Author's Notes: The tiny spawn of a random thought. Enjoy!


Just a Little Glitch



Sitting with his feet up on the control console, John carelessly tossed a rubber ball, usually kept in his desk drawer for occasions such as these, back and forth from one hand to the other. "How's it coming, McKay?"

"Five minutes. Ten, if you don't stop bothering me," Rodney said. Squinting, he fussed with his tablet for new readings and then went back to work on the guts of the panel beneath John's propped up feet.

As queerly satisfying as it was having Rodney literally underneath his boot heel, John was bored. "No offense, but that's what you said twenty minutes ago. I thought it was just a little glitch."

Rodney snorted. "It hardly even qualifies as that. It's a short in the wiring. Maybe when it grows up someday we can call it a glitch."

"Good," John said, "because you know how the SGC hates it when we don't check in on time." Even with Atlantis on the dark side of the moon—practically on their doorstep—regulations were as tight as ever. "If you don't get the communications array back online, they'll probably assume we've been overrun by aliens and try to nuke us again. But no pressure."

Rodney's head was so wrapped up in circuitry, the wry comment seemed to glance right off him. "Well, if you would keep Chuck from drinking coffee over the ten thousand year old equipment, we wouldn't have a problem. Aha! Gotcha."

Hanging onto the malfunctioning wire with one hand, Rodney rifled through his things and went to work with a pair of wire cutters. John's dwindling hope for a life beyond McKay-watch suddenly seemed possible again. After a moment of cutting and splicing, Rodney said, "Okay, try it now."

John sat up and typed in his command code to reboot the system and open up a comm channel.

"You may only have audio," Rodney said as he fiddled near John's foot, "Just one … more … second."

John released a drawn out sigh and impatiently drummed his fingers on the console, hoping in the next breath to hear the SGC call sign and request for identification.

"Blackjack Pizza. Will this be for delivery or carryout?"

John stilled and slowly pushed back. The wheels on the chair squeaked. "Uh, Rodney ..."

On the floor, Rodney's mouth was agape. "That's … not … the SGC."

"You think?"

Flustered, with a wide-eyed 'what do you want me to do' expression on his face, Rodney shrugged. Then, he paused. "Did she say pizza?"

John frowned.

"Hello?" It was a girl's voice on the "phone". Probably a teenager working toward her first car.

John cleared his throat. "Sorry, uh … I think we got the wrong number."

"Oh, okay. Have a nice night."

"You, too," he said just before cutting the transmission. John stared at the computer screen in cold silence, rolling the pliant rubber ball around and around his palms. "I don't think you fixed it, Rodney."

The scientist shimmied back to his previous position. "Too bad. I haven't had a decent pizza in ages," he mused.

John huffed. That was true enough. Canned tomatoes and what the Menarans called cheese didn't pass for pizza in his book. It was more like cardboard with dried basil sprinkled all over it. "Maybe we should have asked if they'd deliver out here."

Rodney chuckled in an offhand manner. He tapped his tablet a few times, the two of them giving into a momentary awkward silence, and then he glanced back up at John. "You don't … think we could …"

"No," John said quickly. "Check-in's in an hour. No."

"You're right. We couldn't." Rodney shook his head and returned to his work.

Meanwhile, John's stomach started to rumble. He eased back in the chair, folding his hands together in quiet thought. "How long would you say it would take a Puddlejumper to cover 239,000 miles?" he asked. "Hypothetically speaking, of course."

"I don't know," Rodney said slowly, a conspiratorial glimmer in his eye. "Twenty minutes, maybe?"

John nodded. "So if we were to, say, order something and I left right away, I could—theoretically—pick it up and be back here with maybe fifteen minutes to spare."

"I'd say that sounds about right."

"It'll still be hot …"

"Yes. Yes, it would."

The men stared at each other.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" John said abruptly, springing into action. "Get the girl back on the phone."

"Right!" Rodney flailed around before finding his focus again. "Okay." John concentrated on the computer screen, his fingers poised over the keyboard. There was some tapping, a few earnest c'mon, c'mon's, and then Rodney shouted, "Okay, that's it."

John's fingers flew across the keys and waited.

"You can get anything," Rodney said.

And waited.

"Except I'm not a huge fan of anchovies. Or peppers."

And waited.

"And pineapple would definitely kill me. But anything else."

The channel opened.

"Thank you for calling WalMart Pharmacy. Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00am to …"

John's head sank onto the counter, his forehead hitting with a dense thunk. "Great."