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Live and Learn

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Teyla first noticed it as she was hunting for Aiden Ford, who had last been reported "somewhere over near the medical wing, I think he was going for some pepto bismol," down halls that the Urth-born had claimed for their studies of things-related-to-living-things.

More specifically, she heard voices from an open doorway, and looked in to see Doctor Beckett and several people in yellow or blue shirts sitting on the floor, intently studying the lab-top devices they had set on the room's benches.

"It's in this issue," Doctor Tatopoulos said, before uttering a string of words in the language that many of the Tellurians -- including Teyla's new comrades -- had the bad habit of falling back into, despite Doctor Weir's wish that they adopt the Ring-speech for ease of communication.

Some of the wizards and two of the medics laughed in return.

"What is 'it,'" Teyla asked, "and what are you doing here?"

"Oh, hello... is it all right if I call you Teyla?" Doctor Tatopoulos said, shifting from absent-mindedness to good-natured self-deprecation as he fully noticed her. When she nodded, he continued, "The article we're looking at -- which cited both my work and Carson's, by the way -- is called 'Energy Absorption and Genetic Activation in Lee-Msamati Node Possessors: Radiation Doesn't Work That Way (Except When It Does)' -- "

"You might need to know more of our stories to know why that's funny," Doctor Biro said dryly.

" -- and we're furthering our pursuit of knowledge by catching up on our reading."

"...did the Ancestors share your joke, then, or is it an amusing coincidence that the essay is called by a name that seems funny to you?"

"What?" Doctor Tatopoulos blinked at her for a moment before clarifying, "Oh -- these aren't Ancient, they're written by other people back on," his voice stumbled for a moment, "the Mother-earth."

"I had thought," Teyla said uncertainly, "that you had learnt all that your homeworld had to know, and certainly that the Ring does not have enough power to reach thither again and send messages back and forth."

"No, no," Doctor Beckett said, a slight frown skewing his eagerness for a moment. "We haven't the power to dial home, of course, but at home the professions have -- " the word he used meant something like 'newsbooks,' and Teyla' recollection of the exact definition was hazy enough that she wished that they had had cause to traverse the Ring that day -- "for which we write articles, and if we're busy enough, as we were when preparing for the expedition, we haven't time to do more than skim the titles, so we lay them by -- thank goodness for digitization, computer files take up much less space than all that paper -- to take with us, because we don't know all there is to know, and we're discovering more all the time."

"Just because we're seeing what the Ancients knew doesn't mean that we -- general we -- can't discover at least some of it for ourselves, or that the people back home aren't continually expanding human knowledge of the universe," a lovely woman said, smiling. "I'm Kate Heightmeyer, by the way; don't believe we've been introduced. And when we find something out, we write up an account of it and send it to such a trade's newsbook so that everyone else can learn of it when they have a few spare moments, as we do now."

"And that we can discuss it together," Doctor Beckett put in. "It was Kate's idea to do group reading so that we can talk to each other, as there's so much to learn here that we probably won't have much time free, and we'll want to finish with what we've brought sooner so as to be ready for experiments and database trawling."

"At least we have spare moments every so often," another blue-clad wizard, one whose name (embarrassingly enough) Teyla could not quite recall at the moment, snorted. "I heard that even when SG-1 went to Disneyland they spent half their time reading trade newsbooks."

"Well, Disneyland is made up of three roughly equal parts," Ford said from beyond the doorway in the room's left wall. "The rides, the stores, and the lines; what else were they supposed to do all the time they were in that last? Talk over interstellar policy or then-Major Carter's latest doohickey? Sorry I was held up, Teyla; I'm looking forward to sparring with you."

"As am I."

"I was thinking, maybe I could show you a few Marine tricks, and you could get me started on how to use your stick thingies..."

"It is a bantos, or for Ringspeech, a bantos rod; not a stick, and certainly not a... thingy."

"Uh... " Ford tried to pull his neck into the shelter of his shoulders.

"My advice, Lieutenant?" Kate Heightmeyer offered. "Learn to quit while you're ahead."