The chances of Colette Biro being allowed to publish her findings in the Pegasus Galaxy back on Earth averages on a negative zero. Even disregarding the fact that her main specialty nowadays is Wraith anatomy – unless she waters each data point down beyond all usefulness and recognition… No. She has accepted that it’s not happening.
Nevertheless, she writes out a lot of her research in the form of papers because intelligence is still being shared and this is how she was drilled dissemination is supposed to work. On days where being a Lantean has brought on alien life’s full measure of crazy, it helps her gather her thoughts and calm her down.
She and Miko have talked about it since the beginning of their friendship, but aside from a rare evening in either of their quarters it isn’t until a few month into the expedition’s fifth year that the concept is taken a step further.
Alison Porter finds them a room with big windows and light walls and a corner that can be used as a bar and a large floor that is easily furnished with a circle of tables. Anna Simpson, Jennifer Keller, Rafaela Esposito and Alison join Colette and Miko in a knitting circle where nobody knits a thing and everybody brings a laptop and writes papers.
The walls get lined with whiteboards in no time. They decide that in stark contrast to what happens in their respective labs, it’s forbidden to shout at people for the thoughts they’re trying to work through in this space. Anything brought up in the labs or the infirmary, during staff or department meetings, off-world, in the mess hall is free game, but unless one is formally asked to co-author or for one’s input one keeps quiet. If one absolutely can’t contain oneself, one keeps one’s comment to abstract length on a post-it note and lays out why one thinks one’s colleague is wrong. No more than one note may be taped to the whiteboard in question at a time.
Considering how competitive every single one of the original members and every woman they add to their number is known to be when their intellect is challenged, it works surprisingly well. The only times things get loud occur when someone pipes up because they’re stuck on a certain word and get bombarded by alternative translations/expressions/definitions from all sides.
They take pity on their male colleagues a few weeks into being stranded on Earth. Dr. McKay is allowed to participate provided he understands that he is not there as anyone’s boss and keeps his voice to a certain volume. It turns out that their CSO appreciates their obvious dedication to their work. The atmosphere in the labs – as well as their chances to repair the Stardrive – improves dramatically.
The knitting circle is suspended the last days before they depart and remains on hiatus until they have all recovered from their hangovers after reuniting Teyla with the Athosians. It’s at that point at the very latest that Dr. Corrigan starts taking notes for a study of what Colette has heard Dr. McKay call ‘our hippie science room’.
The friends they have made among the marines can think them beyond weird all they want, but sometimes Colette just can’t relax with a good book or a movie or a game, not even with her significant other. Mostly because Dr. Biro needs Dr. Kusanagi sitting right there hunched over the table nearest to hers. Even if they’re playing footsie since they may both be private people but they made very certain their respective work spaces would be close enough to do just that.
And if between crises and sleepless weeks a Satedan warrior approaches Colette about collaboration on a handbook on Wraith weaknesses in combat situations, if a year later a bunch of Athosian veterans of numerous off-world Cullings come up to her and tell her that they survived their latest skirmish on a trading partners’ world because of Kanaan’s translated version of it, if the news is overheard by Dr. Zelenka and he repeats it in front of the entire circle and there are hugs and kisses that last longer than any Colette has ever allowed herself in public… well, Dr. McKay called it. It’s a place of love.