The Incidences of The Blippy Dohickey 21: Traveler's Dilemma.
Evan got off duty a few days later and looked around Xander's room. Neat and clean so he hadn't been herein hours at the least. The tv was cold. His office was empty. He looked up. "Atlantis, where is Xander?"
"In the Lanar," she reported, appearing.
"Where is the Lanar?" She led him to the transporter and pushed the correct button for him, making him smile. She led him up the hallway. "What're those?"
"Those are former student rooms, Major."
"You can call me Evan, Atlantis. You and Nila both." She beamed at him. He grinned back. He opened the doors she pointed at and stepped inside. "Wow, how did he do this in four days?"
"There is a quick way of growing them," she reported, leading him over. Around the covered area were plants and trees of all sorts. Some with nice smelling flowers, some without. Above them was a plexiglass like shield. In the center was a lounging chair, a table, and a few other chairs beside a fairly deep pool. Xander was asleep on the lounging chair.
"Did they swim here?" Evan asked.
"Before they had ornamental things. This one, you can swim. In the bigger one there are more pools to be rehabilitated. It will be fantastic once he's done with it." She nudged Xander's seat, making him wake up. "Evan is finally free of the mission."
"Hi," he said, smiling at him. "You like?"
"I adore," he said, looking around. He recognized some from Earth, and some from local planets. "Aren't some of these hothouse varieties?"
"Each planter has its own temperature control," he said. "Atlantis, can I have the black tea set?" he asked quietly.
She beamed. "Of course, Xander. That's a wonderful idea! I'll see if Radek's busy too." She left to find him and tell him where the tea set was. That way he could steal the right sort of things to nibble on. Lanteans hadn't done it exactly the same way but she knew humans liked to nibble with tea. A few of their people were Japanese and she adored watching their tea ceremony. She would have to show them how they did it in the Lanar in her former days.
Evan got up to look at something. "What's this, Xander?"
He looked and smiled. "A peanut plant." He smirked at him for it and moved to the others to look. "Wait until you see the bigger one." He smiled as Radek came in with Rodney and John. "Hi."
"Hi." John looked around. "This is a fantastic job, Xander. When will you be done with the larger one?"
"A few weeks. It needed a lot more cleaning since I found a few rats."
"That's cool." He patted him on the arm, smiling at the clear pool then back at the plants. "It's going to be fantastic. Invite me up, okay?" He took Rodney away from the temperature controls on a planter. Now that they knew how to find him.... It should just be the trio this time.
Radek set down the tea set. "Atlantis told them what to make. I stole cookies too."
Xander beamed. "Cookies are good during tea. You can go look."
Evan came back. "We'll look later. Did the Ancients have a tea ceremony?"
"Something very close to it," he admitted, sitting up slowly so he could do that. They smiled at it and let him serve them. It was a different taste but they liked it. It was very calming. Very sweet too. They relaxed and it was wonderful. They talked about the city and the other lanar. They talked about books. Xander giggled at Cam's idea of an Ancient Book of the Month club, but assured them the two new books on his desk were ones that Rodney had brought up for him. When they were done with the tea and cookies they slipped into the pool, skinny dipping actually. It was very nice, just the right temperature, and long enough to get a few good laps in. Evan asked about them swimming and Xander shook his head but said it was up to them to warp the old ways into ones that fit them better. They smiled and helped him swim for a bit. He was slowly working his way back up.
Miko rushed into the lab. "Atlantis found video of a tea ceremony on the Lanar," she said excitedly, beaming at them. "The anthropologists are going nuts over it."
"Of course they are. That's their part of the soft sciences," Rodney agreed dryly. She pouted and he realized Dawn had taught her as well as the dragons. "Fine," he sighed. She showed them the file. He had to admit it was ceremonial.
"Xander does his slightly different," Radek admitted.
She blushed. "I asked and Atlantis said that his was more for intimate acquaintances or very close friends."
He smiled. "Then I do not mind." He smiled at her. "He has been working hard on the other lanar." She beamed at that.
"More like he's been driving Botany insane," Rodney said, sipping his coffee. "I have no idea why he has to have that specific purple and red flower."
"It's what tea is made from," Radek said quietly.
"Ah!" He nodded. "That makes more sense. At least he's picky for a reason." They let her rerun it. "How many other video journals are there?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. Atlantis?" She appeared. "Are there other video journals? The Anthropologists would adore to see them."
"There are some. No one had asked for them before." She went to see Daniel, who was in a friendly debate about the tea ceremony. "It is to relax," she told them. "Not for formal greeting." They all stared at her. "You use it to shed everything else so you can relax." They smiled. "You even do it in private. There is a more personal version for those who are close to you." She looked at Daniel. "Miko offered up a question about other journals and you wanting to see them?"
"I would adore that, Atlantis, and if I could hug you, I would."
She beamed. "I wish I could be hugged as well. It looks like it's very nice." She opened them up for him and showed him where they were stored. He beamed at her. "Nila has a few but they are mostly construction ones."
"Wonderful!" He beamed at them. "There's a whole lot of them." He looked at her again. "When will Xander be doing the tea to open the other lanar?"
"As soon as he's finished planting and they find the fish for the smaller ones." She bowed and he bowed back then she faded out to watch over him. He was itching to get into trouble. He'd be doing something soon. She knew he would be but Evan was helping him plant right now so maybe that would help.
The Anthropology department was dancing in joy, literally, over the videos. That had been a good thing to find for them she decided. It made them all happy.
"C'mon, I need to get the fish. It's meant to have pretty fish to stare at. Please, Evan?"
"You're in a chair, Xander. That means it's dangerous."
"I'll have guns on."
"That's a Genii trading world."
"It's not like they're going to try me." Evan groaned, shaking his head. "We need it and the purple flowers. Please?"
"What is with the purple flowers!" he demanded, looking defeated. He knew he had already lost.
"They're mandatory. Also, they're kinda good for you."
"Sheppard won't agree."
"I'll have Armand. I'll have guns. John's off duty today." He grinned. "Therefore no fussing. Please?"
"You'd have to have a whole team."
"No. I only need one person to help me carry." He gave him a begging look. Armand was doing the same because he was bored. "Please."
"But I love you that way."
"Good to know." He filed a plan for it. Daniel gave him the oddest look. "That purple flower and fish."
"It's good to know he has something to occupy his time."
"Yeah, otherwise we'd all be nuts instead of me." He walked back down there. "Guns?"
Xander let him check them over on him. Then he floated the chair up. "See? Armand." He came trotting back and hopped up on the daddy's lap. They got dialed through and Evan made sure he had weapons and followed him. He was going to regret this.
Xander found the fish he needed and the flowers nearby. "Here." Evan came over, looking. "See, fishies and the flowers that everyone says they can't find."
"Thankfully I brought specimen containers." Xander pulled out his shrinking bag and the ones he carried. They were gathering the fish when the Genii showed up.
Xander looked over and waved. "I'm setting up one of the old lanar's. We need fishes and the flowers."
"Xander, why are you sitting in that?" the head of the team asked.
"Injury." He grinned. "I was stopping an ass of the universe who wanted to kill everyone everywhere."
"Did it hurt your back?"
Xander stood up slowly and shifted his shorts out of the way, showing the top of the incision. The Genii all gave him horrified looks. "It was nearly severed." He put it back into place and sat down, letting Armand and Evan help him fish out the pretty ones. "Don't touch the purple flowers please. I need them too."
The Genii looked at each other and came over to help him. It must have been a bad battle. "What sort of weapon does that?" one asked him quietly.
"It's a future tech weapon from another race. A friend called me to help defeat the bastard because he couldn't do it alone. He was trying to destroy everyone everywhere. The guy had one. I had one. He yelled at me 'why don't you fall down'." He shrugged. "He lost. Badly. I got him down and cut off his head. Then we kinda lost my friend but he's kinda in a new form now. And I talked to Asha, who I used to date but is ascended. Or was. He helped my friend heal." He smiled. "It was bad but we won."
"It must have been bad if the other warrior was nearly killed and he's as strong as you, and you were hurt that way," the head of the team told him.
Xander nodded. "That one was stronger, especially mentally and emotionally sometimes. He doesn't have the temper I have. We lost one fully but it'll be okay. Someday others will come." He patted that one on the head. "Get the blue one?" He did that with a grin. "Cool. Thank you." They sealed the containers of water and fish for Evan to put away. Then he got to work taking plant samples. He held one up. "You need to dry this part out," he instructed. "Then grind it and seep it. It makes a wonderful, calming tea." They all beamed at him for that. "It's amazing and part of the tea ceremony of the lanar."
He dug them out carefully and wrapped the roots up. Then he got a few other samples. Then a few more of the purple plants. He pointed. "Get me that green one." They helped by digging it up. "Watch the roots. They're a bit poisonous." They dug around it. "Thank you." He wrapped that one up carefully and handed it off too. "Thanks, guys." He beamed at them. "What are you guys here for?"
"Scouting the locals," one of the team said. "Why did you want that one if it's poisonous?" he asked.
"Only the roots are. The top shoots go into heat once every three years and smell wonderful, plus are tasty if you catch them at the right time and have some vinaigrette. They also help clean the air and water. We can put them in with the fish to keep the water clean." They nodded at that. "Guys, good job. Thank you." He floated the chair and they all stared at it. He grinned. "I built it." He waved and they left. Armand roared back and waved his tail at them. Evan had the samples containers and it was okay.
They got back and Evan waited until the gate was shut down to look at him. "That was probably the most calm I have ever seen the Genii."
"They were very helpful."
"They were. Which is nice since I didn't have to lure the nibbling fish into the jars." He helped him get it to the public lanar. Thankfully the city could adjust the water to the fish's needs. Xander got to get into the water to plant the plants. He climbed out slowly but Evan came over to help. Xander waved him off. "I can help."
"Xander, you still have stitches," he pointed out. He helped him back up into the chair, staring at him. "I want to help."
"I don't want to feel helpless and the more stubborn I am the faster I'll get back to being chased by someone who wants to kill me."
Evan took a kiss. "I need to feel that I'm helping so let me." Xander nodded. "After this, how about a shower and a cuddle to a movie?"
"I could like a cuddle but maybe more?" he asked hesitantly.
"Xander, I'd love to but Doctor Keller scares the crap out of me and she said no stressing that joint. No sex because that'll make that hip joint work a lot and I'm not one to tie you down and make you beg me." Xander moaned at that. Armand got out of the water and they released the fishes. Evan went to release the higher fishes. The first one set the needs of the pool and it was good. "There." He pointed. "Come on." Xander pointed at the other plants so they planted them quickly. Then he got to take Xander back to help him shower and then rest. They needed a rest.
John came up a few hours later. "You went where with him in that chair?"
"To get things for the lanar. The Genii were very helpful. He taught them about the tea flowers and they helped gather fish and plants. They talked about the battle a bit. They respected the injury and loved the chair."
"You're both insane," John complained. "We could have taken it from the other rom."
"We invited O'Neill up for the opening," Xander said, sounding half asleep. "He'll probably have to bring someone official."
"Good point, but still a sucky plan." Evan pointed at Xander's head.
"Fine, blame me," Xander muttered.
John shook his head, walking back down there to check it out. It was looking wonderful. He closed it up again and headed back to the control center. Daniel had told him and he had been amazed Evan was that lax about giving in to pouting - boy or dragon's.
Jack walked out of the gateway. "Danny?" He looked up from his watching something. "I brought someone." He pointed at the present head of the IOA, who wasn't an ass surprisingly enough. A bit dumb but not an ass. He was also the Canadian representative. "What's up?" He came over to watch over his shoulder, whimpering. "Is that Ancient?"
"Yeah. The last child born on Atlantis. His mother was censured but she wanted to do it on her own and it was filmed a few different times." He waved the other guy over, letting him see it. "This is of his first time wandering down a hallway. The city taped him because he wasn't supposed to be out. The others didn't really like him but they couldn't do anything about it once he was born." They watched as he patted doors and cooed and people, then went into another room and got shoved out before it got shut on him. "That's where we have chemistry. His mother was a botanist."
"We have other videos?" the IOA rep asked quietly.
"Many." He smiled. "Atlantis found them for us. We have hours of celebrations, the tea ceremony in the formal version, and all sorts of things."
"Wonderful, Doctor Jackson." He beamed at him. "Good find."
"Thank you, but Miko asked, not me." He stood up. "We are going to the lanar that Xander's just finished with." He handed Chuck his laptop. "Put that on my desk for me please." He nodded, doing that. He walked off with them. "Lanar are places of relaxation. They had a formal and a more intimate tea ceremony that they always did, to help them distinguish between the outside and in the lanar. Xander's doing ours. John and Rodney are going to join us there."
They both nodded. He got them into the transporter and there, earning a gasp. "It is amazing," he agreed with a smile. He walked them to the double doors and opened them. "Welcome to the main lanar on Atlantis, gentlemen." John and Rodney smiled, looking at the various plants. "Xander even broke the rules and had Evan Lorne steal him across the gateway to a planet with an outpost to look for some of the specific plants he needed. Some are earth varieties, some are even practical," he said with a point. "That's a squash plant I think and he put peanuts out too."
They walked around to look at things. Xander had put names on stakes in the pots. He went to look at the pools. There were steps of pools. The top one was fairly warm but not too hot. People could sit and lounge in it. It was self contained. Half a floor down was a smaller, shallower fish pond. They had brightly colored fish. "Are those the ones that liked to eat toes?"
"Cousins of, these eat fish food," Xander said, floating over to him. "The toe eating ones are lower." He smiled and they moved to the next level down. Another soaking pool, this one chilled and it was a bit bigger. The half step down had another fish pond and it wasn't connected to the upper one but the lower one seemed to recycle water through it. This one had more plants and the toe nibbling ones. "Yeah, these are the toe nibbling ones. Evan complained for days about helping me get some." He grinned at him.
"They're beautiful fish," Jack agreed, walking down to the last one. It was the largest soaking pool and had a few cracked seats on the ledge. "Was this originally a soaking pool?"
"Yes. Filtered and all that. I've had it heated to just about body temperature. The fish really like it and it recycles through the plants to clean it."
"Theirs," Xander admitted with a smile. He floated back to the table to check things over. "Councilor?" He came back, staring at him in awe. "What?"
"There's been a call to find you, young man. England wants to thank you."
Xander shrugged. "I'd rather they didn't but I had no idea about that. I'll tell someone to tell them I'd rather not." He smiled and set out things, smirking at Rodney. "Yes, the formal one."
"I think it's beautifully done, quite relaxing, but the one you've converted to take your PT in is more intimate than this one."
"Mine was meant to be a private one. This was a public one." He smiled and performed the ceremony, handing out cups. "And something they never did on Atlantis before, cookies," he said, putting out the tray with a smile. "They didn't bake that way."
The councilor beamed at him and sipped. He moaned. "This is spectacular."
"It's from that plant," Xander said with a point. "It has mild effects on the body of causing relaxation and a lowering of blood pressure by about five points." He smiled. "Which is probably why they engineered it." He smiled and nodded, sipping it. He took a cookie too. "Our wonderful cooks made them." He sipped his own. John and Rodney sipped theirs. Even Jack looked pleased and he wasn't really a tea guy. "I've posted a rules sign off the transporter," he told Daniel.
"I saw. It's a good idea." He patted on his arm. "Good job."
The councilor looked around then at him. "There are smaller ones?"
"Some families had their own. I have taken over one shamelessly to help me with my PT," Xander admitted with a smile. "It's got a pool big enough to swim in."
"You were injured that badly?"
"Yes, during that fight. He nearly severed my right leg at the hip."
"Oh, dear. They said you were injured." Xander nodded. "They said it took a day to clean up the blood and things."
"Sorry," Xander said quietly. "I wasn't about to let him kill humanity."
"No, I agree. Thank you." He sipped and looked around again. "This is a horticulturist's dream."
"Thank you. Doctor Cutler in Botany helped me with some of the earth plants. Her mother's a huge person in a garden club and knows more about exotic plants than she does. She knows the how and why, her mother knows the pretty." That got a smile and a nod. They heard a splash and looked back. One of the upper fish had jumped out and was swimming around the next pool down. Then it jumped to the bottom tank of fish. Where it became food. "That's nice of it. We won't have to sacrifice any hotdogs tonight." Jack choked, laughing and shaking his head. "The cooks agreed to give them about four a day. There's fifteen fish in there. Fifteen was an important number to them for social things."
Rodney nodded. "I haven't noticed many other instances of numerology but in social matters it was clear they favored a few by the way they built their pods and how they built their homes."
The councilor nodded. "That's very interesting. I'm sure the social scientists have written loads of papers."
"Reams," Daniel agreed. "Which I've went through and weeded out the ones that actually made sense."
"I did not pick that corner of the sciences," Rodney admitted. "Elizabeth did. That was her area, not mine."
"I remember, Rodney." He smiled and took another cook to nibble while he relaxed. "A few of them don't live up to expectations but they're diplomats, not social scientists really. So that's reasonable for their skill level." He ate another bite, looking at it. "Gingerbread?"
"Yup," Xander said with a grin. "They decided it went well with the tea."
The councilor took one to nibble, nodding. "It does compliment the flavor quite well." He finished his tea and then went to look around some more. "Why peanuts?"
"They're a hardy plant that doesn't have to be replanted often if you're careful how you unplant the nuts, they have their pretty moments, and they're a snack later on. You'd have to roast them but they can be eaten in a few months."
"Wonderful. Less food they have to order."
"Barely. It's not going to be much but some did get planted in the new garden on the mainland."
"The Athosians are very pleased with it so far," Rodney agreed. "The botanists have even dragged one of the cooks over to teach them how to can and preserve things in other ways. With our half, we should have staples for at least a few months."
Daniel smiled. "That's a good plan," he agreed. "Anything frivolous and nice?"
"Yes, we did end up planting some more nuts over there," he admitted with a smile. "Xander had the botany replicator make nut trees and some berry bushes as well. We'll get half of those."
"Excellent idea," Daniel praised, smiling at Xander.
"I like berries. And it means that Rodney can eat dessert."
"It does." He patted him on the arm. "Good job." Xander beamed.
"When do they come out?" Jack asked.
"Another month," Rodney said. "Then they can plant another crop if they want. I wasn't sure about our timetable so I said I'd have to check before planning that. I got pouted at because the botanists are excited to get their hands dirty again."
"How big is this farm?" the councilor asked, coming back to sit down again.
"About one hectare," Rodney told him. "The Athosians watch over it for us and they get half the harvest." That got a nod and a smile. "It also showed them some better planting techniques. It should last them a good, long time and their future offspring can take those skills with them."
"They even went over mediaeval cooking," Xander added with a smile. "How to preserve things for longer, fruitcakes for preserving cakes."
"That's a wonderful idea," he agreed, happier with that. "That way they can have it for months instead of a few weeks." The all nodded, smiling. "Whose idea?"
"One of Doctor Cutler's minions suggested the farm the day I got Mira. Mira, Armand, no eating the fish, they'll eat you back," he called. Xander whistled and they came running. "Thank you. It's nice to know you trained them both," he said dryly.
"I'm still working on hers but I was going to teach you those this weekend," Xander said with a grin. "If you were finally unbusy."
"Thank you." He petted her while Armand snuggled into Xander's lap. "The introduction of mediaeval preservation techniques came from one of the cooks."
"Thankfully I did have a few cookbooks," Xander said.
"Your book collection is huge," Jack told him. Xander grinned at him. "I had Dawn go get everything of yours in storage to move to somewhere more secure."
"Including the stuff in the apartment?"
"No, that I let her boss handle." He gave him a look. Xander smiled sweetly. "You could auction some of that stuff off."
"I have plans of it. Most of it was vindictive."
"Good." He finished his tea, looking around. "I needed to bring my trunks."
"I have a spare set," Daniel offered. "You can bum them, Jack."
"Thanks, Danny." He patted him on the back. "How many more of these are there, Xander?"
"Two more big ones. Three smaller ones that're still whole. Still no real swimming pool for those who would like it."
"Maybe we'll find one," Jack decided.
"Are those the two pets that had someone so stupidly paranoid?" the councilor asked.
"Yes," Xander agreed. "This is Armand, and that's Mira. I've had Armand now for centuries. Literally."
"Oh." He smiled at them. "Don't they cause problems?"
"Jealousy among others?" he asked.
"No," Xander assured him with a smile. "They suck up to anyone who wants to pet them usually. Armand's actually identified a nurse who had a pretty severe case of depression and stayed with her until Doctor Keller got her settled in with help for it. They're also damn helpful on diplomatic missions. The Genii love to see me with him because it means I'll probably be calm and if there's an attack he'll help." The councilor gaped. He smirked. "I've had Armand through some wars too. Even if someone didn't like it, Armand and Mira are staying or we'd be leaving since they're bound to us. And the next idiot who tries to hurt them? I will get up out of this chair to kick their asses. Even if I'm not supposed to be walking yet. Keller will forgive me for it. She'll probably stitch them up and hand them back."
"She would have handed the last person back but you were in bed with the post-surgical for your appendix," Rodney said. "They've also been helpful scaring the wraith, and helping people calm down after battles."
Xander nodded. "They have been. Armand's also the begging king of the caf. I've got to break the marines of feeding them."
John smiled. "They might get mad if you take their spoiling time."
"Maybe but he's going to get fat." Armand gave him a dirty look. "You will. Not like you're chasing people around right now."
Armand sighed and laid down, looking at Mira, who meeped at them all. They all smiled at the pets.
"They are quite lively," the councilor said.
"The exobiologists on the base measured how smart he was. They came up fairly high in intelligence and they're empathic as well," Xander said with a smile, petting Armand's back. "We'll go back to the other lanar later so you can swim and not have to worry about mean fishes trying to nibble on you."
Armand looked up at him and purred then sniffed the others. He looked at his human then the new person. He cheeped quizzically.
"This is IOA Councilor Marks," Rodney said. Both dragons sniffed him and then cheeped at him. Then they went back to being spoiled.
"I like them more than I do some of the diplomats I've run into," Councilor Marks admitted, petting Mira's head. She stretched out and he smiled. "She's very friendly.
"She's sucking up so she can steal your last cookie," Rodney said dryly.
He broke it in half to feed her half, making her a happy dragon. Armand leaned his head over too. "Behave," Xander said, feeding him a few bites of his. Armand settled back looking smug. Mira growled at him. "No more," Xander ordered. They both cuddled in again. "You two are going to be shocked when we get Dawn and Clover." They both purred at that. Mira gave the new guy the pouty look, earning the last half of his cookie. Xander shook his head.
"They learned it off Dawn," Jack said. Armand pouted at him. "I don't have any cookies left, Armand." He climbed over to cuddle him. "Thanks, dragon." He petted him, earning some purrs. "You're better than a dog or a wife any day."
John nodded. "Less nagging from him."
"Bet me," Rodney said. "If I'm not doing what she wants she'll come annoy me until I do."
Councilor Marks looked at him. "Were you ignoring her needs?"
"No, she wanted to go eat dinner. I was busy. So she sat on my head and chewed on my ear while banging her tail against the other shoulder until I gave up. That way she could beg. Anymore I hand her to Miko or Radek if she's in that mood. They let her go with them and she gets to suck up to whoever will let her. Then Mira will come back and nag me to come eat in about twenty minutes." She purred at him then climbed on John to give him attention too. She sat on his shoulder, nibbled on his ear, and patted down his hair again. Jack laughed at that. "She doesn't like his hair." Armand leaped over and greeted the councilor then climbed up to nip Mira on the neck. "Hey," Rodney complained. Mira hissed at him and batted him with the tail. Then she got down and went to swim in the pool without the mean fishes. They could chase each other while the humans did strange human things.
Xander shook his head. "They're like siblings."
"Yes they are," Rodney agreed. "I'm hoping they can't mate."
"Well, since I probably can't have kids, they'll make interesting grandkids," Xander said, finishing his tea. He smiled at John. "She's going to sneak in some night to flatten your hair on you."
"I'm sure she will again. I woke up a few days ago to her petting me." Rodney shook his head, groaning some.
Jack smirked. "Atlantis lets them in rooms?"
"She'll pretty well let them anywhere that's not locked or dangerous," Xander told him. "She even helps them when they go to fetch people to watch movies with me." The others laughed at that, nodding some.
"What happens when we have the cities back on earth?" Marks asked.
"Atlantis is going to have her area and Nila's being built a docking station where all those labs will be sitting," Xander told him. "How is that coming, General?"
"Good. We have the base constructed and are starting on the bridges and docking stations. Atlantis is going somewhere in one of the oceans. We'll have her in US waters but Nila will be in international waters so others don't feel as left out."
"We were thinking," Xander said. "Someone who knows how dangerous the labs can be should be in charge there," he said.
"We're working on it, Xander. We're taking Nila's concerns into account and all that. I know Cam doesn't always understand scientists. We'll work that out."
"They're going to be doing some fantastic things," Rodney admitted. Xander grinned. "I do like Atlantis but Nila has her own charm. Those labs are going to be the deciding factor really."
"It's going to take years for some other scientists to get up to speed so they can use the labs," Xander pointed out. "Plus ATA carrier bypasses."
"I hadn't thought about that," Rodney admitted. "I can start working on that idea. I'll let Radek figure out what to teach them since he does like teaching you and Faith." Xander grinned. "You're right though, they're mostly years behind where we are." He looked at Jack.
"I've agreed to start releasing the stuff working up to everything, that way they're not shocked and horrified. That should ease it some," Jack said. "I still need information on what's coming out."
Councilor Marks coughed. "Shouldn't we be approving that on the council?"
"No," Jack said. He looked at him. "You guys have refused to let anyone publish anything that might lead this way and there's people who are already getting paranoid about what we'll bring out."
"I've always went on the prime directive," Xander told him. "Too much too fast is bad but nothing is going to make fundies scream in horror and other scientists feel obsolete when it's suddenly outed by a problem. We need to get something out there so they don't have to catch up to eons of information."
"I can see that," Marks agreed cautiously. "But if we release too much, we're going to end up outing the project."
Xander stared at him. "I think humanity's ready to hear some of it. Like that there's some that're friendly and some that aren't."
"They can't be," he said firmly.
"You mean you managed to fully hide all the stuff that's happened in England for the last few years?"
"UNIT isn't known about?" Xander pressed.
"No, they're not fully known about but some do."
"Do you think that the current people in Rodney's field are ready to hear that there's bigger and badder science that they've only dreamed of in geek wet dreams, but they're decades behind?"
"Oh, I see."
"Yeah," Xander agreed. "So they need to get *something* out there to build upon when it comes time to introduce them. Because we won't be keeping the labs as SG only, right?"
"No, we won't be," he realized. "So we will need to be hiring from multi-country forces for lab personnel."
"No, you need to take applications," Rodney corrected. "Most of them will want to be in on the new things. Even if it will bring them back to basically intern level. We've done things that most scientists can't even have wet dreams about. Including that new power source."
"Which we do need to camouflage the hum on," Jack told him.
"We do," Xander agreed. "Even the guys on punishment detail are saying that's too mean."
"Why do they talk to you?" Daniel asked. "I haven't heard any really loud complaints."
"Some of the guys come up to talk to me. I'm easy to talk to and I've got the ability to see flaws in thought. Plus they like me more than they do some of the base shrinks."
"That's not a bad thing as long as you're comfortable with it," Daniel told him.
"Most of the time I don't mind." He looked around. "Leave those fish alone too," he told the dragons hanging over the edge of the pool to stare at them. "If you eat even one you have to go collet them with the Genii." They went back to paddling around. Jack was snickering. "They were very helpful," he assured him.
"I heard about that. No more until you're at least walking."
"Thank you. We don't want to upset Keller by making you hurt them more and get injured again."
"I don't want to be either and I did take precautions. I had guns. I had Armand. My chair is more than usually mobile in case the wraith had shown up. We were less than a mile from the gate. Evan had his guns. The Genii were very helpful. They were respectful, they helped gather the fish and plants."
"I know they were," Jack agreed. "It was still fairly dangerous. It's something anthropologists would do," he said with a head-nod at Daniel. "Which is why I have white hair. Okay?"
"Thank you. Before I go as bald as Hammond was." Rodney and Daniel smiled at that. "Okay, we good?" They all nodded. "Then let us get back to work. McKay, the list of things that are being put out?"
"I forwarded my list last week. Sam doesn't like half of them."
"She is the head of science," Marks pointed out.
"Who is really in a snit that Nila won't accept her sometimes," Xander said dryly. "Since both AI's are very sentient, more so than some people we've met, we need to take their wishes into account. Nila? Atlantis?" They both appeared. "This is Councilor Marks from the IOA. These are Atlantis and this is Nila," he introduced. Both dragons roared.
Nila smiled and waved. "Good afternoon, Mira and Armand." Atlantis waved and the dragons went back to playing. She smiled at the councilor. "How is my dock coming along?"
"It's going fairly well," Jack told her. "We have the base built. We're working on the rest of the base-line structure starting next month."
"Wonderful," she agreed with a beaming smile. "Rodney, Radek said that the lab is still in one piece and he has suitably yelled at the idiot who decided to do an illegal chemistry experiment on something that he thought was a hallucinogenic. They're in the infirmary so you can beat them when they come down according to Miko."
"I'm going to beat them all," he assured her. "How bad?"
"Just him. They walked in and found him doing it; it was him being startled at being caught that made him slip up. Though, Radek is going through his notes and wanted to talk to you. He just bellowed that at Atlantis."
She nodded. "He does not look happy."
Rodney put back in his earpiece. "You bellowed?" He listened. "Yes, they can. We're in the public lanar, Radek. Bring them to me. High and all. He can feed the nibbling fish." He hung up and looked down at the councilor. "You can take another planted scientist back with you when you go since he was trying to infect the whole lab with it." He put his earpiece back in his pocket. "He'll be right up, General."
"Thank you for letting us know there was a problem," Jack said. They beamed at him. "Anything else going on I should hear about?"
"Only if you can stop the one who Ronon is yelling at," Atlantis said. Nila looked and giggled, nodding.
"Where?" Xander asked. He pulled out his comm. "Ronon? Problems?" He listened then swore and stood up with a wince, disappearing. He leaned on Ronon's shoulder as soon as he landed. "GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE NOW!" he shouted. Everyone flinched. "I WILL COME UP THERE AND FUCK YOUR ASS UP IF YOU DON'T! NOTICE THE STANDING!" The guy looked and whimpered, shaking his head. He pointed. The guy shook all the way back down. "What did you do?" he demanded, staring at him.
"He decided to try to hurt Faith and two others," Ronon said quietly. "You should be sitting."
"I can't kick his ass nearly as well when I'm sitting. Though it was wise to climb up to somewhere you could jump from for that. Are they okay?"
"They're fine. Faith attacked back and drove him off when he found him going after two of the chemists," Ronon said more calmly.
"We're in the public lanar, Ronon."
"Tower 4 on the east, just ask." He glared at him and he shrank back. "Any other idiots trying this?"
"They're women, they have to be needy," he complained. Xander punched him and kept going.
"Whoa!" Evan said, coming out to break it up. "Xander, chair. Before you pop something and have to spend the night in the infirmary. Ronon, take them both there since the General is there."
Ronon nodded. "Fine." He dragged the moaning one and helped Xander into the nearest transporter, letting Xander hit the right button. They landed and he helped steady Xander all the way up to his chair. He handed the idiot to the general. "He decided the women were lonely against their wills. Faith had to beat him off when he tried it on her then on some others. Xander kicked his ass for that after getting him off a high spot he was going to jump from."
"Good!" He glared at the pitiful being. "I'll make sure he goes back in chains, Ronon. Ronon, this is Councilor Marks of the IOA."
He nodded at him. "Are you as uptight and political as Woolsey started out being?" Both dragons came running over and climbed up him. "You're both wet," he complained, but he was smiling. They nestled under his hair. "Spoiled." He walked off, taking them back to the command center and Evan. Who smiled at them since Faith took Mira to cuddle. "The general said he'll be going in chains."
"I can send MP's up there to wait on him," Evan promised. "Xander okay?"
"Shaky but moving slightly better today."
"Good." He smiled at Faith. "Want to make a formal complaint to the general or to me?"
"Can I go kick his ass?"
"Sure," he agreed. He led her up there. "General, she wanted to make a formal report."
"He touch you or just try?" Jack asked.
"Tried really hard. Only got one pinch in and I smacked him so he started on the other ladies who didn't want him. He tried to grope one of them so I kicked him out of the lab and made his ass run," she said bluntly.
"I kicked his ass again," Xander told her.
She beamed. "I like that about you, X." She handed Mira back, but the dragon crawled back up her and nuzzled with a purr. "Okay, sure, I'll pet you. You're good to help me calm down, Mira." She walked off. "General, there's two MP's waiting on him out here," she said when she spotted them.
"Boys, cuff him," he called. They came in to cuff him and walked him off to sit semi-quietly in a corner.
"Thank you," Daniel said. "We have that other one too if you want him."
"Please. How many more plants are there up here to cause problems?"
Xander did something and looked at the image in the air. "Four. Three are in labs right now and one's in my office." He did something and they were sorry now. He marked the other three then erased it and smiled. "They're going to be easily found. Especially the one that was in my office." Marks was staring at him. Xander stared back. "I'm from Sunnydale."
"I heard about that stuff from Travers," he admitted quietly.
"I really still want to kill Travers for setting a price on my head. Then he tried to fuck with me. Hopefully he's learning his lesson in jail?"
"He's still awaiting trial but he is very sorry. They've even confiscated his bank accounts."
"Yay. It should go to the girls." Marks swallowed. "Yeah, I backed her up before all this." He smirked. "That's why I'm such a stubborn bastard."
"That's good to know," he agreed. "Are you sure you won't talk to anyone about the awards they want to give you?"
"No. I don't want awards, medals, being well known, none of it. If anyone's trying, you can tell them I have a paranoia about my personal life being well known. That I'd consider it an insult to those who lost their lives in the battle and me to be awarded for that." He stared him down. "I'm not the average guy and I can go hide somewhere they've never heard of me."
"The whole world saw that battle."
"I can hide on another planet," he pointed out dryly. "Plant a huge garden, move all my books, kidnap a boyfriend or two...." The man swallowed. "Got it?" He nodded. "Jack?"
"I've pointed that out, Xander. They say it might help enrollment in militaries around the world."
"I'm still bi and they hate us," Xander said dryly. "Beyond that, I don't want to be known. I don't want to be used, and if someone wants to give me a medal, they can shove it. You know I'm paranoid about my private life."
"I know. I've told the president that. He's disgruntled."
"I can pop in if you think it'll help."
"Please don't. He's just started a new rotation of guards."
"He'd have to expand the open area in front of his desk for your chair anyway," Daniel said.
Xander stared at him. "Maybe I can use a walker...." he sighed.
"Call," Jack ordered. Xander summoned his cellphone to him. He found the phone number and handed it to Jack. "Sir, General O'Neill. I'm talking with Harris. Yes, that Harris. No, this is his cellphone. No, sir, he's pissed about any attempt to reward, award, or medal him for that battle. He's very paranoid about his personal life and safety. Sir, he's just threatened to leave and go to a nice beach he knows. Not in the pegasus galaxy but somewhere he knows, where he can sit on the beach and read all day."
"The sand's so soft and white, the water's wonderful. He can ask Owen over in Torchwood about it," Xander said dryly.
"Xander said he's taken Owen from Torchwood to it if you need a description." He listened. "He said he's heard Harkness talk about it recently. That he stuck up for you being left alone because you're a private guy and you'd hate it."
"He's right and I will."
Jack listened. "Sir, that would be hard since he's not going to hide he's bi and presently dating a male." He smirked at Xander. "He hates that."
"Ask me if I give a damn," Xander said dryly. "I told you I'm not going to hide who I am anymore. Never again." Jack listened and groaned. Xander smiled at Daniel. "Let me participate...." He and his chair disappeared and reappeared down there. "You rang?" he asked dryly, freezing both guards. "I'm too tired to talk them down today. Hi," he told the guard running in. "Sit down and shut up. You can be a witness later if I have to sue." The guard gaped in horror at him. "Yeah, it's me again."
"Frozen. Until I feel like them moving." He looked at the president, who was gaping in horror at him. "What? You thought I could only get from Colorado? I've been around the universe a few times. For that matter I've been forward and backward in time." He stared him down. "No, I won't be your poster boy. I will not do interviews, I will not accept any credit or any notoriety for anything that may have happened that day."
"I can make sure you will," he said firmly. "You're a good inducement to join the military, Mr. Harris."
Xander snickered. "Really? Would that be because I violate Don't Ask, Don't Tell every day? My stunning 1.3 GPA when I graduated? The fact that I killed unnatural beings for years before all that traveling? Which one do you think makes me a good poster boy?" The president gaped in horror. "I don't care who wants what. I do what I have to do." More guards came rushing in. "SIT!" he snapped and most of them did. Two pulled guns and the other one waved them down. "Good job," he told the guy he knew. "Do you have any idea why I'd be a good role model for future soldiers? I'm fairly certain you've done a background check by now."
"No. I don't. Frankly, I'm shocked you managed to graduate." He moved closer. "Injured during the fight?"
"Yeah. It nearly severed my hip joint from the front." He shrugged. "It happens sometimes. I've expected to die since I was sixteen." He looked at the president then at him. "Can you please brief your boss so he leaves me the hell alone before I take everything and go somewhere or somewhen else?"
"Sir, he's a knight but he's got drunk parents, a very bad scholastic record, more lovers than Harkness at Torchwood is supposed to have had, and he slept with an ancient gou'ald at one time."
"I didn't know he was snaked. When I found out, well... It was nice he ran from the hand grenade I had with me." The president swallowed. "The last time I ran into him I nearly fired on his balls for wanting me back." He stared at him. "I have slept with more powerful people than you. An emperor of Rome comes to mind." The president shuddered. "So I'm not an innocent at these games you're trying to play. I'm just bored with them. But I also know that you trying things against me, even though I am all but conscripted, means I get to sue. A lot. And out the program, the IOA, and all that." The president shook his head. "Oh, yeah, I can."
"We can have you hidden in the CIA," he offered.
"You can't move me from the SG system because I'm signed up with them and I'd destroy anyone else from the inside." He smiled sweetly. "I'm not exactly pleased. My healing doesn't need this stress."
"I can have you recalled to earth."
"You can try," Xander corrected. "You won't manage it. Because I'll just bring Nila down now." He groaned. "I'm not the bitch of this incident. I'm not going to talk to anyone. I'm not going to do anything you want. So just give the fuck up."
He cleared his throat. "You will or I'll confiscate what you have in storage and your bank accounts. As you said you are basically conscripted."
Xander stared at him. Then he smirked. "Sure, let me go do an interview and out every last little thing I know," he sneered. "Like your so-called moral friends? And their boyfriends." The president groaned. "I am vindictive. If you force me, I'll have a grand old time."
"You're prevented by contract."
"My contract also said that Jack and the SG base cannot confiscate anything that I own."
"You're a national asset," he said firmly. "And a world one too. UNIT named you that."
"I don't care what UNIT said and I can easily go make my own country."
"Not while we have your money," the president countered.
"Sir," the rational guard said. "He's known to create and bring weapons everywhere. We can't find them all even if we did a body cavity search. Can you maybe quit pissing off the person who could create a space ship to redo the scene in Independence Day?"
The president stared at him. "How dare you!"
"Fuck off," Xander said bluntly. "He's right, I could. I might need some help with some of the engineering specs, but hey, I'm dating a physicist. Who is a political refugee." The president whined. "Jack would not like that though, either one. So your choice is for me to be forced to do things to make your little plot obsolete or you can actually quit trying to screw with me before I out everything you want to hold secret for another ten years."
"I can so. I can go on tv and do it today."
"I'll have them rescue your funds."
Xander stared at him. "That's not making me want to cooperate. That's making me want to plot. Or possibly go back and make sure you didn't get elected." A notecard popped in and he smiled. "Jack and Dawn don't like that idea. Pity." He put it beside him, staring at the guy. "I'm not the one you fuck with without consequences."
"I'm already on my way out," he said smugly.
"Really? And you think all those people in Congress who know are?" He went pale. "Or all those nice people who are a bit fanatical about aliens aren't going to be happy?" Jack and Rodney appeared. "Hey."
"Stand down," Jack ordered.
"Fuck off, Jack. He's saying he confiscated my stuff."
"Over his deleted body," Rodney said dryly. "I can atomize you. It's not that hard." He looked at Xander. "I hate your bracelet."
"Why are you using mine?"
"Mine needs another power chip." He handed it over. "Keller is fussing that you stood."
"Calm down," Jack ordered more firmly. He stared at him.
"Jack, if he tries to force me, oh well. I'll out every damn last thing. I'm not going to be backed into a corner. At all."
"I agree," he said. "And the outing. I'd do the same." He looked at the president. "Sir, please quit threatening him. He's going to react and it won't be pretty."
"What? He has an axe on him?" he sneered.
Xander took off his necklace to look at the shrunken weapons. "No, the closest I have right now is a sword. The other seven are artillery." He put it back on and the president whimpered. "I even wear it to bed in case of an attack."
"He does, his boyfriend complained about that once. Got tangled in his dog tags."
"Really? He never told me that." Xander pouted. "I'll have to ask."
"I want you on this planet," he said firmly, pounding a fist on his desk.
"Even if I am, I won't be here. I've had enough. I'll be in Cardiff."
"No, you'll be where we need you."
"No, I won't," Xander assured him. "At all. Ever. For all I care, I don't care." He shrugged. The guards all moaned. "Have fun with that, guys. I'm done with my major battles this year outside of the two problems our base has."
"Xander," Jack sighed.
"I don't care! I'm not going to be pushed into shit. I'm not going to be backed into a corner. And I'm sure as hell not going to let him confiscate anything of mine. Or else I'll go make a shitload of money really fast selling slightly advanced weapons like I'd give you guys. I wouldn't care. I'd be a bit pissed at that time too." He stared at Jack. "I. Am. Not. The. Bitch. To. Fuck. With," he said slowly and clearly, staring at him.
"No, you're not. I've learned that. Landry's learned that. I agree, you should not be doing anything like that because we don't want you exposed or your traveling." The president sighed, shaking his head. "Or Sunnydale. Or anything like that."
Xander nodded. "And I'm not exactly the greatest role model either." He smirked. "Bad grades. Bad attendance record, violence issues..... Yeah, that's just what we want little Billy and Suzy to aspire to, right?"
"No offense, kid, but if my son was still around, I wouldn't want you two hanging. You are a bad influence." Xander smiled sweetly. "You might teach him to use a sword or something." Xander snickered. "Just calm down. Please?"
"Make him stop and I will."
"Sir," Jack said. "I'm not going to lose our second-best linguist and diplomat, plus problem solver, because you're pushing him into a corner. He can make a home in nearly any galaxy out there and bring people like McKay with him."
"He's under contract," the president said, smirking at him.
"Yes, sir, and it ran out three weeks ago," he said bluntly. The president gave him the most horrified look. "Which means you've illegally confiscated his things in storage and his bank accounts. Sir, he's very vindictive and he's in pain. Do you really want to push him?"
"Why can't he do just one phone interview? It'll make us look good."
"Why would I want to make you look good?" Xander asked. The president growled and started to stand. "You're trying to force me into doing something I equate with personal space rape. No, I don't want to do an interview, I won't accept an award, and I'll find a lawyer today since I apparently need one. I did save the life of one a few years back... maybe him."
"One and it can be done by phone," he said firmly.
"So I can talk about my boyfriends? And the projects?" He stared at him. The man growled. Xander snarled. "I am a pack alpha, sir. I bite." He backed off. Rodney petted him. "I find this whole topic distasteful. So I guess I'll be going to them to talk about this instead. Rodney, where did you want to start with the new technology leaks?"
"Not yet. Give me a few more days." He tried to calm Xander down. "Just calm down."
"No. I'm sorry, I'm paranoid about my personal space after Sunnydale. There's no way in hell."
"I'll release them all if he agrees to do one phone interview this week. Otherwise I'll have him charged for appearing in here. That would be against the law, Mr. Harris."
Xander nodded. "Probably. But then again I don't need technology to go somewhere and we needed to have this conversation in private instead of over the cellphone I have that can reach Atlantis." The president went pale. "So yeah, jail, probably not going to be there too long." He stared at him.
"You do that and we'd have to take you off the city," Jack pointed out.
Xander looked at him. "Fine, I'll pack."
"No, don't pack," Jack sighed. "Kid, we want you. I want you on the city. Safely away from all this crap."
"Please make it so then. Because all I'm seeing is the crap."
"I know. Just calm down." He looked at the president. "Would you please get the legal counsel in here?" he asked one of the guards, who called for him. "Thank you. I promise he won't hurt anyone."
"Touch me and I'll bite though," Xander offered. He looked at Rodney. "You're petting me like you would Mira."
"You need the calming down. If I had thought I would've brought them."
"Probably not a good idea, they'd react to how pissed he is," Jack told him.
The legal counsel for the white house walked in. "General O'Neill. What's wrong. And you're the guy from the video," he realized.
"He illegally confiscated my money and things." He smiled sweetly. "They're trying to force me to be their poster boy."
"Okay," he sighed. "Sir, you can't confiscate anything of his."
"He earned it while in service."
"No, I earned it because I sold some stuff I found while traveling," Xander said dryly. "I don't think I make a paycheck at the SG base. If I do, I haven't seen one since my first month."
"Oh." He looked at Jack. "Maybe he should transfer."
"Sure, I'll go to Torchwood today," Xander said firmly. The president flinched at that. "Don't fuck with the general either."
"Calm down please," the counselor said. He looked at his boss. "Sir, that's illegal and he can sue us."
"And until then I can go make weapons and sell them, right?" Xander asked.
"Yes, you probably could, but that would be dangerous." Xander shrugged. The man moaned. "Oh. You don't like the US?"
"I don't really care about the US anymore. Because of this shit." He smirked. "He sneered the first time I met him. I didn't vote for the man and I think the last guy would've been a better choice to clone. So no, I'm not real fond of this problem of his. The last time I outed a senator's mistress."
"Oh, dear. That was you?" Xander smiled sweetly. "Just stay calm for a minute, please, sir?" He looked at his boss. "Sir, if you make him go to the press, he's going to destroy a great many reputations beyond the ability to repair. We'll never get candidates again," he said quietly. "The whole party may go down. You know they hate O'Neill anyway."
Xander looked at Jack. "Any names that've been annoying?"
"Not recently. Stay calm." Xander stared at him. "Really," he said firmly.
"I am calm." He grinned.
"Okay, calm and less plotting."
"Probably not." He looked at Rodney. Then at the president who was watching him. "What?"
"He's petting you."
"Yes, he's trying to keep me calmer too. He's doing what would work on his dragon."
The president whimpered. "Dragon?"
"Oh." He looked at his counsel. "He's saying he can sue us."
"Yes, sir, he can and he'll start on an interview that you don't want him to make."
"I don't really want that sort of personal space rape," Xander said bluntly. "That's what this fight is about."
The lawyer nodded. "I can understand that." He looked at his boss, walking him off to talk to him quietly. He came back to look at him. "He will release everything back to you but he does want you to either accept an award...."
"Hell no. I don't want awards and I don't want medals. That's not why I stepped in."
"No, I know it's not. What about a single interview where you say that."
"I'm going to out everything he holds sacred and Jack does too," he said bluntly. "I don't want attention."
The lawyer sighed, looking at the general. "Would that really be bad?"
"Oh." He looked at the president, walking back over there to talk to him then coming back. "I realize you don't want to be well known. You can use it to ask for privacy. You can point out that you did what was necessary. That you're not the sort of man who does that. We can arrange it for today even. I'm sure the press secretary could do that."
"I'm not going to go on 20/20 for anyone," he said bluntly. "Even if I was in the mood to capitulate, which I'm not, I'd be picking who I went on."
"I can understand that. As long as they were a legitimate news source. After all, outing wouldn't work too well anywhere else."
Xander snorted. "Really?" He looked at Jack, who was giving the president a look. "I swear to god that's a bad look."
"He's going to try to cut the program."
"Hmm." The president looked smug. "Then again, outing it would solve that, right?"
"Might make us look insane," Jack said.
Xander smirked. "Really? With all the attacks England's had? People are wondering why the US doesn't have a group."
"Oh." He winced. "True. Those sort are fanatics though."
"Good point." He walked the boy off to talk to him. "It sucks."
"I'm not happy."
"I'm not happy," Jack agreed. "But we have to do something, Xander. And your anger is going to get you arrested and sent to Gitmo." Xander stared at him. "Really."
"They're going to try more shit if I give in."
"No they won't."
"Yeah they will. They have before."
"So out all their dirty laundry," he hissed. "That's fine. Let us out the project." Xander stared him down. "I don't want to ask, kid. You know that. Hell they didn't even catch a good look at you. Just a side shot and a shot where your face was turned away. Just compromise and plot behind their backs. Please?"
Xander stared at him. "I want every little thing I had back, Jack, and since you didn't move them all....."
"Not a problem, kid."
"Really. We're still paying the rent on them for right now, until you can check them. Dawn said she couldn't be sure that you couldn't hide things from her."
"This sucks badly."
"I know and I'm burning my credit with you. But he's already hinted he wanted to cut the program and this will get him to do it."
"I'm still going to make his life fucking miserable."
"Go for it. He brought it on himself," he said, looking back there then at him. "One phone interview. Short, to the point, tell them to leave you alone because you did what you had to do."
Xander stared. "Not with their people. I'll be damned if I'm going to face down one of their plants ever again."
"No more IOA hiring people either."
"If I can."
"True, they could force that."
"Or I move and there's a good chance I can get Nila to go with me." Jack moaned. "I'm not going to be used, Jack. At all. Ever."
"I agree. You shouldn't, but this time it'll save a lot of problems and you not having an arrest record."
"I already have an arrest record from when I was on my road trip."
"I saw." He stared at him. "Please?"
Xander sighed. "I hate you. I absolutely loathe you and this country right now. I don't care if they go to hell or not."
"I know. It's going to take a while before you change that feeling." He sighed. "Over a barrel here, Xander."
Xander stared at him. "I pick, because I'll be damned."
"Agreed." He backed off. "He said he'll do one he picks, one phone interview, if everything is released today, the IOA quits hiring plants to try to kill people, and he can switch to Canadian citizenship. Because he hates this administration that much."
The president winced. "That'll look bad."
Xander stared at him. "So?"
"I could make things less comfortable for him."
"And I can still out the program and all that. Plus half the dirty laundry in this place." The Councilor winced at that. "I truly do not care if the next apocalypse is won at this moment. Which is sad since I've bee in every single one but one since I was sixteen." The president shifted in his seat. He wasn't looking so smug now. "For that matter, I probably won't be stepping into most of them and since I heard one of them is going to start with an invasion from a demon plane.... Oh well. You'd better hope your military is that good. Which they might not be."
"We would like help with that," one of the guards said.
Xander shrugged. "I don't care. I'm hating this country more and more at the moment." He looked at the president again. "For that matter, I'm not going to let your person set up jack shit. I don't trust you people. Any of your people. Including O'Neill. So no, I don't really care. My things will be back by tonight or the deal's rescinded. Period. I'll go on GMA the next day, do that one interview, and out where I've been for the last year. After all, have pictures. Have proof. Can make futuristic things to prove it. And hey, have film of the assault over the Antarctic. Have since it happened. We wanted to make sure it wasn't a demon invasion then."
"Oh, god," Jack muttered. "Willow?"
"No. Me. It wasn't that hard to find for about the next five days, Jack." He looked at him. "I don't care anymore. At all. You can all die for all I care at this moment. The mountain can clear itself to the alpha site." He looked at Rodney. "Think I'd like Canada?"
"I do sometimes. Become a British citizen."
"I'd have to deal with the rest of the council."
"Good point. But they're in deep as well. Especially over their treatment of the girls. We've been keeping that from Faith so they couldn't hurt her."
"Thank you." He looked at the president. "You've burned your last bridge with me. I don't care what happens."
"You won't let one go by," he said bluntly. "Your personality won't let you."
"I went to the program because I had battle fatigue so bad I was burnt to a crisp. What makes you think that's changed?" The president moaned. The guards swallowed. "I don't care. I've fought battles for them and didn't care. I'm sure as hell not going to force my ass off my couch to go fight one for you people. Not in Sunnydale or anywhere else. Your military had better be on its toes because Sunnydale can fall within an hour and then overrun the US within three days. Half of them can create demon viruses and things. Your only protection is the guys Jack sent and Buffy. One very tired slayer. And ya know what, the next one that got called, she's already fallen. The other one is in Cuba." He smirked. "Good luck on that." He disappeared. Rodney could keep his bracelet. He went to seethe. He locked everyone out of his lanar and seethed by himself.
Rodney looked at Jack. "He's not going to help anyone. I'll see what I can do about demon behavior modeling for those incidences so you can train people."
"I can agree with that," Jack said. "Thank you, sir, for making sure I lost one of my best assets too. We'll be stuck when the Ori come or when the wraith make it here. Congratulations."
"He would. I would. McKay would." Rodney nodded.
"He's overreacting! It's not like it's such a hardship!"
"Some people don't want attention," Jack said firmly. "He didn't want the medals he's already gotten. They're attached respectfully to a pair of socks in a drawer." The president slumped. "He's going to leave the project and leave us stuck. So good luck when they show up. We'll be lucky to evacuate half the people to the alpha site. Much less than half the people we'd need to." He walked off with Rodney. "Let's go." Rodney put back on the bracelet and touched him on the shoulder, taking him back. They landed in the lanar. "Where's the kid?"
"Sulking," John said quietly.
"No, he's very pissed and he just told them to handle their own apocalypses," Rodney said. "He's very upset."
"He's in his lanar," Nila said. She appeared. "He's not happy. His body is all over the place and I can't help him. I don't know what to do."
"Let him seethe," Jack sighed. "There's nothing we can do to calm him down. The higher ups decided to try to use him. We're going to be very lucky if he doesn't leave the project and the US, just hide from all of us."
Nila pouted. "Why would he do that?"
"Because the president's a using ass," Rodney said bluntly. "One of the few who hasn't wanted the boy as his own. This time he wants him as his vision of what the US should be." He sneered. "Why can't I hit him?"
"Because you throw a really weak punch," John said dryly. "I've got to work on that with you." He finished his current cup of tea. "So, are we losing him to the universe?"
"I don't know," Jack admitted. "The idiot confiscated his things too. Forcing him to do an interview. The kid put it bluntly that I've lost all respect with him too."
John nodded. "Rodney, tell Evan to go calm him down."
"Xander would want to be alone. He'd rather not vent on others."
"He did ask me politely to go away because I didn't need to hear what he was going to start screaming soon," Nila said quietly. She was all but wringing her hands. "I don't know how to make him feel better."
"Right now there's nothing anyone can do until he calms down," Jack told her. "I wish there was." He looked around. "Marks and the prisoner?"
"Left," John said. "Well, I guess this is a fitting good bye to all of us." He looked around the room then sighed. "Evan Lorne," he said, touching his comm earpiece. He got connected. "Evan, Xander's seething in his lanar. No, the president screwed him over a barrel. We're not sure he's not packing, Evan, so he's going to be pissed for days. Yes, I do believe that is your job as his boyfriend. No, just get him calm and let him make his own choice, Evan. If he can't stand us because of the president so be it. We'll miss him but I can't do that to anyone." He hung up.
Rodney called Radek. "Xander's back and he's so angry he's going to kill someone," he said bluntly. "His lanar. Let him rant and rave, Radek. It's up to him to make any decisions for right now and he's probably about ready to cry." He hung up. He looked up. "Atlantis, can I please have the bottle from my desk?" he called. She beamed it to him and he poured them a drink and gulped his, getting a second. "Today's been a shitty day."
"Yes it has," John agreed.
"He did ask if he'd like being Canadian."
"You tell him they try to pull the same crap on you?" John asked.
"No." He poured Jack another one. "Don't fall in the pool." He put the bottle down and sipped his second one. They'd let the others in later tonight. After they had heard what Xander was going to do. Because it would hurt to lose him.
Evan pushed on the bell but there wasn't an answer. He saw Radek come off the transporter and pointed. "He's locked it."
"Hmm. Nila?" he asked quietly. "We'd like to help him calm down."
She appeared. "Xander said he wanted to be left alone, even from you two and me for right now."
"Xander doesn't make decisions on Atlantis, John and Rodney do," Radek reminded her. She beamed and opened the door then relocked it once they were inside. She 'saw' Radek fixing the lock so it couldn't be opened by anyone for a bit then left them alone. They would make Xander feel better.
Xander looked up. "I wanted to be alone."
"That's not going to happen," Evan sighed, sitting in front of him. "What happened?" Xander snapped out the whole situation. Radek groaned, sitting next to him on the lounging couch. "So?"
"I so hate the country and all of them."
"So destroy them," Radek said. "I did when I left." Xander shook his head, rolling off. Radek and Evan waited. He'd come back soon. "We are here to help you, Xander. Not them."
Xander looked at them, turning the chair around. "I'm not going to ask either of you to give up your lives, Radek." He rolled off again.
Evan looked at his buddy then at Xander. He sighed. "You wouldn't have to ask," he called. "That's our decision to make if you're leaving." Xander stared at him, looking confused. "That's what boyfriends do, Xander."
"How would I know?"
"I know. Come cuddle?"
"No. Not yet."
"Okay. Go swim?"
"Keller will have my ass."
"Fuck her," Radek pointed out. "You need it and your body won't let you hurt it too much." Xander slumped, shaking his head. He got up and walked over, taking him to the pool. "Swim. It's like pacing since you can't." He stared down at him. "Neither of us like what they've made you do." He sat down again. "We will be here waiting for when you want to talk. Or cuddle."
Xander shrugged but decided maybe he was right. Though he'd rather have the ocean right now. Maybe an endurance swim....
"Don't even think about it," Evan ordered dryly. "You're in no shape to go all the way to the mainland. You can do that many miles here in the pool though. That way nothing can hurt your leg without us finding it." Xander slumped. "I know, you'd probably rather go get into a fight."
"Once you can walk you can do that. For right now, come talk or go swim. That way you can work these things out."
"Why do you guys want to hear this?" he asked.
"That's what boyfriends do," Radek reminded him. "They talk to each other and help them work out problems or plot revenge."
"Do you think I could become Canadian? They seem nicer."
"They do try to get Rodney to do things for them now and then," Radek offered. "England would do the same. I know of no country that wouldn't crow over having you right now." Xander slumped more. "Which is why it is better if you stay up here."
"We're not part of that, Xander. We like you for the goofy, spoiling, loveable guy you are up here," Evan pointed out. "Even the Marines like you when you kick their asses." Xander looked at him. "C'mere?"
"I know." Xander rolled back over and they got him comfortable, cuddling around him. Xander went limp, trying to relax. Radek petted his back, Evan let himself be held for now. When Xander got too restless, he went to the pool. He made himself walk it too. "Good job," Evan called. Xander smiled slightly at that. "Weeks ahead of where you should be, Xander." Someone pressed on the entrance bell. "NO!" he shouted. "NOT RIGHT NOW!"
Atlantis appeared. "It is Doctor Keller."
"Tell her we're taking care of him and he's fine." She disappeared and came back with three things. "What're these?"
"Two doses of pain killer and something to help when he has nightmares," she said, putting them down. "She's went back to the infirmary to swear at people like Doctor McKay does his minions." Radek smiled at that. "He does call you such."
"Rodney thinks anyone less than his own genius is a moron," he agreed. "Some days I agree about some of our people." He went to the side of the pool and stripped, sliding in to sit and watch. Xander gave him a curious look. "I'm lifeguarding and appreciating the art of your body in the water." Xander blushed, shaking his head. "Is truth. Not meant to help anger." Xander stopped swimming to stare at him. "No one told you that before?"
"No," he said quietly.
"You are." He pulled him over to kiss. "Swim some more. I will watch and she sent painkillers for when you need it." Xander nodded, going back to swimming. Evan sat beside him and it was nice. He flicked the tags. "Those will rust."
"Yeah." He took them off and put them aside. Xander looked up at the noise. "Taking off the tags."
"Because they're not important right now." Xander sniffled but let them cuddle again. It was longer this time.
John walked into Xander's office the next morning. No trio. Not in his rooms either. He went to the lanar, finding it still locked. "Atlantis?" he asked quietly.
"They will be up soon," she promised, appearing beside him. "Xander is still upset by his body signals."
"I would be too." Rodney came off the transporter with food for all five of them. "Can we?" She nodded and let them in. She could override what Radek had done but Rodney refixed it. She smiled and went to open the other one for anyone who wanted to play today. Both dragons were with Ronon and Teyla, sucking up to her. "Xander is barely up," she told them. "John and Rodney are with them."
"It's better if children don't see their parents fighting," Ronon said. "Is he okay?"
"He's still very upset."
"What happened?" Teyla asked.
"John said their leader decided to try to use Xander like Landry did, only without the sex. Just to show him off like a prized possession."
"That is not good for him," she pointed out.
"Which is why he was seething when he reappeared," Atlantis agreed. "It took hours for them to do more than momentarily hold him." She left. She had other things she had to watch. Like the lab. She shut down a few of them on the idiots in there. Rodney would not be pleased with what they were doing. Miko hadn't come in yet either so she'd leave them swearing until Miko could do it at them.
Rodney set the food on the table and looked at the trio. He walked over and covered them, which woke Evan. He nodded at the table, getting a grimace back. "Breakfast." He walked over to hand out plates and sat down again. Xander moaned as he shifted.
"Shhh," Radek soothed, stroking his bad hip. "It's all right." He helped him onto his back, even though it was a bit cramped. "Evan, the painkiller?"
"I'm good," Xander complained.
"You are not. You are still tired and sore," Radek countered. Xander took the pill with a grimace but it let him move more comfortably. They got him up and into the chair.
"We don't care if you three eat naked," John assured him. "It's your private room. We're just invading for breakfast and to make sure you're all okay."
"He go back?" Xander asked dryly.
"No, he's hanging out with Jackson moaning about having to do it to protect the program." Xander groaned. They got him settled at the table and John handed over the soda. Xander gave him a weak smile and sipped it. "Whatever you decide is right for you three, Xander. We're not going to be pushy. We like you for the guy you are."
"If I don't they'll keep everything I have."
"Then you sue them," Rodney pointed out. "Your contract is up."
"It is?" Evan asked. Rodney nodded.
"Three weeks ago," Xander agreed.
"You should have told us, we would've thrown a party," Radek said. "Then you could have decided to negotiate for a new one or not." He stroked his boy's back. "Eat. You need to eat."
"You're drinking," he corrected, adding eggs to his plate. Xander smiled at that move. "Eat. Please?"
Xander dug in slowly but he did eat. Evan and Radek ate too. "Sir," Evan said.
"In here, right now, I'm just a friend, Evan."
"Any new word?"
"Not yet. The general's called but otherwise no. He did warn Dawn about this since you're funding her shoe shopping. She had wondered why her last pair of shoes got declined and she had to pay for it out of her paycheck." He sipped his coffee and grimaced. "Eww. Bottom of the pot."
"Sorry," Rodney said dryly.
"Not a problem." Xander looked up. "I've had worse up here. Root stew, pseudo liver."
"Eww," Xander agreed. He smiled a little bit. "So, what's the news going around?"
"None. No one's heard anything," John admitted. "A few people have heard from siblings about half of everyone wanting to talk to you. The general told them that you were a private guy and would decide that sometime later on. Not right now." Xander shrugged. He dug in again. "Xander, don't do if you don't want to."
"If I don't, I'll have to sue and it'll take years."
"So?" John asked.
"They threatened to cut the project if he didn't," Rodney said quietly.
"That... that... Radek said something in Czech that Xander countered with something even worse. "No, I do not believe even a goldfish would want him. He has less brains. They would consider him like a blonde."
John choked at that, shaking his head. "That's really mean, Radek. Thank you." The man smirked at him. He saw both scientists stiffened. "Problems?"
"Atlantis shut down three labs for them being idiots," Rodney said. "Thank you, Atlantis. I'll go beat them severely later." He dug in again. "Xander, don't do it if you don't want to. The program can't fully be cut. We'll out it and they'll panic. They'd rather not make UNIT responsible for everyone's safety and they hate Torchwood for having a gay head."
"I'm sure Jack hates them back just as much."
"Probably." He patted his hand. "You do what you want to do."
"I'd like to go back and smash the cameras but I don't think I'd be allowed."
"Probably not," John agreed. "Or Jack would've already done it. Or Dawn."
"Dawn's not skilled enough to jump time yet," Xander told him.
"She'd steal Jack's band and do it," he said.
"Maybe. Ianto would probably stop her though. I don't know how they knew anyway."
"Right as the time stop spell fell, they caught a few pictures before you left," Rodney said, sighing and leaning back at the end. "The rest UNIT filled in. They have no idea who you are. They all know that you don't want noted. UNIT doesn't want you noted because you're a civilian and they don't want to set a precedent. Torchwood either." Xander nodded that was wise. "But they also can't stop your world leader. Who is apparently an ass of a higher magnitude than I thought possible." He sipped his coffee, grimacing. "They did give me the bottom of the pot, didn't they."
"There's some in my office I was going to give you for your birthday," Xander offered. Rodney beamed and got Atlantis to bring it and the maker to him. There was a fountain he could get water from and Xander's machine filtered it. They sat down with cups of the good stuff a few minutes later. Xander looked at them. "I... I don't know. I don't want to be noted."
"Definitely tell them that," Rodney told him. "That you did what you had to do when someone asked you to help them. That you don't want noted, medaled, or anything; just left alone." He waved a hand. "Then you can come back up here and rest from the ordeal."
"I don't want to go down there to do it."
"I agree," he sighed. "But an interview usually has to be done in person."
"Unless it's done by phone."
"They'd want to know how you could prove it was you," John said.
"We might get one of the people in UNIT to intervene and set things up since we don't want the asshole to do it," Evan offered. "Your friend Martha could ask."
"Maybe," Xander sighed. "I don't want to."
"I know," Evan agreed. "Then don't."
"Then they'll shut you guys down."
"Not for long," Rodney said dryly. "We'd out the program." He stared at him. "And all the work we've done over the last few years." Xander shrugged a bit but ate a bigger bite. "Doing so beforehand might make more sense. It'd make it easier on you. They might forget you in all the media circus."
"I could see that happening," John agreed. "General Landry might have to hide in the mountain for a bit though."
"It's his own fault for not sticking up for his people," Rodney told him. "We'd all look like cranks unless we leaked internal documents and they found out on their own." He considered how to do that.
"I have film of the battle over Antarctica," Xander offered. "Uncut from a few of the paranoid sites if it hasn't been eaten from the hard drive."
Rodney went to get the laptop and find that footage. Daniel was in there. "Erasing things?" he asked dryly.
"No. Looking to see how much of the battle he had covered. Because there's a few full copies floating around. If he had the lesser copy, I was going to give him the full copy." He looked at him. "How is he? Jack's torn up and Jon's spent the last few hours screaming at him about it."
"He's still torn up." He looked at it. "The full copy?"
"Looks like it." He let him have the computer. "I'm all for outing it," he said bluntly. "And screwing whoever is trying to force him to do things."
"He's plotting that later." He smirked. "We should release some internal documents about the battle as well so they can't call it a nice film."
Daniel wrote down some codes. "Those files are locked by this and the last battle that nearly got the earth dead was there." He handed over the pen. "Find someone good to leak them to." He walked off after grabbing a book.
"Not that one. It's a biography of Xander from a few decades from now."
"Sure." He put it back and then got another one to read while Jack and Jon fought.
Rodney locked that book up and left with the computer and codes. The time for secrets may be over.
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