Mornings in Pegasus

Rodney was staring at the Ancient Gizmo that he'd been staring at for the last three days. He had no idea what it did, but whenever anyone with the ATA gene touched it, one of five panels would glow. There were no readouts, just small, round panels that glowed.

So far he'd been unable to determine any pattern to the glowing. It was driving him nuts -- although in a good, scientific way. At least so far it was good. He'd had his patience tested before and while it could stretch a good deal longer than four days, it got ugly when he finally snapped.

He looked up when he heard Carson's voice. "Ah, excellent, you're here. Finally. Are those the charts?"

Carson raised an eyebrow and didn't walk over from where he was standing by Radek's workstation. "Hello, Rodney. And how are you today? I'm well, thank you."

Rodney rolled his eyes. "I saw you at breakfast two days ago. What could possibly have changed since then that I wouldn't have already heard about?" He held out his hand for the charts he could see Carson holding. He'd asked for a full physical report on each of the people who had touched the device, hoping there would be some correlation to be found. The gizmo might be a medical detector of some sort -- although Carson had said it didn't look like any of the ones they'd already found.

With a noticeable air of amusement, Carson brought over the charts. Then he returned to Radek's station. Radek smiled at him and said something in Czech. Carson grinned and followed his glance towards Rodney.

Rodney ignored them and began reading through the charts. He started with his own, being most familiar with his own physical fitness. He
then flipped through the charts to find another white male about his own age to start a comparison.

"What's this?" He tapped at one of the lines.

Carson looked at him. "What does it say?" He didn't bother coming over to read what Rodney was pointing at.

"One of your voodoo acronyms. WNL?"

There was another grin, which Rodney knew Carson was just doing to annoy him. "Within normal limits, Rodney," he said in his most
doctorly tone.

"You can't just write that out?"

"That would be telling." Carson winked at him. He turned back to his conversation with Radek, who, Rodney noted, was no longer getting any work done.

"You do realise you're on the clock," he reminded Dr. Zelenka, turning his attention back to his chart and trying to puzzle out the other acronyms without asking for any more help.

Radek said something again in Czech and Carson laughed.

That drew his attention. He looked over at Carson and asked, "Since when you do speak Czechoslovakian?"

Carson gave him a surprised, innocent look back. "I don't."

"You just-- then what was that?" He glared at each of them in turn.

"It was Czechoslovakian," Radek said, sounding as though Rodney was asking what the abbreviation for zinc was.

"But you--" He looked at Carson, who glanced at Radek then said something in a distinctly Gaelic language.

Radek grinned.

Rodney slapped the chart down. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing," they both said back. Rodney didn't believe it.

"Then why are you acting like you understand one another?"

Radek just grinned, and it was Carson who took pity on him. "We do understand one another."

"You just said you don't speak Czechoslovakian."

"I don't," Carson said, agreeably.

"And I suppose you don't speak Gaelic?" he asked Radek.

"No. Well, I recognise the word for 'fuck," but other than that..." He shook his head.

Rodney narrowed his eyes. "You do realise you two share a common language? English? It's what we're speaking now."

Carson and Radek looked at each other and Radek said something in Czech. Carson responded -- in Gaelic. Then they smiled at each other, then glanced at him before sharing a distinct *look*.

"That's it!" Rodney slammed his hand down. He saw Elizabeth walk into the lab just in time. "Thank god. Elizabeth! Will you *please* make them stop?"

Elizabeth came to a halt in mid-step. She looked around the lab for whomever it was causing the disruption. Rodney pointed. "Them. They're being... coupley and it's disgustingly cute." Rodney folded his arms and gave them all a stern look.

Behind him, he heard Candace stifling a laugh. Rodney continued glaring at Radek and Carson who did *not* look at all apologetic.

Elizabeth turned slowly towards them. "Dr. Beckett, Dr. Zelenka? Is there a problem?"

"No, no problem," Carson said. Radek just shook his head. Carson glanced at Rodney, then leaned towards Elizabeth and stage-whispered, "Rodney's just a wee bit grumpy because--" and his voice dropped so that Rodney couldn't hear what was being said.

He stalked over. "Excuse me?"

Now Elizabeth was giving *him* a concerned look. "Is this true?"

"Is *what* true? I didn't hear what he accused me of!"

"He said you haven't been laid since we got to Atlantis."

Rodney was infinitely grateful that he maintained his poise. He didn't even flinch. "My personal life is not the topic of conversation. *Theirs* is."

Somehow, Elizabeth managed to maintain her serious expression. Rodney was actually rather impressed. He decided to stop being impressed when she prodded. "Well?" She had that annoying, motherly 'tell me now or you're going to your room without dessert' quality to it.

"If that's supposed to be an offer, I'm not interested." He was proud of himself for sounding composed.

Carson nudged her. "It's not you, Elizabeth. Rumour has it he's--"

"If you say one more word, I will personally rip out your tongue and sell it to the Genii for genetic experimentation." Rodney was pretty sure there was no way Carson could have any sort of accurate information, but there was no point in taking chances.

"John Sheppard," Radek said quickly.

Elizabeth turned on him, eyes wide and repeating John's name in shock even as Rodney began threatening both Radek and Carson with everything he could think of. He started big, with assigning Radek to the next field team that was due to stay off-world for several days, and worked his way down to smearing glue on Carson's chair.

Radek tsked, shook his head, and said something in Czech. Carson laughed.

"OK, now I *know* you're faking," Rodney accused him.

"I never!" Carson looked offended.

"He doesn't have to," Radek agreed. "In fact, usually--"

"STOP!" Rodney held his hands to his ears. "LA LA LA LA LA!"

He waited until they were all three looking at him, mouths closed, before lowering his hands.

"Would you like me to put in a good word?" Elizabeth asked, kindly.

Rodney dropped his head into his hands. "I want to transfer. Anywhere. I'll go anyplace, do anything. Just get me out of here."

There was a pause, then Carson said, "Four minutes."

Rodney looked up in time to see Radek handing Carson a folded bill. Then Radek stepped forward, and asked in a completely innocent and guilt-free tone, "Dr. McKay, I was wondering if I might take the afternoon off?"

He opened his mouth to say yes, go, don't ever come back until I can ban your boyfriend from the laboratory. Instead he grinned. "No. I'm taking the afternoon off. You, stay here and work."

Rodney picked up his jacket, flung it over his shoulder, and walked out of the lab.