Misbegotten drabble

by Domenika Marzione

"Do you have Morrison's personnel file?"

Lorne looked up to see Sheppard in his doorway. He could get up, but Sheppard would just stare at him if he did, so he didn't. "You mean the hard copy, sir?"

It had been a day since Sheppard had gotten back from the planet they'd been jokingly calling Dr. Moreau's Island until Ronon had come back with a handful of dog tags. They hadn't really gotten back to normal after the whole Orion-Daedalus-Hive Ship boogie and now they had to re-arrange life to accomodate the death of another officer.

Sheppard took a step inside and leaned against the file cabinet closest to the door. "Yeah. You're the one with paper copies of everything, so, you know...."

This wasn't the time to be smug about how everyone gave him crap for being a Luddite until they needed something from him, so Lorne pulled the folder out from where it was stacked with the other KIAs and held it out. "It's just a printout of what's in the database. Morrison was only temporarily assigned here, so we didn't get the real thing."

Reggie Morrison, 1LT, USNA Class of 2003 and interim commander of Weapons Company's second platoon while Laura Cadman was on Earth taking a course at sapper school. The file was thin because Lorne hadn't bothered to print out the pages and pages of citations and all of the other material that had gotten Morrison bumped up to the top of the list to be accepted into the Stargate program and sent to Atlantis. The SGC had wanted to keep Morrison on Earth and assign him to one of the SG teams, but Atlantis needed a temporary hole filled and Lorne and Sheppard had successfully argued that a rotation in Atlantis was superb training.

Sheppard pushed off of the file cabinet and sighed, gesturing that he didn't want the file. "The electronic version didn't come with a picture," he said. "We've got the wall ceremony on Friday and no picture to put up. Everyone else's we've got, but not his."

Sheppard came further into the office and dropped down heavily in one of the chairs. It had been a long couple of weeks (months) for them all. It seemed like they hadn't had a pause to breathe since Sheppard had gotten stuck in the time dilation field -- body snatching (on two different occasions -- three if you wanted to count Project Michael), the Goa'uld, the Genii, the Wraith, two coups, exploding planets (thankfully not including Atlantis), hostage exchanges, exploding spaceships, missing teams, and, throughout it all, the long reach of Earth's bureaucrats. Lorne had already sat through his 'interview' with Woolsey and been deemed reticent and unhelpful, which he'd taken as a compliment.

"We can dial Earth and get them to send us a picture," he suggested. "There should have been one with his electronic file, but someone forgot to attach it."

Opening a wormhole to Earth to ask for a picture was a phenomenal waste of limited resources... except if you knew the Marines. The hallway in Little Tripoli where they put the names and faces of the fallen and the missing was as close to a sacred place as the marines had in Atlantis, at least after the chapel. There could be no memorial on Earth, no official recognition of the sacrifices made, but the Marine Corps lived on tradition and history and so they'd come up with this. And, temporary assignment or not, Morrison had died an Atlantis Marine and deserved the full honor of such.

"Yeah, I guess," Sheppard agreed, exhaling heavily. He picked up the Rubik's Cube Lorne kept on his desk as a paperweight. "Caldwell offered to lend us a lieutenant until we either get Cadman back or someone else to be the new Cadman. Apparently he's got a Raven unit on board the Daedalus. But I told him I think we'll stick with what we've got for the time being."

Considering that both the Prometheus and the Daedalus had been hijacked, it was no surprise that there were Phoenix Raven teams assigned.

"Mike wants to let Gunny Wilder command the platoon," Lorne agreed. Hanzis had come to him that morning with the request. "I said it was probably fine, but I'd run it by you."

Sheppard nodded without looking up from the toy.

The quiet edged from pause to meaningful silence, so Lorne picked up his pencil and was about to go back to finishing up the tally of munitions expended in the last week when Sheppard finally spoke.

"Beckett asked me if he was supposed to say anything at the ceremony," he said. Lorne put the pencil down and waited. Sheppard looked up. "I told him he didn't have to, that just being there would be enough. I kind of hope he doesn't. He's going to get all apologetic and that's not really the point."

"You want me to get Yoni to talk to him?" Lorne asked, even though they both knew that Beckett getting sniffly and apologizing wasn't really the cause for Sheppard's concern.

Sheppard cocked an eyebrow. "The point is to not make Carson cry."

"They're friends," Lorne explained, fighting a smile when Sheppard's other eyebrow rose.

"I'm not sure how many favors Safir's in the mood to grant the military right now."

The medical unit had... mixed opinions about the retrovirus and everything that came out of that research. Lorne didn't understand half of what they argued about, but while they'd all gone along first with Project Michael and then with Michael's queen's plan back when there'd been no other choice, they were less than happy campers about the two hundred Wraith who'd been kept on the planet. A few were requesting transfer back to Earth -- unfortunately timed with Woolsey sniffing around -- and it had become a major command problem because it was Carson's ethics they were questioning and Carson was the head of the medical unit and Yoni was the ill-loved deputy head loyal to him. Doctor Weir had rarely had to convene the Ombudsman Committee, but this time there'd been no choice.

"Trust me," Lorne assured him. "Yoni's pissed about the committee meetings. Really pissed. But it's not your face he's superimposing over the targets at the range."

Yoni, unlike the protesting doctors, was not a fan of catch-and-release. He'd been perversely delighted that McKay had wound up on the Ombudsman Committee.

"You know, for all of the times we've done the tough love thing with the lieutenants," Sheppard began, concentration back on the Rubik's cube. "We've been pretty lucky. At least you've been pretty lucky."

And there it was, right out loud. For all of the jokes about Lorne's team and the threatened t-shirts and the mock purple hearts with little green alien faces where the V for valor should be, the only lieutenants to die in Pegasus had been those under Sheppard's command.

"It's not really a matter of luck, sir," Lorne said carefully. Because what the hell could he say? It was no more Sheppard's fault than Beckett's. Not Morrison, not Maguire, and not Aiden Ford. "My team's gone on cakewalks that've gone pear-shaped. This wasn't a cakewalk."

"Yeah, well," Sheppard said, putting the cube back on Lorne's desk. He pushed himself up to standing. "Apparently we're opening a wormhole to send Woolsey back. The IOA couldn't get us to give them our ZPM, so they're settling for draining it dry without moving it."

The sarcasm was thick enough to swim in, but Lorne didn't mind because he didn't disagree. They had wasted lord knows how much energy first sending Doctor Weir back to Earth to face the bullshit there and now they were sending the Woolsey back instead of waiting for the Daedalus to leave?

"I'm going to go talk to Doctor Weir about getting a photo for Morrison sent back when we do," Sheppard went on, annoyance no less deep. The IOA may not like Weir too much, but the SGC still wasn't a fan of Sheppard and he had to know that the IOA was no different. Woolsey had asked Lorne about how he'd felt working for Caldwell and whether he'd be able to do it again.

"I'll see you later, sir." They had a battalion staff meeting at 1500.

"Yeah," Sheppard agreed turning to the door. "Later."

feed me on LJ?


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30 July, 2006