skeddy_kat: (contemplation)
[personal profile] skeddy_kat
Title: Bedrock
Summary: The SGC puts a man in Atlantis. Set mid season 2. About 1000 words. Gen.

It’s no secret that Major Evan Lorne is both by nature and by training a very observant man. Nonetheless, he is surprised when General Landry orders him, discreetly of course, to observe certain members of the expedition and report back his impressions. Lorne actually lives up to his reputation as a straightforward individual, so he doesn’t hesitate to express his qualms about Landry’s orders. In the end, because Lorne is a professional, he salutes, says, “Yes, sir,” and executes a smart about face when Landry is unmoved by his qualms. He'll do it, but he doesn't like it.

Once in Atlantis, Lorne keeps his eyes and ears open. He’s the type of guy both the military and the scientists feel comfortable around, with credentials in both camps. Sometimes, he’s surprised at the way they don’t seem to watch their tongues when he’s around. Mostly, he’s amused.

After a few months, Caldwell passes a message that Landry is expecting a hard copy of his report on the next Daedalus run. As Sheppard’s XO, he can easily slip the report into the massive stack of paperwork heading to the SGC. He blocks off an afternoon and spends the first two hours carefully considering the people he was sent to watch.

Elizabeth Weir is a woman in over her head. She’s facing choices that back in the world of Geneva Conventions, the UN, and international pressure would have easy answers. Out here where pragmatic reality erodes high-flying ideals a little more each day, she’s made decisions she’d have been first in line to condemn back on Earth. Decisions that would have her on trial. The burden of command is taking its toll on Dr. Weir. The stress and isolation of her position coupled with constant second guessing by members of the IOC are wearing on her. She eats and sleeps too little and worries too much. She seems to trust both Sheppard and McKay. Lorne knows Landry thought Weir was sleeping with Sheppard, but he doesn't think so.

Sheppard is still a bit of an enigma. John Sheppard is laid back charm and an easy smile on the surface, but sometimes there’s a stone cold killer lurking underneath. Sheppard doesn’t trust anyone, except maybe McKay. Landry sees Sheppard as a loose cannon, and he has a point. When what Sheppard thinks he should do conflicts with his orders, he doesn’t give a damn about orders or chain of command. He’s fierce in protecting those he considers his own and quick to put himself at risk. Sheppard is simultaneously the best and worst commander Lorne has ever had.

And wherever you find Sheppard, you usually find McKay. Rodney McKay is arrogant and abrasive. He probably really is smarter than anyone else, which makes him slow to listen to others. It makes him blind to his own fallibility, too. McKay is a curious blend of cowardice and courage, of indifference and concern. He’s worse with people than any of the other scientists Lorne worked with in the SGC, including Jay Felger. McKay is petty, whiny, and prone to hypochondria. He is also completely loyal to Sheppard and Weir. Lorne has no problem believing McKay would kill to protect his team.

The final focus of Lorne's observation, Dr. Carson Beckett, is a concerned, gentle healer. He’s also the fellow that experimented on other sentient beings (including fellow expedition members), and is developing a biological weapon to take out a whole race (no matter how he tries to convince himself he’s working to help them). Beckett is obsessed by his work. He is an excellent doctor and has saved Lorne's life on at least two occasions. Back on Earth he would be lucky not to be stripped of his license and tried for human experimentation. Lorne likes his quiet sense of humor.

Lorne knows he has the kind of information that Landry wants; information Earth can use to replace all four targets. He knows that if he gives it to Landry, he’s a shoe-in for promotion, maybe even for command. Everyone at the SGC knew Lorne wants to make at least O-6 before he retires. Landry is banking on his ambition.

And to be honest, Lorne has some valid concerns about how these people do their jobs. They are a long way from perfect, and they hold the lives of the entire expedition in their hands on a routine basis. There are instances where their actions, separately and collectively, have endangered the entire expedition.

Or saved it.

Lorne hasn’t been in Atlantis that long, but he was on the Daedalus when it brought the command team back from Earth and fell victim to a Wraith virus. McKay and Sheppard saved the ship, maybe even Earth, nearly burning themselves up in the process. He’d seen what Weir was made of when she’d stood up to the Olesians. Time and time again, they have held against the Wraith, the Genii, or anyone sent to test them.

Members of the original expedition hold their command team in high regard. Lorne spent his fourth evening in Atlantis sequestered on a balcony with SGT Stackhouse and a few beers. Stackhouse and he had spent six months together on SG-8, and the sergeant offered to give his former teammate the lowdown on Atlantis. Hearing the stories of those early days was a whole different thing from reading the formal reports.

Sighing, Lorne looks down at the blank piece of paper and begins to write. He finishes a good half hour before the Daedalus courier beams down to pick up the paperwork.

The next morning he’s surprised when Sheppard joins him for his run. When they take a break, way out on the west pier, Sheppard asks, “So, do we still have jobs or should we start packing?” His voice is deceptively casual, but Lorne sees tension in the lines of his body.

Uneasily, Lorne realizes just how far they are from populated areas. Sheppard marks his uneasiness and has the gall to smirk at him. Lorne forces his body to relax and faces away from Sheppard, leaning on the railing.

He chooses his next words very carefully. “I’m your XO," he says. “I’d hate to see you go anywhere before I had a chance to break you in properly.”

“Landry isn’t going to be happy.”

“Well, sir, he’s there and we’re here. From everything I’ve heard, we’ll be lucky to live long enough to go back to Earth.”

Sheppard grins at him. “There is that,” he agrees. “Race you back?”


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