Title: Turtle
Author: Shenandoah Risu
Rating:
PG-13
Content Flags: mild swearing; the f-word
Spoilers: none
Characters: Vanessa James
Excerpt: An ancient little face stares back at her.
Author's Notes: Created for a challenge at the LJ Comm stargatecountry. The task was to get five random Wikipedia pages by clicking on the "Random Article" link and then using one of those pages as a prompt for a story. The random link I chose was for "The Turtle Creek News", a local newspaper for a small town in California.
Disclaimer: I don't own SGU. I wouldn't know what to do with it. Now, Young... Young I'd know what to do with. ;-)
Thanks for reading! Feedback = Love. ;-)

oOo

Turtle

Figures.

Vanessa finally gets to be on an Away Team again, and promptly twists her ankle.

"Come on, I'll get you back to the Gate," Scott says and starts to pull her up off the ground when they both spot the berry patch right next to them.

"You go catch up with the others, I'll just stay here and pick berries," Vanessa says.

"You sure?"

She lifts her gun.

"Yeah. Go on. I'll radio if I need help."

Scott gallops off to catch up with the rest of the team who are gathering large fragrant fruit in a grove of trees on the other side of the meadow. Vanessa wraps her ankle with a bandage, pulls up her basket and starts picking berries, popping one into her mouth every once in a while. They've had several shifts on this planet and know what food stuffs to look for.

Suddenly her heart seems to stop. "Oh, shit…"

The rock next to her leg has moved and she sits motionless, barely daring to breathe.

The rock moves again and she bends over to take a closer look.

An ancient little face stares back at her.

"Fuck me," she mutters. "A turtle!"

Backing away just a little she watches as the creature sticks out its neck further from its carapace, skin dry and wrinkled. It reaches for a berry and chomps down with gusto.

Vanessa smiles, her painful injury all but forgotten. She picks a large ripe berry and holds it up to the animal. It hisses, and she backs off again but keeps holding out the berry. The turtle takes a few lumbering steps and then gorges itself on the berry presented.

Holding the berry with one hand Vanessa picks more with her other hand, tossing them into her basket.

"Hey Vanessa, you ok?" It's Barnes, over the radio.

"Yeah. I made a friend."

"You found an alien?"

"It's a turtle. Well, it looks like one. And it likes berries."

Barnes chuckles. "Bring it along for some soup, eh? Over."

Vanessa holds out another berry.

"I've had turtle soup before," she tells the creature. "It wasn't all that good. I know you guys can get pretty old, so maybe they had a really old one in that pot. That's just wrong on so many levels, don't you think?"

And she feeds it another berry.

The turtle is about the size of her helmet, its carapace brownish-grey, with little lumps and a grainy texture – perfect camouflage in a berry patch – she would have never noticed it had it not moved.

"I wonder how old you are," she muses. "Well, rest assured, nobody will come by and bother you again. But that means you have to pick your own berries. Here. Have another one."

Eventually the turtle goes one way and Vanessa crawls in another direction. Her basket is full so she starts filling up the straw bag she's brought along. A short while later the team returns and Scott and Volker help her back to the Gate.

She twists around but she can't make out the turtle anymore.

And she feels strangely sad, knowing she will never see it again.

.

.

Thanks for reading! A comment or feedback would be downright awesome.