Summary: John looks to find out why there were cooks are on a gate team.
A/N: This one’s also Laura’s fault. Never dare the person writing the story, you’ll never know what will happen. *g*
~*~*“Major Sheppard!” Sergeant Bates said, looking up from his desk. As he moved to stand, Sheppard waved a hand to indicate he should stay seated. “What can I do for you?” Bates asked. He had been expecting the Major to call him in for a couple of days. He hadn’t expected Sheppard to come to him.
Sheppard pulled the chair from Dr. Kusinagi’s desk and sat down carefully. He was supposed to be resting in his room, but figured he could handle some walking around. Walking from his room to the office had tired him more than he would admit. Sheppard looked around and commented, “Nice space you have here.”
Not sure where the discussion was going, Bates had no choice but to play along. “It’s near the kitchens and since two of us are sharing, we needed something larger,” he replied.
“About the other day…” Sheppard started.
“I’m afraid that was my fault,” Dr. Miko Kusinagi said softly from the door. “Do not lay blame on the Sergeant for my conceit.”
As Sheppard was about to stand to give her chair back, she said firmly, “Sit. You are still hurt.” As he stirred, she held his eyes and didn’t back down. Sheppard was forced to give in to her. Damn. Kusinagi continued, “Dr. Zalenka informed me that the building that had fallen on him and broken his leg had also fallen partially on you, Major Sheppard. There were few secrets in Atlantis.”
Sheppard looked to Bates and asked mildly, “What is it with these scientists giving orders?”
Bates shrugged. “It’s usually easier to give in most of the time,” he admitted with a grin.
Kusinagi made space on Bates desk and perched on the edge. Sheppard sat facing the unlikely pair, settled back in the chair and said, “So, tell me how it is that we have cooks on a gate team?”
Bates was struggling with the cleaning schedule when Kusinagi said, “Major Sheppard is giving Dr. McKay weapons training.”
Confused, Bates looked up at his office mate and said, “Huh?”
“Major Sheppard is giving Dr. McKay weapons training,” she repeated for him.
“Huh. Where’d you hear that?” Bates asked her. Their people talked to her more than they talked to him.
“The crew that cleans the armory area has seen them there several times,” Kusinagi told him. “Dr. McKay was not good to start but I’m told he has improved recently.”
Bates took this in. He had learned to listen to this scientist carefully for both the things she said as well as the things she did not say. He had not been happy originally to be assigned to work with her, but had come to appreciate the value of what they were doing. Housekeeping, laundry, and food service didn’t seem important, but everything else would grind to a halt without them.
“McKay’s not on a gate team,” Bates said thoughtfully. “On the other hand, this is Atlantis and you never know when it might be useful to know how to handle a weapon.”
“That is very true,” Kusinagi agreed with him serenely.
Hmmm. Bates considered the implication of that. “What do you know about handling weapons?” he asked her.
“Nothing,” she said, “beyond the five minutes so-called training everyone received before we came to Atlantis.”
He had expected as much. “Would you be interested in learning?” he asked before he could stop himself.
“If you think it would be worthwhile,” Kusinagi replied, putting the decision firmly back in his court. She was good at that.
Damn. Now he had stepped in it. If he told her ‘no’ she wouldn’t badger him about it but he knew he’d feel bad for turning her down. He just didn’t know how to explain to anyone who might ask what he was doing if he said ‘yes.’
Before he had a chance to think about it too hard, he said, “Well, as far as I know, Major Sheppard never did put anyone in charge of security for the city… Perhaps we could simply take care of that.” His brain caught up with his mouth. “Without bothering him.” Well, his brain had mostly caught up.
Kusinagi beamed. “Your Major is a busy man,” she agreed with him. “It would be a shame to have to bother him with trivial details.”
Not quite so trivial, he knew. But from his own experience, he knew no one really paid attention to people like cooks and laundry attendants. Even if they worked as lab assistants in their spare time. They all blended into the woodwork. Maybe they could do something with that.
Bates soon found himself giving Kusinagi and two of the cooks, Hackett and Matiaz, weapons training. Any more people than that would start to draw attention. The cooks would never be marksmen, but Kusinagi put the same determination into her weapons training that she did to everything else. At some point, he had to admit to himself that he could have worse people covering his back.
The others were organized into what he would have called, for lack of better term, Neighborhood Watch groups. He and Kusinagi broke them up into groups of four to six and made them responsible for different areas of the city. Bates taught them about the communications system and worked with the teams to put small emergency caches in strategic locations.
“If this city is ever invaded, your job is to hide and report,” Bates told all of them repeatedly. “You are to go to ground, get to a communications cache and watch. Get information to whoever can use it. But your own safety, and the safety of your team, comes first.”
They ran drills on an irregular basis. One team would be ‘intruders’ in another team’s area. Given that everyone sent to Atlantis, even the techs and the support staff, had an above average intelligence to start with, it wasn’t long before they were making suggestions to improve on the security in the city. Pretty soon, the team leaders were sending Bates and Kusinagi two reports. One report for their ‘day job’ in laundry, housekeeping and whatever. Then a second report with information about the city what they had found or learned how to use.
“When Dr. McKay called,” Bates told Sheppard, “Kusinagi and I grabbed Hackett and Matiaz since they were handy. From Dr. McKay’s message, there wasn’t time to figure out who else might be available.” He shrugged.
Kusinagi put in, “And we were glad to be of assistance.” She did not say how proud she had been to be entrusted with ensuring that everyone else had moved through the gate before they left the planet. Watching their six, as the Marines called it.
Sheppard had listened in faint amazement to the entire story. When they were finished, he sat thinking. He looked at Bates and asked, soldier to soldier, “How really good are they?”
Relieved that Sheppard wasn’t giving him any grief over this, Bates replied honestly, “Most of the group are like boot camp graduates. They know a lot of theory, they look good on paper and they’ve learned how to take orders. A few show real potential and I’ve essentially already made them squad leaders. They’ve done well on drills, but until they’re in a real pressure situation we won’t know who will hold up and who will fold.”
He didn’t look at Kusinagi as he added, “Hackett and Matiaz make good grunts but Kusinagi here is OCS material. If she wasn’t a scientist, she’d make a damn fine officer.”
“Thank you, my friend, for your words of praise,” Kusinagi said, blushing faintly. “But this has been a team effort. Without your willingness to work with us, and with me, we could not have accomplished these things.”
“Well, you started this, it’s yours to keep,” Sheppard told them. He thought about it for a second. “Can you handle official security of the city in addition to what you’re doing?” Sheppard paused. “That’s both of you.”
Bates and Kusinagi stilled but did not look at each other. Bates answered for them, “Can we get back to you on that?”
“No problem,” Sheppard assured them. He was glad they wanted a chance to talk about it. A few weeks ago, Bates would have said ‘yes’ without thought. Spending time in Pegasus had taught them all to be more cautious. But he suspected they would take it.
“Either way, let me know who some of your bright lights are and I’ll arrange for them to go out with a gate team,” Sheppard said to their delight. “I’m not going to put them into any danger, but any cross training we can do is to everyone’s benefit.”
As he started to leave them, Sheppard said from the doorway, “And it won’t be until Beckett clears me for off world travel, but Ford and Zelenka are going to be out of commission for even longer. The two of you can come with me a Teyla on our next trip through the gate.” He grinned at them. “Be careful what wish for…” With that he left.
As she moved off the desk to her chair, Kusinagi said, “That was…. Unexpected.” She smiled as she said it. “I hoped your Major Sheppard would accept what we had done. I did not expect him to go this much further.”
Bates smiled back at her. “Well, I suspect that it will not be my Major Sheppard as much as our Major Sheppard.” He was pleased to see her stop and blink slowly at him. She had not thought that part through completely.
He could see her regain her equilibrium and she said, “You are right. Our Major Sheppard.”