scherryzade: (pacific ocean)
[personal profile] scherryzade
Title: Newcomers: Coward
Rating: PG-13 (For infrequent language and frequent angst - you know I'm just making wild guesses with this, right?)
Character: OCs, Team
Disclaimer: The context isn't mine (AR-27 are), no harm meant.
Summary: Bad decisions. Close calls. Unknown enemies. Uncertain friends. Welcome to Pegasus.
A/N: So, um, *cof*, following on from last week - what do you mean, it was three weeks ago? - Sequel to Medic, Soldier, Traitor, part 4 of 5.

Coward

The infirmary is quiet. Anna slips in past Diaz and Thomson, nodding to them as she passes.

She ignores the glares of the infirmary staff, saying, to no-one in particular, "Colonel Sheppard's requested an update on Major Lorne's condition."

No-one replies.

"Sooner would be better," says Anna.

"He's stable, Captain," says Rizk. "They were using fragmenting rounds, and it took a while to get all the shrapnel. They're taking him to recovery now."

Anna discovers she can breathe again.

"I'll tell the Colonel," says Thomson, and Anna turns to find him and Diaz standing close behind her.

"Thank you, Sergeant." He nods sharply, but doesn't leave. "Sergeant?"

"The doc's in his lab, Captain," says Diaz. "Off-radio," he adds. Neither of them are looking at her, and she follows their line of sight to where Rizk and some of the other staff are standing, arms folded and expressions dark.

She doesn't have time to deal with the medical corps' wounded pride. Her priority is finding David.

She's not running away.

~

When Tom reaches the infirmary, he finds Diaz and tiny Nurse Rizk at each others throats, their voices low but their anger all too obvious.

"She went too far."

"You expect me to care? My team leader would be dead if 'riguez hadn't gotten there when she did. Medicat didn't freak out, did her job. No harm, no foul."

"We have a duty of care -"

"Exactly -"

Tom coughs, and they both spin to face him. Rizk stalks across to him, stabbing her finger in his chest.

"You and your precious Captain -"

Diaz pulls her away. "Ignore her, Wheel, she doesn't know what she's talking about. You need something?"

"I - I'm looking for Captain Rodriguez."

"She's - with Dr Parrish," says Diaz, a flicker of discomfort on his face. "Can it wait?"

"Mark's gone," blurts Tom. "Janel - she left. She went offworld. Mark went with -"

"Fuck," says Diaz, and Rizk slaps him.

"No harm, no foul?" she asks.

"Teyla's with them," says Tom, then, unable to stop himself, "but we're in enough trouble as it is -"

"I'll get you to Rodriguez," says Diaz, and pushes Rizk away.

"Get her back," she says, anger breaking. "Bring Janel back."

"She - she's not going to - she won't come back," stammers Tom, and Rizk rounds on him.

"Where else is she going to go?"

~

Anna's still staring dumbly at Tom when her radio buzzes.

"Radio." Sheppard, and doesn't he sound pissed. "Get your team ready. We're going to Ordan. Wheels up in twenty."

"Copy that. Sir -" She hesitates, mind racing. Damage control. "I'm sorry, sir, I told Collins to stay with the medicat. I didn't think she'd leave -" Anna stops, cursing herself. Damage control?

"Say again, Radio?"

"I just - It's my fault Janel left for Ordan. I don't want to see Collins in trouble for-"

"She what?" Sheppard sounds horrified.

"Sir?" If Sheppard doesn't know that Janel went offworld, why are they going to Ordan? "Sir, Janel left. Teyla agreed to accompany her, and Collins -"

"Jesus. Teyla-" She hears him call out to Dex, then the line cuts out. She doesn't wait, heads for the transporter, Tom and Diaz following, silent.

Her radio kicks in again. "Captain, Ress talked. He told us -" Sheppard hesitates. "The man who hired him is based on Ordan."

She runs.

~

"Like hell am I," says Rodney, gesticulating wildly even though he's talking on the radio. "Oh, please. How long have you known me? I'm not the one who had a psychotic break - alright, PTSD, whatever." Rodney's traversed the length of the lab twice since his radio buzzed, seemingly oblivious to his colleagues as they skip out of his path.

"When have I ever refused to go offworld?" snaps Rodney. "That doesn't count. - No! That was completely different. There aren't Wraith on Ordan - Wait, there aren't Wraith on Ordan, are there?"

Rodney's shoulders slump, and he says, "It's Teyla, John." His fingers curl around nothing at his hip, grasping an invisible weapon. "Give me five, I'll be ready." He catches Nate's eye. "We'll be ready."

"We?" hazards Nate as Rodney snatches up and discards a series of tools and devices.

"I'm damned if I'm going to have you bitching about being left behind again, not if I'm getting dragged back to that godforsaken planet. They shot me! No-one remembers that, but oh, Lorne gets himself shot and suddenly we have a plan, and Sheppard's all 'I'm not going to stand for it!' because he doesn't like anyone encroaching on his most-frequent inmate status in the infirmary. Not to mention that it's your Captain Marconi's fault that Teyla's on Ordan in the first place, because if she'd taken you, and not the crazy medic -" Rodney pauses for a moment, and flings down an LSD in disgust. "Are all of these broken? Does nobody listen to me when I tell them these things don't grow on trees?"

"Rodney, what -"

Rodney scowls at him, then turns back to the unhappy heap of LSDs. "I'd say that you and I are going to have serious words about how to keep your pilot under control, but, much as it pains me to admit it, after six years, I've resigned myself to having no understanding of the subject -"

"McKay!" Nate flushes as Rodney's head snaps up. "Just - start at the beginning -"

Rodney huffs in irritation. "The crazy medic? That Captain Marconi -"

"Rodriguez," says Nate automatically, even though he knows it's a lost cause.

"- Radio, whatever - pushed over the edge when she dragged her onto M9D-294 against her will -"

"And saved Major Lorne's life," snaps Nate, before he remembers that he knows Anna was wrong.

"Which is admirable, yes, if fundamentally futile in anyone's dealings with USAF officers. The crazy medic decided to go to Ordan, where we found her, that time I got shot? Seriously, does no-one remember that?"

"McKay -"

"She wouldn't have been allowed offworld if Teyla hadn't agreed to go with her."

"Ordan's our ally. It's safe -"

"That's what they said before I got shot. The mercenary your Captain captured on M9D-294 says he's being paid by a man on Ordan, so," Rodney folds his arms with a certain grim satisfaction, the same expression he gets when he's just discovered a fundamental flaw your life's work and knows there isn't time to fix the generator before it explodes. "Now we have to go get Teyla before the mercenaries capture her and the medic and your grunt -"

"My what?"

"The Scottish marine? Apparently he went with them - Nate?"

Nate doesn't answer. He's already heading for the transporter.

~

"What the hell, Nate?" Anna speaks as quietly as she can, but her voice still comes out shrill.

Nate doesn't look at her, securing straps with steady hands. She's always been absurdly proud that, however dangerous the situation - however scared he is - Nate's hands never shake. Now, though, it just pisses her off, and she pulls the bag from his grasp.

"You're not going," says Anna.

"They have Ancient tech on Ordan."

"Not in the market."

"McKay's going."

"Exactly! We don't need -"

Now he looks at her. "What? Don't need me? Or don't want me? Don't need the bother?"

"We don't need to risk you -"

"Why do you think McKay's going, Anna? To help with the diplomacy? He's going for Teyla."

"Nate -"

"You took risks for David, I'll take risks for Mark."

She remembers finding David in the botany labs, and the way he'd quirked a half-smile at her, and how it had been so like Lorne, and so unlike himself, that her words had stuck in her throat.

If it had been anyone else -

"Captain?"

Anna snaps to attention, not meeting Sheppard's enquiring gaze. "We're ready, sir."

Sheppard nods, and doesn't give any indication that he's overheard them. "No jumpers, Captain. We're walking."

"Walk in the park, sir."

"Have you been in Pegasus before, Captain?" snaps McKay.

Sheppard may be ignoring their little spat, but there's no mistaking the way McKay crosses the room to stand beside Nate. He glowers at Anna, which isn't much different from the way he usually treats her, but then he pointedly checks Nate's gear, and pats Nate's shoulder awkwardly when he's done.

"Alright then," says Sheppard, and Anna could swear he's avoiding McKay's glare, too. "Let's move out."

Anna's the first through the gate.

~

Mark doesn't notice they're being watched until their observers change off. Then he sees the silhouette of weapons hidden under cloaks, the military bearing hidden under false drunkenness.

He taps his radio to alert Teyla, and gets nothing but static.

Mark curses under his breath, and moves closer to Teyla and the medic. He walks as casually as he can, faking interest in the stalls he passes, as much for Janel's benefit as for the men watching them.

Teyla sees him, of course, and her hand goes up to wave him back. He shakes his head, willing her to understand, and she sweeps her hand up, running fingers through her hair.

He signals Radio down and We're being watched, and Teyla doesn't respond, but he can see the way she shifts into a defensive posture. She doesn't pause in guiding Janel forward, but she takes in their surroundings with sharp eyes, and turns Janel towards a clearing in the market. It's away from gate, but it'll give them room to maneouvre.

Mark follows, staying away from the two women, staying as close as he dares.

~

"Getting anywhere, McKay?" asks Sheppard.

"You don't think I'd tell you? Also, there'd be that thing where our radios started working."

"McKay."

"No, not getting anywhere. But I'm getting an energy reading I've not seen here before." McKay points off to the right of the market. "Could be the source."

"Okay, that's our target. Radio, take your team and start a sweep of the market from the other side."

"Yessir."

"Take it slow, keep a low profile. We don't want any shooting if we can avoid it."

McKay makes a disparaging sound, but Anna says, "Affirmative, sir." She sees what Sheppard sees, the busy Ordan market, all the civilians that may or may not be their allies.

"Our priority is getting our people out of here safe. We can worry about finding Yanek later."

Anna wonders what he's really thinking.

She catches Sheppard's eye, and he twists out a smile. "Captain."

"Sir."

She turns to the far end of the market, and starts walking.

~

She sees Captain Rodriguez, and everything turns to crystal - not the gold green blue amber of Atlantis, but the clear cold glass of home. She wants to lash out, break it all, and she feels her hand turned away before she realises what she's done.

Captain Rodriguez turns away every blow, her expression never wavering, and Janel howls her frustration. She fights loose when Collins reaches out to pull her back, and spits at Rodriguez when the captain holds up a hand that makes Collins step back, precise and military.

Janel is no warrior, no fighter, all she has is her anger and the little pair of scissors she stole from the infirmary. Rodriguez doesn't expect that, and she yelps when the blades catch in her arm. Rodriguez pulls back, face slackening in shock, and then, when she looks back up at Janel, finally twisting into anger.

Rodriguez frees her weapon.

Janel feels herself grinning. "Down," snaps Rodriguez, but she hasn't yet pointed the gun at Janel, and Janel closes the distance between them. "Get down!" says Rodriguez once more, and kicks out at Janel's legs. Janel tumbles, and tries to pull Rodriguez with her, but she misses, and falls all the heavier into the Ordan mud.

She twists to look up at the captain, but Rodriguez isn't looking at her. Her weapon swings up - up, not towards Janel -

There's the crack-snap of gun-fire.

The bullet hits Rodriguez high on the chest, and she arches backwards. Her weapon fires once, aiming at nothing.

When she falls, she doesn't make a sound.


Concluded in Leader

I'm going to stop making predictions about how long I'll take to write things, but hey! at least part of the reason this took so long is because I kept getting distracted by the final section.
I'm totally shipping Diaz/Rizk now.
Also, um. Have I used Diaz and Thomson in the Newcomers series before?



Date: 2010-02-24 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gelbes-gilatier.livejournal.com
You... evil... author! (and no, I probably shouldn't make any comments about cliffhangers because I love to use them myself but... how could you do that don't you have any mercy left in your black author's heart readers are people too!)

Also, I think you haven't really used them before so please do :D

Date: 2010-02-25 12:09 am (UTC)
ext_72718: (Default)
From: [identity profile] scherryzade.livejournal.com
Mwa Ha Ha HA. The Mindgamer strikes again!

:)

(I was reading the Guardian's 'Ten Rules for Writing Fiction' at the weekend - Jonathan Franzen's first rule was "The reader is a friend, not an adversary"...)

Date: 2010-02-25 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gelbes-gilatier.livejournal.com
Yes, listen to Franzen! He's a genius, he should know ;) (on the other hand... stories without cliffhangers? Boooooooooooooring!)

Date: 2010-02-25 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] julia-here.livejournal.com
Oh, dear.

To distract myself from the cliff-hanger of all cliff-hangers, let me just say I love the way you've got McKay and Nate interacting in this part, great understanding between them of the difficulties of understanding the military mind.

Julia, but, you know, EEK!
Edited Date: 2010-02-25 05:55 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-25 08:35 pm (UTC)
ext_72718: (Default)
From: [identity profile] scherryzade.livejournal.com
I got kind of stuck until Rodney came into it, and ended up riding his coat-tails to get through it...

(I do like my cliffhangers, I'm afraid ;)

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