Characters: Lorne, Coughlin, Reed, Parrish, Kusanagi, Corrigan, Sheppard, Ronon, Cadman. Gen (No Pairings)
Disclaimer: Nothing related to Stargate: Atlantis belongs to me.
Notes: for sga_santa 2012 edition. I got a very open request so I really hope you like it - despite the title, it's not at all christmassy. Beta by calcitrix, thank you!
Summary: There are new marines on Atlantis, and they have to be trained in all things Pegasus. That’s Major Lorne’s job.
Major Evan Lorne shifted slightly in the fold up beach chair to get more comfortable. He had his pants legs rolled up to his knees and his boots and socks were safely stored in the jumper, parked a few hundred yards up the beach. He wiggled his toes in the soft sand and sighed.
"Soda, sir." Reed said.
"Nah, I'm good," Lorne replied.
"Well would you look at that!" Coughlin blurted, and Lorne stared at him over the top of his sunglasses.
"You need to keep out of the greenhouse," Lorne said to Coughlin, "You're starting to sound like Dr. Parrish."
Coughlin grinned and pointed down the beach.
Reed sat up in his chair and picked up a clipboard.
"First Team back – Kusanagi." He intoned, making a mark on the list.
"What the hell happened to them?" Coughlin wondered.
They watched the other team drag their sorry looking asses up the beach. The three marines looked truly miserable. Dr Kusanagi was as perfectly groomed as she was when they left the city that morning. The Marines were not.
Each of them was covered in a substantial amount of mud. Cooper was missing a boot and Adams' hair was caked and sticking up all over. Walcowski approached Lorne and saluted.
He pulled a clear plastic bag from his pocket, inside was a model of an F14, also mostly covered in mud; a red light was feebly blinking where it was taped to the model aircraft.
"We found our toy," Walcowski stated.
Reed loudly cleared his throat; Walcowski rolled his eyes and tried again.
"Sir, we located this ‘Ancient Tech' in a swampy area. No other buildings of Ancient design were nearby, sir."
"Very good." Lorne said seriously.
"Permission to return the ‘ancient tech' to Atlantis, sir."
"Now why would you want to do that?" Lorne removed his sunglasses and stared at Walcowski. Despite being seated and relaxed, Lorne still made the huge blond marine blush with his look.
"Um. For further study? Sir." Walcowski said hopefully.
"Buzzzzzzz. Wrong answer," Reed chuckled and made another note on his clipboard.
"Plus ten for speed. Minus one million for blowing up the city." Coughlin told him.
Walcowski's confusion was evident.
"Dr. Kusanagi, report please," Lorne said ignoring Walcowski
"While these gentlemen were kind enough to ensure I didn't wander from the group, the speed at which they moved was too fast for me. They didn't pay enough attention to their surroundings as we moved. I noted Ronon pass us three times, and Colonel Sheppard waved at me when he passed us. I was out of breath when we arrived at the swamp, and I hadn't even gotten my scanner out of my pack when Mr. Adams was knees deep in mud attempting to retrieve the ‘Ancient tech'. Needless to say it was most entertaining to watch them flounder in the swamp." She paused, and looked disdainfully at the mud soaked men. "I was able to conduct a partial scan while they were getting themselves out. And there was a much larger energy signal less than a mile away. I believe we should also have investigated that energy signature. Instead I was ordered to return."
Lorne eyed the marines, they looked a little guilty.
"Anything else that Earth's finest might have missed?"
"I still have not been allowed to examine the object, it is clearly active," she pointed to where the toy in the bag was still blinking, "As the only gene carrier in this group it is imperative that I de-activate the object before returning to Atlantis."
"Thank you, Doctor." Lorne said, "Pull up a chair and grab a soda."
"No thank you Major, This training exercise has kept me from some very important work, I shall wait in the jumper, where I have a laptop." She nodded and headed off.
"Ohhh, McKay is making mini-me's in his lab," Coughlin laughed, the marines chuckled too, until Lorne silenced them with a glare.
"Gentlemen," he began, "Your scientist is the most important person on your team, and you were assigned Dr. Kusanagi because of her expertise with ancient tech. If you had allowed her to do her job, you would know that this," he tossed the bag to one side. "Is a booby trap, designed to detonate when passing through an active wormhole. Had you allowed Dr. Kusanagi to do her job you would have investigated the larger energy source, and would now be in possession of a three-quarters charged ZPM."
"Oh." Walcowski looked crestfallen.
"Also, if you exhaust your scientist getting there, not only will they be unable to do their job at their full potential they will be too damn tired to run away when the mission goes to hell."
Lorne put his sunglasses back on and sat back in his chair.
"I won't even get to the being passed by Ronon thing; that happens to everyone, Ronon is just that good. But Dr. Kusanagi saw him. I want you to take advantage of this extra time you gave yourselves by cleaning up and thinking about how much better you could have done."
Walcowski, Adams and Cooper kept their heads down as they shuffled off down the beach.
Coughlin dropped the clipboard on the sand next to him and popped the top of his soda.
"God I love training missions," He said.
"Who's gonna be back next?" Reed asked.
"Corrigan." Lorne and Coughlin said at the same time.
"Not Parrish?" Reed asked
"Nope," said Lorne, "David thinks these things are fun. He calls this his ‘play with the marines' time."
"No hints to what he's planning?" Reed said.
Lorne peered at him.
"That would be cheating." Lorne said smugly.
Just half an hour later, Sheppard and Ronon strolled up, Dr. Corrigan at their side – plastic ziplock handcuffs loosely holding his wrists together.
"Sir." Lorne nodded to him.
"Aarggh, I got me some bounty." Sheppard said in a terrible pirate voice as he rummaged in the cooler for a drink.
"Sir, where have you left the new marines?"
"In the ruins." Sheppard said airily as he passed a can of gingerale to Ronon.
"They're tied up, not going anywhere." Ronon said.
"Speaking of tied up," Dr. Corrigan said pointedly, holding his wrists up. Ronon pulled a tiny knife from his pants and cut the restraints.
"Thank you," Dr Corrigan said, and took the can of Sprite being offered by Sheppard, leaving Sheppard with the Coke.
Sheppard took the last chair and Ronon lounged on the sand at his feet.
"Would you like my report?" Dr. Corrigan asked.
"Sure, "Lorne said, "And be honest, Stacks says you're too nice."
"Well," Dr Corrigan began, "It was fine, the guys were great, we didn't rush and the path was easy to follow. The sergeant stopped us a few times, I'm not sure why. The ruins were right where they were supposed to be. The guys made me wait while they checked everything out and told me it was safe."
"Made you wait? Who guarded you?" Lorne said, sharing a look with the smirking Sheppard.
"Er. Nobody." Dr Corrigan admitted, looking at the floor.
"And that's when these ‘fearsome local bandits' attacked and took you hostage?"
"Yes," Dr Corrigan muttered
"He screamed like a girl," Ronon said
"I thought to call for help. Nobody came."
"They were all hog-tied by then," Sheppard said, pulling a power bar from his tac vest and tossing it at Ronon. "We were gonna take Kusanagi but it looked like her guys were screwing up all by themselves."
"Yes," Lorne said darkly, "They took the decoy, blew up the city. She never even got to touch the damn thing."
"Ouch," Agreed Sheppard.
"There's another chair in the jumper, Dr. Corrigan. Join us." Lorne asked.
"Where's Miko? You said they're back already."
"In the jumper."
"I'll wait in there then, she'll have an extra laptop, I might get some work done."
"Scientists are all the same," Reed said.
"What do they do to relax?" wondered Coughlin.
"Mess with the soldiers," Sheppard said. "McKay keeps a spreadsheet of ideas."
Reed and Coughlin stared at him, aghast.
Sheppard had started to snore where he was slumped in his chair Ronon and Coughlin were playing some Satedan Game that looked like tic-tac-toe in the sand when the last team of new marines finally showed up.
"Where the hell is Parrish?" Lorne snapped at them.
"Um. We seem to have lost him, sir," Curtis said, staring blankly over Lorne's left shoulder.
"One minute he was there, the next he was gone," Curtis said.
"Well, where might he have gone?" Lorne asked.
"I don't know, sir."
"What is Parrish's speciality?" Lorne asked out of curiosity.
"Er." Curtis glanced at his team mates.
"Oh good God!" Lorne yelled and Sheppard snorted himself awake.
"Wha--?" the Colonel mumbled
"They lost Parrish, sir," Lorne said standing up. "let me grab my boots and I'll go get him."
"He'll be picking flowers or fondling moss," Sheppard said, nudging Ronon. They both stood up, ready to go and find Parrish.
"Why would he be doing that?" Curtis asked.
Sheppard stared. "Did you read your mission brief?"
"You're lying. If you had, you'd know you were escorting a botanist." Sheppard marched past him to meet Lorne.
"These are the best Earth has?" Sheppard said to Lorne.
"Well, I guess we can beat it into them." Lorne shrugged.
"Or shove them through a space gate," Sheppard muttered.
"Please don't do that, sir. The paperwork is awful."
"So noted, Major. Lets go get your guy."
"I got it, sir. Doc Parrish likes to mess with the new guys."
"I see." Sheppard smiled.
"You three," Lorne snapped, pointing at the remains of Parrish's team. They hurried after him up the beach towards the forest.
"Your mission brief was to escort a botanist, Dr. Parrish, to visit the locally renowned Pirus tree. It is believed to be over two thousand years old and the locals tap its sap because they believe it promotes long life. Dr. Parrish wants a sample of the sap."
Curtis and his buddies hurried to keep up with Lorne as the Major continued with his speech.
"Parrish is easily distracted by local flora and prone to wandering away – this is also noted in the mission file. Well known behaviour and quirks will be noted in your mission file, usually by the last team to escort that scientist."
Lorne turned to face them.
"I should not need to tell you that you do not let the scientists know we keep notes on them. But knowing your scientist is very very import--" Lorne froze mid word and raised his P-90, pointing it at the trees. The other three froze, also raising their guns, but clearly could not see what it was that Lorne had.
"Ha ha, Ronon," Lorne called into the forest, lowering his weapon.
Ronon miraculously appeared in front of them, and he slapped Lorne on the shoulder. "Sheppard said I wouldn't be able to sneak up on you. I thought I might, while you were
yelling at these guys."
"How much do you owe him?" Lorne asked, but Ronon just smirked. Lorne really didn't want to know.
"So, if you know your scientist, you'll be able to find him." Lorne continued on as though he hadn't even been interrupted.
"Also," he called back over his shoulder, "Read the god dammned mission brief."
They reached a clearing in the forest, in the middle of which stood a very large and very old looking tree.
"The pirus tree. Where you will find your missing botanist." And he looked up. The marines followed his line of sight.
Halfway up the tree, lounging on a wide branch, was Dr. Parrish. He had one leg dangling down from the branch and his eyes were closed, he was nodding his head and tapping his foot in midair. Lorne could just make out the familiar white cable of ear-buds.
"Parrish!" Lorne yelled. Parrish didn't hear him, but from behind Parrish, Lieutenant Cadman appeared. She smacked Parrish on the head and he startled. They clung to each other for a moment so they didn't fall out of the tree.
"Major!" Dr. Parrish yelled down from the tree. "Ah. Excellent, you found my team."
"They say you wandered off, Doc."
"Nope, at least I don't think so, I stayed on the path all the way to the tree. They vanished on me."
Next to him, Cadman coughed meaningfully.
"Oh, yes. Major, this is... um.. Lau Lau," Cadman smacked him on the head again. "Princess Lau Lau, she said I could have a sample of the tree sap if we performed a simple ritual of thanks."
Lorne turned to the three marines behind him.
"Who thinks Dr. Parrish should perform this ritual of thanks?"
All three of them raised their hands.
Lorne dropped his head in his hands and Ronon burst out laughing.
"Try this one," Lorne grit out, "Who thinks Dr. Parrish should ask what is involved in the ritual of thanks?"
"Oh," Curtis mumbled.
"What did you do, Dr. Parrish?" Lorne called up to the tree.
"Well it was a nice ritual...we held hands, sang a song, and then we kissed," Dr. Parrish said
"Well, it seems we're married." Parrish shrugged.
"Oh, god," Lorne sighed. "Get down from the tree!" he yelled at Dr. Parrish
"We're on our honeymoon, we can't leave until nightfall. And then I must return to the village to be with my wife." Dr. Parrish yelled back.
"If you take my husband I shall kill you all." Cadman shouted.
"It's all right Major, once I've got her pregnant I can leave." Parrish smiled and wrapped an arm around Cadman, who waved.
"Okay, then." Lorne turned to the marines. "Your mission--what are you going to do?"
"Fight our way in, grab the doc, retreat to the gate asap." Curtis said.
"And start a war with innocent people. Wrong."
"Trade for him?" Davies asked.
"hmmm, better, what are you going to trade?" Lorne asked.
"More importantly, how much am I worth?" called Parrish. Lorne shot him a glare; he and Cadman were having too much fun.
"We don't have anything." Davies said.
"Well what do you suggest?" Curtis said sarcastically. "Sir."
Lorne looked at him, undecided if he was pleased that the guy had asked for help when he needed it or if he was angry at the guy's attitude. He let it pass for the moment.
"It's all about the tree." Lorne said, turning back to Dr. Parrish and Cadman.
"Your highness," he began. "It would seem that my botanist has inadvertently entered a trade agreement with you. He has traded himself for a sample of the sap from the mighty pirus tree. But I cannot allow him to trade himself away, even though you are a beautiful and worthy wife, I am sorry, but you will have to reverse the trade."
"What?" Dr. Parrish yelled.
"The sap, Doc. Hand it over." Lorne ordered.
Grumbling, Dr. Parrish pulled a glass bottle from his pocket and offered it to Cadman.
"Quickie divorce?" he asked her.
Cadman frowned at the bottle of sap for a while.
"I find I shall miss my husband greatly. He was pleasing to the eye and good company," she yelled to Lorne. "I require further trade items before I return him to you."
"What did you have in mind, your highness?" Lorne questioned warily.
"This device that makes music." She held up Dr. Parrish's ipod.
"Deal," Lorne yelled. "Hand it over, Parrish."
"Hey, no. That's mine," Dr. Parrish complained as Cadman wrapped the earbud cable around the ipod and slipped it into her own pocket.
Lorne turned to the marines.
"Bonus lesson. Do not bring Earth entertainment out here, it doesn't last long."
Dr. Parrish swung himself off the branch and dropped gracefully to the ground.
"You're not going to let her keep that, are you?" he asked.
"Yep," Lorne said, and led the way back toward the jumper.
Dr. Parrish and Cadman argued about it all the way, until Lorne took the ipod away from both of them and then they just sulked.
In the end, everybody failed their training mission.