Rating: R for blood
Summary: Rodney was right....
The claxons sounded, “Unscheduled offworld activation!” They dropped the shield after receiving Sheppard’s IDC and he came through running.
“We need McKay. There’s been an accident. Zelenka’s out cold and Beckett’s trapped.”
Rodney didn’t go to the gateroom anymore, he wasn’t going on offworld missions anymore and there was no point to watching people come and go through the event horizon. It would be a waste of time he couldn’t afford. When the claxon’s sounded he frowned, knowing that it was too early for Sheppard’s team to be back, but ignored the flicker of worry in the back of his mind and continued working.
“Dr. McKay!” Elizabeth’s voice crackled in his ear, “There’s an emergency, you’re needed offworld.”
“Really Dr. Weir, Dr. Zelenka is perfectly…”
“Shut up, Rodney!” Sheppard’s voice joined them and cut across his objection. “Radek is hurt and Carson is trapped. Get down here now!” McKay threw the Ancient device he was holding across the room and wished he knew Czech. Radek’s curses always sounded so much better. Fear for the two men overrode every other emotion and he was grabbing up gear and running for the Gateroom. “I’m there.”
Radek was hurt but not trapped and the medical team was already working on him by the time Sheppard, McKay and three technicians got to the site. He’d been hit in the head hard enough to leave him unconscious, the words ‘skull fracture’ barely discernable among the flurry of medical babble. Rodney’s gut clenched, hearing it as they rushed past. Just inside the door he came to a halt, confused by the sight of Carson standing against the wall when he was supposed to be hurt. For a minute he thought it had all been a ruse to get him to relent. Except that when he looked more closely Carson wasn’t really standing and the people near him weren’t just talking to him, they were holding him up and there was a stain on his uniform that was getting larger right before Rodney’s eyes.
Carson had long since lost touch with the world around him, impaled against the wall, hanging by his shoulder. Rodney’s mind took in the details, how Carson’s feet dangled just above the floor, the blood that dripped off his fingertips forming a small pool by his left foot, the pale, gaunt face of the doctor as it lay against a grayclad shoulder.
“Now what have you gotten yourself into?” He hadn’t meant to say it out loud. The quiet words hung in the silence and then Carson looked at him, confused, relieved, “Here?…”
They’d done a survey of the facility and it seemed to be arranged with most of the treatment rooms in a central core. Scanner readings hadn’t shown anything unusual until this room was searched. The readings weren’t energy, at least not ZPM energy. It was low level and coming from one device. Carson localized it to a probe that was sticking out of a boxy white assembly mounted on the end of a swinging arm that hung from the ceiling.
Beckett pulled a cart over to hold his tool kit and started to work on removing the cone-shaped housing that looked to be the business end of the device. “Be careful, Doc.” The marine assigned to him wasn’t sure he liked Beckett tinkering with a strange piece of technology.
“I’m reading no power to this room and the Ancient gene doesn’t do any good. I think it’s safe.” He pushed the head back a foot or two and raised it up to get a better look at the assembly. It was simple, just a few screws and the odd array of purplish metal fins, all arranged in parallel were visible. The blades tapered towards the front end, matching the inside of the housing he’d laid on the table. The readings were stronger with the cone gone. Carson frowned and briefly wondered if maybe it had been some sort of shielding, but even though they were stronger, it still wasn’t enough to be alarming. He turned to reach for a smaller screwdriver when something cracked overhead. By the time he’d turned back around, the blades were plowing through his shoulder, spiking him to the wall behind.
“Of course I’m here.” Crossing over Rodney set his tools down beside the two marines who were trying to keep Carson’s weight off his injured shoulder. “Who else is going to get you out of this?” His voice shook along with his hands. He couldn’t stand to look in those eyes, the same eyes that would flash, blue and laughing, through his mind at odd moments. But now the color seemed to be running out of them and with it, the future. He looked down, only to see Carson’s life collecting in a pool on the dusty floor of the long ago hospital. Up meant eyes that were pathetically grateful that he was even here. He felt as if he’d driven the metal through Carson’s shoulder himself. Fingers ghosted against his hand. He looked up anyway. “Of course I’m here.”
Two hours of forcing himself to take it slowly and carefully, and finally, FINALLY, they were ready. Rodney turned to the marines holding onto the boxy head of the device, “Okay, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to remove the last pin holding the head to the probe. When I do, don’t let the weight shift. We need to slide them apart carefully so we don’t do any more damage. Once we get the head moved out of the way we can free him from the wall.” It had taken dissecting the damn thing from the inside to get this far. Carson had long since stopped responding to anything. His moans had grown less frequent as the blood spread. As much as Rodney knew it was a bad sign, it had made his work easier. Every little shift or jostle had been agony for the doctor until he’d finally begged and pleaded with Rodney to stop. The worst thing had been seeing the amount of blood collecting on the ground. The wound wouldn’t stop bleeding and he was terrified that it was an artery. Carson might bleed out before anyone could stop it.
“On three.” By this time Sheppard was one of the men helping support the doctor, he leaned his weight into Carson, pressing him harder against the wall. Rodney counted, “One…two….three!”
None of them were prepared for the whole arm to pull away from the ceiling as the head moved. The exposed guts of the treatment probe jolted in Carson’s shoulder as the heavy box slid backwards and the room echoed with screams as the sharp fins moved from side to side.
“Dammit, someone grab it, pull it away!” Carson writhed and bucked, trying to get away from the pain and the weight keeping him pinned to the wall. Each movement tore guttural screams from somewhere deep inside. Two more of the Marines grabbed the heavy arm as it swung precariously from the overhead mount, eventually they were able to slide the whole mechanism away, leaving the doctor still speared to the wall. Rodney held his head, trying to keep it still, trying to keep the wickedly sharp metal from doing any more damage. “Carson! Carson!” He was shouting, but it wasn’t enough to cut through the pain. If this kept up there was no telling what kind of damage would be done. “JOHN!”
Sheppard had thrown his weight against the doctor, trying to keep his shoulder pinned in one place. Rodney ducked his head at Carson’s shoulder, “Get it out, NOW!” Without thinking twice, John reached down and wrapped his hands around the metal sticking out of Carson’s shoulder and pulled.
The trip back to Atlantis would come back in nightmares for years. Rodney was forced to fly the jumper; the same wicked blades that had sliced through Carson’s shoulders had sliced into John’s hands, leaving him helpless. The medics worked on both men, trying to stop the bleeding but nothing seemed to help. By the time they made it back to Atlantis the inside of the jumper looked like a slaughterhouse.
Biro was waiting with a medical team and Carson disappeared before Rodney had a chance to even leave the cockpit. John was hustled out along with him, leaving McKay and the Marines in a stunned silence staring at the carnage inside the gateship. Not knowing what else to do, Rodney knelt down and started shoving the debris into a box. His knee landed in a puddle of blood, the sticky wetness getting his attention. Using a fistful of soaked bandages, he tried to wipe it away, scrubbing harder and harder when the stain spread. Soon his actions were frantic, breaths coming in gasps, sobs finally welling up from someplace deep inside. Eventually strong hands pulled him outside, gently pried the sodden gauze from his grip and then a sharp pain in his arm dragged him down into darkness.