“So,” Rodney said to Martouf. “You mean that the only reality where I go out with Colonel Carter is the one where she’s a guy and I’m a woman?”
“Not this again,” John said, rolling his eyes. He looked wryly at Rodney. “You could really give a guy a complex, you know.”
Rodney just waved a hand. “Right, right. Complex. Whatever. Martouf and I are talking, here.”
Dave was quietly seething to himself in the corner of the elevator, hands clenched and his whole body practically vibrating with rage. “Gonna fucking kill them. They’re dead. Dead, dead, dead.”
“That is not the only one,” Martouf said to Rodney in his quiet, precise voice. “I should have clarified--that is the only reality the shaman mentioned where you and Carter went on to have a long and mutually beneficial relationship. There were many others where you both were attracted to one another.”
“Oh yeah.” Rodney grinned. “I knew she couldn’t resist me.”
“How many realities where I get to go out with someone else?” John asked Martouf, glaring at Rodney.
Martouf slid his eyes away from John, and he coughed. “It seems we have almost reached our destination.”
The elevator clunked to a halt, and the metal mesh doors slid open. SG-15 walked out into the sterile cold of the Antarctic Research Facility.
“Wait,” John said, putting his hand on Martouf’s shoulder. “Wait--you didn’t answer my question!”
“Doctor Weir, I presume,” Martouf said, extending his hand and smiling warmly.
“You must be Martouf and Lantash,” Weir said. She shook his hand. “I’ve read a great deal about your missions with SG-1. It’s an honor to meet you.”
Martouf inclined his head. “The honor is mine. I look forward to working with you. Lantash also.” Martouf gestured at Rodney, John and Dave. “These are the other members of SG-15--Dr. Rodney McKay, Major John Sheppard, and our leader, Colonel David Dixon.”
John noticed he still had his hand on Martouf’s shoulder, and yanked it away, standing smartly at ease.
“I’ve been following your work on deciphering Ancient technology, Dr. McKay,” Weir said, shaking Rodney’s hand. She gave a small laugh. “I can’t say that I understand it all, but I’m thrilled that you’ll be on my team. I was actually hoping that you’d agree to head the science division.”
Rodney gaped, blinked, finally remembered to shut his mouth. “What?”
“He means ‘yes, of course I will, thank you so much for offering,’” John said smoothly. He moved in front of Rodney and offered his hand. “You just have to know how to translate from the original geek.”
Weir grinned, then took his hand. “Major Sheppard. I’m very pleased to meet you. I look forward to your help with the military aspect of our mission to Atlantis.”
Rodney blinked himself back to the moment at that. “You’ve found the address?”
“Not yet.” Weir shook her head. “But Dr. Jackson is sure he’s on the right track. I expect it’s only matter of time before we know where it’s located.” She turned to Dave, extending her hand to him. “Colonel Dixon.”
“Ma’am.” Dave gave her what he probably thought was a charming smile, but he wasn’t even really looking at her. Instead, he was using his considerable size to see over the top of her head, searching the length of the facility.
Weir pulled her hand back, tilting her head quizzically. “Are you looking for someone?”
“Nope,” Dave said. He gently pushed past her. “Just found ‘em. ‘Scuse me.” He began stalking across the facility, heading for a small cluster of scientists gathered around a large metal chair.
“Uh-oh,” John said.
“Right,” Rodney said.
“Please excuse us, Doctor,” Martouf said, smiling winningly.
All three of them took off after Dave, leaving a bewildered Weir staring behind them.
“Awright,” Dave bellowed as soon as he reached the control chair, “which one of you asswipes was in this thing when that Ancient drone came after us?”
All three scientists who had been talking excitedly about drones and mental acuity backed up a step, with expressions like they had just been run to ground by a rabid dog. The small, scruffy-looking one with glasses and the thin one with dark hair looked at each other, then as one pointed at the third, who was bearded and wearing a blue fleece.
“It was him,” they both said.
“Thank you,” Dave growled. He was in front of the bearded man in two steps and a second later had one of his massive hands around his throat, the other pulled back in a fist.
The scientist with his neck in Dave’s hand made a small, meeping noise like a trapped mouse. The other two stared, then looked at each other and quietly backed away until they could turn and run.
“Whoa! Whoa! Take it easy!” John grabbed one of Dave’s arms, while Martouf latched on to the other. Rodney started working at prying Dave’s fingers from the other man’s throat.
“I’m sure he did not mean to launch a missile at our helicopter, Colonel,” Martouf said, panting a little.
“Sure he did!” Dave was still growling, trying to fight his arm free of John, who was being shaken like a rag doll. “That’s what this fuckin’ thing does. He was trying to take us out!”
“I swear I wasn’t trying to shoot you!” The scientist rasped. He had a Scottish accent, though his voice was somewhat garbled because of the hand around his throat.
“God...damn...it... Will...you...let...GO!” Rodney finally managed to get Dave’s fingers to detach, and the scientist slumped gratefully to the dais with the chair, gasping with a hand pressed to his neck.
Dave snarled and lunged at Rodney, dragging John and Martouf with him. Rodney yelped and backpedaled, hands raised.
“You can’t do this, Dave!” Rodney shouted at him. “This is crazy! You need me!”
Dave stepped forward, still dragging John and Martouf. “Not that much.”
“Oh, Dr. McKay.” Daniel Jackson bounded up, holding a dry-erase marker. “I need to see you and Elizabeth.” He glanced at Dave, and John and Martouf hanging on to him. “SG-15, right?”
“Right,” John panted. “Major Sheppard.” He gestured with his chin at Dave. “Colonel Dixon. You know Martouf...”
“Pleased to meet you,” Jackson said, before turning back to Rodney. “Do you know where Elizabeth is?”
“Right here,” Weir said tersely. She marched up like she was going into battle, with two young Marines right behind her. “Colonel, stand down!”
Dave swiveled his head to look over his shoulder at her. “This’ll only take a minute.”
“Colonel,” Weir said with dangerous calm, “if you do not stop threatening those men this second I swear to god I will order you shot, do you understand?”
Dave looked like he was considering that, then finally dropped his arms. He turned around, nearly throwing John to the floor when the major didn’t let go fast enough. “He nearly killed us!” Dave said, pointing behind him at the scientist still on the dais.
“Look,” the scientist said. “We're doing research. Working with technology that's light-years beyond us, and we make mistakes. I’m incredibly, incredibly sorry.”
“Dr. Beckett wasn’t trying to shoot down your helicopter, Colonel,” Weir said.
Dave sniffed. “Well, he should be more careful next time.”
“That’s what I said,” Beckett grumbled. Rodney helped him off the floor.
“Likewise, colonel,” Weir said, looking no less angry. “Next time I expect you to control yourself. Is that clear?”
“Sorry,” Dave said. He ducked his head a little. “I just get pissed real easy when my boys are almost killed.” He turned to look at Beckett, who didn’t actually cringe. “No offense.”
“None taken,” Beckett squeaked.
“Elizabeth,” Jackson spoke up. He was fiddling with his marker in obvious excitement. “Do you have a minute?”
Weir looked at Beckett and the four member of SG-15, keeping her eyes on Dave the longest. “I do now,” she said.
“There is no need for me to try the command chair, Major,” Martouf said. “I was not born on Earth--there is no possibility that I have the ATA gene.”
“C’mon, ya pansy-ass,” Dave said. “It’s not gonna hurt you.” He gestured at John. “Shep already tried it and got it to do all kinds of pretty stuff.” He grinned evilly. “I figured Weir was gonna have an orgasm right there.”
Martouf looked at Dave reproachfully. “You are disgusting.”
Dave chuckled. “Yep. Get in the damn chair.”
“He’s worried it might kill him,” John said.
“Huh?” Dave looked astonished. “You going on about that crap again?”
“Well,” Martouf said, looking a little embarrassed, “after the near-miss with the missile earlier today--"
“What, you think you’re overdue to get your ticket punched, Marty?” Dave shook his head. “That’s the dumbest load of crap I ever heard. You ain’t gonna die in this reality and that’s final.” He pointed at Martouf’s head. “Ask Lettuce. Lettuce thinks that’s crap too, doesn’t he?”
“Lantash,” Martouf said.
“If he doesn’t want to sit in the chair, he doesn’t have to sit in the chair, sir,” John said. “I’m sure Weir has more than enough Ancient tech users by now, anyway--and Rodney hasn’t even been tested yet.”
“He doesn’t have it,” Dave said, lifting a hand dismissively.
John’s eyebrows rose. “How do you know?”
“He’s too tubby and pasty-looking to have the gene,” Dave said, nodding decisively.
John frowned. “He’s not fat! He’s not!” He insisted to Martouf, who shrugged.
“I never thought so myself,” Martouf said.
“Quit procrastinating,” Dave said to Martouf. “Get in the damn chair.”
“Colonel...” Martouf said.
“Colonel...” John said.
Dave huffed out a sigh. “Fine. Here. I’ll show you how safe the damn thing is. Move over.” He shoved Martouf aside and sat down.
“He’s volatile, dangerously unorthodox and... and dangerous,” Wier said. “I’m not comfortable having him as head of the military branch of this mission.”
She was sitting in the tiny office she had claimed for herself as assigned head of the research facility. Daniel Jackson had finished explaining that he had discovered the address for Atlantis, and McKay had gone to meet the scientists who would be working under him. Now she was speaking to General O’Neill over the radio, as he was being flown in to the base.
“I’m afraid my hands are tied, Doctor,” O’Neill said. “The only other officers willing and able to take on the command were Colonels Sumner and Everett. And they both retired last month.”
Weir’s eyes widened. “To avoid the possibility of going to Atlantis?”
“Nope,” O’Neill said. “I think they moved to Boston and got married.”
“Oh,” Weir said, then paused. “Wait--to each other?”
She could practically hear O’Neill’s grin over the other end of the radio. “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Weir rubbed her forehead. “Surely there’s enough precedent to recall them both? They would have to realize that by the very nature of this mission--"
“Look,” O’Neill said, cutting her off, “I understand your concerns here, I really do. But Dixon is a great guy, honestly. He’s saved the world at least twice, and his teams love him, and he’s gotta be the most loyal, forthright, stand-up kind of guy--"
“He’s insane,” Weir said flatly.
“Well, yeah,” O’Neill said. “He does go outside the box. Far outside the box...But the thing is--"
There was an extremely loud explosion, and a sudden drop in temperature.
Weir picked herself off the floor, scrambling to re-connect the earpiece of her radio. “General!” She yelled into it, “General! Are you all right?”
“Holy fuck!” O’Neill answered immediately. “The roof! The fucking roof blew up!”
“What?” Weir ran out of her office, into the large open space of the facility.
Everyone was gathered in the area around the control chair, all looking shaken and astonished and up at the clear blue sky, now completely visible the length of the facility, where once the domed roof had been. A bit of snow drifted in, sparkling in the sunlight.
Colonel Dave Dixon was in the chair, which was reclined and glowing a pleasant blue like the sky. He was blinking upwards.
“Whoa,” he said. “Did I do that?” He tilted his head so he could look up at Martouf, who was staring at him with a face nearly blank with shock. “Fucking A. I told you, Marty, you gotta try this thing.”
“I’m never touching that again,” Becket said.
Rodney nodded numbly. “That might...That might not be a bad idea.”