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McKay had been called back to Cheyenne Mountain to fix the Ring pedestal. Not that the SGC had a proper Ring pedestal, as far as Ronon knew – just a bunch of computers. McKay had told them for years it was going to break down, and finally it had, trapping three teams off world.

Sheppard had been summoned to Washington to be grilled by the leaders of a whole lot of minor city-states. Nations, whatever. Ronon didn't give a fuck about Earth politics. Satedan politics had been bad enough, and Earth was a million times more populous than Sateda in its day. Stood to reason they'd have crowds of minor chieftains, all jostling for power.

Ronon had wanted to go along as back-up, maybe glare at the bastards who were hassling Sheppard, take a few of them out if they pushed it too far. Just a stun blast, or maybe a flesh wound, nothing serious. Sheppard had been pretty tempted, Ronon could tell, but in the end he'd clapped Ronon on the shoulder and said "Appreciate the offer, big guy, but I think I can handle it."

San Francisco without Sheppard and McKay sucked. Ronon wanted to get back to Pegasus and keep on killing Wraith. He hoped Sheppard could pry the city out of the clutches of the SGC and all those grasping chieftains, but he figured they'd probably have to steal it in the end.  

Teyla was just as bored as he was, but she dealt with it by meditating. Ronon was all caught up on his sleep, so that didn't appeal. He went out to get drunk.


"Gimme another one with fruit and that red stuff," Ronon said to the inn-keeper. Well, it was more of a one-room drinking shack than an inn, not having any bedrooms. The sign said "Cock-Tales" which had sounded promising to Ronon, but apparently meant they specialised in drinks full of fruit and tiny paper shields. They were pretty tasty.

The dark haired guy a little further along the wooden counter where they made the drinks looked up at him. "You wanna watch those, man, they're lethal."

"Nah," said Ronon easily. "I'm fine. It's McKay who's got the allergies. He drinks this stuff, he stops breathing."

"Whoa, that's harsh," said the guy. "I didn't mean lethal-lethal, just that you'll be under the table if you don't slow down some."

Ronon frowned. "Why'd I get under the table?" He peered about, but there were no threats in sight. "No one's shooting at me." He sucked more of the sweet red drink up through the little plastic tube until it made a sucking noise, then he gestured at the inn-keeper again. Ronon grabbed the red fruits the inn-keeper had dangled over the side of the glass before he let the guy take it away. He lifted them up. "What're these called?"

"Cherries," said the dark-haired guy. "You're not from around here, are you?"

"Nope," said Ronon, and ate his cherries, crunching up the stones.

The guy held out a hand to show Ronon he didn't have a gun or a knife in it. Sheppard had explained about that and it was a good custom, but of course you couldn't rely on it – people could still have concealed weapons. Ronon certainly did. "Tory," the guy said. "Tory Belleci."

"Ronon Dex," said Ronon, clasping the guy's hand in return. The SGC had some other name they wanted him to use when he was on shore leave, but he could never remember it. Fuck them, anyway.

"Hey, I couldn't help noticing that cool gun you've got there," the dark-haired guy called Tory said, putting down his glass of ale and tipping his chin at Ronon's blaster, snug in its holster. Ronon wasn't supposed to take it into San Francisco, but seriously, fuck them.

"Yeah, it's pretty cool," agreed Ronon, because it was.

"It's a prop, right?" asked the guy. "Looks like a ray-gun I once made for a sci-fi movie. That one shot real lasers."

"What's a prop?" asked Ronon. The inn-keeper had made him a giant-sized drink this time, with layers of red, orange and green liquor and a whole bunch of fruit in it. Ronon took a slurp through the bendy tube and nodded at him appreciatively. He took the little paper shield out of the fruit slice decorating the glass and stuck it in one of his dreads. He already had a handful of paper shields up there. Ronon figured it was how you kept a tally so as to settle up at the end.

"You know, for the movies," said Tory. "A fake gun that looks real." He looked Ronon up and down. "It's a Wormhole X-treme cosplay, right? You better be careful, though, 'cause if you pull that on a cop they're gonna shoot you dead with a real gun, no lie."

"Doubt it," Ronon said, and showed his teeth in a shark's grin. He'd like to see them try.

"Shit, yeah," Tory insisted. "Cops got no sense of humor." He drank up his ale and got another one from the inn-keeper. "Hey, can I have a look at it? Your ray-gun?" He smirked.

That last drink must have hit Ronon a little hard, because he found himself unfastening the holster and drawing his weapon. Sheppard was the only other person who'd been this interested in his gun, and Sheppard had gotten a bit blasé about it lately, especially as they'd never found another that he could have for himself. Ronon figured it was sour grapes. Understandable. He made sure the blaster was switched off and passed it to Tory.

Tory made gratifyingly excited noises and it was weird how much he reminded Ronon of McKay, turning the gun this way and that, analyzing it and quizzing Ronon about how it had been made.

"Man, this material's like nothing I ever saw before – some kinda plastic?" Ronon grunted. He had no idea – he hadn't made it, he just used it to kill Wraith. "Oh, right, I see how the switch works–" said Tory and Ronon jerked his head up but he was too late, slowed down by all the fruity drinks, and by the time he'd grabbed the blaster back there was a big smoking hole in the wall of the ale-shack and everyone was yelling.

Tory's eyes were huge. "Wow," he said. "Seriously, man, that is cool as shit. Way better than my lasers."

Ronon threw a whole lot of cash at the inn-keeper and they promised never set foot there again, and then Ronon and Tory were out on the street. Ronon could see the furious inn-keeper through the hole in the wall, shaking his fist at them, so he pulled Tory away. Tory was grinning, breathless and a little unsteady.

"No, seriously, man," laughed Tory, "you're really not from around here, are you?"

"Nope," said Ronon.

"Hey," said Tory. He pushed a card into Ronon's hand. "Whyn't you come to my workshop tomorrow so I can take a better look at that thing. Reckon I could make you up some copies, if you want. Jamie and Adam'd help with the testing; they like things that go boom."

Ronon stuck the card in his pocket. McKay had talked about making copies, but he wasn't into guns and he never seemed to get around to it. Besides, he was off saving the SGC's ass again. And Sheppard was gonna need a whole lot of cheering up after being dicked around by the chieftains for days on end.

"Yeah, okay," said Ronon. "What's the name of your outfit?"

"Mythbusters," said Tory.


- the end -