Second Guessing

There were a lot of things he'd done which surprised him afterwards. Brave, determined things that in retrospect made him wonder what possessed him.

He'd applied to medical school, knowing that the hours were long and the studying hard. His mum had told him he could be happy at anything -- encouraged him to open a chemist's shop in town, bribing him with home-cooked meals every Sunday. Odd that for once someone's mother had not wanted her son to become a doctor -- but perhaps she'd known he would do it anyway and wanted to be able to take pride in not having pushed him.

He'd gone for a second degree in genetics, surprising himself again at admitting he was bloody brilliant at it and could manage the extra coursework. That time his mum had only said she expected him to break for meals, and dress warmly -- as though Cambridge were so far away he'd not know how to dress for the weather.

After he'd become a doctor, he'd taken the hospital position that had been expected of him -- that much he'd done with no great thought at all, before or after. No bravery to work at the same hospital he'd been taken to growing up as a boy. The same doctor who'd set his broken arm had given him his orientation.

But when he'd been contacted by the MI6 to do some research for them, he'd said yes without realising beforehand that there were many more reasons why he should have said no. He wasn't the brave sort, and he certainly wasn't the sort to devote his time and intelligence to an organisation that would like as not do horrible things with the results.

He'd been wrong, of course, and the moment he'd stepped foot in the lab they'd sent him to he'd realised just how wrong he'd been to second-guess himself. It made agreeing, later, to go to Antarctica a simple question, and nothing smacking of the bravery that had propelled him into a doctorate in the first place.

Life had gone too fast at that point to feel as though anything doing needed bravery -- caught up in genetics research right out of science fiction had kept his head spinning. Until they'd discovered the chair and Rodney had started after him to sit in it and he'd learnt that being brave could have terrible consequences. That particular day had led him here -- in another galaxy, wondering if his mum knew he was still dressing warmly and eating as well as he could given their resources.

Learning to fly the jumpers was taking more bravery than he had, but no one would let him get out of it. But it wasn't bravery to be ordered to do a thing, and he knew if he had the chance he'd beg out of it.

Which left him standing here, wondering how he'd managed it. He wasn't the brave sort -- so how had he ended up doing this?

Carson knocked on the door of his best friend's quarters. Rodney opened the door and smiled. "That all your stuff?"

"Aye," Carson said with a nod.

"Then come on in." Rodney stepped away from the door, and Carson walked inside.