Disclaimer: Carson, Sheppard, and Atlantis all belong to the Gekko Corps, MGM, and the Sci-fi Channel. Alana is mine.

Author’s Note: A big thank you to storydivagirl for beta reading this for me and to Windbeliever for making the beautiful dustjacket.

Carson Beckett looked up from his microscope the minute he heard raised voices in the hallway. One definitely belonged to Major Sheppard; the other obviously belonged to a young female from the Southern United States. Before he could move from his spot to investigate, the voices reached his door.

“I’m telling you, Sheppard, I don’t need it,” the woman said.

“Al, you need to do this. You’re one of the best people working on those jumpers. You’ve got to be able to get them in the air,” Sheppard retorted.

“If I have to, I’ll get one of the other people to fly them.”

“It’s your turn, Al. Get in there and get that gene.”

“I don’t care. I’m not in the Army; I don’t have to take orders from you.” Her voice raised in pitch.

Carson slid off his stool and crept toward the door. He smiled at her response as he remembered saying something similar back at Stargate Command.

“It’s the Air Force, not the Army,” Sheppard said through clenched teeth.

Just then, a petite blonde woman stumbled into the infirmary as though she had been pushed. Regaining her balance, she whirled around and glared at the door. Sheppard strolled in after her and nodded at Carson.

“I believe your two o’clock is here, Beckett.” He pointed to the woman. “This is Alana Kassidy.” He then pointed to Carson. “Al, this is Dr. Carson Beckett.”

She gave the doctor a tight-lipped smile. “It’s nice to meet you, but I’m not getting the gene. Major Sheppard here made a mistake.” She turned on her heel and stepped in the direction of the door. Sheppard caught her by the arm and pulled her back toward Carson.

“Oh, come on, everybody’s doing it,” he teased.

Carson grinned as he took in the woman standing in front of him. She seemed young with her blonde hair pulled into a messy ponytail and no make-up on her face. She narrowed her hazel eyes on the Major, obviously not pleased with any of this.

“I have to say, you’re the first person who’s told me they don’t want the gene,” Carson commented, his soft Scottish accent causing the words to almost run together.

Alana gave her tight-lipped grin again. “Good, we’ve established that. Can I go now? There’s no telling what McKay is trying to do to those jumpers.”

Casually, Carson placed his hand on the small of her back. “So, why don’t you want the gene?”

She crossed her arms. “I don’t need it.”

“Al, you help keep those jumpers running. You need it,” Sheppard chimed in as he leaned against the doorjamb.

“Alana, is it? Lovely name.” Carson steered her to one of the stark, white hospital beds. He then glanced back at Sheppard. “I’ve got it from here, Major.” Sheppard nodded and disappeared out the door.

Alana turned to face the doctor. “Don’t think you can just charm me into getting that shot. It ain’t happening.” She took a step forward and Carson wrapped his arm around her waist, holding her in place. She defiantly met his blue eyes. “Let me go. There’s no law that says we all have to have that damn gene.”

“So, now that he’s gone, why do you really not want the gene?” Carson asked softly.

Alana bit her lip. “Why are you so insistent on giving it to me?”

“You answer first.”

She sighed and pushed a stray lock of hair out of her eyes. “I don’t like needles, all right.”

Carson raised an eyebrow. “Is that all?”

“It’s enough of a reason for me.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Your turn.”

“Well,” he began as he looked at the wall for an answer. “Doctor Weir thought it would be a good idea if everyone on this expedition could run the ancient technology.” He met her eyes again and let go of her waist. Taking her hand, he led her to the bed. “Therefore, everyone is getting the shot.”

“Fine.” She hopped onto the bed and rolled up one sleeve. Shutting her eyes, she thrust it at him. “Go ahead. Get this over with.”

Carson pulled his cart of supplies closer and selected what he needed. He poured some rubbing alcohol onto a small cloth. Then, he took her wrist in his hand and searched for a good vein. Finding one, he cleaned the spot with the cloth.

“You know, you don’t have to do this.” Alana’s voice shook. “I can find someone else to test out the jumpers.”

Carson chuckled as he set up the needle and syringe. He glanced at her to see that she hadn’t opened her eyes at all. He took her wrist in his hand again.

“So, how did you become part of the Atlantis team?” he asked.

“I’m an aerospace engineer. The offer came up, and I had to take it.”

He thumped the needle. “You had to?”

“Oh, yeah, an offer of a lifetime. I’m not married and don’t have any kids, so I figured why not.”

“Where are you from? Your accent is thick.” The needle slid in.

“I’m not the one with the accent, buddy, but I was born and raised in North Carolina.” She cautiously opened her eyes, but refused to look at her arm. “You’re from Scotland, right?”

“Aye, Glasgow.” He slid out the needle and placed a piece of cotton over the wound. He bent her arm to keep it in place.

Alana stared at her arm. “When did you stick the needle in?”

Carson’s dimples deepened. “When you weren’t looking, lass.”

He helped her off the bed and led her to the door. “The bleeding should stop soon. Just keep pressure on it for a while.”

“Okay.” She started for the door, and then stopped. Turning around, she smiled. “I’m sorry I was so rude. I wasn’t raised that way.”

He waved her off. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen worse.”

She cocked her head to one side. “So, I guess I’ll see you around sometime?”


Biting her bottom lip again, Alana left the infirmary. Carson watched her go before returning to his telescope.

“I certainly hope so,” he muttered.


© 2005 Crimson Idealist