Rating: Teen (for later violence and a little language)
Spoilers: Early S4 somewhere for a brief mention of the potential existence of the setting, but nothing major
Characters: Kavanagh, Simpson, Corrigan, various minor OC's and alien race of the week
Summary: He'd been told in the mandatory counselling - necessitated by “his” continued inability to get on with most of the personnel on Atlantis - that teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. He could definitely say it helped his teamwork skills when the shared vision was not dying horribly.
Author's Note: This is for lirielviridian, as part of the kavtolanon Secter Santa, who wanted “college, deadly presents ( weapons! WEAPONS!) and Kav who can hold his drink.” Lacking in college elements, sorry, but I think I managed to fulfil the other two requirements well.
Betaread by rodlox and fififolle
Will sped down the dimly lit narrow corridor, his breathing ragged and futilely aiming to steer himself more gracefully towards the niche that was just after the sole light – he hit the wall with a small thunk, having overestimated the depth it provided. Trying to think strategically was a challenge, or to correct himself this was the real world and it was the very personal involvement terrified him. He wasn't a guy who'd thought much about what he'd do in a military off-world situation. He was marvellous at picking out negligence in others, including lack of foresight by soldiers accompanying him on missions. Indeed he was fabled for it, in a negative manner naturally, as practically no one could take constructive criticism well on Atlantis. However, as he was finding out, doing it for yourself was different – he needed to detach and think upon his own actions clinically, which wasn't easy in the present circumstances.
The lights overhead buzzed intermittently, building to an ominous whine that was followed by a loud plink signalling the plunge into total darkness. Two ideas flashed in his mind; either that plink had been a fitting sound masking the real cause of the outage – a small projectile weapon that could just as easily have been badly-timed and aimed at his head – meaning there was one of them on his trail, or, more worryingly, they'd managed to take out the generators for the whole outpost.
He tried to calm down, counting his breaths, forcing them in and out to a slow count. Be rational, think objectively. Straining to hear over his still uneven breathing he could make out no sign whatsoever of there being another inhabitant of the corridor, but as he'd learned it was unwise to trust your sense of hope. Besides, as bad a situation as it would seem it was infinitely preferable to have one of them standing less than a few meters away from him.
The alternative was that in a few hours they'd all be frozen solid, the temperature dropping every minute until painfully low. No one else would have a clue they were anything but contently sitting out the storm, drinking merrily around the dining table. Eventually their bodies would give up as the internal environment equalised with the influence of the outside. Maybe they'd consider that a worthy sacrifice, enough to pay for “the mistake.” Who knew.
This hadn't been remotely how he'd thought his Christmas would go, only the locality matched what he'd expected a few days previously. Being neither religious nor superstitious he wasn't prone to blaming unspecified entities for his problems but right now it made him feel temporarily better to swear at fate/the universe or whatever it was possible to assign this to. In particular though, he cursed at the fact that the sword was so damned heavy.
He blinked lazily, watching the snowflakes drift hastily down from the murky sky to join the towering bank of stark white snow that cut off the valley's only route to the outside world; the landscape was now blending into the mountains that surrounded them due to the copious amounts of snow that had fallen in the last twelve hours. It had been a shock to wake up to this scene, especially since some locals had been visiting to consult with them on the artefacts found and hence were now equally trapped here.
The weather was fierce enough to prevent communications with those stationed at the village also doing tests, meaning they were completely stranded for the time being, no chance of people, let alone supplies, making it through. He'd overheard part of the morning discussions with Yolle, the Tirtas' leader-to-be/politician-in-training, who despite his inclinations towards sweet talking and manipulation had at least had enough sense to make it clear to those in charge here that attempting to cross either the drifts or the mountain ranges would be suicidal. Besides that fact, it would be a fairly long time before anything like that could be considered necessary, given the adequate shelter and supplies in the valley.
Will was preparing for one more evening in the outpost. Only a week to go before the thaw, apparently. If the weather predictions were right the storm would get worse before easing off and so it seemed the scheduled downtime most of those assigned here had been due would be spent on Tirtas.
Looking out onto the vaguely familiar frozen vista, there was something in him that told him he ought to be shivering, but the outpost's setup was actually quite cosy compared to some he'd been posted at. There'd been a bit of experimentation with Ancient blueprints and a couple of related but ill-understood pieces of Ancient engineering equipment which had resulted in this prototype pre-fab outpost that was remarkably well constructed for something put together over two days. As it was he only felt the barest chill, which he reflected might have had something to do with the local moonshine, though saying that, most of it wasn't actually local in the sense of native, as the label indicated, since it came from the makeshift distillery down the hall; Simpson had definitely spent too much time with Zelenka for her own good.
Of course for the purposes of any official reports, should it matter, it was quite naturally stated as being native alcohol and was pretty useful as a currency to trade with at the markets on the planet, though acquiring the stuff brought to mind his college days. It was easy to foresee that the next week or so would have a possibly unhealthy amount of drinking competitions as there was little to do apart from rewatch the DVD's unloaded by the last supply run. The competitions were bizarrely what decided the allocation of their secret stash of moonshine, drinking as much as possible whilst still standing earnt you an amount equal to what you could withstand and given how good he was at it he could hardly complain about the format, though the reason that the scheme still existed was due to the fact that they didn't have a full time medical doctor positioned here.
He'd given up trying to decide if that situation was fortunate or not and just accepted the way things worked here. After all he wasn't the bureaucratic spoilsport everyone thought he was and he also had to admit it did well to break the tension of the group. Though it made him wonder if Simpson hadn't been spending too much time with Corrigan as well, the man being not just an authority of studying cultures but pretty good at psychology too. Presumably it came with the territory and even if he didn't in general like it being applied to him he couldn't deny how useful the doctor was, handling the visiting group like a class manipulator but being so much more subtle and kinder in his approach than the opposing force which Yolle presented. Half the time Corrigan managed to get around Yolle's closeted policy and draw the answers out of the other Tirtas delegates. The work still went slow enough to infuriate Will and several of the others who lacked the patience Corrigan showed but progress was being made, the function of three out of eighteen items had been ascertained.
Glancing back at the mess hall table he saw Ursula Ronald, one of the linguists, tottering more than a little. She stuttered the start of her sentence before she slurred out a request for one little glass extra.
“I..I..I ca' take it. Trus' me, I can. Not being outdrunk by Bob again! No siree.”
It was gonna be one of those nights. The disadvantage of being so good at the competition was how long he survived, by the end he'd be the only one presentable apart from Mayes, who abstained from alcohol most of the time. One of those remaining standing usually took on the responsibility of dragging Simpson back to her quarters lest she decide not to pay up what was owed the next day.
The time spent here may have passed abysmally slowly and been horrendously predictable, as well as often requiring playing nice - or nicer than he was used to back on Atlantis at least – but it was easy to get by on a scientific outpost with minimum fuss and nearly maximum efficiency of work. In fact, he'd found teamwork could go quite well when you didn't have McKay breathing down your neck every day and escalating what would otherwise be minor disagreements. All in all, he thought, as he supported Simpson in the least obvious way - so as to not incur comments about how she could get back to her quarters just fine herself - he was happy here, work was interesting and the people were bearable, if not possibly good company at times. Life was good and he was probably the person who minded least that they were stuck here, denying that niggling feeling that he actually rather liked the prospect because admitting that would be going too far.
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