Buff in the Bluff
“You know, my scoutmaster would probably have called this a bluff,” Rodney explained slightly distractedly as they approached the clump of trees. They might not be the same species as on Earth, but they were close enough equivalents. His head was still a bit blurry, no doubt because of the highly suspicious beverage that the villagers had served them last night. Both Teyla and John had noted that it would be impolite not to taste what was offered, so Rodney had. Several times.
At least the climate in this region of the planet was warm enough and they did have an armed escort of sorts, courtesy of the village Matriarch; an already greying but still an exceedingly vivacious woman with an incredibly loud laugh. Two broad-shouldered, tanned men carrying ceremonially carved wooden clubs walked on each side of the team, which at the moment was led by Teyla—(was she snickering?)—followed by Sheppard, then McKay, and finally Ronon.
“What, us being asked very nicely to walk through a mile of fields to a bunch of trees to fix some Ancient thingy that has just suddenly broken down, or the fact once we agreed to do this, we were very sternly explained that we’d have to do it naked because the site is ‘sacred’?” Sheppard inquired over his shoulder in his irritatingly insightful manner.
“Thank you for your input, mister smart-ass, but neither,” Rodney snapped in response, while simultaneously observing the ass in question, bouncing to the rhythm of Sheppard’s steps; it might not be intelligent per se, but was nonetheless very pleasingly shaped and attached to a rather stunning body, that did house a surprisingly keen mind. The whole package was fascinating Rodney more than he wanted to admit. (Surely because of the aforementioned beverage?)
“I meant an aspen and willow grove typically surrounding a slough” Rodney elaborated in his best ‘let me educate you’-voice. “Slough being a shallow pond that is located in a field that usually dries up in the summer.” In the absence of his underlings, and in his current state of undress, he however lacked the appropriate authority. Behind Rodney, Ronon definitely snickered, despite the fact that he was just as naked as the rest of them.
Well, apart from Teyla of course. The society on this planet being strongly female-oriented—and led—she was allowed to enter the ‘shrine’ fully clothed. She had courteously averted her eyes during the ceremonial undressing and bathing, but Rodney suspected Teyla had sneaked a few stealthy peeks at them at some point. Unlike the Matriarch, who blatantly let her gaze wander all over her “saviours” while she oversaw the proceedings.
Right now she was walking unhurriedly at the rear of the group, the hem of her long gown rustling against the well beaten path. Every once in a while, she gave a strangely contented sigh. It made Rodney wish he had something to cover his behind as well as his frontal region.
“This some Canadian language thing again?” Sheppard moaned in protest, while stepping after Teyla into the circle of trees and surveying the surroundings.
They had at least been allowed to carry their guns, or in Rodney’s case, his strategically placed laptop. Ronon and Sheppard didn’t seem to mind being so... exposed. But then again, carrying a P90 probably helped you feel protected, not to mention having a weapon strapped to your well defined, muscular thigh.
“Well, yes,” Rodney reluctantly admitted, shaking his head to banish the strange urge to fondle that thigh, and advanced towards the pillar shaped device that did actually sit half buried in what appeared to be a muddy pit, possibly a slough. It appeared to be of Ancient design, but he couldn’t tell its purpose. “Those particular definitions are unique to certain Canadian prairie regions.”
Sheppard just smiled wryly, and gave a curt nod to Ronon and Teyla, signalling them to relax, but keep an eye out for anything unusual.
“Canadian is a language?” Ronon taunted with a grin as he walked past, taking position a little further away. Sheppard had obviously briefed the Satedan on the matter.
“Ha ha, your Neanderthal humour just cracks me up,” Rodney retorted absent-mindedly, his mind already working on the puzzle of the pillar. Teyla stayed behind the device, but Sheppard leaned on it, right next to Rodney.
“Nah, they just mess about with ours,” John added insult to injury, and that was just too much for Rodney.
The Matriarch was very pleased with the visitors Teyla had brought with her this time. They claimed to come from the City of the Ancients, but the Matriarch had heard many such a claim during her years as the leader of this village. But it would be entertaining to find out what these people were really made of. If nothing else, they were surely a sight for sore eyes in every sense, she mused and smiled widely.
Settling down onto a nearby rock, the Matriarch listened as the bickering continued. It sounded intense, but she could sense it acted as a bond between these individuals. They should just admit their desires and have sex, makes things easier, the Matriarch reflected. Had always worked for her with her three husbands.
Finally Teyla interrupted, diplomatically suggesting they should begin their efforts to mend the device instead of debating over trivial matters. The taller warrior soon got bored and began ambling around the clearing, idly spinning his weapon with his hand. Yet his body seemed poised for action, muscles tight under his skin.
The one in charge was similarly in readiness, but in a more controlled manner. He kept pestering the scientist, who had finally lifted the machine covering him in order to begin his examination of the Pillar of the Ancients. The Matriarch actually favoured him over the two others. Fit and well built as they were, there was something about the coyness of this McKay that appealed to her. Always love to see a man blush, she thought to herself, and smiled.
Teyla approached her, leaving the men to fuss about the machine. “Has the Pillar broken down like this before?” she inquired, sitting down beside her, to also enjoy the view the Matriarch suspected.
“Oh yes, several times in the past,” she replied, nodding her head. She sighed happily as McKay bent over to take a closer look at the inscription at the base of the pillar. “But never too seriously.”
“So someone, a visitor to your village, has always managed to restore the functionality of the device?” Teyla asked, and from the corner of her eye, the Matriarch saw her covertly inspect each male in turn, including the guards. The Matriarch had always liked this strong leader of the Athosians; she had a feeling they had much in common.
“Always!” she exclaimed cheerfully, turning towards Teyla for a moment. “After I return the seven key crystals I confiscated last night after the welcoming celebrations, to produce the malfunction.” A wide grin spread across her wrinkled features, as Teyla turned to look at her with a puzzled expression.
“It never hurts to test the intelligence and wits of those who visit our fair village, as well as their polite manners and willingness to help,” the Matriarch explained with a knowing smile. She’d always found it useful not to inform any visitor about the detailed instructions handed down from Matriarch to Matriarch regarding the usage of the Pillar, unless they proved themselves worthy.
“And at my age,” she added with another grin. “I take every change I get to enjoy the wonderful variations of the male magnificence.“ Teyla grinned back and chuckled, and soon the air was filled with their laughter.
To the Matriarch’s surprise—and disappointment—the scientist figured out quite quickly that pieces of the device had deliberately been removed, thus exposing her trick and proving he was indeed exceptionally intelligent, but ending her fun far too soon. But she would conjure up some other plan in time for their next visit. After all, she hadn’t been chosen to be Matriarch for her looks alone.
~~~ End ~~~