A/N: Next chapter, hope you like! thanks for reading, please review! Oh, I should say - my work is un-beta'd. If you find anything that has slipped past my attention, please feel free to point it out! Thanks! love xx Shezzi
Willow followed Lieutenant Ford, who had been released from the infirmary at the same time as her, down the corridor. He had volunteered to show her the way to her new living quarters, and act as her packhorse, since she wasn’t capable of carrying her possessions for herself.
She was desperate to reach her chambers and get rid of Ford so that she could carry out the City’s plan to cleanse her of the extra energy.
Soon enough, they stood outside one of the many doors lining the long corridor, and the Lieutenant waved the door open for her.
“So, to activate the lights, wave your hand over that crystal array,” he told her, pointing to the array on one side of the door, “to close the door, press your hand against this top crystal, to lock it, press your hand against the bottom one. That’s about it; your wardrobe is there, your bathroom is there, I’ll leave you to settle in. See you for lunch later?”
“It would be a pleasure, Lieutenant, provided neither of us have other commitments,” Willow replied with a smile.
“I’ll see you later, then,” he told her, smiling as he turned to go.
“Thank you, Lieutenant,” she called after him before closing her door and almost collapsing against the wall of her quarters. The strain on her shields was becoming almost unbearable.
The city hummed gently outside her shields, and information flowed into her mind, showing her exactly where she needed to go. She exited her quarters once the city had shown her the corridor was empty, and followed it through several twists and turns, up three flights of stairs and down another before she reached her destination.
Reaching out with a shaking hand, she opened the door and slipped inside, locking it behind her, then turned to survey the room.
There, on the far wall, was what she needed; a storage unit that held, the city had informed her, a depleted ZPM. The casing slid open as she approached, and the ZPM extruded from the wall towards her.
She reached out with her shaking hands and took it, collapsing down into a lotus position with it cradled in her lap.
Bowing her head over it, she placed her palms flat on its sides and closed her eyes.
The energy within her un-spooled slowly at her command, flowing down through her hands and into the crystalline structure of the power module. She sighed with relief as her power levels dropped towards normal, and severed the connection when she felt the last of the alien power leave her.
She looked down at the ZPM. Visually, there was nothing to differentiate it from the way it had been before she took it out of the wall, except that now she could feel the faint tingle of life within it.
It did not feel as though it held much; she knew that however much power she had absorbed from the gate, it could not be much compared to the power the ZPM normally harnessed, but she could definitely feel the difference. It would be up to Doctor McKay to discover exactly what the current power level of the thing was, now she just had to arrange for it to be found, which wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
The city once more came to her rescue, outlining the exact area that was going to be searched by the security teams the next day. It showed her exactly where she should leave it for it to be discovered without anyone suspecting that it hadn’t been there since the Ancients abandoned the city.
She moved on silent feet through the city, slipping into the as yet unexplored area and left the ZPM in the room that the city showed her, a shielded room where it would be believable that it had not been detected before now.
She whispered a soft charm and watched as the ZPM was covered with the same layer of dust that obscured the rest of the room, and as it followed behind her, erasing her footprints in both directions as she headed back to her quarters.
When she got there, she took a shower and dressed in a clean uniform, the yellow insets in the blue jacket marking her as a member of the medical personnel, with the added markings indicating her attachment to the science teams for computer services.
She set about unpacking her belongings, quickly hanging her uniforms and the few civilian clothes she had brought with her in her wardrobe, having already set up her toiletries in the bathroom.
She was just finished when her radio activated. “Willow Rosenberg, I have it on very good authority that you have yet to go down to the cafeteria and eat lunch,” Carson’s voice over the radio was lightly teasing but still concerned. “I do seem to recall that being a…requirement of your early release.”
“Early by two whole hours. I’m going now, Carson, I was just getting settled in,” Willow replied, resisting the urge to roll her eyes at the older doctor’s tone.
“I’ll meet you there, I was just about to have lunch myself,” he replied, and Willow smiled softly, rolling her eyes this time.
“Fine,” she replied. She didn’t really mind; the doctor had proven himself to be good company and she would enjoy getting to know him better both on and off the job, as it were.
She exited her room and made her way to the cafeteria, stretching her legs and reveling in the freedom of movement and lack of pain.
She passed various expedition members in the hallways, some of whom she recognized, and heard multiple languages spoken. No matter what the language, the tone seemed to be universally excited as the team began to really settle in and explore their new surroundings.
She entered the cafeteria and took a tray, quickly loading it up with food that could have been cloned from what she had eaten at the SGC. Glancing around, she spotted Teyla sitting alone and moved towards her, seeing Beckett in the doorway and knowing he would join them.
“May I join you?” she asked the Athosian leader, who glanced up, startled, then smiled warmly.
“Doctor Rosenberg, of course, please sit.”
“Thank you. And I told you to call me Willow,” she reminded the other red head as she sat down.
“Willow. You are feeling better, I take it?”
“Much. How are your people settling in?”
“They are still…nervous,” Teyla replied carefully. “There is much here that is strange and wondrous to us, and it is difficult not to feel overwhelmed.”
“It’s the same on our side of the fence, but at least we’re used to living in permanent structures,” Willow commented, a compassionate expression on her face.
“It is…different having solid walls surrounding us at all times, it is something that even I struggle with,” agreed Teyla. “Doctor Beckett,” she smiled over Willow’s shoulder as another tray was set down on the table and Carson took the seat next to her.
“Carson,” Willow greeted him, taking another bite out of her sandwich almost on reflex as the older doctor looked over her tray. In truth, he wouldn’t be able to find anything to complain about; Willow had the metabolism of the most active Slayer at the best of times, and right now she was starving.
“Willow. You’ve settled in?”
“All unpacked,” she replied, grinning. “And I sent the movie to your tablet, too. I can’t believe you’ve never seen Braveheart, I mean, isn’t it sort of a cultural requirement?”
Carson just looked at her, eyes promising retribution as she cracked up.
“What is this…Brave Heart?” asked Teyla, curious.
“It’s a movie…has anyone explained movies to you?”
“Yes, Major Shepherd has explained them to me, and shown me some…television,” Teyla replied.
“Alright, well, Braveheart is a movie that tells the story of a great Scottish hero and his fight to free his homeland. And Doctor Beckett, being Scottish, really should have seen it. And tonight, maybe he actually will.”
“It’s not like I don’t know the story of William Wallace, I just never bothered watching it,” Carson told her. Willow opened her mouth to say something else when they were interrupted.
“Doctors,” Major Shepherd nodded a greeting as he sat down beside Teyla, Ford and McKay right behind him.
“Major Shepherd,” Willow replied, inclining her head respectfully. “Doctor McKay, Lieutenant.”
Ford grinned and raised a hand, his mouth already too full to answer, while Rodney gave her a scrutinizing look before speaking. “Doctor Rosenberg, I’ve been wondering about something. I’ve read your dissertation, I know what your IQ is and I just have to know: why on earth did you waste your time in MEDICINE when you could have been doing real science instead of voodoo?”
“Voodoo?” Willow choked, laughing slightly hysterically. For one second she had jumped to the erroneous conclusion that he might actually know some of the truth about her, but just as quickly she had realized that he was merely being derogatory about her chosen profession. “Seriously, Voodoo?” She was laughing hard now, trying not to snort, and she grabbed her cup, taking sips of fruit juice to try and calm herself.
“I wasn’t trying to be funny,” Doctor McKay pouted, and Carson just looked at him, his expression betraying his amused irritation.
“Seriously, though, we need to figure out her schedule, because I’m going to need her in the science labs helping set up the Ancient Database Interfaces, and there are already requests from several other departments for the same service,” Rodney said.
“Well, I need her too, Rodney. She’s invaluable to my research and she’s needed in the infirmary.”
“Guys, as nice as I’m told it is for a girl to be fought over, isn’t this something that you should take up with Elizabeth? And we might also want to get Doctor Rosenberg on one of the off-world teams, at least part of the time,” Major Shepherd told him.
Willow looked at Teyla, who appeared to be trying not to laugh, and rolled her eyes. “It’s so nice to be wanted,” Willow said sarcastically.
“Indeed,” replied Teyla dryly. “When would you like to make the time to spar?”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea for the next day or so,” Carson declared, immediately dropping his heated debate with Rodney about the division of Willow’s working hours.
Willow sighed, but shrugged. “You heard the doc, we’ll give it a few days, I guess.”
“Very well,” Teyla replied. “Please excuse me, there are arrangements I must see to for Major Lorne, he is taking his team to meet with one of the planets that I have traded with many times and he has requested that I explain some of their culture to him.”
“Of course,” Willow replied, waving her friend away. “I’ll see you later.” Teyla smiled, waving back as she moved off.
Willow turned her attention back to her lunch, listening to Shepherd and Ford discussing football and deliberately tuning out Carson and McKay who were still arguing.
“So, Doctor Rosenberg, what’s this I hear about a laptop full of movies and music?” Willow was startled when Major Shepherd suddenly turned to her, abandoning his previous topic of conversation.
“For my luxury item I upgraded my laptop. It has several terabytes of memory now, and I stored…a lot of stuff on there before we left Earth, reading materials, movies, TV shows, music,” Willow admitted, grinning.
“Now, that’s thinking ahead!” the Major declared, grinning, his tone slightly patronizing.
“Could have been a girl scout,” Willow quipped back.
The next day, Willow contrived to get herself assigned to Doctor McKay’s team as they moved through after the soldiers declared any given area free of physical hazards and started examining any likely technology. While she knew she could in no way take credit for the ZPM, she couldn’t resist being there to see the reactions of the expedition members when they realized they had a least a partially charged power source available.