Carlos Alvarez was not letting any of the geeks on this ship know he actually understood more of the math and physics they batted back and forth than he needed too. It had taken him two days to convince the red-haired linguist that he was: (1) not interested in joining them in their bid to take over Atlantis; and (2) not interested in having an affair with him. That hadn't stopped the British woman who just got up from the table he was sharing with Dr. Zelenka and Jake from trying to pick him up.
That wasn't the first time a man had come onto him, but it was first while on a military vessel. No one around had batted an eye; not even the marine that had passed them in the hallway. And now he was beginning to understand Jake's earlier rant about the weird military behavior. That was until he finally read through all the regulations for the SGC and Atlantis Base--which had a secondary set of regulations, as it was both multi-national and civilian run.
It seemed reminding them that Daniel Jackson was on board and down on the science deck often got them to turn around and scuttle off towards their high king--Jensen's name for Daniel. Cougar just never mentioned that O'Neill was also in the lab doing paperwork and he just hoped that having to figure out a way around the General kept them busy and away from him for the rest of the trip.
He moved his knight and prayed that the little Czech scientist ignored the open rook and took the bishop instead. Cougar was still on "desk duty" for another couple of days. But the doctor was positive he would be back to full strength before the Apollo was in orbit around Atlantis in another two weeks.
"Are they all so," and he wasn't even sure how to finish the question about the linguist who had just left the table.
Zelenka chuckled. "You are trying to distract, but I will let you keep your rook. For now. There is sometimes battle of sorts among the 'soft' and 'hard' sciences on Atlantis. You are free agent. This is all Rodney's fault." Zelenka shrugged. "Sometimes battle is geek versus military."
Just by the grin on Zelenka's face he figured it was all good-natured fun but that the military did not come out on top in all the little tiffs. And he didn't have a hard time believing that. Jake was a geek at heart...a geek with tons of military skills, but when someone pissed Jake off he went after them geek-style. Their credit score would drop and if he was really pissed a car would get repossessed. He'd even put a senator on the no fly list. Not that Cougar would ever admit to knowing any of this.
Cougar did not want to think about what could happen on a city like Atlantis. Also, Zelenka was one hell of a chess player.
"Perhaps you should stay neutral like Colonel."
Thanks to the after action reports and the information Jake was able to acquire to fill in the blanks and the information he'd picked up from other people's conversations he knew several things about Lt. Colonel John Sheppard. Not the least of which was the fact that had he been in the Army instead of the Air Force Sheppard could easily have been a Loser. And that was something Cougar actually found a little scary.
Major Lorne sidestepped around an anthropologist headed toward their table and snagged the fourth chair at the table. Cougar mentally gave the Major two points for making the move look natural and another for keeping the geek at bay.
For an Air Force officer, Cougar liked Lorne. And like Sheppard, Lorne's military jacket was filled with Loser-quality missions. It made Cougar question the sanity of the people involved in the Stargate Program. But it hadn't, at least not yet, made him question his own sanity for agreeing to become part of it. He figured it was Jake's excitement rubbing off on him.
"What is Sheppard neutral on?" Lorne asked.
"Grunts versus geeks."
Lorne snorted. "He only stays out of it because he'd be at home on either side and it's good, mostly, for moral."
Cougar chuckled softly. He knew Lorne himself had a degree in geology and that there was a botanist on his gate team as well. Cougar had also seen the painting of 302s in flight thanks to Jake, so he knew his new XO liked to paint. Definitely the most grounded CO or XO he'd ever had.
Lorne changed the subject with a smile. "I see Jensen got his packages."
Within sixty hours of him and Jensen signing their paperwork and placing orders they'd received everything they had asked for and a few things they hadn't. They now had the standard Atlantis Base uniforms including several used for field missions and a new set of dog tags. Everyone on Atlantis wore them and after having seen what the Wraith could do to a person Cougar could thoroughly understand the reason behind that rule.
There had also been a delivery of three SR-25s. Lorne had told him those were his and that there was another six for Atlantis' armory. When the guns had arrived at the quarters he was sharing with Jake he admitted that he felt instantly better having something that was his--like Jake and his computer. Then Jake had made it better when his friend had unwrapped something he'd taken from the drawer under his bunk and handed it to him.
It was his favorite scope, the one off the riffle he'd taken on board the drilling platform. He wasn't sure when or how Jake had gotten it, but he had smiled and thanked his friend. He tore down all three of the SR-25s, checking for weight, defects, and feel all before cleaning and re-assembling the parts into two complete weapons and a pile of spare parts that could be used to repair either his weapons or the other six. All that was left to do was to test them both to see which would be his primary.
Lorne had apparently figured that would be needed and had managed to talk Colonel Ellis into letting them use the center strip of space in the starboard hangar bay--which meant if any of the 302s in the bay were damaged Atlantis would be losing one of their new fleet of fighters.
The bay hadn't given Cougar distance, but it had shown how each gun would handle. He'd switched out the scopes and tested again until he had been satisfied with the current configurations.
It had been a nice break from "desk duty" that no one was going to mention to the medical staff.
Cougar looked over at Jake and the special package that had arrived along with all the others and smiled. Jake had the headphones from an iPod plugged into his ears, two big books open, his laptop and a note pad spread out in front of him and was scribbling like mad. Jake had gotten the clothes, coffee, candy and electronics he had ordered, as well as homework from Dr. Kusanagi that she expected done by the time Jake arrived on Atlantis.
"Yes," he said. "This is almost the quietest and stillest I've ever seen him."
Lorne grinned. "Savor it now. Atlantis will keep you on your toes."
"There is bet going," Zelenka commented, taking one of Cougar's pawns from the board.
"There is always a bet going." Lorne seemed to remind Zelenka.
"This is true. This bet involves Jake and Rodney and how long before Rodney explodes."
Cougar watched as Lorne nearly choked on a piece of chicken. "You couldn't have waited until I swallowed, Doc?"
"Where is fun in that?"
Lorne shook his head. "We haven't even made it home yet."
Zelenka grinned. "I know. We've determined it will be within hours of them meeting. It will be spectacular. And, check."
Cougar looked down at the board. Sure enough he was in check with limited options of getting his king to safety and maybe only one that didn't end with a checkmate within two moves. He tilted his king to lay on the board and said, "Good game."
"You too." Zelenka bobbed his head in agreement, while packing up the chessboard. "I must return to Engineering."
When Zelenka was out of earshot Lorne informed him that Zelenka was the reining chess champion on Atlantis, and that he normally played two or three games at once during some of the bartering meets. Chess for chocolate and coffee was a big event, especially if Zelenka was playing for you and not against you.
"I will keep that in mind."
"What's in the betting pool and what do I have to do to make McKay explode?" Jake asked, proving that he was aware of and listening to his surroundings even while doing his homework.
Lorne raised an eyebrow.
"We'll cut you in for twenty-five percent on top of your own winnings," Jake whispered.
Cougar tilted his chin. "We?"
"Well, I can't very well place my own bet, now can I? So yes, we."
Lorne shrugged. "Actually, it's pretty easy to set McKay off on a rant. Don't get me wrong, I like the man but he can be a bit of an ass even if he and Doc Z have pulled our asses out of the fire multiple times. Not being an anthropologist or any of the other soft sciences means you won't be able to use that card. To be honest, by the time we get to Atlantis McKay will know everything about you from your files. If you know anything about comics that would be the way to go."
Jake bounced. "Excellent. That I can do."
"Jake," Cougar said, pointing back to the books.
"Right, right. Homework first, planning later."