Breaking Walls

A Typical Day

Dr. Carson Beckett stood on the balcony overlooking the gate room, enjoying the relative calm that would last until the Daedalus arrived with the new shipment of supplies and personnel. It would get busy soon enough, so for now he relaxed against the railing and sipped his morning coffee.

A handful of science and technical staff were scattered around the gate room working on projects or testing systems. Carson really had no idea what they were doing. Gadgets and gizmo's were Rodney's area of expertise. It sometimes annoyed Carson that he couldn't say the same about Rodney's understanding of the Medical teams work. His friend feigned ignorance and bleated about soft sciences, voodoo, and shepherding of all things. But his obvious understanding of the medical field still peeked through a little too often. Carson recalled Rodney's swift directions and his input in diagnosing the unfortunate nano-virus outbreak. Then there was his easy understanding of how the Wraith technology worked, even though it was more biological than mechanical. Rodney had more than a passing understanding of medicine and biology, that much was certain, but thankfully not enough that he felt confident in flaunting it. Otherwise the daft bugger would almost certainly be flaunting it. As it was, Carson tried not to encourage him too much.

The speculating physician almost dropped his mug when Dr. Zelenka appeared and rested his arms on the railing beside him. A splosh of coffee plummeted down and landed on an unfamiliar tech. "Ah! Hey!"

The two men leaned over and winced out a united, "Sorry!"

At which the technician grinned and waved it off, "Just surprised me. No harm done." He wiped the splash off his head with his sleeve and continued on his merry way.

"Good morning Dr. Beckett," Zelenka lifted his own mug in greeting. Beckett returned the gesture but Zelenka's attention had already drifted elsewhere, "What is Kavanagh doing now?" He curled his lips as though the name left a bad taste in his mouth.

Carson followed Zelenka's line of sight down to a station where a quivering Dr. Miko Kusanagi was trying to talk to Kavanagh about something, and was succeeding only in being ignored while he disassembled the unit. She opened her laptop and turned it aqwardly towards him and meekly refused to back down from whatever she was trying to convince him of.

Carson and Zelenka strained to hear her, "Dr. McKay needs me to take these readings. Dr. McKay expects all these results no later than…" She flinched when Kavanagh stood and towered over her.

Zelenka muttered something angry sounding in Czech and turned to head down to her rescue, but Carson caught his arm, "Wait lad. I think it's under control."

Sure enough, Dr. McKay bounced into the room with his tablet PC. It was his, 'look what I discovered!' bounce. Not unlike a kid showing off a new toy. He undoubtedly was looking to show his favourite science play-mate whatever he'd found.

"He's looking for you," Carson teased Radek.

Radek nodded but continued to peer down, "He will need to deal with Kavanagh first. It is his turn anyway."

McKay paused where two of his team were working at the station nearest the door. He snapped his fingers impatiently and held out his free hand to inspect their work. It was briefly skimmed before he handed it back to them, "I see your line of thinking there. Creative. But wrong. On the bright side, you aren't working on anything that could explode and kill us all." His voice dripped with sarcasm and he made his, 'I know I'm smarter than you, but really I still expected better,' face. He reached down and began typing into their laptop. "There. That should get you at least somewhere in the vicinity of the right track."

The two exchanged a silent look then lifted their eyebrows when they re-examined their work with Rodney's changes. They seemed to struggle between being annoyed and being impressed that McKay had yet again accomplished in seconds what would have taken them hours. Carson suppressed a smile. The man was egotistical to be sure. And never shy to point out his brilliance. But half the time Carson thought McKay was genuinely surprised and annoyed that everyone else around him didn't immediately see what he saw and understand what was so easily plain to him. That could be construed as a sort of humility. His two scientists would probably spend more time now reading over and discussing the changes McKay had assumed they'd fully comprehend. The two scientists were definitely smart. They, like everyone else here in Atlantis, were among the best Earth had to offer. But there was smart, and then there was McKay. It was a fact that Rodney was never shy to point out.

Having passed his timeless wisdom on to his minions, McKay turned around to scan the room again for Radek but instead his eyes rested on Kavanagh. This should be interesting.

"Kavanagh!" McKay barked, "What do you think you're doing?"

Kavanagh folded his arms and turned to face Rodney with disinterested disdain.

In contrast, Dr. Kusanagi's eyes filled with respect and humility at the appearance of her leader, "Dr. McKay! I am sorry I have not started my assigned task yet. Please forgive me! I will serve you better."

Carson grinned broadly at the look on his friends face. McKay never quite knew how to react to Dr. Kusanagi at times like this. She was the only member of his team that didn't seem to get that she was supposed to react to his caustic personality with fear or disdain rather than fawning adoration.

Rodney floundered for a moment, but his attention was turned squarely back on Kavanagh when the pony-tailed irritant scoffed out an, "Oh please!"

McKay stiffened and glared at Kavanagh, "Dr. Kusanagi, I can see that Dr. Kavanagh here has been in your way. He will now collect his things and carry on with his scheduled projects."

Kavanagh leaned threateningly towards McKay and protested, "But my work here…"

"…Is not scheduled to take place for another two weeks, Kavanagh. This station is assigned to Dr. Kusanagi this morning and is being used by Dr. Hedgwigs archaeology team this afternoon." If Rodney was aware of Kavanagh's attempt at looming, he didn't show it.

Kavanagh ground his teeth, "The archaeology team can wait! You are purposely delaying my work!"

Rodney task switched the screen on his tablet pc to the science teams work schedule. "No, I'm sending you to it!" He enunciated as though he were speaking with a misbehaving preschool child and turned the screen to Kavanagh. "See this here! This is where I'm supposed to be. Which is right here. Oh look! Here's Dr. Kusanagi too! Right where she's supposed to be. And look all the way over here. That's where you're supposed to be working." Rodney turned the laptop back away and the patient teacher tone vanished, "Go there. Now."

Kavanagh looked like he was going to try and throttle McKay, but a couple of the marines on gate room duty looked pointedly at him from behind Rodney and shook their heads meaningfully. So he scowled silently and stalked out of the room, the tail of his white science coat flapping behind him villainously.

"Oh thank you most honourable Dr. McKay!" Dr. Kusanagi beamed at him in admiration. "I will fix the console and get to work immediately!"

McKay backed away uncomfortably, "Uh… no problem. Carry on then."

When he turned and saw all the other teams in the room watching him with badly disguised amusement he threw up his arms in disgust and said with emphasis, "ALL of you carry on." Instantly everyone returned to their work, with a curious look of respect exchanged between them.

Carson thought it was an interesting phenomenon, perhaps worth psychological study, the way the entire Atlantis expeditions dislike of Rodney's acid personality turned to appreciation when it was turned on Kavanagh.

The members of Atlantis willingly put up with Rodney's idiosyncratic personality because he had unintentionally shown them time and time again that it was all a lie. And the truth was that he thought they were brilliant, and in a crunch he would willingly give his life to save any one of them. So they rolled their eyes and shook their heads when he wasn't looking, and quietly took it when he was. Well, quietly if one didn't count the sound of teeth grinding.

"'Ave ye had any luck catching Rodney out, yet?" Carson asked Radek as he was turning to go to Rodney. The crafty man had revealed his plot to Carson one night when they'd shared too many drinks. Radek was convinced that Rodney could speak and understand Czech perfectly well but was hiding it. His argument had made sense at the time, though both men had been more than a little tipsy at the time. Rodney learned near-fluent Ancient in a month. He'd deciphered written Wraith within hours of first seeing it. So why wouldn't he be able to speak Czech?

"Not yet! But I will!" Zelenka stated with total confidence.

"Well", Carson straightened and gave Zelenka a friendly clap on the shoulder. "I'm off to the infirmary to help pack away the new supplies when they arrive."

"No new personnel?" Zelenka sounded surprised.

"Not for me this time. You?"

Zelenka pushed up his glasses and nodded, "Yes, I will stay here for initial introduction, try to keep Rodney from frightening them away. Perhaps stay for tour."

Carson grinned and chuckled at that, "Good luck lad."

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Dr. Elizabeth Weir paused inside the entrance to the gate room, with Teyla at her side, and scanned the area for Rodney. She had a feeling he was already here, "Rodney?" And sure enough, he was practically in the middle of the room.

"Ah, Elizabeth!" he answered brightly, "Have you seen Radek? I thought he'd be here."

She shook her head, "No. Is everything alright? I saw Dr. Kavanagh storming out."

"Oh," he waved a hand absently and sniffed the air curiously, "It's handled…" sniff sniff "What's that smell?"

"Athosian herbs," Elizabeth locked her hands behind her back and observed McKay.

"Huh..." He half grunted. "It's sort of like apple blossoms. It's nice."

"Why thank you Rodney." She smiled appreciatively with a hint of amusement.

McKay narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Teyla, "Hey, and your hair has a sexy twirly thing going on. Have you two had a girls night or something?"

Teyla gave him a pleased smile, "We have. Thank you for noticing."

A Czech accent interrupted their small-talk, "I hear you are looking for me?" Radek walked down the stairs from the upper level and towards Rodney, whose face lit up like a kid at Christmas. The 'discovery' bounce returned and he was eager to show his friend what he'd found.

"Where've you been?" he waved his hand dismissively at his own question, "It doesn't matter. Here. Just check out these energy readings. The behaviour of these waves is like nothing we've ever seen. I've made some calculations here and here, and I think…"

Radek was already looking at the results on Rodney's laptop, "I see. Yes, and then this..."

"Exactly."

"You believe this would then…"

"Yup."

"Is sound theory."

"Of course it is!" he snapped and shoved the laptop unceremoniously into Radek's hands. "I have to give a tour to the new guys when they get here. Can you…"

"You wish me to carry on with this for you?" Radek had to confirm this properly. It was too rare a circumstance for him to risk it on their unspoken way of communicating.

McKay rolled his eyes, "I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't. I'll join you when I can."

Elizabeth silently wondered at what point Rodney had actually asked anything.

Radek grinned and looked at Rodney over his glasses, "Is not often you share your toys. I will be in your lab." And Radek scurried off before Rodney could change his mind.

Elizabeth could tell that although Radek would never admit it out-loud he was honoured to be one of the few people Rodney thought capable of working as an equal on his experiments and research, and share still-developing theories with. That trust and friendship was why she felt most comfortable leaving Radek in charge of the science teams whenever Rodney was away on missions.

With a few minutes to kill before the Daedalus arrived Rodney turned back to Elizabeth and Teyla…"So… Chick flicks?" He referred the conversation back to the girls night.

"Kate and Leopold." Teyla supplied, exchanging a look with Elizabeth and nodding quiet agreement. Unknown to Dr. McKay he had been a subject of conversation last night and had now been tested. They had been debating top 10 most charming men in Atlantis and Teyla had been surprised when Elizabeth suggested Rodney McKay as an addition to the list.

Elizabeth had argued that while he could be critical and thoughtless it also meant that when he did give a compliment it was genuine and effortless rather than manufactured and linked to expectations. He would say it as though he were simply observing an irrefutable fact of the universe. EMC squared, time is relative, and you are beautiful.

"What were you and Radek discussing?" Elizabeth asked, before Rodney could notice Teyla's appraising look.

His eyes lit up and he bounded into an explanation as though he had just been waiting for her to ask. Elizabeth smiled and listened attentively as he took the time to back up each explanation with simple analogies, gesturing expansively as he spoke. He never treated her like she couldn't understand. Rodney paused in his explanation and an annoyed expression flitted across his face. She realized her name was being called, "Yes?"

"Dr. Weir. The Daedalus is here and requesting permission to beam down the supplies and new personnel." She smiled apologetically at Rodney, a silent signal that they would continue over lunch if he was free. "Of course. Tell them to come on down."

Rodney sighed laboriously, "I wonder what they've sent me to work with this time."

Elizabeth and Teyla exchanged knowing smiles. "Be nice Rodney." Elizabeth admonished.

"We know now that you can do it." Teyla said in a conspiratorial tone.

He didn't get a chance to question the apparent conspiracy as a bright flash announced the arrival of the goods and men.

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