- *No Site Warnings Apply
- Alternate Universe
- Science Fiction
“To Rome for everything.”
MIGUEL DE CERVANTES, Don Quixote
“Which moron stole my green pen?!” Mckay snarled, looking around the lab suspiciously.
Everyone kept their head down but Miko, who was staring in frustration at her whiteboard. When she noticed Meredith’s attention, she shrugged absently. “I only use black. Also, do you think I could get away with using liquid helium?”
Mckay scoffed. “Considering it vaporizes if you even look at it wrong, why would you want helium in equipment that’s likely to get punctured during impacts? Only a moron would use the most volatile element on Earth.”
“So that’s a no,” Miko sighed, turning back to her schematics. “Thanks for the help.”
“I could go get you some more green pens.” John jumped up enthusiastically, drawing her attention. She’d turned the nearest desk into a work station piled with Ancient devices for Sheppard to classify. The previous occupant had happily fled to a new desk as far away from her as possible.
“No,” she pointed at John. “You just got here, Major. Do your work and tell me what that is,” she gestured at the item nearest her desk, a metal box with hexagon-shaped sides.
“It’s an alarm clock,” John drawled sourly.
“You’re just making that up,” she accused him.
“Then I guess you don’t mind if I set it to go off randomly just before I leave on my next mission through the gate,” he smirked irritatingly.
The Czech guy with the crazy hair gave her a sour look. “It isn’t just you that will suffer if he goes through with this, Mckay.” Unfortunately, he was the smartest of all her monkeys and too browbeaten by a communist upbringing to be scared of her. “The Major’s been slaving away with the rest of us for hours. I think we’re all due for a break at this point. Maybe a snack will make you less, what do they call it? Hangry?”
Glaring at him, she saw a pen sticking out of his pocket. She couldn’t see the color, but it wouldn’t surprise her if it was green. “It hasn’t been that long, Dr. Zebo, and I don’t get hangry.”
“It’s Za-len-ka,” he emphasized wearily.
Ignoring his correction, she continued her rant. “And if I’m mad, it’s only because stupid people deserve it. Did we or did we not almost get blown up yesterday when Johnson used his inhaler in the middle of welding a cracked engine block?”
“The idiot certainly has clear sinuses now,” the Czech said snidely. She couldn’t help but snort in amusement. Despite herself, she liked this Z guy. If he lasted another month without quitting, she’d bother to memorize his name.
“Check the clock, Mckay,” Sheppard crossed his arms and gestured with his chin. “The Earth one on the wall, not the Ancient one.”
Glancing over begrudgingly, she blinked in surprise at how late it was. Her stomach grumbled. “Huh, I guess it is past lunchtime. I suppose I could go for some Jello and a burger.”
“Didn’t you have burgers with your boyfriend last night?” John asked snidely as they left the lab.
Wrinkling her nose, she waved away his words. “Captain Seward’s not my boyfriend. We’ve only gone out a handful of times and twice have had to cut it short just in case the mysterious black SUV with tinted windows following us down the street was a kidnapping attempt on yours truly.”
A concerned frown grew on John’s face, so before he could ask uncomfortable questions about times she’d disappeared or been in danger, Meredith added, “Granted, the food’s been phenomenal and he’s a great listener, but we’re running out of conversation topics, his kisses are sloppy in the bad way, and I haven’t let him take my pants off.”
John looked sick. “Ugh, C’mon, Rome. I don’t need to know the intimate details.”
“You’re my best friend. Suck it up,” she said unsympathetically and with a bit of pride at her successful gambit. Considering how he’d forced her to listen to the merits of his ex-wife’s golden tan and impressive flexibility courtesy of hot yoga, he deserved the discomfort. “As for the burgers, we had these awesome black bean burgers with locally-sourced cheese, aioli, and buns dyed green and shaped like little heads of lettuce. They tasted amazing and were healthy too. Then we went for a moonlit walk to see the stars and brightly reflecting satellites in our atmosphere that somehow ended up being mostly uphill. That means I am totally due a beef patty today. I exercised more than my quota, so I deserve it.”
“Did you up your cardio in the gym like I asked?” John nagged as they stepped into the DFAC.
Seeing only one red Jello cup left in a sea of toxic lime, Meredith quickened her pace. She wanted that red Jello cup. “Yes, mother.”
Right before an undeserving air force Private picked up her red Jello, John stretched out his long arm and swiped it for her. “Here,” he plopped it into her greedy palm, ignoring the Private’s dirty look, “and I’m only trying to get you fit for Atlantis. It’s a mission in an unknown environment, after all. You stand a better chance of staying alive if you’re healthy.”
“Are you trying to remind me to be nice to you? Or guilt me into not having a burger? Because neither technique really works with my personality.” Mckay pulled a burger plate out of the warmer and placed it on her tray. She did leave behind the fries, but mostly because they looked too dark and crunchy.
Instead of getting mad at her honesty like most people, John just snagged a turkey sandwich on white and shook his head with amusement.
Meredith loved that about him. To be honest, there wasn’t much she didn’t love about John Sheppard. If he’d ever given her even the slightest opening, she’d have climbed him like a tree and made mathematical-genius babies with him. She’d loved the man for most of her adult life. After all, no one else could give her a nickname and have her actually like it. She’d inconvenienced herself for John Sheppard in ways she’d never even think of doing for anyone else, not even her once-husband.
Unfortunately, John had always just wanted to stay friends. Half the time he didn’t even seem to remember she was female. The one time she’d tried to kiss him, he’d misunderstood her lunge and yanked her back upright, mocking her about her clumsiness.
Since being romantically nervous around Sheppard had proved to be too distracting, she’d decided to settle into unrequited love and stop worrying about it. In fact, she’d recommend John as an unrequited crush to just about anyone. Considering she only saw him every few years, it was really ideal since it left her to focus on her work the rest of the time. Plus, since he had secret math skills and Ancient genes, he could now even help her advance her work when he was around and she got distracted. She’d been much more content ever since her decision.
Speaking of contentment, “Mmm, cheeseburger,” she chewed with half-lidded eyes. “There’s something to be said about the meltiness of American cheese versus cheddar.”
“You also like the taste of ration bars,” John criticized through a bite of turkey sandwich. “On my last mission with SG-15, Dr. Diaz made the mistake of giving one to the chieftain’s new bride. After she spit it out, the chief cried poison and set the whole village after us.”
“The chief was probably more worried about Dr. Dimples flirting with his bride than about poison,” she pointed out cynically. “Unless it was you hitting on her, Kirk.”
Rolling his eyes, John snagged her discarded pickles. “I am not a Kirk just because I’m good at making friends with the natives, Rome.”
“The female natives,” she pointed out.
“I’m not the one in a relationship right now,” he defended.
Raising one brow, she asked, “What about that super annoying red-head you get sweaty with on a regular basis?”
“What, Cadman? She’s just a friend.” John said with every appearance of honesty. “The only fun sweat is workout sweat.”
“Sure.” Shaking her head, Meredith stuffed the last of the cheeseburger in her mouth.
Looking up over John’s head, she spied Kindall on the other side of the room. It reminded her of her problem. Neither of them had found anything and time was running out. The IOA had to appoint her as Science Head soon. This had to be settled before they left for Atlantis.
“I gotta go talk to someone. Go back to my lab when you’re finished and keep working on those artifacts,” she ordered absently as she stood up.
John’s eyes narrowed as he twisted around to see who she was looking at. “You’re gonna make Seward jealous. Just what do you and the Sarge talk about so secretly all the time?”
“None of your business,” she said breezily, picking up her precious red Jello cup and a spoon.
“Fine, but you only get me for one more hour. I have a meeting with General O’Neill soon,” John said with a superior smirk as he leaned back in his chair.
“What? Why are you wasting time in here eating, then? Go back to work!” she ordered.
“Hmm, I think I’ll finish my drink first.” His green eyes met hers challengingly as he took a slow sip. Those lashes and lips were completely unfair.
Scowling, she poked him hard in the arm, making him flinch. “I’ll remember this, Sheppard.” Then she shoved a spoonful of red gelatin into her mouth and marched over to plop herself down across from Sergeant Kindall.
That evening, Meredith found herself unexpectedly going out with Captain Seward again. He’d snuck up on her in the deserted lab and called her out on the loud sounds made by her stomach. She’d spent the entire evening engrossed in calculations for a more portable power generator. She didn’t have it figured out yet, but she was close. Refusing to leave until she agreed, Seward finally got her to give in, but only because her computer was busy processing data anyways.
Unfortunately, his promised late-night dinner turned into Tibetan, a cuisine which combined the blandest parts of Chinese and Thai food. She’d have preferred eating leftover fluorescent yellow mac and cheese in the DFAC. Inside the restaurant, the waiter sat them at an isolated booth with a wink where they didn’t have to worry about being overheard or seen if things got frisky.
Meredith wasn’t feeling frisky.
The novelty of a man seeking her out romantically was beginning to wear thin. Sure, with the frustrating things happening to her career, it had been nice to have a distraction who looked up to her, could loosely understand her science tangents, and fed her great food. He also had John’s sexy hair and a good jawline, but they’d exhausted his area of expertise and he’d become boring. She didn’t mind talking, but when she had to listen to him it became a snore-fest. Tonight, she kept drifting off into engine schematics as his voice morphed into the teacher from Charlie Brown going ‘Wah wah wah.’
Oblivious to her dissatisfaction, he patted her hand when the waiter arrived, dragging her attention back just in time for him to thoughtlessly order for her, despite her rant the last time he’d done it. Meredith didn’t bother correcting him this time, since everything on the menu looked equally unappetizing. At least he emphasized to not include citrus because of her allergy. Worse comes to worse, she could fake anaphylactic tingling and take a cab home. She hated using her allergy like that, but if she pretended to see another black SUV, he’d insist on accompanying her and she’d get a horrible lecture from O’Neill about crying wolf.
“-but which one was your favorite, baby?” Seward asked with a closemouthed smile.
“Favorite what? I wasn’t paying attention,” Mckay answered bluntly. Then she rewound his words and realized that he’d called her “baby.” Ugh. That’s it, no more best behavior.
Lips tightening, he explained. “The Friends cast, I was asking who your favorite character is?”
“I hated that show, so I can’t really tell you. They all seemed like idiots,” she shrugged. “Though despite the ditziness, I did inexplicably like Buffy. It had good snark. That and Xena, though I think my appreciation had more to do with my girl-crush on Lucy Lawless than the quality of the show. I wish there really were deadly pressure points to cut off the flow of blood to a victim’s brain. I would use it daily.”
“Neither show appealed to me,” he curled his lip. “What about ER?”
Unable to stop her look of scorn, she mocked, “Why not just watch Days of our Lives and General Hospital? Or maybe you did?”
A red flush lit the tips of Seward’s ears. “I’ve never watched a soap opera in my life. I’m a man, in case you didn’t notice.” Taking a breath, he looked up at her through his lashes, “Maybe I can finally prove it to you later tonight, Meredith. I think I’ve been patient enough with you.”
Just then their food arrived, saving her from having to answer. Was she misreading things or was he demanding to have sex with her? Considering that every woman in Mckay’s family for three generations had been an accidental pregnancy, with or without the use of birth control, she tried to keep her privates private. The few times she’d bent that rule and compromised her self-respect had turned out to be disappointing and regrettable. To date, Seward hadn’t done anything to prove himself worth the risk of an accidental pregnancy.
Seward deliberately chewed and swallowed a single bite of food before saying, “I’m looking forward to exploring Atlantis with you,”
Brow furrowing, she took a sip of water—no lemon. “I don’t think I follow, Captain. Aren’t you going back to Area 51 and the shipyard after this rotation?”
“I’ve asked you to call me Harrison,” he chided, as if that reminder would make her act differently. Using his knife to slice his noodles into smaller pieces, he explained. “Going back was in the initial plan, but I got the chance to volunteer with you and took it. After a quick rotation in Atlantis, I’ll be fast-tracked for promotion and can transfer back into the plum assignment of my choice.”
“But Atlantis is the plum assignment,” Mckay pointed out, feeling bewildered that anyone would look at Atlantis like a stepping stone instead of a shining jewel. Once she got out there, she planned on rarely coming back.
“I guess it all depends on your career trajectory,” he waved dismissively.
“Yeah, if you want it to be flat,” she muttered, but he chose to ignore her comment.
“But enough about the distant future. What about the now? I saw that your desk was overflowing with research requests from private companies. Are you going to take on any short-term consults? It could be a good change of pace for you while you wait to hear from the IOA.”
Sighing, Mckay took a big bite of carrot and went along with the topic change. “There are a few from the energy sector that could be fun. I think I could funnel in some of the stuff we’ve discovered on other planets to start improving the energy infrastructure. Considering that the program’s power requirements keep getting steeper, it might be nice to have a backup energy source at hand that’s actually remotely useful. We might need to tap into them someday during an emergency.”
“Have you thought about Key Energy? I know some people there that would be very happy to have you stop by, even for just a few hours,” he suggested with studied nonchalance. “I’m Facebook friends with a few of their engineers.”
Meredith rolled her eyes. “Key Energy’s regional and relatively cutting edge, but I hate their customer service and their CEO, Matt Hair. He’s a pig in intellect, personality, and looks. I don’t care how interesting the work might be, I threw his letter straight in the trash.”
Seward looked down to separate his vegetables from his noodles. Had he always been such a weird eater? How hadn’t she noticed before? He took a big bite from each pile. “I also saw a letter from Sheppard Energy on your desk,” he said after swallowing.
“So?” she asked peevishly. Her brain was starting to melt from her ears. Next time, she was driving. Or even better, there wouldn’t be a next time. She’d stick this out for the promise of coconut ice cream and then be done with this guy. The last thing she needed in Atlantis was some man interrupting her important research because he was feeling clingy and wanted her to hold his hand while they marathoned Friends, Home Improvement, and Golden Girls! Well, actually she liked Golden Girls. More than she liked Captain Seward, she admitted uncharitably.
Before she could voice the thought, he began to explain. “My cousin works for one of Sheppard Energy’s subsidiaries. I made sure to see her last week since we might not make it back from Atlantis. You know how it goes with family.”
“Unfortunately,” she wrinkled her nose, momentarily distracted by thoughts of Jeannie and what she was going to do about Maddie.
“They have some interesting research going on, considering their ignorance of our program. You should check them out.” He sent her a charming smile, emphasizing the scar in his lip. Initially, she thought it might be fun to lick, but then they’d actually kissed and she’d been not only thoroughly disappointed, but also covered in slobber.
“I doubt it’s that interesting,” she said dismissively, fishing out the lone sugar snap pea on her plate. Why would they only give her one? Why not at least two?
“You’d be surprised,” he pushed, probably trying to do a favor for his cousin by putting pressure on Meredith to go.
If he wanted it that badly, he at least could have taken her somewhere nicer than Tibetan. Not that she was going to do it since she didn’t like the Sheppard CEO either, but at least Seward could have put in more effort for his bribe.
“They have a lot of smaller companies under their umbrella,” he continued his pitch, “from the usual water, coal, and gas to ones that deal with manufacturing and fabrication. Their portfolio’s pretty eclectic.” Taking a sip of water, he chuckled. “Last year they even bought up this small toy company because it created a new type of plastic for dolls that also works great for reactor lids.”
“Huh.” Meredith sat back, vaguely remembering reading about something like that. “What was the company called?”
“Sheppard Energy, Inc.,” Seward said smugly, twirling his fork through the air.
“No, not them. I meant the toy company with the new plastic.” She impatiently tapped her fingers on the table.
Fork drooping, he squinted off into the distance. “Something about dresses, I think. MyDress or MaDress, something like that.”
“Huh,” Meredith said again, her mind racing through the possibilities. This might work.
“Okay, I’m done,” she said abruptly, putting down her fork. “Can we go?”
Surprise morphed into barely suppressed annoyance. “Do you mind if I finish first?” he gestured at his mostly full plate.
Meredith shrugged and stood up. “That’s fine. I’ll catch a cab.”
Staring up at her with confusion, he asked, “You’re just going to leave in the middle of our date?”
“Yes, I’m done.” Meredith picked up her purse. “Goodbye, Captain.”
Striding out of the restaurant, she saw the taillights of a black SUV without plates disappear into the alleyway next to the Tibetan restaurant. Goosebumps lifted on her arms. Quickly she stepped backwards.
When the black SUV didn’t reappear, she forced herself to start moving again, sliding into a cab disgorging a couple just before it pulled away from the curb. “Get me out of here fast,” she ordered the driver.
Once they’d driven a few minutes with nothing suspicious happening, she relaxed. “Can you take me through a drive-through real quick and then over to Cheyenne Mountain? Like a Wendy’s where I can get a half-decent salad and a small frosty at the same time?”
“No problem, ma’am,” the driver said, turning smoothly at the intersection. When no SUVs followed, black or otherwise, she dismissed her paranoia and turned her mind to her new plans.
Before 0830 the next morning, Mckay had everything but a pilot finalized for her trip to Sheppard Energy. She needed to go today. The IOA had to be announcing their final selections for Atlantis any day now. Once that happened, she wouldn’t have time for side trips.
“Hey, Rome,” John drawled, leaning in the doorway with his trademark sexy but aggravating slouch.
She didn’t bother looking up. “You’re late, but that’s okay because I had other stuff to do earlier, but now I need you to fly me to Chicago, Major.”
“Not possible,” he said casually.
“Why not?” She glared up at him with a scowl.
“Because I’m not a Major,” he said, rocking back and forth on his heels.
Worry twisted through her. “Did you do something stupid and get kicked out? I can probably swing you a civilian support position in my math department, especially with your Ancient genes. I am a genius, after all. I don’t mind blackmailing a few people too.”
John looked at her incredulously. “I didn’t get kicked out, genius; I got promoted to a Lt. Colonel.” He tapped the silver oak leaves now decorating his uniform.
“Oh, congratulations,” she said, genuinely happy for him.
However… “Does that mean you can’t fly me to Chicago? Is a Colonel too important to play chauffer? I have a plane. I just need a pilot. Please? Don’t make me use some stranger. I’d probably break him.”
Straightening up, John sighed and strolled into the lab. “Nah, I’ll take pity on the guy and take you. I just have to get approval. My new CO doesn’t know what to do with me and disapproves of my promotion, so she’s leaving me attached to Gate team support and the sciences for now,” John explained wryly.
Meredith’s heart dropped and she thought she might be sick. Putting a hand on her stomach, she swallowed hard. “She? Has the IOA chosen Colonel Sumner for Atlantis?”
Expression turning awkward, John picked up the Ancient hexagonal alarm clock and started fiddling, making it project the time, moon cycle, and local weather onto the wall in Ancient glyphs. “I thought you’d have heard. They secretly decided yesterday and confirmed it officially first thing this morning.”
Suddenly the deserted state of her lab and the way certain people had avoided her last night made so much more sense, the traitors.
John continued, “O’Neill and the IOA also placed me as 2-IC of Atlantis. O’Neill told me after my promotion but swore me to secrecy until the official announcement. Both Weir and the IOA want me going because of my supergene. Otherwise, Sumner let me know this morning that she’d prefer to leave me behind. She didn’t mince any words.” His mouth twisted bitterly.
Frowning, Meredith clarified, “You mean about how you went off in Afghanistan to try and save your friend who’d been shot down? And how it didn’t work out and he died anyways ,but they couldn’t make any charges stick so they sent you to exile in Antarctica instead, but then I got you shuffled to the west coast?”
“Mckay,” John choked out unhappily, his face and posture closing down.
Wincing, she lifted her chin. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that out loud. You’re an amazing person and for what it’s worth, I think you did the right thing for your friend. I’m just bitter and distracted by news of Sumner and have no filter and you know that about me already, so… I’m sorry for your loss and for other people being unfairly judgmental about it.”
John blew out a breath. “Yeah,” he breathed, shrugging off his dark cloud. “Whatever the case, I wanted to tell you about my promotion. It happened yesterday, but I had work to do for Colonel Sumner and then you disappeared off base on another date.”
“Hopefully our last,” she said absently, sunk once more into despair at the selection of Sumner, filling two of the three command spots with females. “Congrats again and I’m sorry you have to deal with a crappy CO, but at least you’re guaranteed a spot in Atlantis. If they give the sciences to some odious man, do you think you could sneak me in as a military private?” Snapping her fingers, she changed her mind. “Wait, make that a Captain at least. I don’t want to be some lowly private.”
“No one is going to believe you’re in the military, Mckay,” John scoffed. “Besides, the verdict isn’t in yet. The IOA might still choose you. They’d be stupid not to.”
“That’s true. The foremost expert on Ancient technology should obviously be the one sent to Atlantis. They’d be idiots to choose anyone else, right?” she said, comforted by her own logic. “In fact, I’ll have to make sure to schedule a meeting with Sumner and Weir when we get back from Chicago in anticipation of the announcement. They’re probably just as impatient as I am to get the ball rolling on things. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they announce my name.”
Placing the Ancient, hexagonal clock down on her desk, John let it go dark. “I’ll have to check in with Sumner and O’Neill before we leave for Chicago. Did you requisition some security for the trip?”
Meredith wrinkled her nose. “Why? I don’t want some random soldier hanging around, bored out of his mind and touching my stuff. You’ll be there. That should be enough if one of the other scientists or a business exec decides to get rough with me.”
“I appreciate your trust, but all alone I can’t take on an entire team, like the ones who ride around in black SUVs.” John bared his teeth in an unamused smile. “I had the report routed to me after you mentioned it at lunch.”
“Hypothetical kidnappers,” Meredith defended, looking up. “There’s no evidence that it was anything more than a random SUV with tinted windows and missing plates travelling in the same direction I was.”
“Rome, do you want to be kidnapped? Again?” he asked pointedly.
Rising memories made her flinch. She cut her hands through the air. “Don’t be stupid. Of course I don’t! I know I’m valuable and I want to be protected, I just don’t want to lose my freedoms and live in fear. Plus, I hate how the security guys are so humorless and condescending. They get in the way and find their jollies in inconveniencing me, then laugh with each other when my back is turned, as if my ears don’t work just fine. They made me take a whole team with me to visit Jeannie and Maddie. It was awful! Don’t make me put up with that again.”
“I’ll find some good people to bring with us,” John promised soothingly.
“One,” she pushed. “We’re going to be spending most of our time in a heavily guarded research facility anyways and then we’ll be coming straight back here. We can even have their security pick us up at the airport.”
Pursing his lips, he sighed gustily. “Fine, but we aren’t leaving the plane until they get there and we get independent confirmation of their identities.”
Meredith nodded, smug at mostly getting her way. “Deal.”
Sitting on the edge of her desk, he asked, “Just who are you going to visit in Chicago, anyways? I’m guessing it’s not Nancy.” He smiled at his own joke.
“You’re not going to back out?” she pressed quickly.
“Rome,” John drew out her name, eyes narrowing with suspicion.
“Okay, so I know it’s tactless because of your daddy issues, but I’m going to Sheppard Energy,” she spit out quickly.
John jerked in shock and slipped off the edge of her desk almost falling to the floor. “Why are you visiting my father?”
“I’m not visiting him; I’m visiting with a few of his execs, a subsidiary, and the scientists in his research labs. I’m going to help his people figure out how to revolutionize energy production so the program will have extra backup power down the road. That and to improve the life of the common man, of course,” she pontificated.
Folding his arms, John frowned. “Just how long are you planning on staying?”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure I already know how to fix the main issue they want me to consult on,” she waved her hand carelessly. “Depending on if they have anything else interesting, we’ll stay the night and then come back tomorrow morning or afternoon at the latest. It’ll be easy peasy. C’mon John, don’t make me put up with someone else. Please?”
A muscle above his eyebrow began twitching at he looked at her face. Meredith held her breath.
“Fine,” he said in an explosion of air, “but I haven’t talked to him since my divorce. He pretty much disowned me for choosing the military over Nancy and my family. My brother Dave distanced himself too. I’ll go, but it’ll be awkward.”
Meredith fought back a smug smile. “That’s fine. I’m not going to make you talk to them. To be honest, I don’t want to talk to them either. Sheppard Energy just has access to people I need and the leverage to make them do what I want quickly. We’ll be in and out in a day. I doubt Patrick’ll even realize that my pilot and bodyguard is his son.”
“Because it’s been so long he won’t recognize me? I don’t think he’s that dense, Rome.” John rolled his eyes.
Scowling, she rolled her eyes back. “I meant because he’ll be so dazzled greeting me and then passing me off to his assistants that he won’t look past the uniforms at my back to see any faces.”
“You’re not that dazzling,” he scoffed.
“I am too! Not only am I a genius, but I’m one of the smartest people on this entire planet. When I let down my golden hair, put on a little makeup, and start talking science, I make men go weak in the knees,” she bragged, letting her voice go low and sultry as she batted her eyes and sent him a secretive smile.
John couldn’t contain the way his eyes lit up at her antics. He even looked, dare she say it, a little dazzled himself.
“Takeoff’s in an hour, two at most,” she directed. “Does that work?”
John gave her a slow smirk. “I suppose so. I have to go along now, if only to see your annual attempt to wear lipstick.”
Leaning back in her chair cockily, she returned his smile. “If you wanted to borrow some, you only had to ask. I can steal some from somebody’s desk right now. I bet Miko’s shade would work well with your complexion, Colonel.”
Their eyes met and held in challenge. The air almost seemed to crackle with heat as the gaze turned into something more. Then the door popped open as Miko and Dr. Zalka walked in, breaking the tension. They both looked away awkwardly.
“Send me your trip details,” John ordered. “I’ll get us cleared and grab someone I like for extra security. I assume you’ll be paying for a car and hotel on your dime?”
“I could since I’m rich, but I hate spending my money when I can make other people spend theirs, especially people I don’t like. I’ll make Sheppard Energy pay for our rooms and a car. You guys won’t have to pay a cent. If any other costs come up, I’ll deal with them,” she said.
“Sounds good.” He gave her a nod, waved at the other scientists, and left.
Having arranged things to her satisfaction, Meredith turned back to her computer. She wanted to squeeze in a bit more work before they had to leave. This should be a simple trip to get what she needed, give them a little bit of what they wanted, and then get out. No problem. Smiling, she lost herself in the science on her screen.
Dr. Rodney Meredith Mckay (Kate Winslet)
John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan)
Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson)
Col. Marsha Sumner (Wendy Davis)
Gen. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson)
Sgt. James Kindall (Eric Bana)
Major Alex McLean (Vin Diesel)
Captain Robin King (Lucy Lawless)
Dr. Rigoberto Diaz (Antonio Sabato Jr.)
Lt. Roni Cohen (Gal Gadot)
Dr. Troy Forrester (Jude Law)
Patrick Sheppard (Brian McNamara)
Captain Harrison Seward (Joaquin Phoenix)
Lt. Laura Cadman (Jaime Ray Newman)