So I Married A Chair
Story 3 - The Trouble With Major Sheppard
John Sheppard paced, mulling over the pieces of the puzzle that made Carson Beckett. He didn’t know if he really wanted to hear exactly what the exchange between the doctor and the Wraith had been. He’d given Carson a chance to talk. John swiped his thumb over a pressure pad to playback the recording in a handheld device.
“Atlantis has chosen a human as her consort.”
John thought “stop” at the device and it did. He wondered why Beckett was so taken aback by the Wraith’s words. Sheppard guessed he would be a little confused too. Atlantis was spoken as a sentient being by the Wraith. How could a city have a consort?
“Why should you be her consort?”
John stopped cold in his pacing. Did Beckett know something? Was the Wraith suggesting the mild mannered doctor was this consort? It sounded absurd.
“A child…she has used you well!”
“Nena is not usin’ me, Wraith…you’re not fit to stand in her cells!”
The recording ended. Major Sheppard stood staring at the device in his hand. There it was – Carson Beckett definitely knew something. He thought to replay it and the device began to respond to his request.
A low groaning pervaded the silence, sweeping through the empty corridor easily. John glanced around, suddenly tense. His suspicions were confirmed when a torrent of water came shooting at him from around the corner. The device was torn from his hand as great force slammed into him. He was unharmed, a gripping shield rising up around him.
The water receded almost as quickly as it had come, leaving a soppy wet Sheppard. He gingerly prised his feet away from the floor. Whatever it was, something had not wanted him to hear that but didn’t want him dead.
“Atlantis?” John called, but there was silence.
He tried again. "Nena?”
Again, no answer…
Carson Beckett was perusing medical files, though he was distracted with thoughts of the Wraith and how the exchange must have looked. His computer screen began buzzing and shook. He jumped up. “Nena! What’s wrong?”
One word dashed across his screen.
The computer returned to normal. In entered Major Sheppard completely drenched. He didn’t look angry; merely thoughtful. He also had a dangerous look in his eyes, meaning he wanted to set something straight.
“Looks like ye took a dip.” Carson smiled. “What happened?”
Why would his Nena warn him off John’s arrival? Beckett decided to keep on guard. He noticed the interrogative mode in John as the military man leaned across the glaring white desk. The Major spoke with mock amazement, “I was just walking along, minding my own business when water came gushing towards me. Now don’t you find this odd?”
“Were ye in one of the flooded areas?”
“Here’s the thing; I was in a corridor just below this one.” John rubbed his hands. “Odd?”
Beckett didn’t know what to say. He knew Nena was protective of him, but she had promised not to meddle in the lives of the others. Carson raised his eyebrows, inwardly wary, “Aye, very odd. Ye should get into dry clothes or you’ll catch a cold.”
John Sheppard rose to leave. He paused at the door, saying casually, “Do you know what I was doing before I got flushed?”
“No, what?” The doctor tried to keep alarm from his eyes.
“I was replaying what you and the Wraith said. Goodbye, Carson.”
Beckett made sure John was out of the room before groaning. Much as he loved Nena, the action seemed extreme. At least she had let the man live. Beckett pulled on his jacket, sighing. “We need to talk, love.”
John Sheppard followed Carson. The task was constantly hindered by inexplicable sealing of doors. The Major’s Ancient genes made it easier to override the temperamental systems. Malfunctions lower down also made the trip less intense. John was curious to see where Beckett disappeared to everyday. There was also the matter of the consort of Atlantis. Whether Carson was the consort or not, he definitely knew enough for the Wraith to feed off.
“What are ye playing at?” Carson yelled aloud.
Sheppard halted, feeling discovered. But Beckett waded on through the water. An odd groaning came over the sound system, almost apologetic. The doctor paused at a door. A shield shot up and it opened.
Carson squeezed through it, wincing. John quickened his pace in an attempt to follow. His splashing foot falls alerted Beckett, who spun with horror in his eyes. The door shut and the shield disappeared. John thumped the door in frustration.
“Nena, he followed me! He knows somethin’!”
Beckett sat in the chair, feeling very anxious. He felt that his days as a reputable doctor were numbered.
Well, he has the genes of the Ancients. He overrode my weaker systems.
“And ye go and flush him, making him more suspicious!”
He was listening to your recent exchange. He was getting close to the truth. I disposed on the device, but let him live. John Sheppard is a good man. Our secret is safe with him.
“So is this yer birthday surprise for me?” Carson wanted to know sarcastically.
No, but you can have one part of your present early.
Beckett threw off his jacket.
John waited without vain. Carson Beckett exited the dome room, looking flustered. He smiled weakly at Sheppard, asking softly, “How much d’ye know?”
John shrugged. “I don’t know the complete story, but perhaps you’ll tell me.”
“Come in,” Carson offered. “Welcome to my second home.”
Sheppard looked at the pod with great interest. Beckett noticed his attention and he said with a touch of pride, “Six months before my daughter is born. Beautiful lass, isn’t she?”
John smirked. “You know that doesn’t make sense. You kind of need someone else, unless it’s a clone.”
“She’s half human, half Ancient,” Carson informed him.
“I thought they were all dead.”
“They are, John. Meet Nena, the entity of Atlantis.”
Beckett led him into the other room. John almost laughed, but he saw the seriousness in his companion’s face. John said delicately, “It’s a chair…”
“The only place where I can ‘see’ Nena is this chair,” Beckett explained. “She will often appear as a hologram when I am sitting in the chair.”
Major Sheppard looked from pod to the softness in the doctor’s eyes to the chair, amusement lighting up his face. He said, grinning, “Ah, that’s why you’re always so flustered when you return. Is that even possible, though?”
Carson sat in the chair and a hologram of a beautiful woman appeared. She smiled at John. “Believe us, it is very possible. Otherwise our daughter would not have been conceived.”
“Hi, how’s it going?” John held out a hand, remembered and drew it back.
“It goes well, and you?”
“Back at ya,” Sheppard replied.
Nena smiled sheepishly. “I am sorry for before. I wanted to dispose of the device.”
“Nah, it’s cool.” John waved a dismissive hand. “I understand. So you guys are having a kid – do you plan to get married?”
Nena brushed her ghostly immaterial fingers over Caron’s face. The doctor smiled tenderly at her. He replied to John, “By Ancient ways, we are. Since we were, as Nena would say, connected, in fact. My altered life signature is what the Wraith identified. If we do get married by human ways, I promise yer invited.”
John accepted this with a smile. “Thanks, Carson. I take it this is a secret I have to keep?”
“Aye,” Beckett answered immediately. “We told ye because ye were already guessing and, John, yer a good man.”
As two men left the slightly submerged tunnel together, a door shut and a shield went down. John looked over at this companion, grinning, “So what’s she like?”
“What do ye mean?”
“Och, John, get yer mind out of the gutter.”
“Then would you mind telling me how you two met?”
“Aye, I’ll tell you that one.”