Part: 4 - Reports and Consequences
Disclaimer: If it were mine, there would be no Keller.
Warnings: angst, established relationship, humor
Summary: They had a foolproof plan to enter the temple on PX-4742. Unfortunately not everything went accoring to plan. This is a kind of 'aliens made them do it' variation
Wordcount: ~2700 (part 4)
Beta: koryou and zannabq you are the best *huggs*
Part 1 - A Cunning Plan
Part 2 - In The Temple
Part 3 – Side Effects
After Rodney’s big announcement John still felt like he’d been punched in the stomach. And he got angrier than ever before. What gave McKay the right to storm out of the room like this? The whole mess was still his fault to begin with, and instead of accepting that he was going on about it as if he was walking on the high ground here.
“John, don’t you want to go after Rodney?” asked Teyla.
John shook his head. “Most definitely not!” And with that statement he too stormed out of the room and out of the temple.
Some time later all Atlantis personnel were gathered around the Stargate; they had dialed the Atlantis coordinates and waited for the wormhole to engage. The Daedalus was orbiting the planet to protect them, in the unlikely case that the Wraith would try to attack right now. Their most valued cargo had to be protected by all means.
As if it would give a bit more protection, McKay was huddling the ZPM holding-case in his crossed arms. Not that John really noticed, he did a very fine job of ignoring Rodney. But he was aware that the scientist also held the tablets on which all the information copied from the temple was stored in his hands. It looked kind of uncomfortable and if John would have noticed the scene, he would have asked himself why Rodney did not let one of his minions play the drudge.
After an uneventful journey they arrived in the Atlantis gate-room. Before they could even be greeted, Rodney started snapping furiously with his fingers. “Hey you, blond girl,” he was referring to one of the scientist standing behind the DHD: “Take this and bring it to the linguists. Tell that bunch of morons that we finally have something for them to do.” He held out the tablets.
The woman, surely used to McKay’s abrasive behavior just took a deep breath, but came out from behind the DHD and took the tablets. “It’s Dr. Fischer, not blonde girl,” she muttered. “Anything in particular the linguists should look at?”
“Whatever.” Rodney’s hands were waving with a dismissive air, he had most probably already forgotten her name again. “They can contact
After that he pointed with his finger to several of the marines. “You, you, you and you. You will follow me and protect this baby – and me – with your lives. There shouldn’t be any Wraith in Atlantis anymore, but better safe than sorry. Radek, with me, we have a ZPM to plug in!”
John watched as the scientists left the room. At a loss of what to do, he decided that it was closing time and went to his quarters. He really had had enough for one day.
After some un-restful sleep and a very cold shower – apparently the water heating system was malfunctioning – John went to his office to write the dreaded report. On the way to his secret hiding place he noticed that a lot of people were watching him with badly concealed curiosity. Some were even whispering behind raised hands. John sighed; apparently the rumor mill had done some overtime during the night, not that John had expected otherwise. They were a very small and close group of people, stuck together in another galaxy. Rumors were the fuel most of the social interactions ran on. It just bothered John that they would talk about this marriage fiasco. He would prefer any other topic.
When he reached his office he contemplated for a few minutes if he should contact the linguists or Carson to see how far they were with the cure to the mess. But he rationalized that if there were any news, he would have been hailed already. Then he thought about giving Radek a call and mentioning the malfunctioning shower, but as he was pretty sure what the outcome of that would be he just gave himself a mental kick in the butt and decided to not avoid the inevitable any longer and start the damn report.
Half an hour later he was staring at the tauntingly blinking cursor that mocked his efforts, when
Of course you did, John thought, but his poker face didn’t give his fear away. Instead he took the tablet and started to read. Maybe it was not the worst to finally know what
After a few minutes he put the tablet down on the table. At first he was at loss for words, then he managed a “That’s a very detailed report you did there.”
“Oh yes, I think I covered it all.”
Which he did, in great detail. Up until the moment that Arya announced that the joining could not be broken. After that piece of information the report ended. Not even mentioning that their joining had been consummated. John frowned. “But that is not all that happened.”
John feared that his hands were trembling. Sure, Rodney had said some strange stuff yesterday, trying to convince him that this would not end with him being deported to
Usually John wasn’t someone to look a gift horse in the mouth, but he had to ask. “And this is all you will report?”
“As I said, no need for boring the readers.”
That was it, John’s free pass. If he could encourage Elizabeth to also leave out Rodney’s outburst and the subsequent discussion they had had together with Teyla – and why should that be part of any official report, that was private – he really was off the hook. Even if the rumor-mill went high-wire, he had enough plausible deniability. John let out a deep breath he couldn’t remember holding.
“So, I understand you are now stuck with McKay?” asked
John winced. “Seems like. As
John hadn’t even fully recovered when Lorne suddenly entered the office. Idly John thought that he should choose a new office, now that it seemed that he would stay on Atlantis, as the location for this one was known by far too many people for John’s liking. “What?” he asked in his best commanding voice.
“Sir, you have to fill out the reports.”
John waved dismissingly while staring at the still mocking cursor. “I’m already on that Major. Will be finished in no time.”
“Of course you are, Sir,” replied Lorne without even blinking. “But those are the normal mission reports. Due to the special nature of the last mission you will also need to fill out the standard form 375A.”
“Huh?” John was kind of bewildered.
“Oh wait a second. The marriage is unbreakable, if I get the rumors, right? In that case you’ll have to use form 375B instead.”
“I really don’t know what you are talking about, Major.”
“Oh that’s right; we didn’t have this kind of shit happening in the Pegasus Galaxy before. But in the Milky Way it’s so common that the paper pusher of the SGC created specific reports for it.”
“For what?” John really was loosing his cool.
“Marriages, of course.”
“I really don’t understand,” John admitted.
Lorne cleared his throat. “As I said Sir, marriage rituals are quite common in the Milky Way. I think at the last count SG-1 had 10 of these occurrences. It’s not that they happen all the time, but often enough for the paper pushers to prepare standard forms for them.”
“Well we can’t tell our allies that we want to work with them but not respect their customs and laws, now can we? So if some members of the away teams have to participate in such a ceremony and don’t want to stay married, they just fill out the respective form and can be divorced within a few minutes. No harm done and our allies are happy. It’s a very simple procedure. I was married off once to an Unas. Boy was I glad for that easy loophole.”
John was not sure whether he was still dreaming – a nightmare as it seemed – or if Lorne tried to pull a massive prank. He took a deep breath. “You were married to an Unas? One of these creatures?” John grimaced.
“Yes. Funny thing though. I was second in command of a mining operation on a planet occupied by Unas. Which we didn’t know in the beginning. They were not very pleased with us roaming around on the planet and taking away the Naquadah. They united their different tribes and started sort of a guerilla war against us.”
“And where did this marriage come into place?”
Lorne shrugged. “They beat us. And in the Unas society the winning tribe leader usually gets to marry the heir of the loosing tribe. As the second in command I was the closest thing to an heir our mission got.”
John tried – and failed – to get the disturbing pictures out of his head. “And how was it? Being married to an Unas?” His curiosity won over his common sense.
“Well there was a lot of shouting involved.”
“I can’t know that! TMI, Major, TMI.” John grimaced with vigor and felt his face turning pink.
Lorne sputtered. “Not what you think. As I told you, this was more of a political thing. I was more kind of a “Trophy” to be shown around by the chief to make clear to all the other Unas that he was the one winning this war. To back up his status as unquestioned ruler. And during that process he did a lot of shouting – a bit like Tarzan accompanied by fist drumming on his chest. Nothing more, they find us humans rather disgusting.”
“How did you get out of it?”
“Easy, three days later Dr. Jackson had negotiated a treaty with them. Both sides were happy and the Unas agreed to let me go. I filled out form 375A and was free again.”
John was still not sure if this was true or if Lorne was just fucking with his mind, but on the other hand, who would think of such a crazy story? Surely nobody who was such a ‘no nonsense’ guy as Lorne. “And what is this form 375B you want me to fill out?”
“Oh the pencil pushers created that in case we ever stumble upon a marriage which cannot be divorced. Has only been used once before I think, but they have prepared standard forms for everything. And if the rumor-mill is correct, I guess you and Dr. McKay have to use those forms. As I said before, the SGC will not willfully break laws of our allies.”
“Major, I think you are aware that neither McKay nor I could marry on earth.”
“Yes you could, just not in the
John was glad that he sat already, because his knees kind of morphed into pudding. “Nobody will care, or even blink because of this mess? We’ll just fill out these forms and we can’t be prosecuted for this? I will not loose my command?”
“No, that would be against the rules in the SGC. There might be some issues if you want to transfer back to the regular Air Force, but why would you ever want that? And even if you did, they would have to find you a loophole to allow it.”
“I fucking can’t believe this. Is the whole SGC insane?”
“No Sir, they just have a different approach to deal with problems. If every universal fact you know gets turned upside down at least thrice a day, you tend to get flexible. Anyhow, I think you and Dr. McKay were quite lucky to stumble upon this ritual on PX-4742.”
John’s mind really didn’t want to follow the idea why Lorne thought that he and Rodney were lucky for the Joining. It came too close to an acknowledgement that he and Rodney had been together before. Nope, he was not touching that with a ten foot pole. But he could vent some anger. “Legally there might be everything hunky dory, but this fucking ritual has some nasty side-effects. And I guess the rumor-mill has spread that tidbit of information too. We might never find a cure for it.”
Lorne shrugged again. “I won’t argue, if that’s how you are feeling. But I still think that it was luck. And I’m kind of hoping that there might be the need to send Parrish and me into that temple.”
Now John was sure that this was a nightmare. Or a very, very strange episode of Twilight Zone. Or maybe the Asurans had kidnapped him on the latest mission and this was some hideous way of torturing him. It had to be! Lorne couldn’t have implied what John was thinking. And if he really did, then John needed to wash out his brain with bleach. Because he really didn’t need – or want – to know that much about his 2IC.
John took a deep breath and tried to find his calm again. Determined not to acknowledge the big elephant in the room he focused on something different. “You can’t be serious Lorne. If this ritual works on you two and we don’t find a cure then you are stuck for ever.”
“Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that there is something in this fucking wine that messes with our bodies and our minds? It takes away your free will. That’s not lucky, that’s more like rape!”
“I understand your point here, Colonel. But as far as I understood this ritual, this joining, only works if the couple is really willing to spend their lives together.”
Or couldn’t keep their dicks in their BDU’s, but even under torture John wouldn’t voice that thought.
Lorne continued. “So I don’t see that big a difference to the normal vows we do. Just that if we don’t find an antidote it would really be until death do us part. With the right person that shouldn’t be an issue at all.”
John had enough. “You are a closet romantic!” he accused his second in command and fled the room.Part 5 – Desperate Measures