Story: “But Not Taking Names”
But Not Taking Names
They’d voted (first a voice vote, which was too close to call, then through a show of hands) to head over to that cool looking bar a bit off the coast before heading home. Teyla begged off, she and Ronan were touring the city a little more, but Sheppard had smirked and waved them on their way, saying he’d be along in five minutes.
When Parrish yelled, “Hey, this is just like Mos Eisley,” Rodney was tempted to just double back and wait outside. Instead, a golden glowy alien in the back corner caught his attention, and he walked further in–so many interesting new species, and it was kind of like—like a fish tank, he thought, mulling it over. All different colors and kinds and it was dark and—yes, he really should just start drinking so he could think these sorts of thoughts and not want to smack himself upside the head.
He gave an impatient wave to the bartender and asked for whatever the human guy six stools down was drinking and plopped down onto the only open seat.
Rodney sighed; the cushion seemed to conform to his body. They’d been walking for the better part of the day, meeting with various delegations the planet was hosting. He thumbed the upholstery, it was this shiny satin-esque fabric that Rodney thought might not be the most practical for a Mos Eisley-esque bar, but who was he to question such things.
“Uh. Rodney,” Zelenka coughed, speaking low.
“What?” Rodney automatically screamed to be heard over the din, not noticing for a second the absolute silence of the room, until his yell echoed.
“I mean. Yes, what is it?” He frowned, eyeing the crowd which…
Seemed to be eyeing him back, just as intently.
“I do not know. Maybe we—look odd or something? But either way–” Zelenka’s eyes went wide just as Kavanagh moved faster than Rodney had ever suspected possible, and pulled Rodney off the chair, yanking both arms so hard he thought they might just pop out of their sockets.
“Hey–!” Rodney started, then heard a whooshing sound behind him. He turned, yelped and backed into Kavanagh as a long scythe cut through the air Rodney had just vacated.
There was another moment of frozen silence, before the bartender exclaimed: “The High Chair has been dishonored!”
Rodney barely had time to cry out that he hadn’t *meant* to dishonor the—the chair, when six menacing types came forward, two pounding their hand into their fist in the universal signal of brawling about to commence.
“Someone call Sheppard and company, someone call Sheppard and company,” Kavanagh muttered under his breath, and Rodney saw Lorne fingering his radio and frowning.
“Okay, people, friends, our companion meant *nothing* by sitting in your—your High Chair,” Kate started pleadingly, but one of the green-blue alien guys crushed a bottle across Radek’s head and it was abruptly on.
Bates was looking down at his gun like it had grown a head, and suddenly, Rodney understood the full horror of the situation. The gun wasn’t *firing*. Bates had been aiming it in the air, to warn people off, but nothing was happening. Bates squeaked, and at any other time, oh, how Rodney would have laughed, but crap, he really wanted Bates’ gun to work right now.
Lorne tried his handheld—and then stopped even trying to pull the trigger when he realized half the bar’s patrons had broken out laughing. At least Rodney thought it resembled laughing, but some of them didn’t exactly have…mouths.
“Force field. Sign on the door says no weapons. We meant it,” Guy Pummeling Hand Number Two said, almost kindly.
Radek groaned, and eased himself into a half seated position on the floor, and that seemed to remind everyone they were apparently supposed to be fighting.
Kavanagh let out a little scream as one of the blue-green alien’s friends swung a stool at him, and he kneed him in the groin frantically. Rodney watched, slack-jawed. Normally, he wouldn’t approve of such things, but—seeing as how they were in the middle of a bar fight, Rodney had to bite down on the “Good job!” that seemed to want to pass from his lips.
Nothing happened though, and Kavanagh looked vaguely perplexed. Rodney dimly heard Simpson say “I don’t think his genitals are located in that vicinity!” when he sensed someone behind him and started punching blindly.
Hey, shit, it was a *girl*. Momentarily conflicted, Rodney paused, but it was long enough for the girl to replicate the motion Kavanagh had just tried out, only naturally, it was far more effective on Rodney. He collapsed to the floor in a wheeze.
The girl was about to land another punch, Rodney realized, but he was in too much pain to do much about it. Fortunately, someone took her down in a messy, albeit effective flying tackle. Rodney lifted his head up enough to see Radek, sliding her across the floor in a violent shove.
He caught Bates eyeing Radek for a second, that’s right, that’s right, the little Czech guy can *move*, Rodney thought smugly.
Rodney spared a moment to shoot Radek a hey, you’re awesome, sort of admiring look and yelled, “Fine, fuck you all and your high chair! We’ll fight then!” Valiantly ignoring the slight numbness and overall burning, burning! in Important Areas, he dove for the bar, grabbed three bottles, and started flinging them across people’s faces wildly, relishing the heavy hard sound of jaws hitting hard glass.
He saw Lorne throwing three guys just around the other side of the bar, Bates was standing *on* the counter with one of the big metal trays, doing some serious damage. The little glowy golden guy Rodney had noticed in the corner was bobbing in and out between them all, latching onto Kate’s leg, but she shrieked and launched into a dramatic series of twisting kicks.
Shit, Kate knew karate? Rodney wondered, even as he continued kicking people at random, hoping to hit a nice area of genitalia along the way.
Behind Kate, Parrish and Simpson seemed to be copying Kate’s moves, kicking when Kate did, throwing out a punch everytime Kate hit out at something. Heightmeyer seemed to notice and smiled encouragingly, even slowing down her motions for a second so they could replicate them.
Freaks. Rodney worked with freaks, he realized anew. He tugged the stool out from one of their hands viciously, and pummeled the green-blue one who had found Radek again.
It was Radek’s turn to give the hey, you’re awesome sort of admiring look. Rodney smirked and swung the chair around in high arcs, managing to hit three of the maybe male, maybe female, maybe both-aliens who were converging on Kavanagh and Optican. They had somehow taken to fighting back to back, Kavanagh having managed to steal a knife from somewhere and kept thrusting out at open air wildly. Rodney suspected that all the rage and venom Kavanagh usually seemed to reserve for weekly team meetings and bureaucratic wrangling was now being loosed in a totally uncoordinated but still somehow impressive way on the startled alien attackers.
Rodney started using the broken left leg of the stool as a club, and found it pretty effective, so he bent to the floor to pick up another leg and took turns thwacking, forming a triangle with Optican and Kavanagh behind him. By unspoken agreement, the three of them backed themselves toward the wall slowly, in tandem, still swinging, thrusting out with the knife and punching.
Several of the bar patrons had simply left, others had remained seated, eyeballing the scene but not taking part, for which Rodney managed to be grateful in-between swings. He saw Lorne jump off a table and take down three of the fighters all in one swoop. Rodney heard Parrish yell, “Yes!” and figured either he’d seen it too and was yelling some stupid sort of encouragement, or had managed to land a really good blow.
Rodney hissed as the last piece of the stool was kicked out of his hand, and he decided he’d aim for the little cluster of grape-type-things on this one’s face. He thrust out a couple of fingers hopefully.
“You were aiming for my *eye*! How—how uncouth!” the alien roared unhappily, throwing Rodney to the floor in a body-slam Rodney had only previously seen on wrestling shows.
“Okay, ow, ow, ow! And also, ‘uncouth’? Where are you even from, Planet *Shakespearia*?” Rodney heard himself mumble distantly. He rolled out of the way before he even quite knew that he’d told those particular nerve endings to work. He continued rolling across the floor, in what he suspected looked like a rather demented attempt at a somersault. He kicked out and the grape-eyed alien went down, landing hard with its head bouncing off the counter before it hit the floor again. Rodney sighed, and winced as he felt a couple of ribs move in ways he suspected they should not be moving.
And just as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. Rodney heard Kavanagh panting behind him and saw Parrish stalking forward, running over to Lorne.
Rodney used one of the few unbroken stools to inch his way off the floor. He placed his palms on it to steady himself, looking at their surroundings. Kavanagh came up to his side, still gripping the knife with trembling fingers.
“Will you put that down?” Rodney asked crossly. “You’re going to actually stab someone with that thing.”
Kavanagh looked surprised he was actually still holding it, but he shrugged and tucked it into his vest pocket, eyes narrowing behind his glasses, daring Rodney to say something else.
Rodney didn’t feel like it, and honestly, Kavanagh had a—point. A small one. Very small.
Bates was walking between everyone, checking them out swiftly, ignoring the profuse bleeding from his nose. “Everyone okay?” he asked finally, motioning the Atlantis team to huddle in around him. Kate and Simpson nodded, Zelenka held up his broken glasses wryly but still smiled, and Rodney couldn’t really manage a nod so he settled for a sort of half shrug deal, and looked over the rest of the scientists.
Kate and Simpson were standing, checking out each other’s *cuts* and grinning the grins of people who were deranged and thrilled to find themselves alive after all. Parrish was standing quietly while Lorne had leaned into his ear, probably telling him how to punch straighter next time and Bates was ushering Radek and Optican out the door, Lorne quickly directing everyone to follow suit and bringing up the rear.
“Can’t move?” Kavanagh asked, almost sympathetically, eyeing Rodney who was nobly clutching at the bar.
“Of course I can.” Rodney said, ignoring Lorne, Parrish and Kavanagh as they all stared, waiting. Kavanagh sighed and eased an arm around Rodney, Parrish coming up quickly to his other side. The three of them limped out into the bright sun, Lorne asking quietly if any of them thought the force field extended very far beyond the bar.
Rodney was focused on the ow, ow, ow, and besides that, he didn’t actually know, so he kept silent.
They were only walking for half a minute when they saw Sheppard walking straight for them, Teyla and Dex following closely behind.
John stared, eyes widening in a way that Rodney would have found funny any other time. Actually, he still found it pretty funny, but then, he was finding that the Pegasus Galaxy had really done wonders for his pain tolerance threshold.
“Everyone’s fine and accounted for sir,” Lorne said crisply before Sheppard could say anything.
“I leave you guys alone for *two* minutes,” Sheppard started.
Lorne seemed to straighten behind him, and Bates grew about an inch taller in front, so Rodney said: “Oh, you’re just upset you missed out on the chance to throw around some stools. You know, if you’d come in there, you’d have been the one to sit on the High Chair.”
Zelenka snickered under his breath. John gave him a dirty look, coupled with an eyebrow raise. “Are we good to head home?” Sheppard asked Lorne.
“Yes, sir. The situation in the bar was contained.”
“Translation: we kicked alien ass,” Parrish said brightly.
“Hell yeah!” Simpson and Kavanagh concurred and then Simpson turned around. They looked at each other, frowning. Rodney understood. It had to be a sign of the apocalypse.
Sheppard motioned them all forward, Dex and Teyla taking point with Bates and everyone behind.
“Your hand is cut, I’d suggest you try and wrap that up there,” he nodded at Kavanagh, inclining his head. “I’ve got McKay.”
Kavanagh spared a last smirk for Rodney before moving up to walk with Kate and Simpson.
“High chair?” Sheppard asked quietly.
“Can we not talk about that now? I got hit in a very—sensitive area and body slammed to the floor. I think that warrants me some quality silent time,” Rodney scowled.
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you?” Sheppard smirked.
“How was I supposed to know that it was—a holy chair? Or—no, wait, I ‘dishonored’ the chair. Do we look psychic? Did the chair have a sign on it: Please do not sit on the chair? No.” Rodney said, warming to the subject.
“Of course not. Because then you wouldn’t have sat on it,” Sheppard soothed.
Zelenka was saying to Teyla up ahead, “and then Rodney was about to die, and it was a very nasty blade and whoosh-whoosh, you know this?”
“Yeah, that whoosh, whoosh, it’ll get you every time,” Sheppard whispered obnoxiously.
“You keep it up and I’ll ask for Kavanagh back,” Rodney hissed.
Sheppard just tightened his hold a tiny fraction, and patted his back in a couple of smooth, slow, circular motions that felt really very nice. They walked on in mostly blissful silence on the way back to the gate, Sheppard seemingly content to watch Zelenka and Optican half describe, half act out their favorite moments of triumph for Dex and Teyla, who managed to look suitably impressed.
They walked through the gate and for the second time that day, a hushed silence fell over the room as even the marines gaped.
Elizabeth came thudding down the stairs, eyeing them all, the beaten, the battered, the already bruising.
Sheppard smiled again, nudging against Rodney’s arm and nodding understandingly at Elizabeth’s look of dismay. “Rodney sat in the High Chair,” he pronounced, and that seemed to set everyone loose.
The last thing Rodney heard before he was steered by warm hands toward the infirmary was Radek’s enthusiastic “whoosh whoosh” noises as he took on the solemn duty of briefing Elizabeth on the details of the mission. He managed to turn a little to see Zelenka re-enacting a particularly spectacular lunge, and then Sheppard’s arm tightened on his waist, and he let himself be led away.