by Domenika Marzione

Everyone in Little Tripoli knows Captain Polito's penchant for suddenly breaking out into Latin (or Ancient Greek or just plain Ancient) and it sounding all serious like it's a quote from some philosopher when it's really a dramatic interpretation of "Hit Me Baby One More Time." But only the Weapons Company marines know that their CO is the one with the actual singing voice.

Captain Hanzis is a sardonic hardass most of the time, but it doesn't take them long to realize that he's just sarcastic by nature and he's rarely (if ever) actually angry at them. In fact, he's actually quite pleased with them and, if anything, angry at the way Charlie Company gets all the props for being the best marines when its his boys (and girl) who are the ones operating way the hell out of their MOS and doing a damned fine job.

Which is why none of them will ever breathe a word that no, really, you can hear Skipper singing when he's sure that nobody else is in earshot. He's got a nice baritone with good range (say the guys who know this kind of shit) and your best chance of hearing it is when Weapons Company has the overnight shifts and he's working alone because First Sergeant Dyson's doing his rounds. If you can hear the Doors or Sinatra coming out of the company offices, then there's a good chance you'll hear Skipper singing along if you wait.

"Took you guys long enough," John drawled as the marines appeared at the top of the pit. "Re-enacting the Trash Compactor scene from Star Wars wasn't exactly how I'd planned on spending the day."

It had seemed like a good idea and nobody on his team had argued at the time, but dropping down the mysterious grate to get away from the Wraith was perhaps, in hindsight, not a decision he'd make again if offered the chance. They'd managed to stop themselves from getting squished by the encroaching walls through a combination of debris, Rodney's command of physics, and the fact that the trap was at least ten thousand years old and thus well out of warranty. But none of that would keep John from hearing about this for weeks. Possibly years, since his team had crappy memories for mission schedules but perfect recall of all of his imperfect decisions.

"Sorry, sir," Lieutenant Patchok called down. He was lying on his stomach with only his head visible. "We'll have you out in a minute. Just got to find something to secure the ropes with."

It took longer than a minute, in part because nothing more stable could be found than Staff Sergeant Ortilla bracing really well.

"How'd you find us?" John asked once they were all at sea level again. He looked around for Reletti or Spelcher, since they'd have the Ancient PDAs to use as life sign detectors, but neither was around.

"Doctor Kolchin, sir," Patchok replied.

John cocked an eyebrow because he didn't recognize the name.

"Linguist, sir," Patchok elaborated, starting to look uncomfortable. And starting to look around for Gunny Haumann, who wasn't having anything to do with this, instead organizing the marines for the march back out to wherever they'd come from.

"We got rescued by a linguist," John repeated sourly. This one was going to sting for a while. "He read the map?"

"He read the sign that said 'solid matter compactor, do not enter,' sir."

That they knew exactly where to look for John and his team after that went unsaid, since Patchok had designs on making captain before turning thirty.

"Well, whatever works," John said, trying to pass it off as nothing. Which was hard to do when caught between his smirking team and his smirking marines. He wasn't sure if he needed better material or a better audience.

Elizabeth reaches for her radio before she opens her eyes. It's dark out still, she can tell, which means that this isn't going to be good because the marines don't call her in the middle of the night for trivial matters. (Up to and including building collapses and non-trivial fires.)

"Ma'am. We've got Wraith."

She's up and dressed and striding into the control room in ten minutes. Hair pulled back and no makeup on, she is sure she looks as bedraggled as she feels. John is already there, looking rough and scratching at his stubble as he talks on his radio to someone, probably Lorne. He's standing next to the city map, gesturing for Lieutenant Murray to do something with the security forces.

Elizabeth stops Doctor Caughlin and asks him what's going on. Caughlin frowns and shows her the hive ship, complete with accompanying cruisers, on course straight for Atlantis.

"Call the command staff," she tells the sergeant sitting by the DHD. "Get them here as soon as possible."

Yoni shows up almost immediately. He's dressed in jeans and an oxford and there's nothing bleary and sleepy about his expression, just the same disassociated look he's had since Carson died. Elizabeth suspects that he was in the lab working despite it being a quarter to four in the morning, but knows better than to ask him about it. He stands off to the side, aware that he's not needed just yet, and waits.

Lorne shows up next, sees Yoni, frowns at him, then turns his attention to John and Captain Hanzis, who are debating how many marines to get up and out into the city if the Wraith really are coming. (There seems to be some doubt and Hanzis is calling them "fucking cock teases" until he realizes that Elizabeth is listening in.)

Rodney and Radek steal the show almost from the moment they arrive, Rodney ordering their personnel around like the Queen of Hearts and Radek alternately softening the blows and reinforcing them. There are sensors turned on and others turned off and preparations made to switch the city rapidly between shield and cloak.

Elizabeth feels a little useless -- there's nothing precisely for her to do -- and a little powerless despite the fact that she is the final arbiter of all decisions and none of the men before her will defy her decisions.

The Wraith aren't coming, but it takes seven long hours for them to know for sure.

In far too many ways, a team is like a romantic relationship. You learn a lot about each other, things you don't really share with strangers, and learn to rely on and take care of each other in obvious and non-obvious ways. You also learn to make compromises and to accept that there are some things you can't change about your partners.

Like timeliness.

The marines show up early to meetings. Always. Part of it is that they're already in Little Tripoli (and Lorne tries to schedule them for when their platoon's not doing anything too important) and most of it is for the same reason Sheppard's always asking if every clock in Little Tripoli is set fast or if it's some error in Marine Corps programming. Which would be perfectly fine if it weren't also for the fact that Yoni is chronically late. To everything, which is why Lorne doesn't take it any kind of personally, but the marines are a little less patient. Lorne has tried to explain to them that just because they show up ten minutes early that Yoni isn't twenty minutes late when he shows up at 1510 for a 1500 meeting. But marine logic works about as well as marine math, so Lorne settles for not allowing Ortilla to send Suarez and Reletti off to drag Yoni in until he's ten minutes late.

Yoni is invariably in a fabulous mood if he's been herded by marines, so Lorne isn't sure what to make of it when Suarez and Reletti present Yoni with more than the usual glee and after more than the usual delay. In fact, their faces are wet with tears of laughter, which sets off Lorne's radar because Yoni can curse impressively in many languages and watching him deal with Chip and Dale can be vastly entertaining, but the boys don't usually find it that hilarious. Certainly not to the point of practically capering into the room.

"Sorry," Yoni says as he takes a seat.

Except instead of sounding annoyed and irritated, Yoni sounds like he's been breathing helium. Which sets off Suarez and Reletti again and, because it's so unexpected and surreal -- Yoni has a perfectly straight face -- Lorne and Ortilla as well.

"Doc and Doctor Beckett were sucking on balloons and singing drinking songs, sir," Reletti explains, taking a deep breath so he can get the words out.

Lorne just blinks. Yoni shrugs, like this was a perfectly valid way for the CMO and DCMO to spend a Thursday afternoon.

"Right," Lorne sighs.


feed me on LJ?

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15 August, 2009