her shoulders, "…that's what I call a smorgasbord."

Victoria turned and followed Juanita's eyes to the next table. "You guys seriously need to grow up," Victoria stated, shaking her head. "We're on another planet in a city that can fly through space and you still only want to get laid. I really…"

"Give me any one of those guys and I'd keep 'em in my quarters for at least a month," Elisa interrupted as her gaze wandered over the muscular men.

Victoria loved details, which is probably why she excelled in archaeology. In high school and college she knew who everyone in her class was even if they couldn't pick her out of a line up. The minutia she knew about everyone could've been put into a novel. Because of her observational skills, she knew the identities of the men at the next table well; the Alpha males of the Corp: Master Gunnery Sergeant Richards and Sergeants Carter, Warrington and Raven.

Most of them came to Atlantis with the initial expedition and served in the SGC for years before that. All were highly decorated and heavily sought after by the eligible women on the base. Colonel Sheppard, Major Lorne and Ronon Dex were the most dreamed about, but most women knew they were unattainable. These Marines on the other hand were more approachable.

"Doctor Parker," a heavily accented voice came from behind, pulling her out of her musings.

"Doctor Sidorov," Victoria replied as she stood up and faced her boss. The Russian archaeologist with wild black hair was a man of few words and even fewer social skills. The fact that she lasted for six months working for him without breaking down in tears was apparently a new record.

"You vill go to M3G888 tomorrow," the Russian barked as he turned to leave. "Oh, get gun from armory and be ready to leave at eight hundred. 'ave good day."

"But…" Victoria felt her food coming back up as she slumped back into her seat.

"I hate you," Juanita spat.

"What'd she do?" Heather snapped.

"She's going to M3G888," the engineer said with distain. Juanita didn't care for Heather because she was rumored to be engaged and would neither admit nor deny the fact to Altantis' biggest gossip.

"Really?" Heather shot back. "What's so special about that?"

"Tori's going off world with SGA1 and 2: Sheppard, Ronon, Richards, Lorne, Raven, shall I go on? How many hot men does this woman, who appreciates none of them, get to spend her day with?" Juanita whined. Casting a glare at Victoria, she grabbed her tray and huffed off.

"She's… you know… PMS-ing," Elisa said as she got up to follow her friend.

"You'll be perfectly fine," Heather said, patting her shoulder. "You've survived Vlad the Impaler for six months. What's some Wraith?"

"SGA1 and 2 are the best teams," Miko Kusanagi added. "They'll keep you safe."

"I'm not worried about being safe," she said. "I'm worried about being disembodied."

"Oh, Gate travel is fine…" Miko, who seldom spoke unless it involved explaining something, began a long description of the physics of gate travel.

Victoria didn't hear it. Even with Heather and Miko trying to make her feel better, she was so scared she couldn't move. Other than being beamed onto the Daedalus to leave Earth, she'd managed to not be dismantled during her brief tenure with the SGC. Tomorrow I need to leave Atlantis with the premiere gate teams through a stargate and I'm going to vomit.

"It's not my job to show useless civilians how to shoot," Corporal Justin Sullivan, as his nametag read, snapped at Victoria. He continued to berate her and complain about stupid scientists who deserved to be eaten by Wraith. She zoned him out as her trembling hands gripped the big handgun, which said HK45 on the barrel, and the clips of training ammunition.

She'd gone to the firing range late in the evening after much coaxing from Doctor Pamela Simpson. The older woman ran a woman's networking group on the base and Victoria admired her immensely because of her ability to navigate all the difficult personalities in the Science and Engineering department.

It was the ex-Air Force officer that assured her the Marines manning the weapons' cage were there to help anyone who needed a refresher. It would appear her mentor was gravely mistaken.

"S-so-sorry to bother you, Corporal," she mumbled as she turned before tears leaked from her eyes. I won't cry in front of that… It was hard for the young woman to call the soldier a jerk because she truly admired and respected anyone who put on the uniform. She'd been warned that many of the male soldiers around the base could be rude and crude, but had never experienced it until now. Not like the scientists were nicer.

The Marines who always seemed to be sitting at the next table over from hers at meal time smiled, nodded their heads and said Hello, Doctor when she ran into them during their patrols. This Corporal obviously didn't have the same manners as the Sergeants. Trying to brush aside the man's boorish behavior and concentrate on the task at hand was going to be difficult.

The gun was heavy and she honestly couldn't remember how to load it, remove the safe, aim or anything else useful. She'd been assured when she signed up for the program that a junior archaeologist would never need a weapon or have to leave Atlantis. There's so much to study in the City of the Ancients, you won't have to go anywhere.

"Liar," she muttered thinking of Doctor Daniel Jackson's briefing.

She stood in a middle stall in the stationary firing range when laughter interrupted her wallowing in self-pity so she leaned back to look around the wall. The very same Marines she just thought about were coming out of the larger firing range in the back, which Pamela said contained moving targets for the soldiers and Gate teams to practice with.

Trying to clear her blurry vision, she looked down at the gun and clip in front of her. Lock and load. Just shove the clip into the handle. You can do this. Taking deep breaths to control her panic she suddenly remembered the time she ended up on a busy highway when sixteen and just learning to drive. Years ago she pulled over and cried on her brother's shoulder for twenty minutes before he forced her back onto the busy road. Patrick had told her she could do it and sure enough they made it home in one piece. No Christopher, Patrick or Kyle to cry on this time. Just me and this huge gun.

"You can do this," she whispered as she put on her earmuffs and safety glasses, the two items nasty Corporal Sullivan made sure she took with her, to be safe. If I don't kill myself I'll be lucky.

Gun shots from the other end of the range startled her after she picked up the gun, causing her to pull the trigger before she had a firm grip on it. A short scream escaped her lips after the powerful recoil jerked her hands up and resulted in her dropping the gun so it landed out on the range.

"Oh no," she cried, squeezing her eyes shut and shaking her head. How the hell do I get the gun back?


A/N: Thanks for letting me try out some original characters in our favorite universe. I have a bit more and if you like it, I have a lot more.