So I Married A Chair
Story 5 - Frantic
“It’s jus’ a mission,” Carson Beckett consoled his wife as he gathered equipment. “I’m jus’ helping some sick people. I’ll be back before ye know it.”
John piped up from the doorway, “Don’t worry, Nena, I’ll look after him. If he gets hurt I answer to you.”
Nena, the entity of Atlantis, scowled. Her solid hologram form pulled Carson into a passionate embrace. Her kiss was so fuelled that John looked down at his shoes. After a minute of so, Sheppard cleared his throat, “C’mon, Carson. The universe can’t wait. Ye lass can.”
Beckett pulled away and rolled his eyes. “Don’t try imitatin’ me, John. My darlin’ still has me. But you’re right. People need my help.”
Both men walked to the gate, discussing the mission. They’d made contact with a community ailing from a strange sickness. The sickness was not contagious so far as Dr Beckett knew. He had a cure regime worked out.
“I don’t like leaving Atlantis,” Carson muttered.
John reached over and squeezed his shoulder,
“Don’t worry about it. You’ll be back in a week.”
Major Sheppard stepped through the gate. The doctor paused long enough to touch a hand to his heart, the parting gesture used by Ancients to their loved ones.
While Beckett was drinking water in a break from his work, he was approached by Sheppard. The Major scanned the room, asking, “You alright?”
“Why shouldn’t I be?”
“I overheard Teyla and Ford talking,” John lowered his voice. “They’ve noticed something. To tell you the truth, the whole of the expedition team has been watching you for a few months.”
Carson cursed. “I’m not hearin’ this, John! If they knew, they’d think I’d slipped up. Now ye – ye are different.”
Sheppard glanced around again. “You’re not good at hiding your feelings, Carson. I suggest you work on it.”
He left the hut.
Unknown to Beckett or the Major, Teyla and Ford were listening outside the tent with interest. They might have been joined by McKay – if the scientist hadn’t been trying to score a date.
“I wonder what they’re hiding,” Ford muttered.
Teyla inclined her head thoughtfully. “For the moment, I am pleased that Major Sheppard has managed to reach Doctor Beckett. It is curious, however.”
Ford glanced at Beckett as the doctor came out, eyes distant. The lieutenant repeated, “Curious.”
That night, the village elders toasted SGA-1 and Carson on their success of neutralising the sickness. There were still two days left even thought things were well on the way to recovery. It was a good shindig with plenty of moonshine but Beckett stayed clear of the stuff, thoughts concentrated on Nena – who despised alcohol – and his future daughter.
Much to Teyla’s amusement and slight distaste, the younger women of the village had made an appearance. The excitement might have been too much for Rodney, but the scientist did manage not to ‘pass out’. John was easily flirting with all of them, but he slowed pace at a severe look from Beckett.
“What’s that look for, Carson?” Sheppard asked, smirking.
He would have liked to add that bachelors are more understanding, but Teyla and Ford were sitting right there. The young lieutenant was not fazed by the feminine attention but he did have a silly grin on his face.
The head of the village’s own daughter, Tanari, came to the festivities. Beckett had treated her briefly. She sidled up to the doctor and squeezed his knee, chuckling when he jumped up, startled. Carson coughed. “I’m sorry to disappoint ye, love, but I’m already seeing someone.”
Rodney declared to this, “No he’s not.”
Beckett shot him a glare. “How would ye know, Rodney? No lass would notice ye if ye danced in front of her naked.”
The rather attractive woman who’d been latched onto McKay’s arm giggled and detached herself. The scientist did not look at all pleased. Ford said loudly, “Sorry to rebut, but I haven’t seen you with anyone.”
Tanari did not look at all put out. She winked lustily at Carson. “Perhaps Dr Beckett is afraid or he has someone on Earth. If the former is true, he need not fear – I will lead. If the latter, can I not persuade him otherwise?”
At this point John interjected, “Leave it alone – all of you. For all you know, Carson could be seeing someone in Atlantis.”
Beckett smiled gratefully at him. He didn’t fancy facing Nena’s ire – his wife had jealous tendencies. The only one she wasn’t suspicious of apart from her husband was the Major. Teyla’s eyes glittered. “Perhaps Major Sheppard knows something we don’t.”
“Aye, he does,” Beckett said briefly, starting to smirk.
Tanari, sensing the truth and realising her defeat, pecked the blushing doctor on the cheek and left, batting her eyelids. “If she leaves you, you know where to find me.”
When she’d gone – along with Rodney’s failed conquest – Ford chortled, “That was bull, man. You don’t have anyone.”
“You could have at least forestalled the dancing naked comment,” McKay muttered, offended.
Beckett buried himself in a cup of water, lips turned upwards. “Well, ye never know. I didn’t want my darlin’ hearing about it.”
“So you are seeing someone,” Teyla mused.
John quickly changed the subject. Ford and Teyla, at this change, exchanged raised eyebrows.
Carson Beckett woke with a start, stomach plummeting. He could feel the nearness of something tainted, something so despicable he could not bear to think the name…he blinked and gained a control of his thoughts. Somehow, he knew there were Wraith darts nearby.
“John!” He shook the Major awake. “We’ve got to leave!”
Sheppard’s eyes snapped open and he sat up immediately asking, “What’s going on?”
“I can’t explain it to ye, but I can feel Wraith nearby.”
“You know, Carson, I really think it’s time Nena explained your life signature fully,” grumbled John, but he set to waking Ford and McKay.
When Carson entered Teyla’s tent, the woman was sitting up, eyes wide. Beckett said quickly, “We’ve got to go, love. Wraith are comin’ for us.”
“Yes, I felt...I was just about to awaken Major Sheppard,” Teyla murmured, a thoughtful expression passing over her face.
She didn’t voice her puzzlement at the fact that the rest of her team knew they were coming before she did. She sat up and retrieved a dagger from under the rough Hessian pillow. The Athosian was briskly ready and followed Beckett out into the crisp predawn air.
Rodney looked a little worse for wear from whatever it was he’d drunk last night. He had a grumpy downcast to his face. Beckett asked with a tight smile, “Oh Rodney, do ye want to volunteer to dancing naked in front of the Wraith? It would be a welcome distraction.”
“I’m trying to be serious here.” Rodney squared his shoulders. “How do we get past them?”
John thumped him soundly on the shoulder. “By welcome distractions, naturally.”
Things did not go terribly well. Teyla and Rodney had a clear path to the Stargate with Ford trailing close on their heels. All three were taking random but lucky shots around at the surrounding bushes.
ifty metres down the pine needle track, Carson and John were busy holding off a small contingent of Wraith warriors – well, that’s what it felt like. It was only two, but the effort was exhausting. Carson was still terribly unused to an automatic machine gun and was nervous.
His thoughts kept shooting back to Nena and his child. Would he survive?
“If we get a clear shot, you’re going!” Sheppard shouted. “I’ll cover you.”
Beckett roared back over the rattle of their guns, “What about ye?”
“You’ve got a wife and kid, Carson. There’s no way I’m letting you die.”
“I’m not leavin’ ye behind!” Beckett told him fiercely.
John’s gun gave out with a splutter, signalling the end of his magazine. He gazed hopelessly at Beckett’s gun which followed suit soon after. The Major said unnecessarily, “Oh this is bad.”
It appeared that one of them was at bay for the moment, because only one Wraith stepped forward, leering manically at them. His eyes flicked over the doctor for a long period of time. Carson figured he knew why. John raised his useless weapon and raised his eyebrows. “I guess they call you Bill, huh?”
“Be quiet, human,” te Wraith snapped, eyes never leaving Beckett’s form. “So, you are the consort of Atlantis.”
Sheppard opened his mouth to deny the statement for Carson, but the doctor beat him to it, saying resolutely, “Now, how would Atlantis react if ye killed her husband?”
“That’s not your concern,” hissed the Wraith and plunged a hand into his chest.
Pain exploded through Beckett, starting as his chest. Gasping with shock and grief, the doctor sank to his knees, barely seeing through his swimming eyes. He’d failed Nena. He’d failed his daughter. Oh how he wanted just one more chance to touch her. It seemed so cruel to only have touched her for a month.
Coolness rushed over him and the Wraith staggered back, holding its mutilated hand. Startled, Carson looked down to his unblemished chest then back up at the howling blue Wraith. Beckett suddenly remembered his immunity and sighed in relief.
“That’s right!” sneered John, strength returning to his voice. “You can’t touch the consort of Atlantis because of his life signature.”
The Wraith, despite the pain his hand must have been given him, wheezed a laugh. “You really think that human? You don’t think we prepared for this day? Here’s a gift for Atlantis.”
He whipped out a sophisticated weapon and, while collapsing and on his dying breath, shot Beckett with it. The doctor didn’t feel it at first, but then nauseousness swept over him. He felt John pull him up, shouting, “Let’s go! They’ll be swarming on us soon.”
“John…no use…tell my darlin’…I love her…”
Doctor Beckett was dragged through the Stargate by a haggard John Sheppard. The warning klaxon was louder than usual – if possible – and somehow more urgent. The city seemed to shake with alarm. Feeling the panic emanating from the walls, John glanced up.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly, then passed out himself.
The Major woke suddenly. No one stopped him from getting out of the infirmary bed – the nurses and doctors were clustered around the bed which held a prone Dr Beckett. Seeing him awake, Elizabeth Weir stepped over, demanding, “Report, Major.”
John lied through his teeth, trying to keep his flawless poker expression on his face. He convinced the diplomatic leader that the Wraith had mysteriously decided not to suck the life out of them, merely shooting the doctor with some weird drug. Dr Weir looked a little troubled.
“This may be contagious,” she told everyone loudly. “It may lure us back for a cure.”
Quickly tests were run and the infirmary blocked off. John shifted his feet, knowing his lie had cost everyone some comfort. It wasn’t long before the situation was found not to be contagious or serious.
John left the infirmary as soon as he was cleared and didn’t have to wander far before doors shut, restricting him to a short amount of passage space. He waited and Nena appeared, panic creasing her face. She asked worriedly, “What happened? I can feel his pain!”
“Wraith,” Sheppard answered tersely. “I was the only witness. It failed to suck his life so shot something into him. The Wraith called it some kind of ‘gift’.”
Nena bit her lip, clearly in pain from whatever was afflicting her husband. She sighed. “This is my fault. The Wraith made it for me and because of Carson’s altered life signature it could touch him. I believe you humans would call it a computer virus. This will take much of my strength. The connection may also transfer it to me.”
“A computer virus!” John exclaimed.
He awkwardly touched her shoulder to comfort the entity. Nena gave a small pained smile. “I think the physicist on your team would find this fascinating. John, if I fail…take care of our daughter.”
Then she was gone and the doors opened again.
The gaggle of uncertain doctors was puzzled and worried about the Chief Medical Officer’s condition. Carson Beckett tossed and turned in an unconscious state, running a high fever that anyone would find hard to bear. If his voice was not gone, he would have cried out in his sleep.
When it was ascertained that there was no contagion, there was some relaxing around the city. Dr Weir still believed that it was a ploy by the Wraith to lure them back to the planet. She was still unsure of what to do.
And so Beckett lay alone in a solitary room, occasionally attended by a doctor. There was no change in his condition except to decline a little. John Sheppard took it upon himself to sit outside the door, guarding it. It was more than the action of a concerned friend – it was his self assigned mission to make sure no one entered the room and walked in on Nena.
For the scant two hours that she could hold it, the entity of Atlantis stood over her husband, hands poised above his chest. White light smothered the fallen doctor and he murmured distractedly in his sleep.
“Come back to me, Carson,” Nena whispered.
“His temperature seems to have dropped,” one doctor noticed the next day.
John couldn’t help but throw a smile up at the ceiling and say confidently, “Aye.”
Elizabeth, returning from her office, touched his elbow. “You don’t have to do this, John. When he wakes, the doctors will tell you.”
“You have no idea,” Sheppard said simply.
For five nights, Beckett was healed by the hands of Atlantis. He grew a little better, but still would not wake. Nena’s hologram face too ailed, becoming deathly pale. She explained to John that she would not give back Carson’s voice until he was out of danger because of the things he might say in his state.
On the fifth night, Nena collapsed. Sheppard, hearing this, rushed into the room and used his Ancient genes to hold her head in his hands. He whispered frantically, “Nena!”
The entity opened her eyes. She immediately rubbed her forehead. “I am fine, John. The virus cannot spread to me. I am exhausted, yes, but it is working. Go to your bed and sleep. If you do not, I swear this city will drown you.”
“But what of you?”
“Let me deal with me.”
While briefly recovering from her collapse, Nena rested a hand on Beckett’s thigh. She just needed to touch him after being so close during the healing. She said softly, “Our baby grows rapidly each day. It is hard to believe it is a scant five months away.”
There was no answer.
Weeping, Nena stood again and poised glowing hands over her husband, frame shaking from fear of loss.
Aiden Ford was on a midnight round when he decided to drop in on Carson. The idea came from a combination of being bored and concern. Ford whistled to himself, idly wondering if Beckett’s mystery woman would be easier to pick out by her worry and fear.
Unless Carson was with John…
Ford stopped short, eyes wide. He shook his head hastily, “Naaah!”
He found that the Major was absent, obviously getting some winks. Ford was relieved – if they were lovers, John would not have left his side. The lieutenant pushed the door open, a greeting on his lips. Whatever he meant to say, it was lost in shock. There was a woman standing over Beckett with clearly Ancient healing going taking place.
“A-Are you an Ancient?” Ford spluttered.
The auburn haired woman didn’t flinch. She merely shimmered out…just like a hologram. Carson stirred and opened his eyes. “Wha’ happened? Where’m I?”
“Dr Beckett! Are you alright?” asked Ford in concern.
Beckett blinked a couple of times. “I’m a wee bit tired, but otherwise fine. Ye look like ye seen a ghost, son.”
Aiden scanned the room carefully. “Not far from it, doctor. There was some sort of Ancient hologram in here healing you.”
“That’s odd,” Carson said, managing to look puzzled.
Memory came flooding back to him and he nearly wept in relief. He ordered the young lieutenant, “Aiden, can ye fetch a doctor and John?”
The doctor gave him a clean bill of health, warning him away from his duties for at least two days. The doctor then left, leaving John and Beckett alone. Soon after that, Nena appeared in her hologram form.
“Come here, darlin’,” Carson said and kissed her. “John tells me I had a computer virus.”
Nena slid into the narrow medical bed with him and held him close to her. She stroked his hair affectionately. “Yes…strange as it sounds. None of us are going anywhere. I’ve constructed a firewall in both our systems.”
John chortled. “You don’t know how weird that sounds. Carson having a firewall!”
Beckett smiled also. “Well, what do ye find normal about any of this?”
"So we have no idea what it was?” Elizabeth Weir asked of the computer technician, John Sheppard and Carson Beckett hovering behind her pretending not to look interested.
The computer technician shook his head. “I doubt we’ll ever know. A spike of energy occurred during the nights when Dr Beckett was still sick.”
Dr Weir tapped her lips thoughtfully. “Perhaps the city sensed that the CMO was unable to carry out his duties and created a healer hologram.”
John said aside to Beckett, “I guess your secret is safe for another time.”
“Aye, but for how long?”