When the Deadealus started bringing people in, Weir wrote up an orientation, complete with a Powerpoint presentation projected onto the main screen in the mess with colorcoded maps and fifteen minutes on respecting other cultures. Carter kept the idea, but ditched the .ppt, first because they'd shifted to Linux for efficiency by that time and she was minimizing Vista encroachment, and second because the labrats didn't care where the barracks were and the soldiers made a point of treating astrophysics and the botany labs as the same -- rooms full of equipment to break and scientists to either rescue or herd toward shelter. So she gave a brief welcome and introduced the various department heads and let them handle cultural conditioning. They promptly handed it to their seconds; it was a joke that SG:A1 always scheduled off-world trips for the afternoon of Fresh Meat day. Lorne didn't ask how Zelenka or Garcia handled Science and Facilities, but for himself, he had a list. Bullet points were easy.
You keep your title and rank from your own branch, but the organizational chart is the actual line of command. Except when it's not.
"Our supply Sergeant, Gareth Smythe." Lorne said. "We do use site-specific requisition forms and we do have restrictions, but anything you actually need, you should be able to get."
The same private sniggered and Lorne noted his name. This one was going to go one of three ways, dead off world, beaten into shape, or headed back on the next supply run. NDA aside, they didn't need this. Let Cheyenne Mountain deal with them. They had the space to burn. He didn't.
Smythe stepped up to give his spiel. "Most people call me Smitty. Supply is …" Evan didn't hear what the new meat said, but Smitty had the guy's collar in his fist and the guy himself kicking his boots two feet above the floor before anyone could move. Lorne noted the reactions of the rest of the incomings. Apparently, his opinion of the kid wasn't isolated. Two ranks of shiny dogtags and polished boots stared straight ahead. Good.
"Smitty?" He kept his voice even, deliberately exaggerated the drawl.
"Let him down, please."
"Yes, sir." The kid dropped and failed to catch himself, going to one knee. Lorne saw him tense, then rub his collarbone and rejoin the rank. Might be hope for him after all.
Don't piss off Smitty. He runs mail call. Don't piss off Zelenka or McKay. They control the plumbing. In fact, consider yourself on best behavior. Don't piss off anyone. It's a long walk home.
Names become shorthand. In a small community, shunning is incredibly effective. The Jonah effect has transcended the Navy. Kavanaugh got rotated among duty shifts until he rotated to Midway.
Keep your radio on your body. Doors close. Beds fold into walls. Transporters malfunction. If you can't tell us where you are, we can't find you and we'd like to keep the skeletons in the closet figurative.
Radek tapped his radio to respond, "No, Rodney is being Rodney, so best that you not drop by. We have a project. I am sorry."
"Who the hell is that and why are you yammering on the radio when I need ... ," Radek pointed to the laptop beside him, "oh, well, did you double check them?" Rodney finished.
"No," Radek said and Rodney drew a breath and Radek continued, "I triple checked them. Upload the program, Rodney."
It worked. Astonishingly, it even worked on the first try, so Rodney was reduced to muttering about efficiency instead of being able to throw any serious invective or insults into the mix. "Looks like you'll be able to make your date after all, Radek. Tell her to come down."
Radek grunted noncommittally, but it was too late. Rodney was off and running, chattering, "Not that you should have any time to do anything of the sort and hey, why haven't you made it public? Oh, never mind. I understand. Well, it's a closed society, so who cares if she's homely, at least you are getting some, though really, you Eastern Europeans have a different idea of romance, if she was looking for you here. Can't you take her to your quarters? I can send you on the next away mission, let you pick some flowers. Girls like flowers, I've been told. Never really worked for me, though. Once I had a bouquet delivered to the departmental secretary because she was blocking my calls to the dean, I just know she was …" Radek turned his attention to the output streaming across the monitor. All was well within expectations and perhaps this day would end soon. He waited for an opportune moment to interrupt Rodney's verbal stream of thought, "Apparently, lilies are for funerals. Can you believe she actually filed a restraining order against me? Who makes a death threat using flowers? What were we talking about?"
"The person I am, or possibly am not, dating," Radek offered.
"Right, though like I said, I can't imagine how you have time, because you are always here unless you are brownnosing to Sheppard by going along with Major Lorne's self defense classes. I swear half the time I go into the mess hall your hair's wet and you've …" Rodney fell silent and Radek cursed himself. Rodney truly was a genius when he actually looked at something and this, this was something he did not need to see.
"No," Radek said.
Rodney raised one finger and opened his mouth and Radek thought of the impossible hierarchy and the ridiculous American regulations and he grabbed at Rodney's finger and twisted it, hard enough to make McKay wince. Radek hissed, "Rodney, you are so clumsy, so stupid, and if you make this public, Evan will be injured and I will not allow you to do that."
"Okay, okay, god, you make me sound like some sort of socially inept…"
"Rodney," Radek warned.
"Fine fine … whatever."
They turned to their respective computers for a bit. Radek would have to discuss this before Rodney left, impress upon him the seriousness of secrecy, but first he had to get his own temper under control. They worked in silence for a while, until Zelenka calmed a bit.
But Rodney spoke first, "It's not like Sheppard would do anything about it anyway."
Radek sighed, tired of this fight, even though most of it had been within his own mind. "Rodney, he would be forced to by his own regulations. You do not understand the American military."
"No, no, I mean Sheppard…"
"Is his commanding officer. He must …"
"Is getting fucked by Ronon on every other trip through the Stargate."
" Tím, že všechny svaté"
"Or at least the ones civilized enough to have lube, because god knows neither of them have the foresight to bring their own. I swear, if it weren't for me …"
It's a barter economy, and you don't have a hell of a lot to offer. The goods you brought are useless. Now think about what else you brought.
LaShon Reed, who grew up into PFC L.Reed, spent the summer between his third and fourth grade stuck in the house with his great aunt. He came back to a different home and a new school, a changed world, but that summer, he was in limbo, no tv, no friends, nothing but Aunt Luella who still wore aprons in the house and took them off when she went to get the mail. Bored out of his mind, he suffered her to teach him to tat that summer, in the evenings when the heat wouldn't let go of the ground outside. So they'd sit, bound by thread under the window unit.
He never practiced, not once in fifteen years, but once learned, never lost. When the Athosians moved to Atlantea, the inland rivers had fish, not trout, but close enough to cook and a far cry from the oily, bony, not-sturgeon of Athos. So he took cording as thick as his finger and remembered Auntie Lou's silk thread and pulled lark's head knots in circles. He couldn't figure out how to make a square, so all the nets were circles with singles and trebles and rocks tied separately to loose, sloppy picots at the edges. He taught the kids and the kids taught the adults and he smiled every time they served fish in Atlantis. Only some of the Athosians knew his name, but the nets were called Luellas. They were laid to dry in knee high stacks along the dock, making him feel like an ant crawling on a table next to oversized doilies at a church rummage sale.
The Athosians took their nets to New Athos and there they stayed. LaShon accompanied the forensics team to New Athos after Teyla and Dr. Keller returned. He kept his eyes on the sky to watch for Darts and on the gate to watch for Genii and anywhere but the crumpled piles of lark's head entwined netting in abandoned piles on the ground.
You met the CO. He's weird, but he's our weird. Deal or request transfer back to the SGC. End of discussion.
Gilley handed off the second crate of MREs to put into storage.
"Yeah," Gilley grunted.
"What's with the fresh provisions? We got more MREs than I've ever seen in one place."
"Son, did you read your paperwork?"
"You do know you are on another planet, right?"
"Yeah, it just seems... I dunno…"
"How long you with the SGC?"
"Four years, sir."
So that would make him twenty three or so. Less than half his age and dumber than a bag of hammers. "And you slept in your own bunk every single night."
"We bivouacked in the field more than once."
"Mm hummm. Set aside the hamsteak ones."
"We got Muslims with us?
"You got a problem with that?"
"No sir." The kid sounded arrogant in his tolerance. "I'm good with diversity."
"You're gonna have to get better."
The kid worked in sullen silence for a while.
Gilley sighed. "Yeah?'
"What's with the CO? The Major seems like a stand up guy, but the Colonel is… well, he's Air Force."
"You read the reports? The summary ones?"
"Well, I skimmed 'em. But that can't be …"
"You read the one where he rode a nuke into an enemy carrier?"
"Well, yeah, but…"
"You read where it said his personal bodycount is second only to McKay and McKay's using area of effect weaponry?"
"Yeah, hey about him…"
"No, let's finish with Sheppard, first. You ever serve in a unit had one scary sumbitch? Not the big guy and not the asshole. Every unit's got one of each, general issue, like socks, but the one who'd laugh and drink with you but when the noise started would get real quiet and snake fast? The one nobody shortsheeted or fucked with?"
The kid forgot about the box in his hands. "Seriously?"
"Yup, that skinny long haired flyboy is our scary sumbitch."
Chapter 2: Smitty
I wrote up character backgrounds for the people that the show's creators didn't bother to show us, choosing rather to cancel the show and build Stargate:Universe.
Smitty shows up in Mail Call, Orientation, and Clean Thoughts
Everyone sees something different when they look at Smitty. The scientists see a forklift on legs, the children of Athos see a vertical playground with built in safety net, his grandmother sees her husband, in his shiny uniform and ramrod stance. At 6'6", he towered over Weir, then over Carter. But his grandmother was five foot even and 45 kilo after a solid dinner and so he's known from birth that woman give orders and size doesn't give you command authority. Command gives you command authority, the ability to send good men to die for a cause that you may or may not believe in. He's good with his stockroom.
The new troops see his size and think he's the man to beat, the big guy, the one they can make their rep on. So he always goes to the first non-standard training practice, usually scheduled a week after influx, and watches wee Teyla bring overgrown farm-boys turned jarheads to their knees over and over and he smiles. Although he arm wrestles Ronon and doesn't always lose.
He has a family at home and a cousin who died in the Falklands and another who's serving in Iraq as part of the coalition forces, so he's placid about military service and never really considered anything else. He's always been the guy who wades into the bar fight and walks out with a wad of jacket in each hand, holding each combatant above the floor like a mother cat does a kitten. He's conditioned by family training that you rise when a lady sits. He wept, unashamedly, when Diana was killed and also when the Queen Mum died, but he's not particularly fond of Maggie Thatcher. He has elegant beautiful handwriting and is sensitive about it. One of very few things that will piss him off is being told that a note from him looks like it was written by a girl.
He's straight but tolerant:
"Got outed by a reply-all email, hunh?"
"Yeah. Sucks. Oh stop laughing, you know what I mean. … We cool?"
"You planning to make a pass at me?"
"Then we're good."
The gene therapy took, but he's an uneasy flyer, so he's the one they call to unstick toilets and argue with closets because Sheppard's at McKay's beck and call and the botanists get pissy if anyone uses Lorne but them. Each division has a lightswitch guy; he is Life Sciences.
It's common knowledge that he has a crush on Teyla, but that's not true. He watches her with a small and secret smile because she looks like his sister. He's actually got the hots for Cadman something fierce. He will never initiate anything.
Chapter 3: Gilley
see previous chapter for notes
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Edward "Eddie" Gilley
I was thinking of some skinny guy in the mess, looks older than he is. He'll never be a hero, no one knows his name, but he's easy in his skin and competent and willing to take KP and volunteered for the gene therapy with no pressure because he figured Atlantis was better than Norman, Oklahoma and it's not like he had anything to go back to since Susie died. He watches the teams go out and sometimes not come back. He doesn't have any real yen to go out and explore, though he listens to the stories in the mess hall and laughs as loud as any of the others. The only thing he misses are Dorals. And they were going to kill him anyway, just like they did Susie. So he's happy to fall for Atlantis, instead. Everybody calls him Eddie unless he's getting yelled at by an officer, spooning lentil mash on trays, ignoring McKay's kvetching.
He trades treats to the marines for heavy lifting. Eddie's skinny, after all. In all actuality, he's got people that's he's supposed to call in to do it, but it gives him a chance to feed the beasts.
Three months into their first year, he requested a formal meeting with Weir, calendar and everything, asks Carson to attend and he wears his full uniform for the first time since they got here, twists his cover in his hands as he stands in front of her desk and says, "Look, you need to devote some resources to bringing in more protein sources. Tava beans or no, I'm not making my nutrition guidelines and that's fudging upward from the guess-timates we've been having to do. My protein to carb ratio is way off and I can only spike so much milk powder into tava mush. I know that we've got other issues, and I'm not arguing that the mess is more important than breathing, but it's not much less important either and you both know that. Supplements only go so far, and y'all told me not to break into the MREs for anything but off-world teams." He draws his first breath and Weir's nodding and he says more quietly, "Oh and bytheway, there's a man-sized mouse stealing MRE's. He particularly likes the beef ones. I'm not going to make a fuss about it, but if he's not finishing them off, I'll take the peanut butter packs off his hands. No need for it to go to waste if he's not eating them."
He's got a filebox of the DoD-published recipes, but he doesn't use them. They are pretty much good for nothing but quantity estimates anyway and around here, nothing goes to waste.
The DoD recipes link is this: