Fandom: Stargate Universe/SG Atlantis
Prompt: #72 fixed
Disclaimer: Both shows belong to their respective producers and creators.
They are not mine and are only 'borrowed' for the purposes of the story.
Closer to Fine
“Do you think you can help her, Dr. Carson?” asked Eli hopefully.
“I don’t pretend to have any degree of certainty, lad,” Dr. Carson Beckett answered they young man’s imploring question while resting one hand on his shoulder, before adding, “but I promise you I will do everything I can to help her.
“That’s all we can ask,” Rush replied, glancing over at Eli, wondering if there might be more to the young man’s regard for Chole Armstrong’s well-being than the honest concern and compassion of one friend for another. If so, it really did not matter to him if that was the case, as long as it didn’t interfere with their working relationship.
He understood all too well how the driving obsession to work at solving the various mysteries that still lay ahead of them, could override concern for anything else.
Carson, nodded and turned to address Chloe. “From what ye’ve told me, the scales are merely the outward manifestation of your experience of being subjected to alien tinkering with your DNA at a microscopic level.”
“Yes,” Chole replied. “Dr. James has managed to stop the worst of it, which I’m happy about, but not completely.”
“Let’s take a look then,” Carson said.
Carson bent down to examine her exposed leg, noting with clinical and detached interest the rapidly growing scales that coated her skin from the knee on down. With his customary jovial smile, he glanced up her and smiled reassuringly. “I hope it will not hurt too much, lass, but I will need to scrape away a bit of this in order to have a tissue sample.”
“Do it, Doc, “she stated, as clearly and with as much determination as she could possibly muster, turning to offer Eli a reassuring and confident grin. She hated having to feel that she was shutting out all of her friends, like Eli, like Lieutenant Scott, and others that she cared about.
She was experiencing more and more extensive periods when she felt as if she were no longer herself, and she hated it. If this was here chance she had to take it, no matter what.
He did so, and placed the sample in a petri dish and brought it over to one of the desks that had a microscope on it, absently shifting away the piles of reports, and odds and ends that covered its surface. Placing the sample on the tray, he peered into the lens. What he saw,
“Well?,” Eli said defensively, worried not so much for himself as for his friend.
Carson looked up and heaved a sigh. “Not that long ago our Major Sheppard was infected with what I believe to be a similar alien virus, where it effectively allowed the alien DNA and genetic markers to override but not completely eras his core personality and human DNA.”
“And you believe that’s what happening to me?” Chloe demanded.
“Yes, Miss Armstrong. Very much so,” Carson replied. “
“During that time Sheppard was bitten by an alien spider and began to take on the physical and mental characteristics of a lizard. He became quite dangerous, but if treated immediately we were able to reverse the effects. I believe that similar treatments could be used to stem or even eliminate the progression in Chloe’s situation.”
“That’s great. We’ll do it!” Eli shouted.
“Be that as it may,” Carson said, evenly, “Early prognosis clearly shows that it cannot be left unattended. And if my computer models are accurate, prolonged exposure is not something that can be left to chance, or she might very well die.
“Die!” Eli exclaimed.
“There are worse fates than dying, and I don’t meant to sound callous or unfeeling, because I do not mean that in any way. I just want all three of you to understand the various implications.
“Trust me, Dr. Beckkett, I believe we do,” Rush replied.
Chloe closed her eyes and took deep breaths for a minute or two, before she opened her eyes to regard first Rush, and over at Eli, just to see if they had any more objections or concerns. When none were forthcoming, she turned back to and held eye contact with Dr. Beckett.
“I’m still me, most of the time,” Chole said quietly, “However, there are times when what feels like a secondary personality takes over, and my body is just along for the ride. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but whenever it does I have no memory of it afterwards.
Rush nodded. “I can attest to that, however that secondary personality, or whatever you want to call it, has a phenomenal mathematical acumen, and Chole in her present state has been invaluable in helping with the calculations necessary to unravel the mysteries of Destiny that still lay ahead of us,” Rush said.
Eli, as much as he admired Rush, and wanted to learn from him, felt a surge of irritation at what he felt to be the man’s rather callous single-minded take on the situation.
“Yes, as tragic as that would be, and I say this with all due respect, Miss Armstrong, there is worse case scenario,” Carson said.
“Which is?” Eli demanded.
“That the Chole we all know and love will be completely erased and the secondary personality that you have already previously alluded to will take over, and whether that secondary personality will prove to be friend or foe is anyone’s guess. “
“I don’t know about you guys,” Chole said shakily, “But I don’t want to take that chance. Dr. Carson if you can truly get rid of this ‘thing, do whatever it takes!”
Carson nodded. “Aye, lass, I shall do that.”
Turning to Eli, “I understand that you care and worry about your friend a great deal, but in order to prep her for the procedure, I will have to ask ye to leave the infirmary.”
Turning to Dr. Nicholas Rush, Carson said. “I’m afraid that goes for you as well.”
“I understand,” the other man replied.
“Sure, Doc, no problem,” Eli said as he vaulted down from the work table that was not as cluttered and rapidly crossed the distance to where Chloe sat pensively with her hands clasped in her lap and her hair framing her heart-shaped face.
He paused in front of her and then impulsively and without thinking overly much about whether it was the right thing to do or not; Eli took her hands in his and brought them to his lips and kissed her. “For luck, for strength, for everything, I just want you to know, that no matter what happens, I’m always here for you. You know that, right?”
“I do, Eli, and thank you, thank you so much, for everything,” Chloe whispered back to him.
Rush, silent throughout, simply sighed. The two of them were obviously quite close, and while they, all, each in their own way understood that no matter what precautions and technology, and care, every medical procedure was fraught with danger, there was hardly any need to care on in this manner; but then, he thought, ‘to each their own, let them have their moment. I certainly won’t stand in their way.’
Ronald Greer found her in the mess hall, seated at a table near the back wall, a tray of salad in front of her, her attention focused on whatever was currently showing on the screen of her laptop computer; only pausing now and then to eat her lunch. There were only two other people who were currently sharing her table, but group and other folks were scattered around the large room.
He, in turn, paused for a few heartbeats, uncertain of his welcome. Camille Wray was prickly, for such a small, beautiful woman she could be pretty damn fierce when she put her mind to it.
Perhaps that was the very quality that had drawn him to her in the first place. God knew the two of them had not had anything much in the way of common ground from the get-go when both had signed up for the expedition, and it was only through a series of trials and shared dangers that both had come around to a kind of tentative friendship.
“May I join you?” he asked.
She appeared a bit startled, at first, glancing up at him, but immediately flashed a welcoming smile and waved for him to sit down.
“Of course,” she replied.
He did so, settling his tray of turkey and mashed potatoes down on the table with a thump, and then taking a sip from his plastic cup.
“How have you been settling in?” he asked.
“Well enough,” Camille softly replied.
“I know what you mean,” Ronald exclaimed. “This city’s amazing, when the Ancients build something; they build on a massive scale!”
Camille’s attention, divided as it presently was, finally focused on him and what he was saying. “I agree, and I still can’t get over the similarities to the city and to Destiny!”
“Do you think it ever quite, oh, I don’t know, grows on you, I know it’s only been, what three years we were travelling around on the ship, but it started to feel like home, in a way.”
“I think so, but it’s hard to quite explain,” she replied, heaving a sigh and brushing a loose strand of her dark hair out of her eyes.
“I was compiling the informal interviews from all of our crew, trying to see how everyone was adapting from the sudden transition from the ship to the city...” she began and then trailed off.
“And,” he eagerly prompted.
“And, for the most part, everyone is doing fine. Although, I’m worried about Chloe,” she quietly replied.
“I think we all are, but from Eli tells me, I think she’s adapting quite well to the procedure she underwent with Dr. Beckett.”
“I’m glad,” she replied.
“Would you like to run it by me, despite all outward appearances, I’ve learned how to be a pretty good listener.”
“Wouldn’t you find it kind of boring,” she asked.
“Well, maybe a little, but truth to tell, I think I’d like to hear about all the same.”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe because, well. I think it’s because, would you believe that it’s because I think I should know about how our people are adjusting, or simply because it’s you, and, I’ve come care about you a great deal.”
“Why, Mr. Greer, at the risk of dragging up a tired old cliché, I do believe, that we’ve begun a beautiful friendship.”
“Well, that’s a relief.” He sighed and offered her a warm and heartfelt grin. “Here’s to new beginnings!” reaching up with his cup and holding it in the air until she picked up her own cup and then clinked them both together. “To new beginnings,” she echoed the sentiment.
“I’ve been meaning to tell you this for some time now, and somehow never got the chance,” he stated quietly.
“Which is?” she asked.
“The thing I’ve admired most about you is the strength of your convictions and how you’re willing to stand by them.”
“In your own way, I think that’s what I admire most about you, as well.” Funny how that works out,” she got up and walked around the table, and before she could think over much about her next action or even if she wanted to, reached over and taking his head in her hands, planted a long, lingering kiss on his lips. “See you around,” she said.
When she had gone, Ronald sighed. “Yeah, see you around.”