Genius Has Its Limits
finished Sept. 2010
Summary: John thinks Rodney does
For General Audience. No warnings.
My thanks to Lyn. You're a wonderful beta
reader. Thank you for taking on another 'project'. Any and all remaining
errors are 'so' mine.
Disclaimer: The characters and settings of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis belong to Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Film Corporation. All other publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis or any other media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story was written by ljc with the
love of the show in mind.
The mission had gone as planned. Easier
than planned. Unbelievably uninterestingly easier than planned. Sheppard
was bored. Teyla was bored. Ronon was more than bored, and he couldn't
even pace in the confines of the Puddlejumper. Rodney had noticed
Sheppard and Teyla exchanging glances while trying to draw Ronon into
conversation. They looked a little worried, like Ronon would take out
his knives and start sharpening them or something.
Rodney kept glancing surreptitiously at
the rest of his team and smirked to himself. So typical. He always had
his laptop with him, so he was never bored. There were always dozens of
things he could be doing: planning, scheduling, designing, deciphering,
calculating, or something. And for most of that he didn't even need the
laptop. He went back to today's 'something', that was really a
convoluted virtual reality video game that had arrived on the Daedalus
(for which he 'did' need his laptop), and he wasn't about to share it,
at least, not yet. He hadn't beaten it yet. But he would; he was sure.
Everything was A-OK. Situation Normal.
But then that IS where the the acronym SNAFU started.
A just noticeable 'pop'. The lights went
out. Dead silence. Very dead silence … as in
Sheppard said carefully, “McKay, were you
doing something I should know about?”
“Right. Of course, it had to be me. I,
who was just sitting here pla - uh, working away on my laptop ...”
“McKay, maybe you haven't noticed but
your laptop is the only thing that seems to be working right now. Could
you maybe use it to find out what's up with the Puddlejumper?”
Rodney froze, then asked, “I can't feel
any connection with the 'Jumper. Can't you? You're the pilot!”
“If I could, I would. Okay? Could you get
on that, Rodney? Haven't you beaten that game yet?”
Rodney sniffed disgustedly, because 'no',
he hadn't. He began a hookup with the main diagnostics and got a feeble
response, which was good. Really. But it was bad. Oh, so very bad. “Uh,
well … this doesn't look too ...”
“What? … Too good? What?”
“No! It doesn't look too good.”
Ronon rumbled a response that sounded
Satedan, and Rodney was pretty sure he didn't want to ask for a
Teyla, like the others, could be seen
only dimly in the light of the laptop, but Rodney could see her
tight-lipped composure slip into place.
“McKay. Can you enlighten us please?”
Sheppard growled impatiently.
“Well, we were running with minimum
“We weren't under attack, near a sun, or
otherwise in a potentially dangerous situation. That's normal procedure.
John Sheppard looked blank for a moment
then said, “It couldn't have been very big.”
“Well, duh! We are still alive.”
“And sitting in the dark.”
“Yes, well, it only has to be just big
enough … and hit just the right spot … to kill us.”
Rodney could feel the change in
atmosphere and it wasn't because of the lack of the sound of air flowing
through the vents.
Sheppard leaned toward him in the gloom.
“You 'can' fix this, McKay, right?”
Rodney stopped tapping for a moment and
decided evasion was the correct choice for the moment. Or lying. He
really hoped he wasn't lying. “Of course I can. Just give me a moment.”
He started tapping faster, and then stopped. Well, this was really,
really bad. He really hadn't wanted to be lying. It really was a one in
a … Oh, hell, he didn't have time to figure the odds. But something
needed figuring. How long could they last without the air scrubbers? Not
long, with four people in this small space.
Power then. Get power back, and get to
Atlantis. It wasn't far. Just the next solar system over. The power
diagnostics ran quickly through their paces and Rodney sighed in relief.
They'd been knocked offline, but would come up quickly. Time? Not
enough. Not enough for four. Rodney froze for a moment then powered up.
Everyone looked relieved but John.
Rodney noticed that his fingers were
shaking slightly so he snapped them quickly and pointed to the rear of
the 'Jumper. “All of you. To the overhead panels. I'll need your help.”
Sheppard jumped up and unlatched the
panel at the back, above the side seats and storage bins. Rodney looked
at Ronon and Teyla and said, “Go. Go. He's going to need your help.” He
gave them his best glare.
They moved quickly, but looked a little
doubtful. They didn't know much about 'Jumper tech, not enough to be of
much use with repairs. But if Rodney said to help Sheppard, they'd do
Rodney looked at the three of them and
hit the strategic buttons on his laptop. A shield came instantly into
place between the front and back halves of the 'Jumper.
John looked surprised, then suspicious.
“Rodney? What's going on?”
Rodney stood slowly, and with great
regret said, “I'm sorry.” He pressed another button on the laptop and a
hiss came from both sides of the rear compartment.
Teyla coughed and stumbled. Ronon caught
her barely in time to prevent a bad landing, and passed out himself as
he cushioned her fall, all the while glaring at McKay.
John had been quicker. He'd held his
breath, but knew it was pointless. “McKay! What are you doing? What have
you done?” He didn't have time for more before he too passed out.
Rodney visibly winced, because John was
going to have a heck of a bump on his head. And he cringed inwardly
because he knew that Colonel Sheppard thought he'd betrayed them. To
save himself. After Doranda, maybe Rodney couldn't blame him.
He didn't have time to worry about it
though. Maybe none of them had time, but he was going to give it his
best shot. And 'his' best was pretty hard to match, much less surpass.
He went to the controls of the 'Jumper
and set it for automatic. It would take them to Atlantis then perform
the actions Rodney calculated were necessary. It wouldn't take long to
get there. Just too long for four. But he tried.
The file on available sedatives that he'd
accessed to 'gas' the rest of the team had reminded him of a long
rambling talk he'd had with Carson Beckett after the stasis pods were
discovered on Atlantis. Something had niggled at the back of mind as he
gasped his last conscious breaths. A couple more taps, another hiss of
gas, and Rodney had finished his task to the best of his ability.
The 'Jumper followed the automated
commands and reached Atlantis in record time. The inertial dampeners had
been stressed but had held up under the emergency acceleration. At the
appointed time, a hiss of gas was released into the cabin to awaken the
sleeping occupants as per Rodney's hurried programming.
John Sheppard scrunched his face up and
groaned. He had the headache to end all headaches. He rubbed tentatively
at the lump on his forehead. Then he remembered.
“MCKAY!” He sat up abruptly, winced, and
then saw Rodney at the controls, slumped over his laptop. “McKay!
Rodney!” The shield was still up, but he halted his efforts to take
control of the 'Jumper when he realized it was landing in the 'Jumper
Bay on Atlantis. Instead, he turned to Ronon and Teyla when he heard
them begin to stir.
Ronon roared out, “McKay, you wait till I
get my hands on you!”
Teyla palmed her forehead, looking
nauseated. She scanned the 'Jumper and looked questioningly at John,
“Rodney isn't moving.”
John looked back at Rodney in confusion.
“What just happened here anyway?”
At that, the 'Jumper's back section
opened and the shield went down, and Dr. Carson Beckett and a med team
pushed their way through.
John muttered softly as if to himself,
“Yeah, we're okay, Doc. Don't worry about us.” But he stopped in horror
when he saw the team lift Rodney down to put him on a stretcher.
They tried to stay out of the way, but
John wanted answers. Still, there was no way he'd interfere with
Beckett's treatment of Rodney. They followed the med team to the
John tried to get something, anything,
out of the Doc before he disappeared for what could be hours in the exam
room with Rodney. “Carson. What's going on?”
“No time now, Colonel. The lifesigns the
'Jumper sent us showed us you were fine. Now leave me to 'ma job.”
John, Ronon, and Teyla were left in the
hall to wait for further answers.
It wasn't long before Elizabeth showed
up. She looked grim and she carried Rodney's laptop.
They all stood but Elizabeth waved them
to silence and otherwise ignored them as she pushed through the doors to
the exam room and talked hurriedly to Beckett. Carson looked quickly at
the laptop, scanning through several pages before looking pleased.
That was good. Right? John thought.
The pace of treatment changed, and
Beckett injected a fluid into Rodney's IV. Then he stepped back and took
Rodney's wrist in his hand, checking his pulse, as if not trusting the
machines working all around him.
It wasn't much more than an hour later
that Beckett came out. He stopped to update the team on Rodney's
condition. He had the laptop with him. He started to say something then
changed his mind. He tapped a couple of buttons on the laptop and handed
it to Colonel Sheppard. “Rodney will be fine, but he'll have a dreadful
headache when he wakes.” Turning directly to Sheppard, he said,
“Colonel, you should read this.”
John took the laptop with trepidation. He
was afraid that he knew what was on it. Teyla and Ronon crowded around
to read over his shoulder.
//Sorry. No time. Not enough oxygen. Not
enough for four. There's enough for three. I think. I hope they make it.
Sorry I had to betray them but it was the only way I could think of to
save them. Trying the chemical stasis all the 'Jumpers still carry per
Beckett's orders. Tell Carson. Hope it works. Hope the expiration date
on the stuff is longer than 10,000 years. Carson, tell them I'm sorry.//
Rodney scrunched up his face and moaned.
He whispered pathetically, “I really hope I'm waking up in Carson's
infirmary. And I want some aspirin. Now. Ow.”
John grinned and shook his head. “You got
better stuff than aspirin.”
Rodney slowly rolled his head to look at
John. The question in his eyes was unspoken.
John hung his head. “I should have known
you'd do something stupid like that.”
Rodney sputtered weakly, “Stupid! I saved
all of you, didn't I?” Then he sat up abruptly, grabbed his head,
moaned, opened both pain-filled eyes and whispered, “Didn't I?”
John reached out and patted Rodney's arm,
“Yes! You did. Stupidest stunt you've pulled in a … a … week, maybe.”
Rodney slumped in relief. “Good.” He
sighed heavily. “But not stupid.”
John said, “Yeah, maybe, but I've learned
that genius has its limits. There are times when they can't come up with
a brilliant answer. So, don't try something stupid like that again.
That's an order.”
Rodney hmmed noncommittally and leaned
back. “It's only stupid if it doesn't work. Therefore it wasn't stupid.”
Then he murmured pitifully, “Ow.”
“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”