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Too Much Sun

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"Major Lorne! What can I do for you? I thought we'd agreed to give you and your men an hour before the post-mission physical? Eager to get it over and done with, son?"

Lorne shuffled from one foot to the other anxiously as Beckett approached, sighing in resignation as the doctor raised his eyebrows at the lack of verbal response. He had arrived back from the planet only twenty minutes earlier but felt hot and unwell. Taking another few steps into the infirmary, Lorne stopped again and began to remove his jacket carefully much to Beckett's intrigue.

"I've got this blister."

"Oh? Let me see."

He held out his hand and Beckett took it in a gentle but firm grip, rotating it slightly first one way and then the other, humming in a concerned way that had Lorne even more anxious.

"That's not good...but fortunately, it's treatable." Beckett looked up, straight into Lorne's face, looking at him in a most disconcerting way because it had nothing to do with communication and everything to do with studying his features intently. "Did you not wear a sunscreen while on that planet? Or one of the hazmat suits that Dr. McKay ordered?"

Lorne had the grace to flush with embarrassment. "To tell the truth, I thought Dr. McKay was being a little over-dramatic--"

"Over-dramatic? The man's a bloody genius and he's worked around radioactive sources his entire career so--"

"Dr. Parrish didn't seem to think--"

"Dr. Parrish is a botanist! McKay is an astrophysicist and nuclear scientist. There's more than a wee bit of difference in those disciplines." Beckett sighed. "I put the recommendation for sunscreen into the medical orders for this mission should the search carry on into daytime. Was anyone else on that planet out during the daylight without a sunscreen?"

"I think...most of them, doc."

"Aye, I should have guessed." Beckett was shaking his head. "Stupid...the lot of you. Bloody stupid!" He took a deep breath and called on his radio to Weir. "Elizabeth, I need everyone from the last mission in my infirmary now."

Elizabeth responded immediately. "I thought you'd agreed to let them clean up and get a hot meal before--"

"Well, I've changed my mind now I know how bloody stupid the lot of them have been."

"Carson?"

"Major Lorne's here with second degree sunburn and, knowing the near lethal levels of iodizing radiation on the planet during the daylight hours, I'll have to start treating him for radiation poisoning too. Thankfully, none of them would have been overexposed and the Asgard treatment should be sufficient..."

Lorne shook his head in self-directed anger as he listened to Beckett end the call and start yelling at his medical staff. As the rest of the team trooped in one by one, looking disgruntled at the change in orders, Lorne noticed the small blisters on exposed flesh. He thought about his derisory comments to McKay, only now aware that the only idiot out there had been him.

Beckett seemed to read his mind. "Rodney McKay may be a bit of an ass on occasion, but he's rarely wrong. You should have heeded his advice...and mine!"

"Yeah."

Lorne smarted at that, recalling how he had told McKay that he had to be a genius to have figured out a way to stop himself being shot by Sheppard but now he understood what kept the Colonel from dumping McKay off his team, or killing the annoying man. Of all of them, the only other person he knew of who was wearing sunscreen that day was Colonel Sheppard, and Lorne had a suspicion that it had less to do with Becket's orders and everything to do with his faith in McKay....because McKay was rarely wrong.

THE END