John came to with McKay and Teyla hauling him toward the jumper. It was a bright sunny day in a field with tall sparse trees and dry yellow grass, and he had absolutely no memory of how they had gotten here. He said, "I take it the mission didn't go well?" This starting in the middle of the action thing is so great that I sort of want to start my commentary that way, too. Except I can't figure out how to manage that. Very effectively done, though. Active, but not violent, sets the tone, draws the beautiful surroundings. And John, acting all cool and blasé the second he wakes up.
Breathing hard, McKay muttered, "Stupid Genii. They deserve having their brains explode."
"Yes, but I would prefer not to be there when it happens," Teyla said fervently, from under John's other arm. All the non-peaceful, non-coolness comes from McKay & Teyla: breathing hard, muttering, fervently. It's great, because it emphasizes how insulated John is from the action.
"I have no idea what you guys are talking about," John confided, as they dragged him up the ramp. He tried to help, but his body felt oddly disconnected from his brain.
"You hit your head. And I gave you a shot of morphine," Rodney explained, as they lowered him to the bench. "I may have misjudged the dosage a little, but the manual from the first aid kit fell off the cliff." Reveal by twitches. Because even when you talk really fast, you can't launch into full exposition when you are in the middle of doing stuff. Even if the stuff isn't readily apparent, from John's POV.
"What the hell?" John winced as Teyla shoved a folded jacket under his head. "You're not supposed to give people morphine for head injuries."
Dumping his pack and a P90 on the floor, McKay snapped, "I know that, I'm not an idiot! I gave it to you because you got shot."
"Shot?" John stared at him, baffled. "Where?" Bafflement is a sort of cool, right?
McKay huffed in annoyance, and leaned down to pull up the torn wreck that used to be John's shirt. "There!"
John craned his neck, saw the pressure bandage and the blood. He let his head fall back. "Oh yeah, you gave me too much morphine." Perfect. Too much morphine, but just enough of a glimpse at the problem.
After that there was some floating in a hazy pain-filled world, and John was contemplating the fact that after everything in the Pegasus Galaxy that had tried to kill him, his death certificate was going to read "drug overdose" and if they ever got back in contact with earth, that would be just freaking typical. And he was wrestling with the desire to beat Rodney's head against the jumper's bulkhead a little, but that might not have anything to do with the current situation. John's actually pretty cogent for a guy on too much morphine. Not unbelievably so, though. He also kept hearing snatches of this frantic whispered conversation:
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me!"
"I am sure I saw four of them, and we know one killed the other Genii." That was Teyla, urgent and deeply worried. Frantic, urgent - again, all of these active, anxious descriptors attached to McKay and Teyla, and since John can't see them, and is all floaty with the drugs, those descriptors are providing all the action. "But now there are only two in the case. The catch must have come loose in my pack, when I was helping you carry the Major."
"Oh, God. You don't think-- It's on you somewhere?" I like how they don't say what the threat is - they both know already, and John is a non-participant, so he doesn't need telling.
"It is most likely." Teyla was doing that thing where she sounded calm and frantic at the same time, never a good sign, and there were rustling noises. "Please help me look."
"Right, yes, of course." More rustling. "Oh, um, ah, maybe I should--"
"Dr. McKay." There were definitely gritted teeth in those words. "Thank you for your concern, but I would prefer to be immodest rather than to die in that way. Or actually, in any way." Well, yes.
John had the feeling there was something going on he should get up and deal with, and every time they said "Genii" a little bolt of adrenalin shot through him. But any attempt to move caused waves of pain to radiate out from his left side, and just breathing seemed to be taking up a lot of his attention. There are just piles of team-feeling here, for me. McKay & Teyla focused on the problem, and John totally unable to save the day, and unsure what he'd be saving it from, but desperately wanting to anyhow. So even though at this point the other two are ignoring him, it still feels like they're all in it together.
There was more frantic rustling, and Rodney, in a rushed breathless voice that teetered just on the edge of full panic, was saying, "Penthouse letters from the Pegasus Galaxy: Today, a beautiful Athosian came to my jumper and said, 'Hi, I may have a small but incredibly lethal device on my body somewhere -- can you help me find it before it kills me in a horrible way?'" And - now the exposition. Couched in a panicky complaint, with bonus cultural referent.
"What is penthouse letters?" Teyla asked, sounding preoccupied. Oh Teyla. It's just so perfectly in character that they're in the middle of a crisis, and anyone else in the universe would have ignored McKay's wacky commentary, but she replies. And encourages him to keep talking. Because she's highly socially competent, and also possibly understands that ignoring him isn't going to do anything to stop him panicking.
"Ask the Major when he's conscious. Here, lift your foot." And a backhanded insult to the injured guy.
Okay, I'm high and probably bleeding out, and apparently missing something good, John thought. This day sucks. Then he drifted off again. Oh, John. You drama queen. You know if you were bleeding out you'd be dead already.
"If it is not on me, it must be--"
John floated back to the surface to realize someone was opening his pants. That was definitely a situation that needed his attention. He opened his eyes, and cocked a suspicious brow when he saw it was Rodney. Rodney just snapped, "Look, this is for your own good, so just pass out again, okay? Trust me! Teyla, distract him before he hurts me. Oh look, Major, Teyla's naked!" Ha!
"She is n--" John turned his head sideways and saw legs. Kind of like what he saw when she wore a split skirt for stick fighting practice, only a lot more of them, since all she seemed to be wearing was Rodney's jacket. Wow. But he really had to ask, "What exactly have you guys been doing while I'm lying here, you know, shot?"
Teyla was feeling under his shirt and up his sleeves, also very distracting. She asked anxiously, "Do you remember the weapon the Genii threatened us with, the Ancient weapon that they thought was a torture device?"
"Yes." It took an effort to focus on what she was saying and not just automatically agree with her. John admitted, "Sort of. Actually, no." This is great. Blitzed on morphine and flat on his back, with Rodney's hands down his pants and Teyla's up his shirt. I'd agree with whatever Teyla said, too.
Rodney explained rapidly, "From the inscription on the case, it was probably a medical instrument meant for neurosurgery, but the control device isn't there and the idiots turned them on somehow and they get under your skin and go right to your -- Teyla, help me roll him over -- brain, and then it's skull fragments and gray matter, all over the-- You don't remember that?" And the detailed exposition, three-quarters of the way through.
"Ow, ow, ow." Pain lanced up through the clouds around his brain, and the last hour abruptly came into better focus. "Oh yeah, I think I do remember that," John gasped. Annoying Genii bastard, with the usual 'we're going to kill you, blah blah blah.' John distinctly recalled shooting him. But there was something about a box.... Skull fragments and gray matter. "Wouldn't you feel it on you? The thing?"
"The Genii didn't seem to, not until it went through the skin--" Rodney leapt to his feet, eyes wide, staring in horror. In a small voice, he said, "Oh. I think I just found it," and ripped off his shirt.
John managed to stay coherent through Teyla grabbing Rodney and using her knife to cut the torture device/surgical instrument out from under the skin of his back. It flew out of her hands, landed in a crate of MREs and promptly exploded. Since the other crate that it could have landed in was full of ammo, that was actually a good thing. Then Rodney announced that he needed to lie down for a minute and collapsed on the deck. Go go go go go go go stop.
Ford and Stackhouse charged up the jumper's ramp about thirty seconds later, while Teyla was still trying to get her pants back on. Stackhouse just turned around and walked right back out of the jumper. Ford, apparently feeling an obligation to deal with the situation, shifted nervously and asked, "Was it alien sex drugs?" Stackhouse can walk out - Ford's team, of course he feels obligated. I love that he sees them and immediately tries to come up with an excuse for the deshabille. John's stretched out on the bench with his pants open and his shirt pushed up, McKay's on the floor with no shirt on (and I'm guessing breathing hard and sweaty), and Teyla's struggling into her pants, shirtless with an oversized field jacket hanging open around her. I'm with Stackhouse. This is not how you want to see people who are on command level. Even if they are very pretty people.
That was when John passed out again.
"God, Carson, that hurts! And you could at least stop laughing, dammit!"
"If you'd shut up and stop wiggling, Rodney--" Carson chortled.
John woke up for real in the medlab in Atlantis, staring at the very familiar copper-colored ceiling panels. Rodney was in the next bed, lying on his stomach while Beckett stitched up his back, an activity that the doctor was apparently finding hilarious. Teyla was sitting nearby, watching with a faint smile, completely dressed. Just another day in the Pegasus Galaxy.
"Oh, he's awake again," Rodney snarled. "Thanks for telling Elizabeth I molested you, Major. And you ordered Teyla to shoot me in the leg if I ever tried to administer drugs in the field again." I like the way this summarizes all the intervening scenes. Since they wouldn't have been effective continuing in John's POV.
John rubbed his face. It was nice to be mostly coherent, but everything hurt a lot more. "You got me stoned in the middle of a mission, Rodney. That's not a good idea."
Beckett, still chuckling, said, "Oh, it must have been a terrible experience."
"Yes, but apparently we're all so starved for affection that we also kind of enjoyed it," Rodney admitted glumly.
Teyla sighed. "It is a sad comment on our lives." It was hard to tell if she was kidding or not. I bet Heightmeyer tries to make them do team hugs. And they all sneer and roll their eyes. I mean, Rodney sneers, John rolls his eyes, Teyla says something that sounds diplomatic and reasonable but actually means "it'll be a cold day in hell, and fuck this therapy shit, too.", and Ford pretends to be somewhere else. GO TEAM!!!
(if you actually got through this, and wish to comment on my commentary, please feel free to do so here.)