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Title: The item you are looking for is unavailable labeled USAFSGA23C-NPG3478-4A
Author: salable_mystic
Recipient: raktajinos
Pairing: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: SGA and its characters do not belong to me, I just take them out for a spin now and then.
Summary: Long days call for chocolate, or some other form of tension release. Elizabeth stumbles into one she did not expect.


It had been a long day. A long, long day. Make that an almost interminably long day, one of those tedious yet not at all adrenaline fueled days, that, for all her dislike of being in mortal (or, come to think of it, even non-mortal) danger, made one long for something besides small and bureaucratic emergencies, just to shake off the tedious business of urgent requests and pages after pages of paperwork that needed to be completed now, now, NOW. And in the middle of all of that non-urgent yet busy-making work she’d nonetheless found no time at all to break for dinner, grab some food in the Mess Hall - and to see something besides the walls of her office. She’d eaten a sandwich at some point, of that she was pretty certain, and had definitely drunken far too many cups of coffee – it had been that or nodding off over yet another requisitions form.

The gate had stayed quiet all day, so there’d not even been a breather in the form of external input to lighten up her day - but considering the fact that most of the time external input ended up causing trouble for Atlantis, she couldn’t really be sad about the absence of any such event. Tranquil and uneventful events were a rarity of Atlantis, even if they easily left one feeling somewhat ... unfulfilled.

Elizabeth sighed as she closed down the last budget review that had needed completion for the scheduled transmission to Earth the following morning and stretched in her chair to get the kinks out of her back. It wasn’t all that late in the evening yet – just gone 2200 – and if she didn’t linger in her office for too much longer she might be able to justify a stop in the Mess Hall for some Athosian tea before she called it a night. There might even be some people out and about yet – she hadn’t really interacted with anyone all day, and she felt starved for conversation – for all that more people were on-world than was usually the case. Since Atlantis’ lead scientists were off on Earth for a Stargate Command/Atlantis scientific projects team building and feedback exercise (and what a joy that was going to be for all concerned!) and the Wraith were staying quiet for the time being, Sheppard had decided to take the day to do some overdue military procedural reviews with his people that Command had been demanding the status on for the last weeks, as there were thus far less teams off-world than was usual. This, incidentally, meant that John would not be forced to run through the review more than twice to cover everybody.

She hadn’t seen head nor hair of any of here military people today – which was in itself a sure indicator that nothing had happened to interrupt the scheduled procedure reviews. The quietude of John’s days bore a large impact on the relative tranquility of hers – and vice versa – after all.

So, tea and bed (at a very reasonable hour) it would be, with possibly a bit of conversation thrown into the middle of it all.

Or, wait, even better – make that chocolate rather than tea!

Their newly inaugurated Gate Bridge had the potential to come in useful in any number of ways, but one of the definite improvements – seemingly small but ever so crucially significant – was the sudden availability of coffee and chocolate on Atlantis. She’d missed chocolate. Oh, how she’d missed chocolate. And she was pretty certain that in the deluge of paperwork today she’d read that a crate containing, amongst a great number of other things, 200kg of ‘assorted chocolate bars’ had arrived in Atlantis last week, and had been placed in Storage Room 3C on the South Pier. Crate number ... crate number ... her fingers flew over the keyboard as she searched the storage database. Ah, there. USAFSGA23C-NPG3478-4A. Perfect. She made a note to send a message to Quartermaster McReady tomorrow that she’d pilfered from stores and had picked up her allotment early, so as not to upset the carefully kept inventory and possibly cause an internal inquiry, but she definitely – definitely – needed some chocolate now. Decision made, she shut the computer down for the night and left her office.

* * * * * *

Elizabeth stepped out of the transporter on the relevant level to dim lights and silence, a sure indicator that this part of the city was devoid of people and activity at the moment – as it should be, lying well inside the city perimeter and not housing any living quarters – only large, multi-leveled rooms of unknown former usage, most of which now stood empty – even their drastically expanded amount of stored goods and general supplies only took over a meager portion of them. Some of the light panels increased their glow slightly to illuminate her way as she passed, but other than that Atlantis made no acknowledgement of her presence – John might make the city light up in fireworks wherever he went, but Elizabeth and Atlantis shared a quieter relationship, less prone to displays of open affection and adoration. Still, Elizabeth was deeply fond of her city, and liked to think that Atlantis was not wholly unaffected by her either. Elizabeth ran her hand along the wall, overwhelmed by a sudden surge of affection for her city – so strong and solid, and yet so fragile and elegant and wholly mysterious at the same time – and then shook her head at herself for her own fancies.

Storage Room 3C was the third door down the hallway and one of the largest rooms on this pier, complete with the Ancient version of some kind of fork-lift that allowed for the easy stacking of crates – a fact which had played a not inconsequential part in them picking this precise room as storage for their general non-perishable goods. Weapons and other military items were stored on a separate pier - under close and constant guard - and all perishable goods went straight to the Mess Hall and the cold storage facilities, but 3C now held their crates upon crates upon crates (thank you, thank you, SGC!) of supplies various and sundry, ranging from uniforms and clothing in all sizes to toiletries, spare batteries, torches, computer parts, tents, camping equipment, mattresses, rolls of tarpaulin and cloth, ... . Everything that Earth could provide and they’d wished they’d had in the Pegasus Galaxy over the last years, here it sat. Well, everything within reason - but still. The sheer amount of crates and boxes and items was staggering, truth be told – and also very, very comforting. And definitely something that it had been well worth fighting tooth and nail to finally get. It also made room 3C a bit of a maze, what with crate towers frequently reaching a meter or more above Elizabeth’s head. Thankfully, Quartermaster McReady was a very organized person, and so Elizabeth was confident that she would find her desired crate, without much searching, in row 34, stack 78.

Not only was 3C a maze, it was also a very dim maze, Elizabeth discovered upon entering, providing no more light than what might have passed for a moonlit night back on Earth – just enough light to see buy, if one allowed one’s eyes to accustom themselves to the ambient lighting and was in no great hurry, but not what she had come to expect of Atlantis (barring a power outage).

Elizabeth moved into the room just enough to allow the door to close behind her and stood perfectly still, trying to take in as much information about the room as she could. Something out of the ordinary was going on here, and for a moment she considered calling in backup in lieu of trying to gather more information on her own. No alarm had sounded and all other systems were fully operational, which spoke against this being a cause for an emergency call for backup ... and yet this was Atlantis, where the most harmless of moments and incidents could turn straight into disaster. She’d almost reached the decision to lean towards caution and possible over-reaction and to call the tower for a life sign check of this level of Atlantis, when a quick series of footsteps and some whispered conversation from somewhere further into the stacks of crates reached her ears, and made her pause. On its tracks followed first the sound of multiple persons running, then a crashing sound (such as body impacting with a standard storage crate might make), then the briefest burst of laser light, a tinny wailing sound, and after that a brief but seemingly heartfelt round of loud cursing. Somewhere, someone laughed, and yet another voice threw a friendly insult into the room.

Elizabeth relaxed and smiled to herself. Now that she came to think of it, her military personnel had been a little too quiet all day, and this seemed to be the place where they had come to blow off some steam.

She’d signed off on the top-grade non-military laser-tag set that John and Evan had campaigned for with only feigned reluctance and pretended ignorance, easily convinced of its use both as a recreational device as well as a training tool. It, too, had come in with the shipment last week, and was apparently being put to good use already. And what better room to set it up in than the cavernous maze of non-fragile and non-dangerous objects that 3C made. The nightshift gate room crew undoubtedly knew about the use 3C was being put to right now – Elizabeth had not thought to check, since her excursion here was of a somewhat clandestine nature, and had not interacted with the night crew except for wishing them a quiet shift.

More laughter broke the brief silence and echoed through the room, quickly shushed by a myriad of voices, followed by the sound of people trying to run a quietly as possible.

Elizabeth stood listening, contemplating whether or not she should abandon her quest for chocolate, or if she should proceed anyway. The greatest danger she might encounter was being discovered and/or possibly being run over someone, and she thought she might be able to avoid that by simply being careful. Not wearing a laser-tag set herself, being shot would have no effect on her at all, as it was only the breast and back armor that counted the ‘kills’ in the game, and the laser weapons were low grade enough to make exposure to them entirely harmless. Plus, it would make for good practice of her stealth walking skills – and, most importantly, there lay the lure and promise of chocolate at its end. Yes, the promise of chocolate surely outweighed the potential embarrassment being discovered might cause her. She’d simply keep to the walls for as long as possible, and try to avoid the area where the shuffling feet had sounded from and ...

* * * * * *

... barely ten feet along the right-hand wall Elizabeth stopped abruptly, as Teyla materialized right before her, silently stepping around the corner of a crate. She wore her hair in a somewhat disheveled ponytail and was smiling widely, a laser-tag gun cocked easily in her right hand and the breast- and back-plate molded snug to her lithe form.

“Elizabeth!” the Athosian whispered, sounding pleased. “Have you come to join the game?”

Join the game?
And, well, why shouldn’t she?

Elizabeth made a quick decision. “Won’t I throw off team sizes?”

Teyla shook her head. “We are currently having a, as John calls it, ‘free-for-all’,” she smirked. “Though I believe it has actually turned into a round of ‘everyone-try-to-shoot-John’. So far, only Ronon has managed to do it.”

Elizabeth raised an eyebrow, “Oh? And what about you?”

Teyla’s smirk grew wider. “I have been content to observe and to learn the dynamics of the game until now, never having experienced anything of its nature before. I believe myself to be ready to become a more active participant now, though.”

“Oh? For how long have you been playing?”

Teyla shrugged, nonchalant, “About a quarter hour or so. Not long.”

Elizabeth smirked back, amused, and teased her friend: “So you’re having a slow day, then.”

Teyla shook her head, mock affronted. “Continue like this and I will make certain that you are the first person I shoot, thus immediately giving away your position – and the fact that you have entered the game.”

Elizabeth raised her hands in surrender, suppressing laughter. “All right, all right! I didn’t say anything.”

A smile, a regal nod, and a quick hand wave that indicated for her to follow the other woman were her only reply, and she obediently followed Teyla the short steps to a crate that stood open against the wall. Teyla handed her a laser-tag torso set, which Elizabeth quickly shrugged over her head, tightening the straps so that front and back plate sat snugly against her body. “What are the rules?” she whispered to the Athosian.

“No physical contact is allowed. No eliminations. No teaming up.” Teyla whispered back. “If you are shot, a signal sounds, the light on your weapon flashes, and you are out of the game for thirty seconds, after which you may re-join the game. Hits are recorded by the equipment and a continuous tally is kept by the system. The player who gets shot the most will, apparently, have to ‘eat crow’ after the exercise is complete. No other penalties were mentioned.”

Elizabeth nodded and picked up a laser-tag weapon, automatically checking that it was fully charged, and adjusting her grip for a secure fit. “All right.”

Teyla inclined her head and returned a quiet “Good hunting.” She spun to go, but just before she vanished behind the corner of a stack of crates she turned her head back towards Elizabeth. Her teeth flashed white in the darkness of the room as the Athosian smiled at Elizabeth and pointed off towards the right, in the direction of the far end of the room and a large stack of crates. “The last time I detected him, Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard was heading in that direction.”

And what was that supposed to mean, Elizabeth thought to herself, as she studied the place where the other woman had disappeared. Why would Teyla assume that that this was information that she’d want to know?

Still, the idea of trying to sneak up on John unawares was tempting for a number of different reasons, and there was nothing that really spoke against making the attempt. Elizabeth suppressed the unexpected urge to grin, suddenly feeling far more carefree than she had before entering the room, and determinately stalked off in the direction that Teyla had indicated. It was unlikely that she’d actually manage to get to John without him becoming aware of her presence, but she’d give it her best shot (both figuratively and literally) and see just how close she could get before being discovered.

The End


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
This is going to be a fun game! :D I enjoyed the story, your Elizabeth is lovely and definitely deserved a break, chocolate, and a distraction.
Dec. 17th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
Oh, what a fun look at Elizabeth! Laser tag, always good times. :D
Dec. 17th, 2012 01:00 am (UTC)
Aww, I really liked this! I used to love to play laser tag. :)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 17th, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
SGA Newsletter - December 16, 2012
User neevebrody referenced to your post from SGA Newsletter - December 16, 2012 saying: [...] : The item you are looking for is... (Gen, PG13) [...]
Dec. 17th, 2012 05:01 am (UTC)
Oh, fun!
I hope Elizabeth remembers to get her chocolate, and that she's not the one eating crow!
Dec. 17th, 2012 08:12 am (UTC)
Nice - this is what happens behind scenes! ;)
Dec. 17th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC)
Now that would be a fun game to watch. And I really loved both Elizabeth and Teyla in this!
Dec. 17th, 2012 11:49 am (UTC)
Lovely!! Forget chocolate, I want to join in too!! :) (Though I'd last about five seconds against John, Teyla and/or Ronon!)
Dec. 18th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
Fun look at Elizabeth! :-)
Dec. 27th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
This went in an unexpected direction! I like that Elizabeth snuck down there for some chocolate and solitude, and found a game to join, instead.
Dec. 27th, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
Ha! Go, Elizabeth and Teyla! This was a fun story, and I loved Elizabeth's POV. I wish I could have read more about how Elizabeth did in the game. :) Poor John, though...
Dec. 31st, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
A fun game. I'd like to be watching from above
Jan. 1st, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
I was worried about Elizabeth not telling anyone where she was going, so I'm glad she stumbled on a party.

Now I want Elizabeth to use her advantage and tag Ronon.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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