Wild Card – Chapter Two
“So, this is a list of the people that were on board the Daedalus when the bomb was planted and these are logs of any Atlantis personnel that were on board the ship during that time period.”
“What about SGC personnel?”
“No one from the SGC boarded the ship that were not actually departing on it. Six transferred off the ship before it returned to Atlantis and they are on this list.” Rodney put the third list on the conference room’s view screen. “That’s twenty-six names and of those twenty-six people only ten are still here. Seven soldiers and three civilians, one of them being the oh-so thorough Dr. Charles Banks.” His mouth twisted in a grimace but it didn’t say anything further, he didn’t dare in front of Caldwell.
“Dr. Banks is currently confined to his quarters on the Daedalus.”
“He came to Atlantis on the trip that we theorize was used to plant the bomb.”
“So did the man, Wesley Harding, that tried to kill Dr. Keller,” Radek pushed his glasses up on his nose. “We must be careful, I think, the last time we searched for bomb maker in this city we did something… horrible.”
“Yeah.” Evan grimaced. “Okay, so what do we do?”
“We need to check the manifests for the supplies during that trip,” Caldwell finally said. “Every single ounce of supplies is accounted for on the ship and that means something that should have come didn’t. Something someone ordered never arrived and in its place—one hundred pounds of naquadah arrived instead.”
“Banks has come back and forth to Atlantis several times. He was on Earth for several months during his last rotation home. He was very angry about Keller’s placement and tried to complain to the IOA about it.” Woolsey confessed. “In fact, I reviewed the matter personally but in the end I found little evidence that Elizabeth was wrong in her choice. Colonel Carter also approved the choice upon her arrival. I’d wrongly assumed that Banks had made his peace with the way the department was being run until…” He shook his head and looked at Evan. “I apologize for any part I played in him being on this facility. If you hadn’t been able to call for help—you may have died that night.”
“His failure to test me for the Hoffan drug is not your fault.”
“If it was a failure at all,” Rodney muttered. “If he’s acting for Michael on this city… it stands to reason that he would’ve wanted to monitor the experiment but do nothing to undermine it. Jennifer was the target, of course, surely his choice because if it killed her he would have become the CMO.”
“You want it to be him because you don’t like him,” Evan said gently. “Let’s do this by the numbers, McKay so that we can eliminate the threat with certainty.”
“Yes, of course.” Rodney cleared his throat. “Radek, we’ll go over the manifests for the ship and check against supplies and equipment delivered.”
“Feel free to start with the infirmary,” Caldwell said dryly.
“Yes, the infirmary and then biology. Harding was in the biology department.”
Caldwell said nothing until the scientists left the room and then looked at Lorne somewhat amused. “You’re relationship is good for him… he’s not nearly as ill-tempered as he used to be.”
Evan swallowed hard and sat back in his chair. “Sir, you can’t…” He took another deep breath and tried to forestall the panic that was rising in his chest. “I can’t… shit.” He rubbed across his chest with one shaking hand and both Woolsey and Caldwell leapt from their chairs.
“Son, you need to relax.” Caldwell poured him a glass of water while Woolsey patted him on the back. “Here drink this. Look, you don’t ever need to worry about me reporting you, okay. You do your job out here and I’d have you on my six any day of the week.” He pressed the glass of water in his hand and forced him to drink. “Evan, my son is gay. I promise you have nothing to fear from me.”
Evan drank the water and closed his eyes. “Mr. Woolsey, please stop petting me.”
Steven laughed and slid back into his chair as Richard hovered near the Major. “I apologize, I shouldn’t have sprung it on you, but I felt if you knew you wouldn’t be so nervous around me.”
“How did you find out?” Evan shot Richard Woolsey a look but Richard shook his head abruptly.
“It’s no secret that McKay is gay. The higher ups at the SGC have known pretty much from the beginning. He used to try to hide it mostly because he figured that working for the US Military required it of him. The thing is, as much as he liked to hide it, he obviously very much enjoys the company of men in uniform.”
Evan’s mouth dropped open. “Sir, I absolutely do not want to hear about McKay’s past relationships.”
Caldwell laughed. “Yeah, probably not. Regardless, McKay is fucking brilliant. McKay saves the day, saved the whole planet once even before we came to Atlantis, and McKay likes to play with men – we overlook it and any man he might be involved with. It’s SOP as far as McKay goes.”
“It’s the standard operating procedure of the SGC to turn a blind eye to the sexual activities of Dr. McKay,” Evan repeated softly.
“No. It’s the SOP of the United States government to turn a blind eye to the sexual activities and partners of Dr. McKay.” Steven cleared his throat. “That being said, it’s in his best interest and yours to keep a low profile. It takes an open mind to step through the star gate but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some fucktard on this base that would take his preferences as gracefully as some. If Sheppard gives you any problems you let me know.”
“I’ve always found Colonel Sheppard to be an open-minded and fair man,” Richard said diplomatically. “If a situation arises and we need to discuss this I’m sure we’ll work out in a way that does not endanger the Major’s career or Dr. McKay’s continued placement on Atlantis. The IOA would allow nothing to happen that might make McKay leave the city in favor of Earth. They place a great deal of emphasis on his continued happiness.”
Evan snorted. “They could start by sending better coffee.” He paused. “So, if you knew about him… how did you guess it was me?”
“Are you asking if you have a tell?”
“I’ve been in the Air Force sixteen years, if I had a tell I would have been discharged a long time ago. I know people suspect, people always have because I’ve never made any pretense of pursuing women. I just don’t pursue anyone in public. I figure Landry suspected which is why he approved my transfer out here.”
“Yeah, no, Hank Landry has no clue. Not many officers of your experience and caliber are willing to come out here. It’s an obscure posting, the hours suck, the Wraith suck, the tech is pretty cool if you have the gene, and the mortality rate around here is… insane. Landry hasn’t turned down anyone within the SGC with gate experience that has volunteered to tour here. Also, and it needs to be said, Sheppard can be an asshole and putting up with him on a daily basis is a job in itself.”
Evan straightened in his chair. “I’ve a great deal of respect for Colonel Sheppard. He does a superior job in his placement here.”
“I know. The SGC knows very well the kind of loyalty Sheppard inspires and that’s why he’s in command here. There are Marines that have re-upped only on the promise that they will be returned to Atlantis under Sheppard’s command. The running commentary is that he has you all so smitten that you’d follow him into hell or into a Wraith hive.”
Evan had and he would again. “He’s a good man. It’s a comfort to be under the command of a man who isn’t going to leave you behind if there is a single chance you can be saved. It makes our mission here in some ways easier.” Evan stood. “I should go prod them, scientists work better when they are being harassed for results on a semi-regular basis.”
Caldwell nodded. “Major?”
“Yes, sir?” Evan asked pausing at the doorway.
“The Hoffan drug made you talk in your sleep. The night before we found the bomb on the Daedalus I beamed down twice to speak with Dr. Keller about your condition. The second time I stepped into your room to see you for myself and you were talking in your sleep. It’s the reason she chose to keep you in isolation.”