Five things Sheppard did that Lorne had to fix.

by Domenika Marzione

1) allocation of human resources
"Lorne!" Sheppard called out cheerfully as the wormhole closed behind him. The rest of his team was in one piece -- McKay was almost smiling, the mission had obviously gone well, and everyone could safely assume that Sheppard was simply in a good mood.

Everyone except Lorne, who knew that Sheppard knew that his XO had better things to do than wait at the stargate like a groupie. And so Lorne (correctly) assumed that the cheerful tone was really "whatever it was I did, I didn't do on purpose" instead of "ain't life grand?".

Sheppard gestured to the rest of his team for them to head off to Medical and the armory without him. "Go ahead, I'll catch up," he told them.

Lorne nodded amiably at Teyla and Ronon as they passed; McKay didn't look his way. Possibly because he had been at the meeting and thus knew very well what Lorne needed to talk to Sheppard about so urgently.

"What's up?" Sheppard asked as they made their way out of the gate room and into the hallway, taking them out of earshot of the marines on guard duty. They stopped a couple of meters past the door.

In the year he'd been in Atlantis, he and Sheppard had grown used to each other's habits. Sheppard no longer mocked Lorne's preferences for paper and pen and whiteboard and Lorne... Lorne no longer bothered to hint, imply, or otherwise intimate that Sheppard hadn't been paying attention at a meeting. Because, after a year, they both knew that the other wasn't going to change.

"Just wanted to let you know, sir, that your request for extra HEDP and HEAA rockets has been added to the munitions resupply list and that Doctor Weir has approved the MWR day on M4R-629."

Sheppard cocked an eyebrow. "Why did I ask for extra rockets for the SMAWs and when did we agree on a beach party for the marines?"

"Right after you agreed to leave the marines at the disposal of the Science Division for an unspecified duration," Lorne answered blandly.

Lorne had realized early on that the weekly command staff meeting was going to conflict with his planned mission, but when he'd tried to reschedule, Sheppard had promised him that he was perfectly capable of surviving one CSM without Lorne there to hold his hand. And so he'd gone out, had a pleasant and mishap-free adventure with his team, and upon his return, Sheppard had been fairly beaming with smug satisfaction because nothing bad had happened at the meeting.

It wasn't until two days later that Lorne realized that Sheppard only thought nothing bad had happened because he'd not been paying attention for the bad parts. This morning, Captain Polito, the battalion operations officer, had come running into his office waving a handful of paper. Each page was a request for marine protection for a mission, allocation of military resources already approved by Lieutenant Colonel J. Sheppard. There were many pages.

Sheppard had already taken his team through the gate, which was convenient because it meant that Lorne could go directly to Doctor Zelenka without looking like he was avoiding dealing with McKay. And it was from Zelenka that Lorne learned that an inattentive Sheppard had apparently agreed to provide military support for a large-but-unspecified-number of scientific missions. ("He was in dreamland when Rodney said 'I have a ton of requests for off-world research and they'll need the marines to take them' and so he did not know what he was agreeing to when Doctor Weir asked if it was all right with him.")

"I did?" Sheppard asked, voice rising in pitch. "I think I'd better go talk to Doctor Weir about that. And Doctor McKay, too."

"That might be wise," Lorne agreed with a completely straight face. Letting the marines blow shit up on an abandoned world and maybe sneak some of their illegal-but-everyone-knows-about-it homemade beer out to the barbecue on M4R-629 would keep Sheppard (and himself) from getting death glares from the marines until the situation was corrected.

"Thanks for letting me know, Major," Sheppard said, turning to go back in the direction of the gate room and Doctor Weir's office.

2) matériel request

From: Cpt. Michael Hanzis <hanzis@mil.atla....>
Date: Aug 6, 2006 5:37 PM
Subject: Fw: Materiel Supply List
To: Maj. Lorne <lorne@mil.atla....>,

I'm pretty sure we mean the usual number of each, but what with the barbecue on M4R-629 coming up....

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lt. Laura Cadman <cadman@mil.atla....>
Date: Aug 6, 2006 2:05 PM
Subject: Materiel Supply List
To: Cpt. Michael Hanzis <hanzis@mil.atla....>

44626GS4C3SEH6 Tomato Catsup 1000 units
A082TWHJ634RA2 Drone Weapons 100 units
271AETRJJV246A Salad Dressing 100 units

Sir -- did we reverse the quantities on the ketchup and the drone weapons again?

From: Maj. Lorne <lorne@mil.atla....>
Date: Aug 7, 2006 8:15 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Materiel Supply List
To: Lt. Col. John Sheppard <sheppard@mil.atla....>


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Maj. Lorne <lorne@mil.atla....>
Date: Aug 6, 2006 22:01 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Materiel Supply List
To: Cpt. Michael Hanzis <hanzis@mil.atla....>

Mike -- we've got enough ketchup on hand to float a carrier.

44626GS4C3SEH6 Tomato Catsup 100 units
A082TWHJ634RA2 Drone Weapons 1000 units
271AETRJJV246A Salad Dressing 100 units

3) mission difficulties
"Isn't your galactic grace period over?" Yoni asked Sheppard as he idly twirled the axe in his hand. It was more of a pulaski, which made sense considering the fact that they were twenty feet up in the massive trees. "Are you still supposed to be getting caught in traps like this your third year in Pegasus?"

Lorne stood well away and turned to watch the marines work rather than grin at the gripe. The tree city was connected by sturdy rope-and-plank bridges and Reletti, Ortilla, and Suarez were in the trees with the other cages to break McKay, Ronon, and Teyla free. Lorne had been prepared to free Sheppard himself, but Yoni had given him that look, so he'd let the larger man win.

Sheppard, looking none too worse for wear considering he'd been making like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan with his chem light for at least the last seven hours, just sort of glared back at Yoni and curled himself up in a ball at the rear of the small cage so that he wouldn't get hit by either axe or shards. "I wanted to make sure you kept in practice."

Sheppard's team had missed their check-in time and, since Lorne's team was kitted up for their own mission, Lorne had taken the SAR rather than activate the marines in the ready-room, who were nonetheless standing by. Because while most search-and-rescue missions didn't need a large force to do the searching, most of them did need the extra manpower for the rescuing. Except here.

"Oh my god!" McKay spluttered as Ortilla broke apart the last of his cage and helped him out of what was left. "We were held captive by the Ewoks of Endor!"

"Thought they were Canarans," Ronon said, stretching. Lorne wondered how Ronon had even fit -- the cages were small enough that only Teyla (and maybe himself) would have been anything but cramped. Next to Ronon, Reletti was doubled over in helpless, silent laughter and Ronon put one hand on his back to grab the rear of his tac vest lest he fall over and to the ground below.

"They looked like Ewoks," Sheppard, now free, assured him. He then nodded to Yoni, who nodded back. "Just a little less hairy. Not by much, though."

Suarez and Teyla crossed the bridge to join Ortilla and McKay. Sheppard looked around, then gestured for them all to get back to ground level.

"Do I want to know what happened?" Lorne asked once they were all on solid earth.

"I'm sure you do," Sheppard replied, "but it depends on whether you want the truth or if you can wait until I come up with something a little less embarrassing."

Yoni grinned with what could best be described as malicious glee. "Do you mean that tree house prisons weren't the best part?"

4) playing politics
"Major, where is Colonel Sheppard?"

Lorne grimaced politely at Colonel Caldwell. "I believe he's on the mainland, sir."

Sheppard was not on the mainland. Sheppard was off in one of his hiding spots catching up on the paperwork he always left to do when the Daedalus was in port. Probably writing up AARs on a balcony in E-2.

It was never fun to lie to a superior officer, especially a superior officer who knew that he was willing to cover for his CO, but Lorne was pretty sure that he'd be able to first tell Lieutenant Paik, currently gate room officer, to 'lose' Sheppard and maybe one of the jumpers and then to find Sheppard and tell him to stay lost all before it dawned on Caldwell to ask someone else to let him know when Sheppard returned.

Caldwell nodded. "I had hoped to talk to him about Lieutenant Caulfield," he said mildly.

Lorne didn't flinch. He knew -- and Sheppard knew -- that Caldwell would want to know why Sheppard hadn't chosen Alan Caulfield to replace Cadman while she was back on Earth teaching a course at sapper school. In truth, it had been a collective decision; Sheppard wasn't going to stick his captains with someone they couldn't work with when replacing anyone for reasons other than death was next to impossible. It had taken them most of a year to get rid of Appleman and Appleman had even wanted to go. They had chosen Reggie Morrison because he was, far and away, the best candidate. Caulfield wasn't unqualified, but his most notable attribute was the letter of recommendation from Col. Stephen Caldwell, USAF, on behalf of the son of one of his oldest friends.

"I believe Colonel Sheppard thought very highly of Lieutenant Caulfield as a candidate for Atlantis duty," Lorne replied. "But we'd been trying to get Morrison for some time now and he'd only just been made available despite the wishes of the SGC to retain him. We couldn't pass up the opportunity."

Sheppard had gone with Morrison despite knowing that doing so would piss off the SGC and disappoint Caldwell. It was the right decision for Atlantis, but the wrong one for his own career and the tenuous, strained relationship he had with the Stargate Program. Sheppard needed to be making friends, not further alienating the people who could make decisions that would screw him six ways to Sunday. The marine captains had nearly hugged him when Morrison reported for duty.

"I'm sure that Colonel Sheppard can explain his reasons at length if you'd like," Lorne offered, letting his voice trail off to indicate that Caldwell was free to ask, but he'd get pretty much the same answer Lorne was giving him.

Caldwell shook his head. "Judging from General Landry's reaction, I think I understand."

"Very well, sir," Lorne replied, tilting his head and leaving Caldwell. He made sure he was three hallways away before he radioed Paik just in case Caldwell changed his mind.

5) wardrobe malfunction

Lorne didn't look up from his notepad as he tapped his radio."Sir?"

Sheppard had been on a solo flight, just checking out a space gate for a world that the Ancient database had pronounced abandoned more than fifteen thousand years ago. Because the database was frequently not right about these things, it made sense to double-check before they absconded with the gate.

"Could I ask you for a very odd favor?"

This time, Lorne did look up because when his CO was calling something odd.... "What can I do for you, sir?"

"Can you meet me in the jumper bay, please? And bring your sewing kit."

He was very glad that Sheppard wasn't there to see him grinning. "I'll be right there."

Lorne went to the file cabinet where he kept the sewing kit, tastefully decorated with a camouflage exterior with matching green handles -- the PX at Vandenberg had a wide variety of questionable items -- and headed off at a reasonable pace to the transporter.

He entered the jumper bay a few minutes later and looked around.

"I'm in Victor," Sheppard said over the radio and Lorne waved at Doctor Busto as he walked toward Jumper Five.

The ramp came down as he approached and he boarded. "What's the.... oh."

"Yeah," Sheppard agreed with a grimace, his right hand holding closed the long gash on the side of his pants. It started at the belt and went down a good six inches. "I tore it dicking around with the sensor thing McKay wanted me to use."

Lorne put the sewing kit down on the co-pilot's seat. "Do you want me to fix it or...."

"I can fix it well enough to get back to my quarters," Sheppard replied, letting the fabric go so that he could untie his boots. "I just sort of need you to stand guard and come up with any good excuses necessary while I do it."

Lorne grinned. "Of course, sir."

feed me on LJ?

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22 October, 2006