Written for Yin Remix, from missed.
His first thought is, "Jesus. I really hadn't thought this place could get more like high school."
His second thought is, "I knew botany seemed awfully relaxed."
Of course, he isn't an idiot, so his third thought repudiates the notion that the botanists have managed to find the time or energy to rig growlights or tend secret greenhouses. And anyway, if they had, they'd be raising stimulants - coca or something - since honestly, none of them are idiots either.
Not that he really cares where it came from. The relevant thing is that half of the command staff is getting stoned on the balcony outside lab seven.
He's a little surprised that he noticed, honestly. They're in his line of sight, sure, but they also aren't moving much, aside from occasionally passing what can only be a joint back and forth between them. And it's getting dim out there. If he'd been passing by ten minutes later they'd have been unrecognizable from the hallway. The shocking thing is that he can smell the smoke. It's faint, but the city systems are usually remarkably effective at keeping the air pure, clean, and scent-free. You don't even smell the ocean most of the time, and if you do, likely it's clinging to people's clothes. You can tell pretty quickly who likes to spend time on the balconies and who doesn't by that alone.
The smell is what makes him pause and what has him thinking about high school. Remembering the burnouts huddled outside chasing pot with cigarettes during lunch, wearing ridiculously anachronistic Motörhead and Pink Floyd patches on their jackets. The cliques with their carrying laughter and self-satisfaction making him feel out of step when he walked down the hallway. And he thinks maybe he should have expected this kind of atmosphere to develop, but aren't they all square pegs here?
Drugs aren't a shock, though. It's the fact that it's pot that has him off-balance. Well, and he snorts a little to himself, not in Sheppard's case. But McKay - honestly, he wouldn't be surprised if McKay was manufacturing meth in one of the more out-of-the-way labs, stocking up a personal supply against the next siege. It's depressants that seem out of character.
He has a quick thought that it's a pity he hasn't got one of the DVRs with him. The SGC have repeatedly ignored his warnings about the mistakes being made here. About the incompetence being displayed at the command level. About the wrong-headedness of allowing a research colony to serve as a beachhead for what could easily become an intergalactic war. This could make them reconsider. It's petty, but he knows sometimes it's the little violations that make the military take notice. Proof could lead to staffing changes, and new eyes could only result in the admission that he's been right all along.
Or they'd just wriggle out of it again. Coming out of it all smelling of roses, in defiance of anything resembling logic.
He'd quit the expedition before, half in protest over not having his concerns taken seriously. A few months back working in Colorado, though, and he'd changed his mind. He listened too much to the envy in the voices of the SGC personnel when they'd asked him about the city, the technology, the adventure. He'd forgotten what it was really like, and now that he was back, it was all too obvious that returning had been a mistake.
McKay was turning them all into mechanics. The mean qualifications among the science staff worked out to 1.79 doctorates apiece. Mechanics. For all of McKay's pie in the sky talk of Nobels, even he had to realize that the sort of ad hoc science he was forcing them to practice was at worst likely to kill them all, and at best only going to provide data for the people back at the SGC who actually had the luxury of methodical research.
He's half composed a complaint that should raise a few eyebrows back home, with or without proof, when he looks back out over the balcony again to find that the two figures are gone. But that's impossible, so he looks until he finds them again in the gloom, sitting on the floor. McKay against the wall, but leaning forward, talking to Sheppard, who is motionless, Indian-style in front of him. Trying to sell Sheppard on another premature field-test for yet another half-baked theory, no doubt.
No. It's suddenly very clear that's not what's happening at all. In fact, it all seems so ridiculously obvious, the proof almost surprises a smile out of him.
In the end, he decides filing another complaint is just too much trouble. He lets it go and continues down the hall laughing a little to himself. He'll leave for good this time, when the Daedalus ships out at the end of the week. Sheppard's a walking demonstration of the Peter Principle, and McKay's a prick, plain and simple. But even they don't deserve the sort of fallout that could come from close examination of how they're spending their off-hours. And soon he'll be back at the SGC, doing real science and getting real recognition, and their reckless decisions won't be able to hurt him anyway.
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