Stargate Atlantis: Still Waters
Title: The other guys
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: Carson Beckett, Rodney McKay, Radek Zelenka, John Sheppard, Elizabeth Weir, Laura Cadman, original characters
Word Count: 3,741
Rating: G
Summary: Meet some of the other people on Atlantis. Will eventually include sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but not in that order.
Author's Notes: So far, spoilers include ‘The Storm’, ‘The Eye’, ‘Duet’, and ‘Grace Under Pressure’. Takes place in season 2 shortly after ‘Grace Under Pressure’. Morgan Adair is my character. Please don’t take her.

It was still very early in the day. Most people, the smart ones at any rate, were still in bed if they could help it. Despite the early hour, though, the commissary was packed. The latest arrivals on the Daedalus were up, having yet to adjust to the daily cycle of the city of Atlantis. Some of the city’s original population was up and about, but not many. Among them, sitting at a table off to the side, were Rodney McKay and Radek Zelenka, arguing over how they were going to solve a particular problem. They were interrupted when Lieutenant Cadman walked over and slapped her hands down on Rodney’s shoulders.

“Morning, Rodney,” she said cheerfully, a smile on her face.

“What do you want, Cadman,” Rodney growled. “We’re trying to solve important problems if you don’t mind.”

“I’m meeting a friend for breakfast, but she’s not here yet, so I thought I’d say hello.”

“Hello and goodbye.”

Cadman pouted. “Yeesh, you’re a grouch in the morning. I don’t remember you being this bad while I was trapped in your head.”

“You also weren’t interrupting very important work as I wasn’t allowed to do much with you trapped in there,” Rodney reminded her.

She made a face at him. “Anyways, have either of you seen a tall, thin brunette with short hair wandering around here?”

“That would be your friend?” Radek asked.

“Yeah,” Cadman said, nodding. “She’s late, which is unusual for her. She’s a real stickler for punctuality.”

“What does this friend of yours do anyways?” Radek asked, his interest peaked. He sipped at his rapidly cooling coffee and made a face. “This stuff just doesn’t stay warm for long.”

Cadman took a chair and sat down at their table, much to Rodney’s annoyance. He still hadn’t gotten over the brief time she’d been stuck in his head. He still perceived the entire incident as being Radek’s fault. “She’s one of the new personnel. You know, from the latest group that came on the Daedalus. I’ve known her for years even though she’s not American. She’s a chemist, mainly, but has a degree in oceanography as well. After that storm the city had last year, Dr. Weir thought it would be a good idea to have people here to do studies on this world just in case there are more surprises headed our way.”

“A good idea,” Radek agreed. “We only knew that storm was coming because of Sheppard and Tayla’s trip in the Jumper. Who knows what else is out there?”

“Exactly. Think about it. We know so little about this world. Most of our time and energy is spent reaching out to other worlds or thinking up ways to get more ZPMs and defeating the Wraith. Colonel Caldwell didn’t think this was a good idea, thinking that we need more military personnel here, but Weir overrode him, as usual. Personally, I think she’s right. Besides, have either of you seen that new geologist?” Both men shook their heads. “He’s one fine looking piece of work. I think his name is Maxwell or something. Can’t recall his first name off hand.” She shrugged. “Oh well.” She checked her watch. “Damn it, where is that girl?”

“Lieutenant Cadman?” A tall red haired man in the standard Atlantis uniform asked, walking up to her. The panels on his uniform were blue, indicating that he was a scientist of some sort.

“Yes?”

“I’m sorry to bother you, but if you’re waiting for Morgan, you’ll be waiting a while. Something went wrong on her dive and she’s still stuck down there.”

“What?” Cadman shouted, standing up. “What happened?”

“We’re not sure, but we’ve lost contact with her. She’d mentioned meeting you for breakfast, so I thought I should tell you what’s going on.”

Cursing under her breath, Cadman ran out of the commissary, heading for the dock where the oceanographers had set up their equipment. Shrugging, Radek and Rodney followed just in case there was anything they could do to help. When they arrived at the east dock, they found a very worried group of four oceanographers, Dr. Beckett and his medial team, Dr. Weir, and Colonel Sheppard. All wore expressions of concern. One of the oceanographers, a young man with jet black hair, kept glancing over at the still surface of the water.

“This is not good,” he said every time he looked away.

“Well, we know she has at least an hour of oxygen left in her tank,” a grey haired woman said, checking her instruments. “Whatever’s going on down there, we know she’s able to breath.”

“Assuming that she’s still alive,” the young man said. “She’s never failed to check in before.”

“It could simply be an instrument malfunction on her end. Our equipment is working properly.”

“You’re sure about that?” Elizabeth Weir asked the older scientist.

“Positive. We’ve checked everything three times already. It has to be a problem on her end.”

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful Dr. Barry, but electronics are hardly your field of expertise.”

Dr. Barry gave her a half smile. “I assure you, I’m quite capable of finding malfunctions in this equipment and if I can’t, one of the others certainly can, and none of us can find anything wrong with it.”

Cadman walked over to the edge and peered into the water. She’d been told that the water was cold and, like all bodies of water, it got colder the deeper down you went. “How deep is she anyways?”

“We’re not sure, actually,” Dr. Barry told her. “Our dive suits can only take you so far down before the pressure gets to you. We recently discovered a dive suit used by the Ancients. Since Morgan is the best diver we have, it was decided that she should test it out.”

“Doesn’t hurt that she has the ATA gene either, does it?”

Barry shrugged. “We’re not sure if it’s important to have that gene or not to use the suit, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

“And what if something went wrong with the suit?” Carson asked her. “She could be in serious danger down there.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much, Carson,” Sheppard told him, looking over the edge. “I see something coming up to the surface.”

Everyone went over to the edge. Sure enough, there was a dark shape heading towards them. The closer it came, the more human shaped it looked. The diver’s head broke the surface to the relief of the onlookers. She looked around for a spot to climb out. A space was cleared for her and she pulled herself out. The skin tight suit she was wearing left nothing to the imagination. It was basically black with a cyan collar, dark blue shoulders and sleeves and cyan stripes down each side that went down to her knees and wrapped around the inside of her legs.

She sat down to take the flippers off her feet and the clear helmet that had fogged up, making it not only difficult for her to see but difficult for others to see her clearly as well. Beneath it was the face of a young woman with chin length straight brown hair with no bangs and light brown eyes. Her lips were tinged slightly blue from cold. She looked around, confused at the large number of people around her.

“Am I missing something here?” she asked.

“We lost contact with you an hour ago and feared the worst,” Barry told her. “What happened, Morgan?”

She nodded thoughtfully. “Nothing wrong with your equipment?” Barry shook her head. “So it could be a problem on my end. It’s most likely that either my radio stopped working or it couldn’t transmit from those depths.”

Elizabeth walked up to her. “Just how far down did you get?”

Morgan looked at her. “According to the instruments I had, I got to about eight hundred feet down. I could have gone down farther, I think. This suit is amazing. A dive like that back home would have taken weeks of preparation and hours longer to do.”

“How did you manage without having to switch tanks?” Cadman asked her.

“This tank is a lot more efficient than ours are. I don’t know how they work, but that’s not really my field.” She thrust a pouch into Dr. Barry’s hands. “Here. I found these while I was down there. Wallace’ll love to have a poke at them.”

Barry pulled out a plastic bag full of water and fish. “Excellent! Deary, get these down to the lab,” she instructed the dark haired young man. Turning back to Morgan, she said, “How was it?”

“We should probably save the debriefing until Dr. Beckett has had a chance to look her over and make sure that everything’s ok,” Elizabeth interrupted.

“I don’t really think that’s necessary,” Morgan informed her, standing up.

“On the contrary, I think it’s a very good idea. This is the first time anyone’s used this suit, right? We should just be sure that it didn’t do anything to you. We also need to check you over just to be sure you don’t get Decompression sickness.”

Carson stepped forward to stand beside Elizabeth. “I promise that it won’t take long,” he said gently.

“I’m not worried about it being lengthy, it’s just that it’s a waste of time and energy. I feel fine,” Morgan insisted.

“Oh come on, Morgan,” Cadman scolded her. “Just go down to the infirmary and get it over with. You’re due to have a physical in the next little while anyways, so why don’t you get that done while you’re down there? It’ll save you time and energy in the long run.”

“I really hate it when you make sense Cadman,” Morgan growled. “Fine. Let’s do this. Mind if I stop by my quarters and grab a change of clothes first?”

“Not at all, lassie,” Carson said, gesturing for her to head off. “I’ll meet ye down in the infirmary in twenty minutes.”

She sighed and headed off. “Great. See you then.”

Carson turned to look at Cadman. “Doesn’t like doctors?”

Cadman shook her head. “It’s not that she doesn’t like doctors. I think it’s more that she doesn’t like having people poking her with cold instruments and she really hates the blood pressure cuff. She says they make her dizzy.”

Barry laughed. “She’s also usually cranky after a dive. She likes it better down there than up here. Says it’s more peaceful. I’m certain that if she could grow fins and breathe water, she’d live down there.”

Sheppard shook his head. “Crazy.”

“Just think of it as being the opposite of you,” Rodney interrupted. “You’re a pilot, so you think that people who don’t want to fly are kind of crazy.”

“Whereas she thinks people who want to fly are insane,” Cadman finished. “She’s terrified of heights.”

Again, Sheppard shook his head. “Weird. Just weird.”

Carson returned to the infirmary to find Morgan waiting for him. She was sitting on an examination table with a set of neatly folded clothes on the chair beside her. She’d already removed her shoes and socks. According to her medical records, she was twenty eight years of age and a native of Canada with no medical problems at all except for a sprained ankle back when she was twelve. “So, Morgan is it? Morgan Adair?”

“Yes, that’s me,” she replied cautiously, her brown eyes watching him carefully.

“That’s a good Scottish name,” he said conversationally.

“So my father tells me.”

“He’s Scottish?”

“Scottish descent, actually, but he still has a bit of an accent.”

“Hmm.” He took out a small light and shone it into her eyes. “According to your file, ye’re quite healthy.”

“I could have told you that. In fact, I’m quite sure I did.”

“Be that as it may, ye still need routine checkups.”

She sighed as Carson wrapped the blood pressure cuff around her arm. “That’s what my dad’s always saying.”

“He’s right, ye know, love. Ye never know when something will go wrong. There are some illnesses ye don’t feel symptoms for until it’s too late.”

“He used to scare me and my sisters by saying the same thing. Really, it gets kind of old.”

“Your father’s a doctor, then?”

“Chief surgeon at the Royal Alexandra hospital,” she confirmed. “As such, we were all quite healthy growing up.” She winced as the cuff tightened. “I really hate these things,” she said as Carson watched the readings.

“Well, until we find a better way of measuring blood pressure, I’m afraid we’re stuck with them,” he said sympathetically. He took the cuff off her arm and picked up a tongue depressor. “Now then, open wide. She rolled her eyes and complied. He checked her throat and ears before moving on. “I’ll need ye to lift your shirt.”

“Excuse me?”

“I need to check your heart beat and respiration,” he said calmly. “Now, lift your shirt, please.” Blushing, she lifted her shirt. The stethoscope was cold and felt odd against her skin. She shivered, as the air wasn’t exactly warm on her skin either. “Feeling a little cold?”

“I always do after a dive. I get so used to the temperature inside the suit that it takes me a bit to adjust to the temperature outside of it.”

“Your respiration sounds fine. Now let’s listen to your heart.”

“If I’d had a penny for each guy who’d said something along those lines, I wouldn’t need to be here as I’d be incredibly wealthy.”

Carson smiled a little as he placed the stethoscope over her heart. “Ye’re a lovely lass. I’d be surprised if ye hadn’t heard that a lot.” He was silent for a moment. “Well, everything seems fine on the outside. I’ll go fetch one of the female doctors to take care of the rest.”

Morgan blushed even deeper. “Oh. Right. That part. I’ve always hated that part.”

“I can’t say as I blame ye. I wouldn’t particularly enjoy being poked with those things,” he said as he left.

Morgan sighed and pulled her shirt down. This is not going to be one of my better days, I can tell, she thought to herself as she waited for the other doctor to show up.

An hour later, Morgan was in the commissary sitting at a table with a book and a rapidly cooling bowl of soup. She’d been staring at the same page for nearly twenty minutes, her mind lost in thought. She didn’t even notice when Cadman, Radek, Rodney, and Sheppard joined her. They sat and stared at her until she looked up from her book, nearly jumping out of her skin in surprise.

Cadman laughed at her. “Calm down girl. None of us bite.”

“At least, not unless you want us to,” Sheppard said with a roguish grin.

Morgan made a face at him. “Not likely, Colonel.”

He shrugged. “So, how’re you doing? You had us all pretty worried earlier.”

“You’re right about that dive suit,” Rodney interjected before she could answer Sheppard’s question. “It’s incredibly well designed. Not to mention nice to look at.”

“I had no idea you were such a fashion critic,” Cadman said, eyeing him.

“That’s not what I meant, Cadman,” he growled.

“I think we all know what you meant, Rodney,” Radek sighed. “She’s just teasing.”

Morgan closed her book and set it down beside her, cover facing downwards. “I feel fine, Colonel, really. There was no real need for concern. I realize that no one knew that, and that’s fine, but it was just a radio issue. Unless, of course, Dr. McKay here sees anything wrong with the suit itself.”

Rodney shook his head. “None whatsoever, but I haven’t had much time to look at it. Carson told us you left the infirmary and headed here, so we thought we’d come by and say hello, see how you’re doing.”

“Awfully kind of you,” Morgan mumbled.

“We thought so.”

“So what was it like down there?” Sheppard asked. “Under the water, I mean.”

“Being underwater is, well…it’s like being in a kind of sensory deprivation. Sounds are muffled, it gets pretty dark, but it’s soothing. You can just float and forget everything. You can do anything you want and not have to worry about crashing like you would if you were flying. Your only issue is running out of air.”

“If you could somehow sprout gills and fins, I have no doubt that you’d be down there all the time,” Cadman joked.

“I would, too,” Morgan replied. “Seriously. But, as that’s not possible, I’ll stick to my diving gear. Anyways, there’s some pretty neat stuff down there. The underwater geography is so different from Earth’s. It has the same basic features, though: mountains, valleys, canyons and the like. I’m wondering if there are any reefs near the mainland. There’s not much for life down there that I can tell.”

“Oh, Rodney, Radek and I know that there’s life down there,” Sheppard told her. “You were here when Rodney got stuck down there in the Jumper?” Morgan nodded. “Well, when Radek and I went down to get him, we found this…thing circling his Jumper and that’s how we found him. We didn’t get a better look as we were under some serious time constraints, but it’s there. You just have to go pretty far down.”

“How far?”

“Somewhere in the realm of fourteen hundred feet and down,” Rodney replied.

“Hmm. So, would either of you be willing to convert a Puddle Jumper into a sub and take me down there?”

Rodney and Sheppard exchanged looks. “We’re not really sure it’s feasible as anything other than a rescue method,” Rodney said sullenly. “I mean, we theorized that it would be possible, but we learned just how a Jumper reacts underwater under less than ideal circumstances.”

“Then it looks like I’ll just have to wait for the crew to get the sub up and running, then,” Morgan said, sounding somewhat irritated and a little sad. “Things just aren’t going the way I want them to lately.”

“Used to getting your own way a lot, are you?” Sheppard asked.

“It’s not that. I’ve just hit this string of…not bad luck, but not good luck either. Things feel…off for some reason.”

Cadman patted her on the shoulder. “You’ll get your groove back soon. Everyone feels a little off here at first. It takes a while to get used to the routine.”

Morgan rolled her eyes. “Not that I don’t appreciate the effort, Laura, but I’ve been here for just over a month now. If I was going to start fitting in here, it would have happened by now. I thought things would be different, but it doesn’t seem to matter what galaxy I’m living in.” She stood up. “It seems I’m just as much of an outsider here as I was back on Earth. If you’ll excuse me, I have things I need to do.” She nearly ran Carson over in her haste to leave the commissary.

He watched her retreating back with some concern before joining the others. “What’s with her?”

“I’m not entirely sure what that was about, but Cadman seems to,” Sheppard said, looking at her questioningly.

Cadman sighed. “You see, Morgan’s not a really social person. The only reason I know her at all is that her school and mine were sister schools and, as such, did pen pal exchanges. We wrote letters, sent birthday cards, then we started doing e-mail and, in high school I did an exchange up to her school and we met in person. She has this thing where she doesn’t feel like she’s welcome wherever she is. I’m not sure why, but I think she’s afraid to open up, that if people see who she is and where she comes from, they won’t like her for her but for where she came from.”

“That wouldn’t have anything to do with what her father does for a living, would it?” Carson asked her. Seeing Cadman’s look of surprise and seeing the same look mirrored on the other faces at the table, Carson shrugged. “It came up in her exam this morning.”

“Yes, but that’s only half of her problem. Everyone in her family has some sort of highly respected, massively well paying job. Her mother’s a psychologist of some kind. She has an uncle who’s a five star chef, an older sister who’s a Doctor of Anthropology down in Las Vegas, another sister who has several degrees in linguistics, but spends more time in a hospital than anywhere else due to some weird disease she has, and a brother who’s a very famous jazz musician in her home town and that’s just the family that I know about. She doesn’t talk about her other relatives much. I think one of her grandmothers is a writer, but I could be wrong about that.”

“Wow,” Radek said, impressed. “That’s quite the family.”

“She’s also the youngest. There was a lot of pressure on her to be something. It didn’t matter what she did with her life just as long as she was both happy and successful. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s had this obsession with water. I swear she learned to swim before she could even crawl. She’s always been happier in or near the water. She hates to get out of it.”

Sheppard picked up the book that Morgan had accidentally left behind. “The Great Book of Amber? I’ve never heard of it.”

“She says it’s fantasy, but it’s a little hard to read. I should probably get that back to her,” she said, reaching for it. Carson grabbed it before she did. “No offense, Carson, but I think it would be better if I returned it. I know her.”

“How is she supposed to feel a part of things here if she doesn’t interact with other people?” he asked her. “Besides, I need to talk to her regarding her check up.

“You’ve got a point there,” Cadman admitted. “Look for her on balconies over looking the ocean or down on the docks themselves. If she can’t be in the water, she’ll be near it.”

“Something wrong in her test results, Carson?” Rodney asked.

“No, I just thought I’d tell her that in person.” He took the book and headed off to find Morgan.