Deja Vu All Over Again

by Domenika Marzione


He wakes up when his radio chirps. It takes him a couple of seconds to realize that he doesn't have to reach for the earpiece because it's still in his ear.

"Lorne," he answers automatically, sleep-slurred and making no pretense of being in a position to comprehend the response.

Sheppard's already telling him that they've got a problem before he realizes that he'd never finished undressing from the night before. He never really started, truthfully, getting as far as both boots and one sock before he'd apparently passed out.

He's undressed, showered and shaved, re-dressed, and in the infirmary in fifteen minutes. He looks like crap, he needs caffeine badly enough that he'd risk a court-martial to shoot someone for their coffee, but at least he's clean.

He follows the noise and the helpful gestures of slightly traumatized marines to the quarantine room. Yoni is already there, unshaven and in scrubs, ordering people around with even less patience and more vitriol than usual. It's kind of impressive, actually, in that way that watching the PBS documentaries with leopards chasing down gazelles always are. Yoni's barking at Beckett when Lorne enters the room and Sheppard yanks him back so as to stay out of the path of Yoni's fire.

Lorne wonders if Sheppard wants him there to keep the good doctor from killing anyone, but Sheppard is letting Yoni claw his way through the medical staff with no qualms and it's not until three of them scurry away to retrieve equipment that Lorne sees why: it's Doctor Weir on the bed, flushed and breathing with rasping gasps that he can hear across the room and over the bustle of the quarantine room.

They don't know what's wrong, but she's only hours back from being (held prisoner) off-world and so Yoni's convinced that it has something to do with the Asurans even though Sheppard seems fine and McKay, Ronon, and Teyla are being examined off in the corner. Which explains part of Yoni's pissiness, Lorne figures, because Yoni is always a bitch when someone gets sick from being off-world and it's not caught immediately. That the five returnees have had contact with all of the extended Atlantis command -- and a portion of the rest of Atlantis's population -- and may have infected lord-knows-how-many others and Yoni himself was the one to do the initial exams.... It's going to be some rough sledding until this is over.

Lorne doesn't fight when they come for his blood; he is already on the radio doing Yoni's bidding by getting Lieutenant Gillick to gather his platoon so that they can be tested. The good news is that he's caught them before breakfast and thus before they've hit the commissary. The bad news is that they were already at PT and they might have to quarantine Little Tripoli. And Gillick sounds like he's hacking up a lung.

The isolation chamber for Doctor Weir is set up, Lorne and Sheppard's team are cleared of infection, and things may be looking up when Doctor Biro comes running in, brushes past orderlies and medical personnel alike to present Yoni with a tablet.

Yoni takes one look at it, curses eloquently, and snaps his fingers loudly to get Sheppard's attention. "Put the city on lockdown. Now," he orders, then turns to Beckett, showing him the tablet. "You've got Weir, I'll get the rest of the city."

"What's going on?" Sheppard asks, an angry edge to his impatience. He grabs Yoni's elbow as Yoni passes on his way to the door.

"Weir's been infected with a nanovirus," Yoni tells him and it's a sign of how worried Yoni is that he's not even taking a moment to remind Sheppard of the last one. "Shut down the city."

Sheppard does, ordering an immediate lockdown that is backed up with suspiciously efficient cooperation from Atlantis herself. Yoni disappears, muttering about vectors and idiots and the tension in the room drops noticeably once he goes away.

Nevertheless, the next hour passes with aching slowness. All of their blood is re-checked and they go through the Ancient body scan, just in case the nanovirus is dormant in any of them. They're all cleared again and Doctor Abelard departs for Little Tripoli to test Lorne's marines as well as Gillick and his platoon.

Free to leave, Lorne does. Sheppard's not going to be budging from Weir's side any time soon and someone needs to be in the control room and handling the day-to-day business of Atlantis. That meetings and presentations are cancelled are obvious; that off-world activity is suspended is less so, depending on the mission. The marines know that training exercises are off, but the scientists will show various degrees of perceptiveness when it comes to their scientific explorations. One or two will react with first befuddlement and then anger at the news that their day trip has been postponed. (He's prepared for it -- on a bad day at the SGC, you could hear General Hammond reaming out some science team from a floor away, telling them that the Goa'uld were trying to sabotage the stargate and no, they weren't going to P3X-772 to collect space daisies.)

He'd gotten waylaid by answering two dozen messages -- the lockdown is only physical; with IM the leading form of communication in Atlantis, the news will spread faster than any virus would -- and formulating a city-wide message to explain the situation without starting a panic. So he's still going over the mission calendar for the day when Sheppard appears. Bearing real coffee from the medical suites and fake food from the supply room, which under the circumstances is acceptable because it beats the reverse. The cheese-and-veggie omelet MRE is pretty much all breakfast food anyway and even the MRE elves can't wreck hash browns and bacon too badly.

"How's it going in there?" Lorne asks after they've eaten. Sheppard has traded him his jam, crackers, and the apple cider out of the accessory pack for his cinammon scone. Lorne adds Sheppard's to his own to save for later; he doesn't think he's going to be getting to the commissary any time today.

"Safir's trying to use the last nanovirus to get a leg up on this one," Sheppard replies, fiddling with the matches from the MRE accessory kit. "They've got Doctor Weir all hooked up to scanners and computers and who-the-hell-else-knows-what. She's getting worse."

Lorne sips his coffee because there's nothing really to say to that. "Everyone else is turning up clean?" he asks instead.

Sheppard nods. "Your boys are fine and Abelard's still working through Gillick's platoon, but so far everyone's okay there. Gillick's just got a chest cold. Carson said it was probably the same thing that waylaid most of Chemistry the other week, but I don't know why a marine would pick up something from the geek squad. He hasn't been babysitting recently."

Lorne raises an eyebrow. Gillick is a strapping, good-natured Minnesota farmboy and even if he's completely unaware of its draw, most women aren't.

"Please tell me that I'm not going to have to start chaperoning my lieutenants around Atlantis," Sheppard sighs.

The light moment is just that -- a moment -- when their radios activate. Weir is getting worse still and Yoni's initial batch of tests are all spectacular failures. Which means that Sheppard is on his way back to the quarantine room and Yoni is back to being something between irascible and terrifying.

Since it's looking more and more like the only affected party is Doctor Weir, Lorne authorizes the replacement of Patchok's platoon, which has been on since midnight and is pretty close to falling over at their various posts. Nobody's ever on nights long enough to get used to it and they're hours overdue for relief. Salker takes over as gate room officer and the two platoons effect the switch with a relative silence that's as indicative as anything else that everyone knows and is worried.

Not wanting to get underfoot in the medical suites, Lorne stays in the military commander's office and works. For all that he hates living life attached to a laptop, the advantage is that he can do most of his tasks from any computer and not need too much from his desk or office. Not that he's about to confess to appreciating it; they'd take away his printer. With everyone else in Atlantis trapped where they are, the flow of business of the city is both compressed and stretched out -- those quarantined in the labs are being extra productive with no distraction available in the form of escape, more than compensating for the ones trapped in the commissary or in their quarters. All in all, it's a lot like the crappy work he hated doing as a staff officer, the driving impetus to sign up for consideration for a covert assignment that turned out to be the Stargate Program. (They had him at "no paperwork.")

Just when he's losing the fight with himself to stick to the task at hand and not go out to the control room to chat with Salker and the techs probably asleep at their console, Yoni shows up.

"What are you doing here?" Lorne asks, because he's had his radio on and knows that nothing has changed in the last few hours.

Yoni shrugs and drops heavily into the chair across from his desk. "Carson told me to take a walk," he admits when Lorne continues to watch and wait. "I made one of the biomedical engineers cry."

Lorne can't help but chuckle. The ironic thing is that, under the circumstances, he's willing to bet that Yoni did it completely unintentionally. As opposed to the other times when Yoni's trying to drive people from his presence by any means necessary.

"Did you get to sleep last night?" he asks. Yoni is looking ragged and worn and, now that he is sitting down and not radiating anger, like he's about to pass out.

"I went back to my office after finishing with Sheppard's team," Yoni admits, rubbing his eyes. Lorne tosses one of the cracker packs at him, hitting him in the forehead. Yoni opens it without comment, which is proof enough of how tired he is. "The Three Stooges are on third shift this week, so we're not going anywhere and the labs would be empty. Better to sleep when everyone else is there."

Yoni eats the crackers with his usual fastidiousness, balling the wrapper in his hand when he's done. "This Replicator virus is far more ingenious than the one from last year," he says, rolling his neck. Lorne can hear the pop from where he's sitting. "They are both ultimately Ancient in design, at least that is what the biomeds are saying, but the behavior is nothing alike. That one was supposed to kill humans, but this one... it's like it's sitting there, waiting for something. It could be replicating far faster than it is, but it's not. It could have killed Weir three hours ago."

"That's a good thing, right?"

Yoni shakes his head. "I don't know. On the one hand, it gives us more time to try for a cure. On the other, whatever its purpose is, it's probably a helluva lot more dangerous than simply killing Elizabeth Weir."

"A timebomb," Lorne says. Yoni nods agreement. "They want to destroy Atlantis."

"They just might," Yoni says, standing. "I can't sit. I'll fall asleep."

Lorne watches him wander out of the office and back toward the medical suite.

It's an hour later and Lorne has given up and gone to bother Salker when he hears Beckett yelling at Sheppard about breaking quarantine and then there's just a lot of confused talking over each other as Weir's vital signs appear to be spiking upward and Sheppard is dragged off to get tested again and Lorne's pretty sure Yoni's going to kill Sheppard this time, even though whatever he did seems to have worked.

The last thing Lorne does before going off to the medical suites is allow Salker to lift the city-wide quarantine. He stops by to see Weir, who is exhausted and hyper all at once as she talks to the assembled group. He then goes across the hall to make sure that Yoni hasn't actually killed Sheppard. Yoni hasn't -- has already disappeared, in fact -- and Sheppard is not sporting any new visible bruising. Comfortable that he can hand the city back to its caretakers, he takes off his radio and goes back to his quarters.

This time, he gets both socks off before falling asleep in his uniform.

feed me on LJ?


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