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The Author is Evil

Evil Textually Rendered?


March 27th, 2006

Fic: Whatever It Takes (PG) @ 10:47 pm


Title: Whatever It Takes
Author: SGAtlantisLight
Characters: McKay, Sheppard, Beckett, Everett, Kavanagh, Zelenka, Kusanagi, Lorne,
Relationships: McKay/Sheppard
Rating: PG for this part, but series as a whole is likely to be NC-17
Warnings: Icky bits
Spoilers: References to events (some somewhat different in this AU) in Trinity, Instinct, Conversion, Runner, Poisoning the Well
Summary: Part 5 of the Unified Theory series-- an AU where Everett was never drained by the Wraith and kept his position as military commander of Atlantis.
Disclaimer: The characters, the setting, etc. are NOT mine, even if I wish they were.



The following training day had held a few surprises as well.

"Carson?" John asked.

The CMO turned and nodded to him. "John."

"What are you doing here?"

"Shooting. I go off-world enough I thought I should get a wee bit of experience under my belt."

"Doctor," Everett greeted, hand landing on Carson's shoulder. "Let's see if you can beat last week's scores."

***

"You're flinching again," Everett growled.

"I'm not," Kavanagh answered.

Everett stepped up behind him, bracing him with his body. "Now shoot."

Frowning, Kavanagh fired several shots, then lowered the weapon, looking at the deadly spread of bullets on the target. "Okay, I was flinching."

***

"Not bad, Rodney. You've gotten a lot better since I was here last," John said admiringly.

Rodney beamed. "Thank you."

***

"So what happened to Collins, Optican and Vogel?" John asked, across the lunch table.

Rodney's eyes flashed pain as his mouth turned downward. "They died. There was an experiment."

"Doranda."

Rodney nodded. "There was an Ancient weapon there. Everett really wanted it. I really wanted the energy source that powered it. The Ancients had given up on it, but they were toward the end of their war with the Wraith. I thought maybe they'd just run out of time and that I could make it work when they hadn't."

John nodded.

"Elizabeth didn't want to risk it, but Everett was adamant that we needed every advantage against the Wraith."

"Sounds like a nasty power struggle."

"I suppose it was. To be honest, I was too excited about the potential breakthrough to much care. We took two jumpers. We were powering up slowly, but the system destablised and there was a catastrophic cascade effect. The weapon started firing, drawing off the power, but it wasn't nearly enough. Jumper One with Lorne, Zelenka, Everett, Kavanagh and me made it through the gate, but Jumper Two with Vogel, Collins, and Optican as well as Coughlin, Hansen, and Billick, didn't. 88 percent of the system was destroyed, their jumper along with it."

"That's why you were on Earth interviewing new science staff?" John asked.

"Partly. Obviously, there were also areas where we felt like we needed more staff, like aerospace engineering to sort through the Ancient ship designs."

"Well, right now I'm being more of a mechanic, but hands-on learning is best. Once I understand the jumper systems better, other ships'll be easier."

Rodney nodded. "That's the idea. Not to mention, Zelenka just needs more help. We've lost a number of jumpers. It'd be nice to repair or replace them."

***

"How have you been?" Miko asked as Radek settled down across from her and began sorting out go stones.

Radek shrugged.

"He has always been very... charming," Miko said.

He nodded. "It's very strange. I'm glad to see Rodney happy, but it still hurts. I want to dislike John, but I never could."

She blinked at him behind large glasses as she sipped from her tea. "When the major resigned, I wanted to comfort Doctor McKay. He was so unhappy. But it always felt too forward... like I was taking advantage."

Radek sighed. "Yes. That is it precisely." He placed a black stone on the board.

"I wonder if he would be good at igo," she said, placing a white stone.

"Hmm..." Radek said. "Perhaps, sometime, we should find out. Though... I have been enjoying our evenings together."

She smiled shyly. "Thank you. I, too, look forward to this time."

***

John glanced around the room. "Looks like all the teams are here this morning."

Lorne nodded. "A lot of people do combat training and the firing range on their own, but this is stuff you can't do on your own."

"So what's the topic for today?" John asked.

"Wraith physiology 101," Rodney answered.

"Cool," John said. "Who's instructing."

The door opened and closed behind them and Carson Beckett strode to the podium at front. "Good morning, everyone. Welcome to what I'm calling wraith physiology 101."

The first fifteen minutes or so was review for John. He was politely quiet, but allowed his eyes to roam over the men and women quietly taking notes and occasionally raising their hands to ask questions. The slides Carson was using creeped him out a bit, but the doctor had autopsied a fair number of wraith.

"From this wraith, named Ellia by her human father, we learned a great deal about the wraith life-cycle."

John sat up in his seat, staring at the young female wraith on the screen.

"Ellia was raised from childhood by a human man, who saw potential in her, and had only recently reached adolescence when we met her. According to her father, as a child she ate normal human food. It was only upon adolescence that human food began losing its nourishing qualities. Her father believed he'd hit upon a solution to her situation, but was, in fact, deluded."

He clicked the slide forward to reveal the next image-- the same girl, but with much of her face tinted a terrible blue. "This was the result of the introduction of an untested retrovirus into Ellia's system. Rather than reinforcing her human qualities, it instead inserted more iratus bug DNA into her genetic structure."

The next slide revealed a picture of Major Lorne strapped to an infirmary bed, eyes a strange alien yellow with slit pupils, skin scaly and blue, but somehow still recognisably Lorne. "As you can see, the retrovirus, introduced into Major Lorne's body during a tussle with the infected Ellia, can also affect humans. While this 'bug-ified' form shares some genetics and other commonalities with the wraith, there were significant differences so we have little idea how applicable what we learned in treating the major is to combating the wraith."

Carson reached under the podium and pulled out a glass vial full of an orange-yellow liquid. "As well as research into the genetics of the wraith, there has also been considerable effort given to the wraith enzyme, which as I mentioned earlier, is injected when the wraith begins to feed to strengthen its victim sufficiently to survive the feeding for a longer time. As most of you know, Aiden Ford, formerly a lieutenant with the US Marines, was injected with a massive dose when the wraith intending to feed on him was killed while still attached. He spent a couple of months continuing to inject himself with the enzyme. Since returning, he has had considerable difficulty in breaking his addiction, though our efforts continue. There are psychological effects along with the physiological ones-- a sense of well-being and superiority, a tendency toward paranoia, overconfidence, impulsiveness, increased libido.

"Current research on the enzyme focuses on two areas-- synthesising the enzyme artificially and duplicating the physical strength and stamina of the enzyme without the psychological effects or addictive qualities. The second focus appears to largely be impossible, but some efforts are continuing in that direction. The first area has proven difficult, which leads us to our next portion of the class..."

Carson reached under the podium and withdrew a cooler and set it beside him on a plastic-covered table. He opened the cooler and withdrew a plastic-covered package, which he quickly unrolled. A wraith forearm landed on the table with a thunk. There were gasps and a few disgusted noises as the slimy limb came to rest.

"This is courtesy of Sergeant Stackhouse's team, who had a wee encounter with the former owner of this limb a couple of days ago," Carson said very matter-of-factly.

John found his stomach churning, not at the gory sight before him but at Carson's attitude.

"I'm going to demonstrate for all of you how to remove an enzyme sac intact. If you find yourself in a situation where you have a dead or dying wraith and it's not possible to bring the whole body or even a limb back with you, it's imperative that you do what you can to retrieve the enzyme sac. In the lab, I would do this with a scalpel, but today I'm going to demonstrate with a standard-issue field knife. Lieutenant Miller, I believe your team is set to go off-world after this class, so you should have your knife with you."

The lieutenant nodded and then pulled it out and handed it to Carson. John watched, feeling slightly sick, as Carson pointed out the proper incision points and then demonstrated with Miller's field knife while his efforts were projected larger-than-life on the wall behind him so the whole room could see. He glanced around to see everyone watching with rapt attention, feeling like he'd stepped into some bizarre alternate reality.

As Carson finished with a flourish, holding up the prize, John sighed in relief, sure that the weird part was finally over.

"For the final segment, I need everyone to accompany me to the brig."

***

"Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Jim, our resident wraith," Carson said.

The wraith glared at the crowd gathered around his cage, but seemed listless. Carson nodded at the Marine guards. One pointed a stunner at the wraith while the other switched off the power. The wraith didn't even have time to react before he was stunned, collapsing to the floor.

Carson pulled a wallet-like case out of his lab coat and casually entered the cage. He withdrew a syringe from the wallet. "Ideally, of course, harvesting enzyme from a live wraith is more efficient, as the supply is more consistent and continuous, assuming you have facilities for safely housing one." He picked up the wraith's arm, ran a finger down it, and inserted the syringe, drawing a yellow-orange fluid from the wraith and into the vial. "There are colour variations in the wraith enzyme, dependent on the wraith in question. With some of them, it is nearly pure red. Others produce a deep yellow substance. Most enzyme is somewhere between the two. One theory is it may have to do with the age of the wraith in question. What we do know is that the deeper red colour is more potent." Carson quickly returned the now-full syringe to its wallet and then looked at the class. "We've got ten minutes or more until our friend here begins stirring. What questions do we have?"

***

"That didn't freak you out in the least?" John asked.

Rodney shrugged. "Ford needs the enzyme. We've had to adapt accordingly."

"And it doesn't bother you? This is Carson, Rodney-- Carson, who nearly collapsed in tears after Hoff; Carson, who complains, or used to, about going through the gate; Carson, who wouldn't hurt a flea! And now he's... he's designing a retrovirus bioweapon to turn wraiths human, experimenting with a dangerously addictive substance, and 'harvesting' enzyme from a live wraith on a daily basis. Do you not see what's happened to him?"

Rodney's eyes met his, looking strangely haunted. "We do what we have to do, John, whatever we can to defeat the wraith, whether that's designing a retrovirus or experimenting with an Ancient weapons system. I expected you to understand."

John remembered the sound of fifty-five Genii soldiers hitting the shield, never to exist again. He frowned. "Yeah. I understand. I just never wanted to see it happen to Carson... or to you."

Rodney's mouth turned down. "Yeah, well, what's the use of being the smartest man in two galaxies if there's no one left on Earth to acknowledge it?"

John forced himself to smile at Rodney attempt at humour, but what he really wanted to do... He shook his head, wondering at the strange urge to ground himself with Rodney's touch.

"It doesn't have to mean anything, John," Rodney had said. "It's just to get you back to Atlantis, I swear."

At the time, it had been enough.

Next part

 
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Comments

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From:sp23
Date:March 28th, 2006 04:02 am (UTC)
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Yeah, it is scary-freaky what Carson's doing, but as Rodney says, they're all doing what they have to do. *pets Carson, Rodney & John*

On a brighter note, Yay! John is starting to see the light. Now all he needs to do is realize that Rodney feels that same way. You're going to torture us with this for a good long time, aren't you. :)
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
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*Looks innocent* Me? Torture you? Would I do that? *Adjusts halo to hide what's underneath.*

Thanks!
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From:mecurtin
Date:March 28th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
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You are still evil.

*Very* interesting to see them still sliding down the moral slope, but to give John just a little more of the outsider stance than he has in canon.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, well, canon!John's been sliding down with them. It was interesting when I started thinking about how different the perspective might be if he'd been gone all that time instead. And Ford returned but still addicted presents such lovely moral quandaries.

You are still evil.

Thanks! I try.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Next part should be coming soon, I hope.
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From:geeky_ginger
Date:March 28th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC)
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That's right John....Go towards that slashy light.

Loved the little catch-up on how things went with John not being there.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I'm enjoying all the differences.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:14 pm (UTC)
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*Nods* Yeah, Carson's so much fun to write because he's such a lovely, sweet, ruthless man. He gives me shivers.

Thanks!
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From:betagoddess
Date:March 28th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
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Very intriguing story! I'm really enjoying this. Thanks for writing and posting it. =>}
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:14 pm (UTC)
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Glad you're enjoying! Thanks for commenting.
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From:lillyjk
Date:March 28th, 2006 04:40 am (UTC)
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SQUEE! so glad I decided to check my flist before I went to bed - off to read!
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From:lillyjk
Date:March 28th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
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great installment - and I could totally see how John would be freaked out by the changes in Carson...so much happened while John was away and now he's having to play a game of catch-up. A lot of the expedition lost its innocence in the second season and John wasn't around to see this. Again - I love how you're altering what happened in the episodes and showing a slightly different version of what might have been.
From:justhuman
Date:March 28th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)
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Nice that someone is finally calling them on the bio warfare
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
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Well, at least, he's freaking out about it. Whether he'll actually call them on it is a different thing...
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From:jen_chan13
Date:March 28th, 2006 04:57 am (UTC)
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oh wow! i love the development between rodney and john in this segment. john especially has the sort of subtle longing that i sympathise with, though i might picture it more in rodney, but it's still awesome. and wow, john's perspective on carson and rodney and everything totally put in perspective something that i've been struggling with myself, the same question of 'how did we get here?' at the end of season two. i couldn't bring myself to step outside the way john was forced to in your fic, but now i've had a revelation!! it all makes sense! amazing!!! ^____^
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)
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Oh, thanks! Yeah, they've gotten really, really dark on the show and it was such a lovely, slow slide downward throughout the season. So, it was fun to look at it from the perspective of someone who'd been away.
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From:sapphiresfic
Date:March 28th, 2006 05:12 am (UTC)
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WOW! Carson' acting a wee bit freaky; but Rodney's right. They have to do what they have to; to defeat the wraith and save Ford.
It's easy to see that John has a lot of catching up to do since he's got several months that he's been away...
Is that a sesnse that John is falling for Rodney as more then just a "husband on paper"? I wonder what will happen with that. Hopefully they'll find a way to each other.
Ugh! Can't wait to read more!
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
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Is that a sesnse that John is falling for Rodney as more then just a "husband on paper"?

Mmmmmmaaayyybe. You'll just have to wait and see... ;>

Thanks!
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From:bluebrocade
Date:March 28th, 2006 06:07 am (UTC)
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I like the morality issues you're bringing up in this installment. Great story so far!
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! The second season turned so dark in the latter half, so it's fun to take a new perspective on it.
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From:lavvyan
Date:March 28th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
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*loves* i admire how you work in the au-events to give us a proper background story. and i wonder what john will make of that last sentence - hope he doesn't go into denial.

wonderful chapter, as always! :)
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Glad you're enjoying.
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From:tvfiend
Date:March 28th, 2006 06:18 am (UTC)
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i like the way that you have re-worked situations to fit your own version of things. and i'm glad lorne turned into a wrait-bug-like-thingy instead of john.

i can feel the boys getting closer and closer to smut. how long will you make us wait?
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
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i'm glad lorne turned into a wrait-bug-like-thingy instead of john.

Yeah, too bad I'm horrible at the artistic thing, 'cause I'd love to see Lorne bug-ified...

how long will you make us wait?

*Smirks* As long as it takes... ;>
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From:clockstopper
Date:March 28th, 2006 07:42 am (UTC)
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Oh poor Carson getting all scary. I still love him because he's Carson and who wouldn't love Carson, but Atlantis is certainly changing him. It's changing them all. Looks like Radek is moving on... slightly... I don't know if it's a good thing that he ande Miko are holding their own little McKay obsession nights, but at least they have each other. Oh John so should have just kissed Rodney right there. That would have been lovely. I'm anxiously awaiting the next part.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
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Hehe. I'm glad you're liking it. Thanks!
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From:justabi
Date:March 28th, 2006 08:06 am (UTC)
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You know, John really should have noticed that the expedition was sliding down the slippery moral slope when Rodney offered to *marry* him to get him back. That's pretty extreme. But I can see where the time away would leave him shocked at the changes. *pets him*
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 29th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
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Ah, well, but marrying him was Rodney's idea and it seemed so logical at the time... ;>

Thanks!

The Author is Evil

Evil Textually Rendered?