Irresistible drabble

by Domenika Marzione

"Something wrong, sir?"

Suarez continued to dial Atlantis.

"No, Sergeant. Just get us home," Lorne sighed, closing his eyes. He hadn't meant to appear to be supervising.

"I'm dialing the right symbols, sir."

It had been months since they'd gotten lost en route to Ipetia, but the team was still a little sensitive about dialing anywhere. That they were on Ipetia now, looking to get home....

"I don't doubt you," Lorne assured, looking behind him to try and find the lagging half of his team.

"I think the major's going for plausible deniability with the girls surveilling us from the trees," Ortilla explained, giving Lorne a sly look. Lorne smiled back because Ortilla wasn't wrong.

There were four of them, all in their mid-late teens, and they were poorly hidden in the copse of trees almost directly behind the stargate. They were whispering and giggling and making enough noise that they would have been impossible to miss if they'd followed them from the village, so either they'd been lying in wait or there was another route back to the village.

Suarez laughed. "What can I say, sir? We're a bunch of handsome guys." He finished dialing and the wormhole formed, the girls hidden from view by the event horizon. "I'd say they got good taste, but that one lady keeps asking Doctor Safir out."

"Suarez," Ortilla sighed and Lorne was grateful for Ortilla's willingness to handle the discussion. He pulled out his GDO and entered his code. "They're here for the lieutenant. They've been following him around since we got here."

So much for the help. Gillick, thankfully, was trailing behind with Yoni, Reletti, and a couple of the Ipetians and was not yet in earshot.

"Gentlemen?" he asked plaintively, then tapped his radio. "Atlantis, this is Major Lorne. We are ready to return home."

There was a long pause, long enough that he was reaching for his radio again when it crackled to life.

"Lorne?" Sheppard's voice came through clearly. "We've got ourselves a bit of a... situation here. We've instituted a lockdown of the city. Nobody in, nobody out. Can you guys stay where you are for another day? Two if you can swing it?"

Lorne, Suarez, and Ortilla exchanged looks. Reletti, Yoni, and Gillick ran up to the DHD.

"What is going on?" Yoni asked. "Did you do something again?"

Lorne gave Yoni a withering look, but Safir was turned away and didn't see. The others watched Yoni with amused horror.

"I'll have you know that I am the only person who didn't do something," Sheppard retorted, unbothered if not necessarily unoffended.

"We've got it under control, Yoni," Doctor Beckett said soothingly. "The cure is being distributed and there's no lasting medical complications. But the symptoms are a bit trying--"

"--the cause even more so," Sheppard cut in.

"And we'd rather not risk any new cases," Beckett finished. "I know you'd rather be here to help clean up, but you can take pride in knowing that your protocols for distribution are working wonderfully."

Yoni snorted. "Of course they're working wonderfully. But they shouldn't have been necessary in the first place. That is what I am upset about. What happened?"

Beckett sighed loudly. "I'll tell you all about it when you return."

"Can you at least tell me what sort of contagion it was?"

Lorne looked around. The Ipetians who had accompanied them to the gate were standing at a distance, waiting to see what was obviously wrong.

"A pheromone," Sheppard replied. "Now Lorne, we've got two teams out that have yet to check in. Salker's got his platoon out on M3F-328 digging wells and they should be able to stay over where they are. Osgeny's got a squad escorting a pair of Life Sciences guys somewhere frozen and we're going to redirect them to you. Everyone else is either staying where they are or going to the alpha site."

Lorne didn't really remember who was where today; his team had left the day before and been gone overnight and he had enough trouble keeping that day's schedule in his head, let alone two days in advance. "Understood," he said.

"We should be able to bring everyone home tomorrow," Sheppard went on, "But if we can't, we're going to bounce everyone over to you so that we don't have people scattered around the galaxy. Tell Yuenthea we'll make it up to her."

Yuenthea of the Ipetians would be happy to harbor however many refugees Atlantis had, but Ipetia's bounty wasn't limitless.

"I'm sure it'll be fine, sir," Lorne assured. Because it would be. At least on this end. He was just as concerned and curious as Yoni about what had happened in the city, but obviously nobody was in danger and someone was going to have to exercise restraint and show trust in the city's leadership. And since Yoni wasn't going to, that left him. "We'll check in with you tomorrow."

They had brought a repeater to Ipetia long ago, so radios were still in range when they were at the village and there was no problem with communication.

"Talk to you then," Sheppard agreed. "Atlantis out."

The wormhole closed and Lorne waited for everyone's attention to turn to him. "So we're going to be here for a bit, apparently. Lieutenant, take Staff Sergeant Ortilla and head back to the village and explain what's going on to Yuenthea and that we've got a few more refugees coming. Make it clear that we'll reward Ipetia for their generosity, but don't make it sound like we're hiring them for a bed-and-breakfast."

Gillick was their envoy to Ipetia, as much as they had one -- Lorne's team was only visiting because they'd gotten permission from the SGC to share some alien technology with the Ipetians -- and he'd know what to do. "Aye aye, sir."

Gillick gestured to Ortilla, who started back down the road from the stargate to the village at a jog, and then followed himself. Valarn and a few of the other Ipetians were still waiting at a polite distance, so Gillick would get practice telling their story before they got back to Yuenthea.

"Suarez and Reletti, you two will wait here until Lieutenant Osgeny and his team come through, then you'll escort them to the village," he went on. The village wasn't that far away or that hard to find, but he didn't think Osgeny had been to Ipetia before and he'd already have spent the day shepherding scientists around on the ice.

The two made themselves comfortable off to the side of the stargate -- Ipetia had fairly heavy trade traffic and they didn't want to get in the way -- and that left Lorne with Yoni.

"Come on, Doc," he said. "Let's get back."

Yoni gave one last look at the stargate -- contemplating, no doubt, whether to go back anyway -- before falling in next to him. Lorne knew that Yoni was still seething about any sort of infection running through the city, which meant that he'd be in an especially good mood until they returned to Atlantis, and Lorne felt a little proud of himself for the self-sacrifice of being Safir's most convenient target.

They weren't more than a couple hundred meters from the stargate when their radios chirped to life.

"Ain't that a trip. We finally miss some shit because we got a lieutenant along."

"Didn't you hear? Pheromones. We missed sex pollen."

"How many people are there in Atlantis that you actually want to fuck? It's like you can be hot or smart, but not both."

"Uh, Teyla?"

"You and everyone else in Atlantis. Besides, she'd fucking kill you, man."

"She'd be under the same influence."

"She'd still kill you. And if she didn't, Ronon Dex would."

"Life Sciences has a few babes who probably can't dismember you in under a minute. And there's that chick in Chemistry with the long hair and the big rack. And that one Doctor Safir's always hanging out with. And--"

"And what happens if you're in Little Tripoli when it hit? Or Engineering? You wanna get down and dirty with Doctor Zelenka? You think Toussaint's a top or a bottom?"

"Gentlemen? Turn off your radios, please?" Lorne finally stepped in before they got too raunchy. Gillick and Ortilla may have gotten to Yuenthea by now and that's not what he wanted the Ipetians to be overhearing. That's not what he wanted to overhear, but his own personal Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were his chosen cross to bear.

"Fuck," Suarez muttered before the click of his radio turning off transmitted.

"Sorry, sir." Reletti actually sounded contrite.

Lorne looked over at Safir, who was actually grinning. "I'm sure Doctors Brousseau and Clayton would be pleased to know that they are candidates for Atlantis's Babe of the Year Calendar," Yoni said dryly.

"How's it going, Doc?" Lorne asked as he walked into the clinic. Which was far busier than usual with patients on most beds.

Yoni gave him a look that very clearly communicated how stupid a question that was. "The only saving grace of this much traffic -- none of which is actually necessary -- is that everyone knows that I was off-world during L'Affair Lucius and can't bear to look me in the eye. But even embarrassed blushes and self-conscious squirming gets old after a few hours. What do you want?"

"Aspirin," Lorne replied because he hadn't actually come to the clinic to see Yoni. "Lots of aspirin."

He was on Day Two of keeping Sheppard busy enough that he didn't start actively plotting to kill McKay. Not that Lorne was averse to watching Rodney desperately search for escape routes every time Sheppard came into the same room -- what was McKay thinking by giving Sheppard some of the alien roofie and then going out on a mission -- but the self-conscious squirming wasn't restricted to the patients Yoni was seeing during his clinic hours. More than eighty percent of Atlantis's population had been in the city and infected and so Lorne's stint as kindergarten cop was a full-time job until the worst of the embarrassment faded. For once, he wasn't the one stumbling over words when talking with Doctor Weir.

Yoni returned from the medicine cabinets. "Here," he said, holding out a hand full of pill packets with one hand and a dixie cup of water with the other.

Lorne accepted them both gratefully, setting the cup down on the rolling tray Yoni had been using as a desktop and tearing open a packet.

"You figure out how to keep this from happening again?" he asked after he'd finished the water in the cup and crumpled it along with the empty foil packet.

Yoni shrugged. "We're always going to be vulnerable to compromised team members," he said, accepting a tablet that one of the nurses brought over. He tapped away with the stylus for a moment before handing it back. "And I don't think anyone's letting Carson off-world by himself ever again after the last month."

Between the imploded Wraith genetic experimentation and Lucius, Lorne didn't think Beckett wanted to go off-world again, by himself or otherwise.

"The rate of transmission was exactly as it would have been expected," Yoni went on, sitting back down on the tall stool. "The Life Sciences people are having a field day with it, reducing us to bees and bugs. They'll have a journal full of articles out of this. And the preventive protocols are fine. They just got bypassed, first by bringing Lucius back to the city and then by failing to quarantine him pending examination."

Lorne sighed. He knew all about the cascading security failures and had been dealing with them fairly nonstop -- it was most of what kept Sheppard distracted from working on effecting McKay's demise. "Any clue as to why Atlantis didn't take action herself?"

Yoni made an ugly face. "Atlantis's vaunted automatic security is crap and this is just another example of it. It can't stop Wraith, it can't stop chemical threats or non-mechanical viral transmission, and it didn't seem to mind the mosquitoes that Stackhouse's team accidentally brought back last month. If we get invaded by Replicators, then we might be able to use it. Short of that, I have been advocating for months that we stop counting it as a viable city defense."

This, too, was not a new argument. Most of Yoni's appearances at command level staff meetings had to do with public health issues and he'd made his hatred of the automated system clear. "I know."

Yoni nodded once. "On the bright side, Pharmacology thinks they could engineer a reasonable sedative out of the grass. We're not exactly running low, even if the Daedalus is running late with the repairs, but it can get filed under 'In Case We Have to Go Native Again.'"

Almost all of the herb had been collected and burned in a safe place, but Pharmacology and Botany had been allowed to retain samples for study. After McKay's stunt, possession of the stuff outside of those two exceptions was classed as equivalent to any other narcotic and punishable as such.

There was motion behind him and Lorne turned, nodding to Doctor Clayton as she passed.

"Ah, it's Wife Number Ten," Yoni announced happily, getting up. Apparently his clinic shift was over. "Or were you Eleven?"

"Fuck you, Yoni," Clayton sighed, pulling on a white coat. "Pardon my language, Major."

"None required, Doc," Lorne replied. Because Yoni sometimes just asked for it. "I'll catch you guys later. Thanks for the meds."

Looking at his watch as he left, he had a half-hour before the intelligence briefing. In addition to all of his other jobs, Hanzis was the battalion's S2 and ran weekly meetings with all of the senior command staff and off-world team leaders welcome (read "expected") to show up in addition to the officers, whose presence was required. This week's meeting was expected to be very well attended. And very uncomfortable.

He really hoped that his headache was down to a dull roar by then.

feed me on LJ?

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30 July, 2006