Rating: NC-17 overall
Weir nodded at John as he sat beside her at the conference table. Her eyes continued on to scan the rest of the room, stopping momentarily to rest on Radek Zelenka, who sat in Rodney's usual spot. The silent question that passed between them was answered with a minute shrug. She started the meeting without any preamble and it didn’t take anyone long to see that she wasn’t a happy woman. It was taking a lot of her diplomatic skills not to slam her hand on the table and demand an explanation at the top of her lungs. Some days it really sucked to be the head of the expedition. She was pretty sure that John and Carson didn’t have any qualms about blowing off steam in front of their personnel on occasion and God knew Rodney never kept what was on his mind close to his vest. She sighed. “People! Would someone please tell me how we lost our main fresh water supply unit?” Radek, Kavanaugh, Teyla, and Ronan were arrayed at one end of the table. The members of Sheppard’s team were there at his request.
Kavanaugh flushed and stayed silent, glaring at Dr. Zelenka, who finally spoke when it became clear that the other scientist wasn’t going to. “Dr. Kavanaugh was running a routine diagnostic on the plant. He forgot to shut down the water intake to the holding tank when he ran through the control sequence for the control valve. Once open past normal limits, the water pressure was too great to close the valve again.”
Elizabeth was not pleased. She knew that Kavanaugh was a brilliant physicist but he was a sloppy worker and a worse technician. Neither of those would have been a problem in academia where he would just terrorize assistants or graduate students into cleaning up after him if they wanted their degrees. She’d known any number of brilliant minds who were twice as bad. But this wasn’t a nice quiet university off in some college town like Oxford or Boston.
Some of Dr. Kavanaugh’s attitude came from his feelings that he shouldn’t be expected to do scut work like the rest of the science staff. The man really did belong in a dusty lab somewhere. The rest of it came from playing second fiddle, or really more like third or tenth, to Rodney McKay. She’d hoped that after Arcturus and Rodney’s fall from grace the other man would have changed his attitude somewhat. McKay had been taken down a peg and had been making himself scarce in the labs for the last two weeks. Radek had been running the department in his absence. She supposed that Dr. Kavanaugh had thought the position would be handed to him with Rodney out of the loop for a while. As if there had ever been a chance of that. Radek was the logical choice to take Rodney’s place for a while. She knew he was both competent and capable of handling the personnel in the science labs.
“How did this get so bad, Dr. Zelenka?” Better keep this professional with Kavanaugh nursing a grudge.
The diminutive Czech shrugged. “It took too much time to get other units offline and close the main intake. By then the holding tank was overflowing into the control room.
“I see.” Elizabeth thought things over for a few seconds. She’d already known the answer but she'd needed to give Kavanaugh his chance to have a say. God she had a headache. She’d had one since she woke up today and the loss of their main supply of potable water only made it worse. They were all silent as she considered the situation, not bothering to hide the emotions that flashed through her mind. “Colonel, Dr. Zelenka, we are going to have to restrict water use until we know for sure what our situation is. Please make sure your people know that for the moment we are restricting showers and any other nonessential fresh water use.” The two men nodded, they had already drafted notices and were scheduling meetings with their people. “Dr. Kavanaugh, from now on you will confine your maintenance duties to non-Engineering tasks. I’ll have Major Lorne change the rotation. I’m sure he can find something for you to do.”
“That’s it, just take his word…..” The scientist was livid and he sputtered, beginning to hurl insults at her and Radek.
“DR. KAVANAUGH!” Elizabeth’s voice cut through his red haze and stopped him in midbreath. “You should leave before I dictate which duty Major Lorne assigns to you. Believe me, you do not want me doing that.” The look she leveled at the other man made him blanche. He stood and retreated, the door swooshing shut behind him, seething at what he considered yet another injustice.
“Now…” Elizabeth leveled another look at the remaining staff, “would anyone like to tell me why Dr. McKay isn’t here?”