Summary: Things gear up as the time for the expedition to Antarctica draws near
Info: Sorry it's been so long, but I've been very sick but here is the next chapter I will try to wrap it up soon. Thanks for your understanding.
John was happy to finally be fully moved into Rodney's and, now, his new home. Though Rodney had been very busy overseeing the clean up and restoration of the areas affected by the rector meltdown, he made time for John and they celebrated their first night together much like they usually celebrated things – by making love, but with fewer pain pills on John's part.
The next day Carson had called Rodney and whatever he had told Rodney boosted Rodney's morale, so John had been eager to discover what was happening as he headed to see his lover at work. Though getting a phone call from Elizabeth and getting a subtle nudge to find out about the merger did kind of place a small damper on things, for John hadn't said anything yet about resigning but since several days had past and Rodney hadn't even mentioned the merger, he just might have too one way or the other.
"Afternoon, Laura," John greeted as he headed into the office where he knew Rodney would be soon as they had agreed to meet there for lunch.
"John," Laura grinned. "I hear congratulations are in order," she beamed.
"Ah..." John wasn't sure what she was referring to.
"You and Rodney...moving in together," Laura said. "One step away from getting married," she teased.
John felt a flush fill his face, for he really hadn't told too many people he and Rodney had decided to live together, but he now had the impression that Rodney bragged about it. It warmed him inside to know Rodney was happy about it. "I don't know about that, it's not legal here, though it should be," John replied.
"Well, Rodney's from Canada and has dual citizenship, so you can both go there," Laura said as if she had given it a lot of thought, which in itself seemed weird and perhaps a tad scary.
"Ah...perhaps," John said, giving her a warm smile to cover up his discomfort and headed into the office. He was surprised to actually see Rodney there. "Hey."
Rodney, dressed in his lab clothes of jeans and a t-shirt, looked up from his computer and at seeing John lost his scowl immediately and beamed with delight. "John," he grinned. He then looked at his watch. "It's noon already?"
John laughed, "Yes, Rodney. Time flies when you're busy. Did you order in or are we going out?"
"Oh, I had Laura order in for us," Rodney said as he got up and greeted John with a deep loving kiss. "I'm glad you're here."
John beamed, "I'm glad I'm here too, but I suspect there is another reason."
"True," Rodney confessed. "Thanks to you, Carson has discovered how to synthesize the gene...or what he is calling the Ancient Technology Activation gene, ATA for short. It's based off your super gene," Rodney beamed. "If all goes well, in a few weeks he'll be able to see if it works on people...I'll be able to interact with Ancient technology myself," Rodney said, beaming like a kid that couldn't wait for Christmas to hurry up and arrive already.
John grinned as Rodney's smile was infectious. Then it occurred to him, "Ancient?"
Rodney's smile dimmed. "Ah...um...it's ah...just a word...um..." he moved off to sit behind his desk and stared at his computer screen, but it was clear he was bothered by something. "I shouldn't have mentioned that to you," he said quietly.
It quickly dawned on John that Rodney had let something slip, which was very rare for the man, regardless of how much the man talked and sometimes even let his brain lead before his head, he had proven to be very good with keeping secrets. John knew it was because of their relationship, that it had been the cause, and he also knew what was at stake if Rodney slipped too badly. "Never mind, I probably misheard you or something," John said, offering Rodney an out and showing he was willing to forget about the slip and not pursue it.
Rodney looked grateful, but still sad. He nodded, and then sighed. "There is so much I want to tell you, but I don't want to put you into an awkward position..."
John saw the seriousness in Rodney's eyes so he moved and sat on the edge of Rodney's desk and cupped Rodney's chin. Rodney's eyes were a beautiful blue and at the moment they were so open and John could see the weeks of sadness that was like a heavy burden on him from the accident and the worry about so many people that bound Rodney's spirit, it made John's heart ache. "I trust you, you know that. But if you feel the need to talk to me, I really wish you would, for I promise I'm here for you."
"But...Elizabeth and Ronon..." Rodney said, his voice soft, his eyes expressing his hesitation to pursue this line of conversation.
"What about them?" John asked, but he had a feeling he knew what was behind Rodney's question.
"I haven't been able to get them clearance yet and...well..." Rodney gently pulled away from John and sat back in his chair and closed his eyes and sighed, indicating how tired he was overall.
"I'm taking it then you got it for me?" John asked, now knowing he had been right. Seeing Rodney nod, it was clear. Rodney didn't want to put John in a position where he knew things he wouldn't be able to share with his friends and family. It was more proof of just how good a person Rodney McKay really was. John had a decision to make, but it only took him a moment. "I'd like to sign those confidentially papers so we can have a real heart to heart about everything that is going on. This way I can help you and really be there for you, I mean how can I do my job as your partner if I don't have all the pieces right?"
Rodney looked up, surprise in his eyes. "Are you sure?"
John grinned, "I wouldn't have said so if I wasn't. You should know me better than that. We promised each other no secrets between each other, right?" He saw Rodney nod. "And you were honest about having some that you wanted to share but couldn't. If I sign these papers it will remove that barrier right?" Once more Rodney only nodded. "Then yes, I'm sure."
"I don't know what I did to get so lucky," Rodney said as he stood up and hugged John and kissed him. "But I hope I do it again," he grinned and moved to his safe that had similar but improved security than the Atlantis Corporation had.
"Hey," John said, sure there was a dig in Rodney's words somewhere. He saw the real smile on his lover's face so it was alright. He watched Rodney open his safe, sure he couldn't repeat half of what Rodney did even with his good memory, then saw Rodney remove a file of papers that would give War and Peace a run for its money on the number of pages. "Ah, are you serious?"
Rodney looked at the binder in his hands. "Blame your government and its penchant for legal mumbo-jumbo. I did have everything tagged that needs signatures and initializing. Also, I had my lawyers go over it to make sure there was nothing slipped in and that it gave you complete clearance to everything I know," Rodney explained as he placed the heavy volume on his desk. "Basically, you spill what you know to anyone that is not authorized to know anything, then you risk not only going to jail for the rest of your life, but fined a million dollars...etcetera, etcetera."
John moved to sit in Rodney's chair and opened the binder and saw that it was marked and tagged where he needed to sign and initial. "You had to do all this?" John asked as he began to skim what was on the page.
"Oh no," Rodney said. "I gathered my clearance over the years and...well, I can't say more...yet," Rodney added, looking eager for John to finish.
While John got lost in signing the hundreds of pages Laura arrived with lunch and Rodney began eating while jabbering on about something that was happening in the labs, but John liked the sound of Rodney's voice even if he didn't always know what he was talking about, so let it soothe him as he began to wonder if he'd made a mistake at seeing so many clauses and subcategories in which he wasn't allowed to share his knowledge and the penalties that could occur.
"If it makes you feel better, I'll give you a list of everyone who has the same clearance as you and me, so you know who you can talk too. Carson, Radek, Teyla and Laura of course are on it as are most of the people in my main lab," Rodney said as if reading John's mind.
John smiled as it was so Rodney, to suddenly say the right thing without even knowing it, though he had the same knack for saying the wrong thing too. John decided it would go faster if he just trusted Rodney fully and since in his heart he knew he did, he stopped skimming the pages and began to just fill in the blanks where marked. After another fifteen minutes he was done and Rodney had eaten over half of the take out. "You could have saved me half," John said.
"Hey, I was hungry and you were busy. Besides, it would look bad to have soy sauce on those documents," Rodney said, looking gleeful at seeing they were all signed. He handed John what was left of the food, and then took the documents and carried them out to hand to Laura personally. John could hear him tell her to make sure they got where they needed to be ASAP and to see to it personally, before coming back in and locking the door. Then Rodney went back to his safe and pulled out a disc and relocked his safe before moving and placing the disc in his computer's hard drive.
"It will be easier if I just play the video and give the narration myself, but this does have a full narration built into it," Rodney said as he keyed up the disc. Three huge letters appeared on the screen.
"What is SGC?" John asked.
"It stands for Star Gate Command," Rodney said as he keyed the volume off. "It's a program that is technically no longer running thanks to your former president Kinsey. Sadly before he got impeached on corruption and campaign fraud and then sentenced to jail, causing the biggest scandal in Washington D.C. since Watergate during Nixon's time, he shut the program down. It was then I decided I was better off on my own," Rodney explained.
"What is that?" John asked, pointing to a large round metallic circle with strange markings on them.
"That is the Stargate, a device that creates wormholes in space that allow someone to travel through from one location to another," Rodney explained, his eyes lighting up with excitement at finally being able to share this with John. "A very long story short, it was discovered in Egypt, but we had little clue as to how it actually worked. A soft scientist discovered that those markings were constellations and with some more work we figured out the rest. The gate works, but unfortunately we discovered a few things the morons in Washington D.C. can't handle, such as we're not alone in the universe. There are aliens that have a great deal of power that make those power hungry idiots in Washington D. C. look like kindergartners playing pretend and these aliens don't like humans except as slaves," Rodney said.
John's eyes went wind. "Are you...serious?"
"No, I'm pulling your leg after making you sign all those legal documents for shits and giggles," Rodney snapped, then sighed. "Sorry, I know it's a lot to take in, but I'll answer any question you have as best I can. The point you need to know is that after four and a half years the program was closed. Kinsey had tried to gain control of it, but too many people knew he wanted to use the gate to gain alien technology for his own gain so the only solution was to close it. Before Kinsey could reopen the program under his control he was found out and well, the rest was televised on every channel around the world. As it stands now, the gate is closed and the program disbanded."
"Wow," John said, amazed that such things existed much less happened in the world.
"Yeah, but that's only the tip," Rodney continued. "During the short time we were going to other worlds, we discovered a few pieces of technology that were designed or created by the gate-builders or as we referred to them as the Ancients. One of four races that once populated the galaxy over ten thousand years ago."
"Wait, ten thousand...years ago?" John asked, for that sounded absurd.
"I know, I know, but it's all true," Rodney said with such sincerity. "I'll let you listen to the disc later it has a great deal more of the history of it all, but I wanted to hit the key points with you. One being that it was quickly discovered that only a small handful of people could use these devices and Carson, who also had worked for the SGC with me, discovered the gene, the one you have," Rodney grinned.
"I don't understand, if there were as you said, nasty aliens out there that don't like Earth, then...ah..." John looked lost as to what to ask.
"Why do they leave us alone?" Rodney asked for John.
"Yeah. I mean if they're bad why don't we do something?" John asked.
"Well, another long story, but suffice to say, another Alien race called the Asgard, which I'll explain later, brokered a treaty between us and the bad guys. We're under their protection and as long as we remain so, we get left alone. But I agree, we have this wonderful opportunity and we're letting it go to waste."
John could partially understand that, though he knew there was a lot more that Rodney had to tell him by the look of things, but he knew this was enough for now, or so he thought.
"Anyway, now I can tell you, Radek and I think the Atlantis Stone was a map that the Ancients left," Rodney said.
"A map?" John asked, filled with more curiosity. "A map of what? To what?"
Rodney's eyes were all alight, and then they dimmed but only a bit. "Well, we're not sure, but I'm thinking something the Ancients wanted other Ancients to find."
John nodded, and then smiled. "So, a treasure hunt, is it?"
Rodney's boyish smile beamed brighter at those words. "Once things have settled with the restoration programs, then yes, I'm thinking of an exploration to Antarctica, which of course I'd ah...like you to come with me...you know your super gene and all," Rodney said, but it was clear in his eyes the reason was much, much more and they both knew it.
John grinned and then hugged his lover. "I'd love to come." Then he pulled back a little and recalled suddenly the other thing they needed to discuss. "Um, have you given it any thought about the merger?" Seeing Rodney's smile dim and his eyes shift away, it was clear that Rodney either didn't or hadn't thought that much about it. "I'm not going to pressure you either way, but if you decide to not go along with the idea, then I'm going to resign..."
Rodney's head snapped up. "What? I thought you loved you job?"
John smiled, cupping Rodney's cheek. "I do, but I'm in love with you and I've come to know my place is with you...if that's okay with you?" he asked, suddenly feeling insecure, which was rare for him.
Rodney's eyes glazed a bit with moisture, and then he blinked, "Sap," he said then kissed John deeply. Then he hugged him. "Had I known that I could have just put you on salary instead of having you move in...."
John laughed as he smacked Rodney upside the head. "Jerk," he chuckled out then kissed his love again.
"Hey, easy on the smacking, my brain is priceless you know!" Rodney snapped back, but the smile in his eyes gave away he wasn't really angry.
"But," John said, bringing things back to the topic at hand. "What do you think about the merger, honestly?"
Rodney gave a small sigh, and then pursed his lips, as if debating what to say. "Well, it's got a lot of good points and benefits, but honestly I'm not sure if I want to have to ask a board for permission to do anything. A merger as it stands now would give both me and Elizabeth fifty percent power and if we clashed it would have to go the share holders, which most of them would be from Atlantis Corporation as I didn't need that many to get my company off the ground and I don't keep that many as I don't want some backstabbing idiot trying to take it over either. And then there is the fact that Elizabeth may not like what I really do, which is develop and study alien technology, for though the SGC went down, they did find a lot of things and Area 51 tends to run into road blocks so they come to me," Rodney said, standing up straighter and his chest puffed out a bit.
John smirked, but he had no doubts that the government did turn to Rodney when they hit the proverbial wall. "Well, it's not written in stone, perhaps you can make a counter offer that will satisfy both of you, that is if you want to. Perhaps shifting the power in departments differently or something like that."
"Huh?" Rodney said, his eyes drifting to the side as if in thought. "Perhaps," Rodney said then got a big smile. "Why don't you come up with a proposal," Rodney said as he moved around John to reach inside his top desk draw and pull out the proposal. "Here, I'll let you take a look...if you're going to be my partner, you might want to earn your keep...after all, you did say you didn't want to be a kept man."
"Yes, I did," John smirked then he pulled Rodney in for a warm, lingering kiss.
Almost three weeks from the day John had signed his confidential papers, Elizabeth, Ronon, Richard Lorne and a few others had signed theirs and had been given the extraordinary news that they were not alone in the universe and there was solid proof. John had also achieved what Rodney would have thought impossible, if he hadn't known his partner so well, in that he achieved a merger proposal that both he and Elizabeth agreed with. In the end, Atlantis Enterprises would be headed by three people, Elizabeth Weir was in charge of the public aspects of the company, Rodney McKay in charge of behind the scene aspects and the science department and John Sheppard had full control over security and one third of the voting rights, so if Rodney and Elizabeth couldn't agree, it would be him making the final decision. He knew it would be difficult when he would have to choose not to agree with Rodney, but he made it clear to his lover, that he'd sell his shares equally then let it stand between them. So far so good, though it had only been official for three hours and by the looks on Elizabeth's face, she was probably reconsidering her part in the merger, but it was the merger that pushed the governments involved, specifically the United States, to finally approve full discloser to those key personnel involved.
"I know it's a big shock," John said to Elizabeth, who was blinking as if she could just refocus and everything would go back to normal again, it wouldn't he'd tried it himself.
"A shock...John, this is...more than a...shock. Do you know the government has been covering this up for years and...and..." Elizabeth sat back in her chair and turned a grateful smile upon Radek who brought her a cold glass of water.
"Actually, it's more of a shock to think that such opportunities are being wasted," Rodney said. "The gate is sitting locked up in the bottom of Cheyenne Mountain, instead of being used to learn more about the universe around us."
"But, what of those...snake aliens?" Lorne asked, a bit pale himself at hearing the news of what was happening in the universe around him.
"The Goa'uld are a problem, yes, but think about all we can learn?" Rodney countered. "Also, Doctor Jackson was right, the guy who did the narrative on the video, it's only a matter of time before they decide to challenge the Asgard and if for some reason they can't protect us, we're doomed, I mean seriously screwed over without so much as a..."
"Okay, Rodney, I think they get it," John said, knowing he had to cut Rodney's rant off quick before it really got going. "The point is, Rodney and his people are still working on alien technology, specifically what he and those at the...SGC..." he turned to Rodney to make sure he got it right and seeing him nod, continued. "...call Ancients and their technology."
"As I told John earlier, we think the Atlantis Stone is a map," Rodney said, excitement beaming from his eyes as he glowed with anticipation of discovery.
"A map to what?" Elizabeth asked, trying to focus on what she had just learned and realized she was finally going to get the rest of the puzzle she had been denied weeks earlier.
"We don't know yet," Radek said, feeling as bad as Rodney did about not really having more than guesses as to what lay in wait in Antarctica.
"But we plan on finding out," Rodney grinned. "Plans to lead an expedition to Antarctica are already in the works. I say in another month or two, we'll be ready to leave..."
"Wait, wait, month or two...Rodney, going to Antarctica on...on a treasure hunt, isn't something you do lightly," Elizabeth said.
"Of course not, that's why we've been planning and gathering the needed equipment, so we'll be prepared. I never go in blind...at least if I can help it," Rodney replied. He spotted the concern look in John's eyes and realized he'd forgotten to mention just how far his plan had gone in preparation for this. "Ah, of course, John and his team will go over every security measure and Radek will head the science department while I'm..."
"No, I am going," Radek cut off.
"But someone," Rodney tried to say but was cut off again.
"Miko is capable, I am going," Radek said firmly.
"Fine, fine," Rodney said, grudgingly caving in too quickly for his own good.
"I'm going too," Carson said, though he did look a tad bit nervous.
"What ever for?" Rodney griped.
"Because someone will need a doctor and the odds are high it'll be you and we both know you don't trust anyone else in the medical field to treat your paper cuts, much less a sprained ankle," Carson replied, taking the lead from Radek and looking at Rodney as if it wasn't up for discussion.
"Alright, alright, we'll table the crew list for later, the point is, we need to go within the time table I've set up for it's recorded to be the warmest it ever gets in Antarctica, which of course is not very warm, but I rather not be there in winter. In the dry interior of the continent, the annual mean temperature is between -50 and -60°C (-58 and -76°F). Toward the coast it rises to between -10 and -20°C (14 and -4°F). The lowest world temperature on record was measured in Antarctica: -89.2°C (-128.6°F). So..." Rodney said, only to feel John's hand over his mouth. This of course, ticked Rodney off and he glared at his lover, asking quietly what the hell he thought he was doing?
"We'll be talking about this later and we'll 'plan' it all later, right now I think it's Q&A time for everyone," John said, not too happy to hear Rodney was all set to go to the ends of the Earth and forgot to tell him not only the details, but when this little jaunt would be happening.
"Fine, fine," Rodney said and sat back and let Radek and Teyla answer most of the questions, as they knew all the basics having been with him for years, also they seemed able to curtail their answers to those questions being asked. Rodney excused himself and wasn't surprised that John followed.
"I'm sorry," Rodney said quietly in the hall as they headed to the elevator. "I knew I mentioned the trip, but I guess with everything going on, I forgot which details I mentioned and didn't."
"I'm not happy about you going off by yourself..." John said.
"I'm not going by myself, I'm taking an expedition team and I've located the best ice breaker ship and reserved it, no easy task as I had to pay for another team that was previously booked to reschedule their own project. Also, to secure a helicopter pad to the ship as its large enough, who do you think was going to fly that chopper, Ronon?"
"You...you were planning to have me as your...pilot?" John asked, surprised at what he heard.
"Of course, you are a trained pilot..." Rodney paused, "wait, you thought I'd leave you behind?" It didn't take long for Rodney to see the truth in John's eyes just as the elevator arrived; thankfully the car was empty. "You did, you thought I was going to leave you here while I was leading the expedition to Antarctica," Rodney accused as he stepped into the elevator. "I can't believe you could think that, especially after I specifically asked you weeks ago to come with me or did you forget that?
John felt guilty for that was exactly what he had thought. "I ah...well..." John let his head hang down in a bit of guilt. "Guess it's me who should say sorry then."
Rodney folded his arms over his chest and raised his chin in smug satisfaction. "Yes, you should. It's a good thing I love you or I would leave you here minding the minions while I head off to discover what is sure to win me a Nobel Prize."
Whatever guilt John had quickly fled as he looked up to see his smug and at times arrogant lover smiling, as if he were a bit full of himself. "Oh, really?" John said, moving to hit the stop button and keyed in the override so the alarm didn't sound and he knew Rodney could take care of any video evidence easily...later.
"What...what are you doing?" Rodney asked, losing the smug smile. "Why did you stop the elevator, you know I have claustrophobia..."
John silenced his lover with a deep kiss as he pushed Rodney up against the elevator wall. Once he was sure Rodney would be quiet, he pulled back. "I'm sorry for thinking the worst, but not for anything else, got it?"
Before Rodney could reply, John went down to his knees, his green eyes burning upward, piercing Rodney's soul with the fire within them. John quickly undid Rodney's zipper and in a very deft move, had Rodney's cock out and into his mouth causing Rodney to tilt his head back as the pleasure overtook him. "John...I don't think..." Rodney tried to say but John only sucked harder. The wet warmth was overwhelming as John worked his tongue over Rodney's cock with determination and with practiced ease.
John then worked his left index finger into his mouth along with Rodney's cock and rubbed the bundle of nerves underneath while he tongued the slit, causing Rodney to moan in pleasure. John could tell just by that sound that Rodney's eyes were closed, his long lashes kissing his cheek and the image sent desire to John's own cock. But John was proving a point at the moment, so he removed the left index finger and slipped it under Rodney's balls and played with his anus, knowing how it drove Rodney crazy. He only had a little bit of warning as Rodney's breath hitched and the babbling sound his lover made just before he came was heard, just before Rodney shot deep into his mouth. John then swallowed and then licked his lover clean before tucking him back in and standing up with a Cheshire cat smile of his own. "We're partners," John said.
Rodney smiled one of his big easy smiles that made John's heart melt. "You're so easy." He then kissed his lover deep and dirty, groping John's hard on before pushing him gently away and moving to the panel and restarting the elevator. "We're partners," he said over his shoulder.
"In more ways then one," John said as he wrapped his arms around his lover's waist and rested his chin on Rodney's shoulder.
Rodney relaxed into his lover's arms. "In more ways then one. By the way, did I mention my sofa in my office folds out?"
John's chuckle sounded as dirty as the leer he was giving his lover. "No, but I have a feeling there is plenty about that office you haven't told me...what do you say we go play great explorers?" John's eyebrows wiggled in a way that was silly and sexy at the same ting.
Rodney laughed at the elevator opened and he walked forward, his lover already pretending he was a limpet on his back, making walking awkward, but not impossible. "Only if we can start with the couch first," Rodney said, very glad that Cadman was not at her desk at the moment as they headed to Rodney's office.
"Oh yes, definitely the sofa...first," John purred into Rodney's ear just before they entered Rodney's office.
A sound of a door being locked echoed in the room as Laura came around the corner, having used the facilities and grinned ear to ear. "Look's like I have to cancel his afternoon appointments," she laughed as she sat her desk and went about her job, trying hard not to imagine what was happening behind those locked doors. She'd definitly had to go see Carson later...perhaps after she finished canceling those appointments.
"Rodney, you can't do this," Elizabeth said for the thousandth time over the two months since they were partners. "You know how many countries' territories you'll be trespassing on?"
"For the last time, Elizabeth, we're going in via McMurdo, the Ross Ice Shelf is unclaimed due to its unstable aspect, as is the Ronne Ice Shelf...ah, in regards to being unstable, as it is claimed. However, the signal is nearer to the Ross Ice Shelf and the center of Antarctica," Rodney explained as he went over his instructions on his laptop for those who would be remaining behind, mainly Miko as she was in charge of the lab and Laura in charge of the building and personnel and Elizabeth with everything else."
"You don't have permission to..." Elizabeth said again or at least tried too.
"If I waited for those clowns who call themselves government representatives to come to an agreement and grant permission for my expedition, I'd be sending my grandchildren," Rodney snapped.
"Rodney," John said, a warning for Rodney to be mindful of his temper. He then turned to Elizabeth, "we're just going to look and see what's there. Depending on what we find if anything, and more importantly where, we'll know who best to approach," John said soothingly, giving his most charming smile.
"Yes, yes, what he said, besides, everything is ready we're leaving tomorrow," Rodney said as he hit send on his laptop that would send the instructions via private email to those required to have them. "All the information you'll need to contact us is in the instructions I just sent to your email. Any codes within them will become active first thing tomorrow morning."
"That's another thing," Elizabeth said, looking more than fed-up with Rodney's behavior and she wasn't too pleased with John's either. "You're leaving a week before Christmas and won't be back until next year; literally, couldn't you have waited until after the New Year?"
"I'm not forcing anyone to go, Elizabeth, and that includes Radek. But the window of opportunity is small and I have no intentions of wasting time over some made up commercialized excuse to waste money on overpriced items, when I can be using that time to get everyone and everything in place and ready to go when the break in the weather arrives in a few short weeks," Rodney said as he gathered his laptop, having closed it down and locked up his desk. "I'll see you when I get back, have a good holiday and don't mess up my company," Rodney said as he made his way to the door of his office.
"Rodney," John said, but knew he would be wasting his breath, for Rodney's mind was made up and John had agreed to the expedition already. "Sorry," he said quietly to Elizabeth. "But he's right." John leaned in and gave Elizabeth a kiss on her cheek, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year," he said.
"Oh, John said to get you something for the holidays and since we're not going to be here, Laura has it. She's been instructed not to give it to you until Christmas, but knowing her, you probably can bribe her for it sooner," Rodney said, purposefully having the office door open.
"Hey, McKay, I resent that remark," Laura said. "I don't spoil Christmas surprises," she said, fists going to her hips as she stood akimbo by her desk. "If I did, I'd be telling John about..."
"Do and you really will be fired," Rodney snarled.
Laura only flinched from the snarl, and then huffed. "I meant if I were the type I'd be telling John what you got him, but I'm not, so don't go around saying I am or you'll be fending for your own coffee from now on."
"Oh, you got me a present for the overpriced commercialized excuse for a holiday, how sweet," John teased, lightening up the moment. He was also glad to see Rodney looked guilty for assuming the worst of Laura. "Though I'm sure he was just teasing you, Laura, after all, since we both know what Elizabeth's gift is, we thought you might want to...ah..." he realized he might give to much away if he kept talking so shut his mouth.
"You're both hopeless," Rodney said then turned to see Elizabeth laughing at them. "We'll see you next year. Enjoy your night with Radek," Rodney said, grabbing John and pulling him to the elevator that would take them to the helicopter pad so they could get home quicker and finish up last minute preparations for their departure.
"Be safe," Elizabeth said before the elevator doors closed then turned to Laura, "So...do you like Godiva chocolates?"
In another part of the building of Atlantis Enterprises, formally McKay Enterprises, someone moves into the shadows and pulls out a cell phone and hits a speed dial number.
"What?" comes a deep voice on the other end.
"They're leaving tomorrow, Antarctica," the man in the shadows replied in a hushed tone.
"Not sure, but they're going through McMurdo to the tip of the Ross Ice Shelf, I couldn't get more then that," the man said. "I want my money, Koyla, I delivered as promised."
"You'll get it, once I get Sheppard and McKay," Koyla said, then the line went dead and the man in the corner closed his cell phone and scurried farther into the shadows like the rat he was.
Next: The Atlantis Stone 14