Words: 2,121 (of 11,492)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney; John/Rodney
Warnings/Spoliers: Part 2 of #10 in the Ancient!John 'verse (click here for Part 1); takes place between "The Siege," part III, and "The Intruder," and contains spoliers for "McKay and Mrs. Miller" as well as all SG1 episodes through "Mobius." Contains mentions of major charector death and advanced maths
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, quotes et al are properties of their respective owners and I am merely using them under Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine, without intents to infringe upon or defame anyone's legal rights.
Summary: Iohannes and Rodney have a lunch date.
Notes: This was 9/10ths written last night, in one whole sitting after yesterday's tiny post, and I'm much more happy about it. Anyway, I'm seeing at least 3, maybe 4 more parts to this, but no promises (though they should be better than pars una). The Riemann Hypothesis is one of the Millenium Prize Problems and has yet to be solved in anything other than special cases, and any science/maths spinning from it's mention are, sadly, mostly likely as wrong as anything you see in Star Trek. Anyway, I've work in 45min, so...
An Ancient!John Story
"Murder," John announces, setting his tray down with unnecessary violence before sliding into the seat across from him in the SGC commissary, "is a highly-overrated problem-solving technique." The notebook he's also carrying is set down with more restraint but only, Rodney suspects, because it's not heavy enough to convey the proper emotion.
"Have a lot of experience, do you?"
"I dunno. Depends on how you define murder, I guess."
Indignation rising on John's behalf, "They can't seriously still be going on about that, can they?" he huffs. Most of their first day back, after everyone at the SGC (and the representatives from the Pentagon and the IOA) had finished oh- and ah-ing over their real, live Ancient, had been spent with John answering heated questions about why he'd shot the Expedition's military commander. "Even Colonel Everett said it was the most merciful thing to do." And Everett, he doesn't add, is in the position to know.
"For Sumner, yeah. For Ford... not so much."
Rodney can't help but shudder at that. He'd liked Ford, even if the young lieutenant had always reminded him of a puppy from one of those larger dog breeds – all limbs and too much energy and wanting to please his superiors oh-so-much. He hadn't deserved to be shot full of enzyme when the Wraith that was trying to feed on him was killed. He hadn't deserved to be shot three times in the chest either, but he had been trying to gate off Atlantis when doing so might have meant their ruse (a nuke and a shield-turned-cloak) might've failed.
"You did what you had to do," he manages after less than half-a-beat too long. "Isn't that what you said is most important? Doing what has to be done?"
"Yeah." John says glumly, more glumly than he had the day he'd first introduced Rodney to this saying and it's at moments like this one when he actually hates Janus, despite the genius clearly evident in the notes they've so far been able to decipher. He imagines that, in the moments Janus actually took to be a father, John's childhood was filled with a lot of lectures about doing what you have to do. "But that doesn't mean I have to like it."
"No one who knows you would ever claim that."
Rodney gets a wry grin for that. "Then the people here obviously don't know me very well."
"You are, for all intents and purposes, an alien. You should be glad they don't want to haul you off to Area 51 and vivisect you."
"You do that here?" John asks, his raised eyebrow and casual tone undermined somewhat by his sudden pallor.
"No. But it's what the public thinks goes on at Area 51. That's mostly research and development – it's where I was, mostly, before we started looking for Atlantis. What vivisection happens usually happens here."
John chooses not to comment on this last, even if he is attacking his eggs with unusual enthusiasm, and asks instead. "And what did you do there? I don't think you've ever said."
And you've never said, Rodney wants to point out, what you did before we arrived but doesn't on the grounds that he's been having a bad enough week without his whatever-you-want-to-call-him interrogating him in strange lunch rooms. John's guards report he's been spending most of his free time in his guest quarters and John quiet and brooding, as he certainly is, is never a good sign. "Studied the Stargate, mostly. That and whatever other An- Alteran technology we could get our hands on. Not much, really until General O'Neill found the Antarctic Outpost."
There's silence for long enough that Rodney thinks John's forgotten they're having a conversation, that he's lost in his own world of loneliness and guilt. He wants to suggest a movie night or that they use John's rooms for something other than brooding, even though he knows it's impossible at the moment. There's no crisis, no rush but they've barely had the time to eat with all of the briefings they've scheduled with the various representatives of the IOA who've descended upon Cheyenne Mountain. It's a minor miracle that they've managed to find time to eat together at all and he wishes to a god he doesn't believe in that they didn't have to waste any of it with long silences filled with things they could say if they were anywhere but here.
"I'd like," John says at last, "to see it."
"The outpost?" Rodney hums. It had been an interesting place, but Antarctica is still Antarctica and hardly the first place he'd suggest a visitor from another world check out. "You'll have to ask General O'Neill about it."
"I did. He told me that every time he goes to Antarctic he nearly dies, that I'm an idiot for wanting to go there and that anyway it can't be managed until the Prometheus gets back from Dakara, which should be well after we're on our way back to Atlantis."
"Why can't it be managed? There's got to be at least two planes a week going between Peterson and McMurdo, if you don't mind riding on a cargo plane."
The look on John's face says everything about his position on riding in an aircraft of any sort but he just shrugs as if it say, it's your planet, and fiddles with his fork. "Something about problems creating a fake identity for me."
"Apparently the other IOA nations don't like the idea of the last Ancient in the universe being beholden to one country's military," he says, using the same tone of voice he gets when forced to acknowledge that Rodney's tablets are state-of-the-art computers, thank you very much, and the fact that a P90 is a lot more effective against the Wraith than the Ancient arca they've found on Atlantis.
"Can you really blame them?"
"I can if it means I'm stuck underground for much longer. It's starting to remind me of the siege – the first siege – only then you could look out the windows and see ocean. I was," he muses, suddenly wistful, "ten years old before I saw the sky."
There's really nothing Rodney can say to that. "So," he tries instead, "they're going to make you a real officer then, the Air Force?"
"That's what I've been told. Apparently being a tribunusin the Lantean Guard isn't good enough for them."
"It's not if you ever hope to leave this base. Hey, don't look at me like that. You know full well that Earth isn't like Pegasus; people here don't just pop out of thin air, without any sort of history or background or knowledge of Earth at all."
"We didn't build the portae to be kept as governmental secrets."
"You didn't build the Stargates at all."
John shrugs at this. "Tell that to the IOA. And Homeworld Security. And the SGC. And maybe everyone in the Pegasus Galaxy. Given the odds, you might actually find someone who believes that."
"You're the one who likes to pretend his IQ is at least sixty points lower than it actually is," Rodney points out, noticing as he does John's eyes darting to the notebook he's left on the table as he says it, then quickly away.
Before John can protest, Rodney snatches it from across the table and flips it open to a random page. It's only about a quarter full but the pages that do have writing on them appear to be equations. Opening it again to the beginning and glancing through the first couple of pages, he can only gape as he realizes what it must be before turning back to the beginning and reading more closely, "This is the solution to the Riemann Hypothesis, isn't it?" He doesn't wait for John to answer or even look up, he just turns the page. "Not just a solution but the solution, the one that works in all situations, for all equations. You know what this means, don't you?"
John's looking at him amusedly when he finishes, like he'd been waiting just how long it would take Rodney to notice the notebook all along, the bastard. "That the IOA will lay off on me for a bit?"
"You are a total and complete idiot if you honestly think the IOA will do anything of the sort. If anything, they'll probably try to pick your brain worse than they already are. We Earthlings have only been trying to solve this problem for the better part of a century and a half, you know, and if they think you can give them the answers to the universe, who knows what lengths they'll resort to. I mean, they claim to respect the UN and the Geneva Convention and all that but, then again, according to the UN they don't exactly exist, now do they?"
"Huh," John says going back to his eggs. It's at times like this that Rodney rather wonders how much of what he's saying John understands.
Still, he continues to flip through the notebook. Some of the pages are filled with neat lines of Alteran numbers, others with the same proof carefully translated into base ten maths, the Earth numbers wobbling across the page. "But, seriously, you know what this means, right?"
"That Colonel Carter will be able to solve that problem she's been working on about the finiens eventis of the pons astris?"
Rodney doesn't even want to know how John knows about that (it's something Samantha's been working on on-and-off for the past five years and mostly been unable to make any progress on because it's not like she or anyone else in the SGC really has the time to devote to something that, in the long run, really doesn't matter so long as the Stargates keep working as they always have). "John, if the rest the world had any idea of the use of this formula in wormhole physics, you'd have a Nobel. But since they don't, this'll get you a Fields Medal, no problem. Not quite as good but it's still the best a mathematician can do."
John shrugs. Again. It rather makes Rodney wonder if he ever understands the significance of anything he does. "I think I’ll leave that sort of thing to you."
"Fields Medal," he repeats.
"It's no big deal, really, Rodney. It was either that or stare at the ceiling some more."
"I can see the acceptance speech now: I was bored, so I decided to try my hand at the most important unsolved question in pure mathematics. That's bound to go over real well."
John rolls his eyes then holds out his hand for the notebook. "Well, my minders are tapping their watches, so I guess that means I'm overdue for another briefing with the IOA representatives or, if they're feeling merciful today, a raking over the coals."
"Oh, no. You're not taking this with you, drama queen. If I've got to pay attention to their questions, so do you."
"They're worse than the Council."
"Into every life, bureaucracy must fall. But seriously, I'll talk to Sam. See if she can't get them to hurry things along. They're talking about letting the rest of us get out of here on Friday. They can't keep you longer than that even if you are a great and mighty Ancient."
Snorting, "Yeah. And Atlantis was built in a day." John looks like he wants to say something further, but a glance at the Marines who've been assigned to guard him (who've been waiting patiently by the main entrance to the mess, but are now starting to get that antsy look over-eager Marines get when what they're doing is in violation of direct orders, even if it just means John'll be five minutes late to whatever meeting he needs to be at. It reminds Rodney uncomfortably of Ford, who is twenty-six and dead and will never be anything other than that over-eager lieutenant ever again) reminds them they don't have the time. "Talk to you later, Rodney."
Rodney waves at him to hurry up before the Marines have puppies and goes back to the notebook, wishing to hell they were on Atlantis, where they could eat together like normal people and John wouldn't be forced into to doing math proofs to stave off boredom. Even if it was the Riemann Hypothesis.
Continue on to Pars Tria