An Element of Truth
The rumour mill in Atlantis had to be admired. No matter how wild the stories were, there was some element of truth in them. It helped that most of the truth was wild to begin with. That was why, when the latest batch of rumours started appearing, Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard practically raced to Dr Weir’s office as soon as he was able.
Just the day before, Elizabeth and Rodney had returned from what was supposed to be a simple trading mission. Usually no one would find this strange, but they had been due back for days. They had gone missing and as well as being unreachable, were totally unheard of at the planet they’d gone to. The word was out that it was Genii and, as the head of military operations, John felt that he was entitled to a debriefing.
He found the pair in her office. Elizabeth was perched on her chair, tapping away at her PDA. Apart from that, there was not a sound in the room. Rodney was leaning on the desk, hands spaced evenly apart. His shoulders were moving from side to side as he swayed slightly. John cleared his throat, feeling as though he’d just seen something utterly personal.
Or perhaps not. But then again, he’d never seen Rodney swaying before.
Elizabeth’s head shot up, face perfectly devoid of colour. She greeted in surprise, “John, what are you doing here?”
There are times when interrogation must be blunt. Sheppard moved into the room and crossed his arms. He wanted to keep it official, but considering his sources, that wasn’t going to be easily achieved.
“There have been some…people talking,” he began calmly, “that you encountered the Genii.”
Weir held up her PDA, showing a word document. “I’m writing my report now. Yes, we did come across the Genii. They weren’t too pleased to see us.”
“They had this thing about barred windows,” Rodney added gaily.
John felt like he was missing a vital clue. He opened his mouth to ask a question, but thought better of it. Elizabeth set down her PDA and inquired, “Out of curiosity, what else is the grapevine saying?”
Quickly, John lied, “Nothing, actually.”
There are some things too wild to be believed, after all. They probably knew as well as he did that there were plenty of stories circulating. Sheppard turned to exit, glancing sideways at Rodney. Naah, John thought, not in a million years.
Leaving the room was made impossible by the abrupt entrance of Dr Zelenka, whose hair was even more windswept that usual. The Czech scientist didn’t notice John’s furiously shaking head – or perhaps didn’t want to – and exclaimed, “You made love in a Genii prison cell!”
“Come on, you can’t seriously believe that, Radek,” Rodney snorted, but wouldn’t meet their eyes.
Elizabeth cleared her throat uncomfortably and gazed intently at the screen. A faint pink tinge appeared on her cheeks, spreading all the way back to her ears. Zelenka’s eyes widened. “Jezis, it’s true!”
“I really don’t think that’s true,” John interjected, took one more look at the blushing pair then asked plaintively. “Is it?”
Dr Weir raised her eyes to Rodney and wheedled, “Who did you tell?”
“I might have told Carson…” her head scientist mumbled.
John Sheppard had sunk into a chair and was staring at everyone in disbelief. Nothing was making any sense and he was sure any answers would make him even more confused. He said after a moment of consideration, “But if that’s all true, then…”
“Yes, Colonel,” Radek beamed. “That is why the Genii let them go.”
John rubbed his eyes wearily. “This is too weird for words. I just don’t see Rodney and Elizabeth…”
Rodney said smugly, “That just goes to show, Sheppard, you don’t know everything.”
“My report will be available for your perusal tomorrow,” Dr Weir informed John. “Now if you don’t mind, Rodney and I have some things to do.”
“Tell me again why you want to sign us up for the next suicide Wraith mission?” Cadman asked as she trailed after the CMO.
Carson Beckett turned back and repeated himself, “I can’t stand Rodney beating me at this. Let’s see how he tries to top making love on a hive ship!”
Laura raised her eyes to heavens. “I thought all this was going to end last time.”
“We won fair and square,” Carson said vehemently. “He should have just accepted defeat when we took Caldwell’s office!”