Title: In the Waiting Room
Fandoms: Stargate Atlantis/Quantum Leap
Disclaimer: Stargate belongs to MGM and affiliates. Quantum Leap belongs to Belisarius Productions and Universal Studios. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material.
Summary: The woman in the waiting room was blonde and beautiful, and wasn't reacting at all the way she was supposed to.
She appeared in a flash of light, blonde and beautiful and more than slightly resembling Al's third wife. Al's usual first thought was to get some kind of sense of the time and place by how she was dressed, and after his flash of almost-recognition he realized from the BDU and the flack jacket and the patch on her sleeve that really all he could say was that it was some time after the Americans had started allowing women in combat. She had taken in her surroundings with a glance, and without the shock and swearing that usually came with appearing in a flash of light, she drew the weapon Al had noticed strapped to her thigh. He was sure she must have noticed him, but instead of approaching him, she tapped her ear – oh, some kind of radio – and called, "Colonel?" and then, "Novack? Hermiod?"
When it was obvious that no answer was forthcoming, she turned to him, raising her weapon, and asked, "Where is my team?" And that was the most striking thing so far, because the question was always, always
, "Where am I?"
He raised his hands, the cigar still clamped in his right, and said, "They're fine, as far as I know. And you're fine, and if you give me a minute, I'll explain everything."
"Who are you?"
It was asked without any sign that she was getting tired of holding her weapon, and in fact her stance seemed to indicate she could do so all day. It was time to pull his trump card, and at least the damn rank came in handy for something. "Admiral Albert Calavicci, U.S. Navy. And you are?"
"Lieutenant Laura Cadman, United States Marine Corps," she said, snapping to attention exactly as he'd expected. And, bingo, the gun was pointed elsewhere. Except her face was starting to look confused, and then suspicious, and without shifting an inch she puzzled aloud, "The Navy? But the Navy's not involved in…."
"Laura. Can I call you Laura?" Without waiting for the nod he knew would come, he went on, "Stand down. And while you're at it, why don't you put your weapon down, and I'll explain everything."
He watched her face while explaining that she had been temporarily evicted from her body, and not a drop of the expected surprise emerged. More than anything, she just looked resigned. "But I will get my body back, right? I mean, in one piece? And I won't have to share it with anyone?"
"Yes, absolutely." And that last was certainly not a question Al had ever heard before, and where the hell was this coming from?
"Your friend, the one in my body, he's a physicist, isn't he?"
Al nodded. "Among other things, yes."
"Figures," she snorted. "It's always the physicists." After a moment, she added, "I bet he's going to have to deal with McKay." The grin that appeared was more than slightly evil, "And McKay's going to have to deal with me."
Al just stared at the suddenly laughing woman, watching as she utterly failed to bring herself under control, and then altogether gave up trying. She wiped at her eyes, and called, "Oh, McKay…" in a sing-song tone before falling back into laughter, and Al decided that he really needed to find out about this leap, right now
. He started to approach and she waved off his aid, pulling herself together. "The hell of it is," she said, remarkably composed, "is that McKay will probably figure out how to help your friend get home." She must have seen something in Al's expression, because she reassured him, "Don't worry. McKay'll figure it out. He's an arrogant ass, but he gets the job done. Except when he almost accidentally kills us all… but that hardly ever happens," she quickly added.
It entirely failed to make Al feel better. "You'd better tell me all about what's going on. I'll need to know to get Sam to move on, and send you back." Because really, Sam was probably lost and confused and stumbling around with a gun
right now, and it was really time to get on the job.
Except Laura was just looking at him, smile gone, and said, "Sorry, can't do that. It's classified."
Nobody had ever refused to talk before, and for a moment, Al just stood in stunned silence. "I'm an Admiral, my security clearance will cover it, I'm sure."
"No, sir. See, first of all, I only have your word on that. You could be anyone, I could be anywhere, and I'm not spilling the beans. And even if you are who you say, well, I doubt your clearance covers our project. Navy's never been involved with it." She shook her head. "Nope, clearance first, then we'll chat."
Al strode over to Ziggy, where Cadman's service record was sitting on the screen, blank of anything remotely helpful. Next to it was a list of McKays cross-referenced with physics, and one was flagged. Rodney McKay, Canadian, employed by the U.S. government, list of papers, but no location, posting, or personal information. Not even an address.
"Look," he said, and he knew his voice was pleading, "I need to find Sam. I need to help him. But I can't do that if you don't help me."
"Sorry," she said, looking up from the crossword he had left half-completed on the table, "no can do. Don't worry, I trust McKay. He'll take care of your boy." He was wearing his most hangdog expression, the one that used to make Beth laugh and kiss his forehead, and she conceded, "Get clearance, then we'll talk."
She spent a long moment considering it, and finally replied, "General Hammond. And that's all you're getting."
As he strode off in the direction of the phone, she called out, "But really, trust in McKay. He'll figure it out." And then, as an after thought, she added, "And he better never find out I said that!"
Dr. Samuel Beckett was sitting on the ground, in the dirt, near a fire. The people around him were dressed in military camouflage, and he looked down at himself to discover that he was too. Okay, a soldier. He'd done this before. The people near him were laughing and joking, so not enemy territory. Even better. He heard English, and… was that Czech? Definitely Russian over on the right. An international peacekeeping force? Maybe he could get a fix on the continent, at least. All that astronomy came in useful. He looked up at the sky, and it didn't make sense. There wasn't a single familiar constellation. He tilted his head to the right, and there was the moon at least. Except, next to it, was another one. "Oh, boy."