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Preparing for Atlantis

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Rodney held his breath as he opened the email. It was from the IOA and he firmly hoped it was about the position he had applied for on the Atlantis Expedition. He had been waiting to hear from them for ten days now and thought their response was overdue.

Dear Dr. McKay,

The International Oversight Advisory is pleased to offer you the position of the Chief Scientist on the proposed Atlantis Expedition. Your academic background and experience with Stargate Command will be an asset to the Expedition.

Attached you will find the following documents:

--your employment contract for the Expedition
--a non-disclosure agreement
--an outline of the initial reports to be completed and returned to the IOA

Your signature (use the links for electronic signatures below) is required on each form as soon as possible but no later than ten (10) days after receipt of this offer.

If you have any questions about any of these documents, please contact me directly. I will be serving as the liaison between members of the Expedition and the IOA.

Congratulations on your selection to the team.

Richard Woolsey
IOA Liaison

Rodney downloaded the attachments to look them over. The NDA would probably be pretty standard, but he wanted to see what was included in the employment contract. His current contract with the SGC was pretty sweet, so he was hoping for something special.

Just then Fermi jumped on Rodney's lap. Rodney reached down to scritch Fermi behind his ears and the cat started purring.

"Damn," Rodney said gently. "That means I have to give you up. I certainly won't be allowed to take much along, much less a pet." He brought the cat into his arms for a snuggle.

Fermi 'mrrumphed' in a way to let Rodney know that is was dinner time and his food bowl was empty.

"Oh, yes?" Rodney teased. "You're not here for me, at all, are you? You're hungry."

The cat bumped the bottom of Rodney chin. Well, maybe both.

"Let's get you fed, and I should have something myself while I read through this stuff," Rodney said, getting up from his desk.

Looking through the cabinet, Rodney paused for a moment. "Good thing you're not picky, How about tuna tonight?" Rodney held the can up so Fermi could see it.

Fermi flicked his tail and sat down to wait.

Rodney opened the can and scooped the food into a dish. Fermi bumped his head against Rodney's leg in a Put it down! I'm stah-ving! motion.

"Here you go!" Rodney said with a small grin.

Since it was a Tuesday afternoon, Rodney knew his neighbor Carole wouldn't be home from work as yet. He'd have to see if she'd be interested in taking Fermi permanently. She was generous about taking care of Fermi when Rodney was on a mission, and he knew she enjoyed taking care of the cat.

He made a mental note to try to catch up with her later in the evening.

He called John.

"Hey, Sheppard!" he said. "Guess who's the new Chief Science Officer for the Atlantis Expedition?"

"Hmm..." John hummed over the phone. "Don't tell me they gave Beckett the job?" he said.

Rodney spluttered. "What? Why? Oh! You're giving me a hard time, aren't you?"

John laughed. "Yes, I am. And congratulations! You've earned it!"

"Thank you!" Rodney replied. "Of course, they start off with a ton of reports they want done."

"And I'm going to guess you have most of them done already, then!" John said.

Rodney grinned. "Of course," he said smugly. "They haven't asked for anything terribly interesting, so I can finish them off and make a good first impression."

"First impressions are important," John agreed solemnly.

"As you know!" Rodney replied.

John had stunned Rodney with his ability to use the chair at the Ancient outpost, which made him pepper the Major with endless questions. He was lucky that Sheppard really didn't mind and soon they had moved on to other topics, although Weir kept trying to break in, trying to convince Sheppard that he was critical to the mission.

After General O'Neill had taken Sheppard away, Rodney had hacked into the military database to find out more about his new friend. Something about the black mark on Sheppard's record had given Rodney the heebie-jeebie's, so he sent of a question to one of his CIA contacts. That had resulted in a shit-storm of fairly epic proportions.

"McKay! What did you do?" John demanded over the phone.

"Major Sheppard!" Rodney replied. "Good to hear from you! How are you doing? Wait! How did you get this number?"

"General O'Neill gave it to me when I was transferred to his command," John replied. "Now. What. Did. You. Do?"

Rodney shrugged, then remembered Sheppard couldn't see him. "I just... well, call it an independent audit," he admitted.

"Huh." Sheppard said and was quiet for a moment. "You must have some good... friends."

"Well, let's just say I have people who owe me favors," Rodney admitted. "And, honestly, I can't tell you more than that."

"Then put me on that list. I owe you one, too," Sheppard replied.

"Wait! No, I didn't do it for that!" Rodney protested.

"Still. I guess you're stuck with me," Sheppard said.

"Does that mean you're going to Atlantis with us?" Rodney asked.

"Guess I am," Sheppard admitted with a smile.

From that point, Rodney had kept in regular touch with Sheppard, which sooner than Rodney expected from his previous experience with the military, turned into John.

It was a week later that a knock at the door revealed Rodney's neighbor Carole.

"Oh! Hey! I wanted to talk to you!" Rodney let her into the apartment.

"Then it's a good thing I came around," Carole replied. "I have news for you, too!"

"Ladies first, then," Rodney said. "I hope it's good news. Come in. Coffee?"

Carole shook her head. "No, too late in the day for me. And I just had dinner. Thanks," she said. She sat on the couch and Fermi jumped up next to her. "Hey, you. Good to see you," she said to the cat.

She looked back up at Rodney. "Well, it's good news for me, anyway," Carole said. "I put in for a promotion at work and got the job!"

"Good for you," Rodney answered, not that he knew anything about what Carole did, but a promotion was a promotion.

"And, well, the bad news is that I have to move to Baltimore," Carole went on. "Middle of next week."

"Wow! That's quick!" Rodney said.

"I negotiated that the company would buy out my lease here and move me into a furnished apartment. Finding a place to live that fast is hard and if I can get someone else to find me a semi-decent place for the first few months, that's the best. That means all I need to take is my clothes and personal things, and don't have to mess with furniture and appliances."

"That's even better," Rodney replied. "Good for you!"

"The really bad news is that I won't be available to take care of Fermi for you anymore," Carole added with a sad look, scritching Fermi under the chin.

That made Rodney sit up. "And I'm going on a long term assignment soon. I was going to ask if you wanted to keep Fermi, since he's been happy with you."

Carole shook her head. "The new apartment is firmly no pets, sorry," she said sadly.

"Damn!" Rodney swore. "I don't know anyone else to even think about asking."

By now, Fermi had crawled into Carole's lap and she hugged him. "I don't know anyone looking for a pet, but if I find anyone, I can let you know?"

"That would be a help," Rodney admitted.

"Call the vet's office, maybe?" Carole suggested. "Since he's purebred and a rare breed, they may know someone who will at least put him in a foster home until they can find a forever home."

"I guess that's a better idea," Rodney frowned. "I just hate not knowing where he'd end up. And I don't want to send him back to the breeder I got him from, that's not a good option. The breeder was mostly okay, but it really felt like a glorified kitten mill."

"If I think of anything else, I'll let you know, but I'm going to be pretty busy packing up," Carole admitted. "And probably working long hours, since I have to turn over what I'm doing here to someone else."

"I appreciate you letting me know," Rodney said.

Carole hugged the cat. "I'm going to miss seeing you," she said into his fur. "You be a good kitty, no matter where you go."

"You going to be moving out, too?" Carole asked as she put Fermi down and stood up.

"I did manage to keep the apartment as part of the project I'm working on," Rodney admitted. "I'll have a management company dealing with keeping an eye on the place and have it cleaned once a month. I don't quite know when I'll be back, but wanted to have somewhere to go if I do."

"That's an amazing deal!" Carole replied. "Good luck to you on your next assignment then!"

"Thanks!" Rodney replied. "Good luck to you, too!"

As Rodney shut the door, Fermi came up and wound himself between Rodney's legs. He picked the cat up.

"Now what am I going to do?" Rodney asked.

Fermi butted Rodney's chin and purred.