Episode Ten- The Games People Play- Chapter Three

Chapter Three

The four of them find themselves on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise… Kirk’s Enterprise… The original Enterprise… This time everyone marvels at their surroundings from the round room’s light grey walls trimmed in a thin band of red to its domed ceiling wonderful in its quintessentially U.F.O. similar shape with the bulge of the unidentified flying object being a transparent dome showing the beauty of star dazzled black space. Rodney’s blue eyes analyze the finer details of the single band of frosty white lighting illuminating the transparent dome’s perimeter with a natural seeming haze of saturated light. Not unlike the aura of an angel’s halo entrancing illuminating the whole bridge with that wondrous daytime light, assisted and complimented by the additional overhead lighting of the lower part of the ceiling directly stretching over the expanse of the bridge’s upper deck. Two rings of light.

All around them the Red Alert klaxon sounds at regular intervals and it’s light panels flash their signature color over and over, as McKay expected it to be, with foreboding music unmistakably indicating danger playing to the ignorant notice of all present except the four Lanteans. The resolute crew of people that had suddenly appeared in front of them dressed similarly to Rodney and Kenmore in either light blue or red or that mustard gold and every single one of them diligently working. Attentive to their stations and the task at hand rather than the main viewscreen taking up a large portion of the forward wall of the bridge. Such is the duties of the crew to relay the utmost accurate information to each other whenever they need to report or respond, they know that there are other crewmen whose duties require their focus on the main viewscreen let alone the Captain’s attention. On the large central display like a truly impressively sized television in a Man Cave is an image of space with a tiny little silver dot of something at the center of it.

Captain Kirk, standing in front of the front row of navigational stations sharing the platform his command chair presides from, turns beside Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu and returns to the main seat of his command. As he does so, there are a few of his astute crew that do turn their attentions with tense bodies to the screen as they work. Sulu orders his station’s viewer to come out of its concealed location on the upper left side of his console to receive his comrade’s data streams to his station, the angular and bulky device rising to an easy height for him to deviate to for that further information on their mysterious dot. Kirk maintains watch of the screen with a confident almost swashbuckling suave hero air.

The dot’s details become more refined on the screen as it comes closer on the viewer. Coalescing into a center round shape with five round attachments equally spaced around it. The whole thing shining steely gray and reminding a few of the Lanteans of the shape of a childishly drawn bubble flower. Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard’s eyes narrow at the strange object, trying to figure out what the hell it is. It can’t possibly be a ship, can it? More likely a probe of some sort considering its small size. Unmanned, has to be. There’s no way a person could fit in something that small or that round. It’d be like trying to stuff yourself into a front load spin dryer. Actually, now that he thinks of it, there have been grown adult people found stuffed into spin dryers. Usually dead, but now that he thinks of it, there have been people who’ve been stuffed into something like that before. And that interior round of space might be about the same size as the air vent that slender Radek Zelenka managed to fit himself in at John’s ordering when Atlantis’ quarantine protocols glitched on their then new planet during that fourth of year of the Expedition. Not to mention that even Kenmore, not as slender and loaded down with full gear on top of her less than slender physique, cramming herself into another one of the air vent shafts as well to take out Teyla during their recent training exercise… Okay, so it might be a single-manned spacecraft. He keeps his eyes on the forward screen like Kirk, waiting to see what’s going to happen next from the apparently unknown approacher.

Beside him, Ronon shifts uncomfortably and John can tell that his friend is getting overly edgy with all the alerts screeching and the flashing red lights and the obvious fact that no one seems to be actually getting up and doing anything about any of it. No rushing around. No weapons out and at the ready. No one being deployed to ‘battle stations’ of any sort; although he’d hate to tell his big Satedan buddy that that call has already been given and these are the ‘battle stations’. Nope, not anything of what he and Ronon are used to. Just a lot of pushing buttons, flipping switches, and looking at screens big, small, and medium which would be what those in the Operations Center are used to, but not them. John can sympathize and evidently so can Kirk. The Enterprise’s Captain gets up from his seat again and resorts to standing around again. He moves over to join another man standing on the bridge’s surrounding upper deck. Scotty, if John remembers correctly, which he doubts since he never really watched this show. It was too nerdy for him even as a child. But still, he’s pretty sure that’s Scotty standing by the Captain’s side.

Kirk moves again. Coming forward to the front of the navigation stations with the sure stride of Ship’s Captain especially one that’s seen battle before. Okay, so maybe Sheppard doesn’t mind anymore being called ‘Captain Kirk’… sometimes. As Kirk passes across his subordinates’ view, the navigation bridge crew reports right on unspoken cue.

“Phaser banks standing by, Sir,” Sulu states in his deep purring that is as distinct a voice as the penetrating baritone of James Earl Jones.

“Range forty three thousand and closing,” Chekov adds. His thick accent not distorting the English pronunciations… yet.

Kirk’s eyes stay on the image on the viewscreen as he walks by them then ends by turning away from it as he comes over to the railing and addresses… Rodney!

“What do you read, Mister Spock,” the Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise asks the rather appropriately dressed Theoretical Astrophysicist.

Rodney doesn’t answer. He… What? He looks to his fellow Trekkie beside him for help and finds her mahogany brown eyes at as much a loss as his are. He looks to Sheppard and Ronon further behind her, but neither of them know what to do in this case for a moment. For once in Rodney’s life, the man doesn’t honestly know what to do. He knew that this whole thing’d been set up as an interactive holodeck, but for some reason he’d really hadn’t thought that it’d be this interactive, this inclusive.

Kirk’s stern eyes stay focused on Rodney, however, and the Captain of the Ship repeats himself, “What do you read, Mister Spock?”

Again the group of outsiders remain silent then Ursula suddenly snaps her fingers the same way Rodney does when he’s gotten a solution to whatever fix they’re in. She quickly leans over to Rodney with a mischievous and giddy smile on her face, “Play along, McKay,” she whispers excitedly at him.

He looks at her again. She makes shooing gestures at him, ushering him towards the singular station they abruptly appeared on the bridge not far from. Rodney’s eyes follow her direction and arrives at his own ‘Aha’ moment.

“Oh, right,” he gets it. Eyebrows rising as he realizes that her shooing was the Lieutenant’s way of trying to get him to play along. That is what they’d originally come here to do, isn’t it? He’d just, he never…

Rodney McKay goes the few steps over to Commander Spock’s science station while Captain Kirk parallels his movements every step of the way out of the corner of Rodney’s eyes. Something else distracts him though. McKay stops in front of the place that’s been his adolescent heart’s desire for practically all of his life. All of a sudden the Canadian is a child again as he takes a moment of silent, thrilled-beyond-words geek reverence before taking his place on the bridge of the original NCC-1701 U.S.S. Enterprise in that specific chair. It’s all right there. At his fingertips. All the lights and knobs, switches and buttons, displays, screens. He marvels at it all. Oh my God, he breathes and means it. You could ask anyone and everyone who’s ever known him or just heard about him whether or not Rodney McKay is a religious man and they’d all say an emphatic if not laughable ‘No’. Yet, if you asked his sister Jeannie about his love bordering on worship of Star Trek and especially Commander Spock’s station, now that would get you an emphatic and laughable ‘Yes’. Slowly he reaches for those mesmerizing controls, but as soon as he gets his hands on the combination of cool metal surface and warm lit controls, he quickly gets down to business. And after a few moments, Acting Commander Spock, Doctor Meredith Rodney McKay turns to Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk turns as well and both men look at the screen dramatically.

Rodney knows these lines by heart, this is his favorite episode after all, “Configuration unidentified. Ion propulsion, high velocity, though of a unique technology,” he announces. Taking extra care not to put particular emphasis on ‘unique’, such a natural vocal turn of phrase would be emotionally based. Spock wouldn’t do that. Raise an eyebrow, yes; unnaturally accent a word, no.

Captain Kirk moves on to Lieutenant Uhura and the episodic play moves on as it should.

Kenmore rushes over to McKay as Uhura tells her superior officer that’s she’s trying to contact the ‘ship’ in every way she can but she’s not getting any responses so she’s switching to new tactics, Kirk approves.

Kenmore and McKay hear it as background noise.

“Did you see that,” the Canadian scientist excitedly whispers at her, mindful that he is now considered part of the episode and he can’t really talk to her out loud lest Captain Kirk or the rest of the bridge crew start looking at him funny and call him out on it. He’s not entirely sure that would actually happen, but with something this interactive, he’s not totally sure it wouldn’t either.

Ursula’s head bounces up and down, nodding emphatically, “It really is working like a holodeck. We’re actually incorporated into the episode, well, you are. I’m not. Yet.”

He nods giddily back. Both are kids in an even bigger candy store, Willy Wonka eat your heart out.

Suddenly Kirk’s back. Right on the upper deck right beside Rodney’s station. “Life forms, Mister Spock,” he orders quickly of McKay.

Rodney subtly shoos Kenmore away from him under the guise of rising to look into his own viewer, I’m looking into Spock’s viewer. My viewer! Oh my God! This is really happening! Resuming his role while the Lieutenant, still yet to be assigned a part in the episode, casually makes her way down to stand by Kirk’s Captain’s chair. No one pays her any attention or heeds her presence in any way. She doesn’t mind, she marvels to touch the contours of the notorious seat’s arms. The intercom with its controls. The Yellow Alert button. The Red Alert button. The infamous Jettison Pod button that had played such a key role in Kirk’s trial for the ‘death’ of an old friend and crewman under Kirk’s command. Court-martial, she remembers, Ben Finney, Jamie Finney. Her eyes shift and there’s the other arm’s Shuttle Operations controls, the Viewscreen activator, and the assortment of hailing frequencies. Then her attention moves to the seat itself. Panels of smooth, matte gloss black leather framed nicely by polished wood handles. Stunning. Her thoughts sparkle at what’s beneath her gentle touch. Simply stunning. She’d heard that a life-size recreation of Kirk’s chair was in the works for limited edition collector’s distribution… and she’d also heard that the thing was going to cost a pretty penny too. While out of her price range, the collector’s item to be couldn’t possibly compare to actually being in the presence of the real thing. Well, it wasn’t actually the set piece from the Paramount lot, but it’s the next best thing as far as she’s concerned. Ursula can touch it, feel it, it’s real beneath her touch.

Sheppard and Ronon look on boredly.

“One. Humanoid or similar. Low level of activity. Life-support systems functioning. Interior atmosphere,” Rodney straightens up from his viewer and looks at the screen for a moment before flitting his eyes to Kirk, “conventional nitrogen-oxygen.”

A part of his station beside him beeps. Okay, this’ll require some more work. Rodney takes his seat again as he answers the alarm, pushing buttons exactly the way and sequence, important that, that he remembered Spock doing.

“Instruments indicate a transferal beam emanating from the area of the humanoid life form,” Rodney returns his eyes to the magnified image of the ship on the viewscreen.

Kirk, on alert, looks around behind him too, “Directed at what?”

“Directed at the bridge of the Enterprise, Captain.”

This jumps Kirk to action. But still, it’s just snapping orders and moving from one place to another.

Ronon can feel the yawn brewing at the back of his jaws, he leans over to Sheppard, “If all they’re going to do is talk about the ship on the screen and not do anything about it, do we really have to stay here and watch them play this dumb thing?” The Satedan asks. This is definitely not his idea of entertainment. There isn’t even any fighting. And no one is even yelling orders, they’re just saying them. There’s no sense of danger here whatsoever.

Sheppard’s about to agree with his friend and suggest they go hit the Mess for a snack before figuring out what they’re going to do on their ‘Sunday’, Ronon’ll probably pick going to the gym for some sparring that will inevitably end up with one of them going to the Infirmary for some medical attention from Doc Keller paired with yet another scolding from her about playing nicer with each other if not for their own physical sakes than he frustration with them’s sake while John will put forward the option of going to the balcony driving range that the golf loving members, him chief among them, scraped together, when an odd sound goes off and an incredibly hot woman appears shrouded in green light. John’s mouth pauses mid-open. Everyone, not just Sheppard and Ronon, are riveted by her unexpected arrival. She’s in an even skimpier outfit than Kenmore. It rates as skimpier than Kenmore’s dress ever thought of being in John Sheppard’s book in fact and that’s sayin’ something ‘cause that’s really skimpy.

The whole bridge comes to a standstill as the green light brightens her silhouette then fades away to reveal how she really looks. Her long, dark brown hair elegantly framing her Old Hollywood regal face. It’s bumped up at the top mildly to draw all the attention to her face, and that’s a hard thing to do considering her scantily clad, absolutely perfectly svelte figure demands a lot of first notice. Especially from men.

“Well, maybe we could stick around a little bit longer,” Sheppard says with a lopsided smile. Ronon nods.

Even in tacky metallic Crayola purple violet, John’s not sure he’d consider that a top but if it is here then When in Rome…, and a really, really short skirt of light pink and dark pink zebra print with a sash-like accent of that metallic purple again and it’s all accompanied by thigh high boots with garter belt-like overlays of that same metallic purple, the woman is a stunner. Her enigmatic smile is invitingly dazzling. So much so that John finds himself smiling right back at her despite the fact that he doesn’t know if she can see him. Frankly he doesn’t care. He’s kind of befuddled by the face with the natural beauty makeup on, he’s never seen or met anyone like this in the Pegasus before.

“I’m Captain James Kirk,” Kirk introduces himself to the woman and John notices the man is incredibly cautious, “This is the Starship Enterprise.” It’s extraordinary to the Lieutenant Colonel given the fictional character’s reputation as quite the lady’s man. John would have pegged the man to start putting the Moves on her immediately.

The woman’s eyes turn away from the Captain’s formal introduction and it’s quickly explained why. Via there distinct pneumatic hiss of the twin red doors on the far side of the upper deck from the Atlantis group opening, two men in red uniforms come out from the turboelevator with weapons already drawn. Still the epitome of serene beauty, the intruder woman brings up her arm and touches her bracelet, John hadn’t noticed that part of her outfit before.

There’s a weird boing sound. The bridge’s lights go dark. Everyone’s bodies seize awkwardly. All of them… Rodney… Kenmore… Sheppard… Ronon. Every single person collapses in heaps onto the floor. The light’s come back on then go dark again. Then back on then off again.

The woman turns her Stepford grin towards the upper deck and touches her bracelet again. The boing sounds again…

The Operations Center suddenly goes darker than it usually is for a moment… then back to their regular luminosity… then back to the abnormal darkness again. Confused expressions look around the room.

“What was that sound,” Richard Woolsey asks, “Where is it coming from?”

His eyes find Chuck sitting at his DHD console, Campbell shakes his head. Richard searches the other faces in the room. Brows are furrowed or pinched, their flummoxed like he is and looking back at him for the same guidance he was trying to get from them. No one has an answer.

The weird sound happens again. Everyone in the Operations Center and the Gateroom below collapse. Elegant heaps every one of them, abruptly caught in a unified moment of silent seizure. Some of the personnel are caught in mid turn as though they’d felt a hand touch their shoulders from behind and they were simply looking back to see who it was when their mental lights were turned out along with their location’s lights. Some are caught without any sense of something else occurring other than the oddity of strobing lights and crumple to the rust-colored marble flooring with its round thin bands of silver in the most direct manner possible. Just straight doubling over then their bent legs finally giving out and depositing them on the ground with merely a lucky hand happening to help break their falls and push them into a roll over onto their backs. A few are caught blindsided as though they were in the process of waiting and got pushed over from the side. Their arms flailing upwards then their arms and their bodies dropping in melodramatic theatrics to the floor. Something pulls at Richard Woolsey’s gut. He curls into himself. His body taught against the sudden unseen vise gripping his midsection. But he’s knees sell him out. He collapses back into a nearby chair. Richard tries to continue to fight his fall, this pain, but Woolsey’s body eases only when he finally passes out. Slumping against the chair’s side, his hand reaching out and getting one last tense grip on the seat’s station to no avail.

Beds, beds, beds, everywhere the eye can see. And empty for the most part, thank God. A nice and incredibly pleasant breather from Atlantis’ own personal form of normalcy, but there’s caution here. The Lost City of Atlantis’ sense of normalcy is dull almost mind numbing stretches of absolutely nothing medically extensive happening other than some cold or flu medicine or allergy medications being administered to personnel abruptly shattered by near horrendous, practically cataclysmic medical emergencies that call every single doctor and nurse not to mention anyone else nearby with a useful set of hands and an obedient mind to the action they’ve spent years of schooling preparing for. The peaceful tranquility of patina green walls with textured copper trimming, Frank Lloyd Wright-ish doorways, sconces of layers of oddly stacked geometric shapes as well as the chiclet sconces composed of naquadah put to an aesthetically pleasing use in here, all of this could be thrown into utter chaos. Blood and gauze wrappers and other hurriedly torn open and just as quickly discarded wrappers will cover the rust-colored marble floors and those beds, currently the images of hospital perfection with their white linens and green-grey or taupe knitted blankets covering their bottom halves, will be so messed up by writhing wounded that it’ll be hard to ever imagine that they’d been this nice looking before the crisis or will be ever again. Freshly laundered, puffy pillows will be flattened or soaked in fresh blood as well as flattened. Intravenous poles at the standby will be pulled into service along with all manner of other medical equipment, both Earth-made and Ancient-made. The metal shelving units stationed against the walls here and there around the room will be practically picked bare by a sudden flash flood of medical personnel rushing to the aid of their numerous, out-of-the-blue patients. Doctor Carson Beckett sighs at the look of it all, such is the life of the Lost City of the Ancients. Such is the life of, ironically, home.

A weird boing sound catches everyone’s attentions. Doctor Jennifer Keller and her staff and few patients look around at the ceiling where the city-wide speakers are hidden. Confusing, those aren’t the usual alarms signaling incoming casualties or already in-house ones from some unknown or unfelt disaster occurring in one of the city’s many labs or farthest reaches of pier. You know, the typical ‘experiments gone wrong’ thing.

Surprisingly the Infirmary’s lights go out then they come back on again then go out again. That’s odd. They’ve never done that before either. Jennifer’s years, starting on number three now, as the Ancient cityship’s Chief Medical Officer has given her the knowledge that there are secondary backups along with two further levels of redundancies to prevent something like that from happening specifically in the Infirmary as well as the Operations Center unless the most extreme case of Atlantis’ main power grid itself being disrupted is happening. It’s taken five years of a special group of scientists and engineers working on specifically that ever since the Atlantis Expedition originally reestablished contact with Earth. No one ever wanted to lose someone in the Infirmary because the lights went out. She starts to reach up for her earpiece when every person in the area seizes. Some as if in immeasurable agony, staggering around as they lose control of their bodies for some unknown reason before collapsing to the floor in heaps. Others simply curl in on themselves as though suddenly struck by an unexplainable urge to fall deeply asleep right where they stand. The last thing Jennifer hears before she goes down is someone dropping a tray of supplies somewhere behind her. Was it Marie, perhaps?

All is silence… blissful… quiet… comforting. In the dark of the NCC-1701 Enterprise’s bridge, the intruder woman surveys her handiwork with the same dazzling smile unwaveringly upon her face. She steps to her right and begins to casually stroll her way around the upper deck, looking here and there. Marveling at the fallen as she makes her way over to the duo of light grey steps, steps down them, and sets the soles of her metallic purple-covered, barely half an inch tall heeled boots on the dark grey flooring of the lower deck’s main well.

Her hand caresses the bright red railing while she continues her stroll. She slows a bit, her hand quickly abandoning the railing, as she nears the command chair. Her seemingly permanent smile dims it’s brightness a little as she glances down to make sure that Captain Kirk, passed out half out of and slumped over one of the arms of his prominent chair, is most assuredly out. He is as the rest of his crew around her and she moves on. Her fingers and palm softly glide along the top of the chair’s backrest as she continues her journey… right over to Rodney collapsed over onto the railing of his side of the upper deck of the bridge. His knees and the rest of his legs on the floor helping the railing to prop his unconscious form up.

Once again the beguiling smile falters into a look of worshipful anticipation. Eagerly she puts her hand gently on his head. An excited grin bursts across her face, plumping the round apples of her cheeks, and relieved exhilaration causing her chest to rise and fall heavily as she gazes down at Doctor Rodney McKay’s unconscious form lying beneath her firm, certain hand.

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