Chapter Three: Telekinesis
John fidgeted in his seat - meetings were a necessary evil, but that didn't mean he had to like them - earning himself a pointed look from Elizabeth. He tried not to feel like a school boy caught not paying attention in class, but failed. So he reverted to the trick he'd used back in school and gave her one his most boyish smiles. Elizabeth's mouth twitched in amusement - mission accomplished - before turning her attention back to the meeting.
"Next on the agenda is Dr McKay. Carson, perhaps you would like to give John, Ronon and Teyla a brief summary of your report," Elizabeth asked.
"Radek is still analysing the data, but from what we know so far they were trying to bioengineer a person whose enhancement was physical into developing a mental enhancement as well. This caused Rodney to develop a form of telekinesis, though we haven't had chance to see how strong it is or how well he can control it."
"Any ideas why they're doing this?" John asked, though he was pretty sure he could guess the answer.
"As you know, the Goa'uld have proved unable to control people with mental abilities, though they can control those with purely physical enhancements. We're assuming the Foundation is trying to combat that danger, should Earth be invaded. It looks like they would move onto giving unenhanced people mental abilities as well, if that's even possible."
"They're trying to protect themselves should a worst case scenario occur," Elizabeth summarised. "Their methods, however, are unacceptable. How is Dr McKay?"
"Physically, he is recovering well. I would release him, but I think it would be best to keep him here for observation a little while longer. I'd also like for him to talk to Dr Heightmeyer. After what he's been through, I'm sure she could be a big help. Though I'm not sure how well that will go down with him, he doesn't seem to like talking about himself."
"I'll talk to him," Elizabeth offered. "Maybe I can get him to see the need to talk to Kate. Though I can't force him as he isn't a member of the Guild. At least, not yet," she added.
"You're thinking of offering him a job here?" John asked, not really surprised. He'd read the reports they had on McKay, enough to realise that the man could be an asset, but also enough to know that he could prove to be a bigger pain in the ass than Kavanagh could be.
"Yes, he's been given clearance and I think he would prove to be very valuable to us. Although his previous employers have referred to him as being arrogant and difficult to work with, they have also admitted that he was truly brilliant in his fields. He has a PhD in astrophysics and another in mechanical engineering, with a Masters in computing."
"Two doctorates seem like overkill to me," John said, before realising that Elizabeth had two as well and smiling sheepishly at her.
"Perhaps he wishes to keep himself busy," Teyla suggested diplomatically.
"Perhaps," Elizabeth agreed dryly, raising an eyebrow at John. "Though I suspect that, in his case, it's probably more to do with proving just how good he is to the rest of the world."
"Wonderful," John muttered. More proof they had another Kavanagh on their hands - though he only had one doctorate. Hmm, it could be interesting to see what happened when McKay and Kavanagh met. Might be fun to watch - but preferably from a safe distance.
"I have spoken to him a few times," Teyla said. "I believe that he wears a mask and underneath he is not so bad. I think he has been hurt and that arrogance and sarcasm are his defence against that happening again."
"Maybe he just needs a friend," Carson suggested.
John shuddered. Well, someone else could have that job, he didn't need to be befriending arrogant geniuses.
"Have you spoken to Carter about him working in the Science Division?" John asked.
"Actually, I've been in talks with General Hammond and the IOA. We're being give a set of labs separate from the SGC and forming an independent Science Division. We'll have access to alien technology, but will be concentrating on items that might prove to be of use in our fight against the Foundation and other such organisations. We're also forming a separate Medical Division as well, with Carson in charge of it. Obviously, both divisions will liaise with their SGC counterparts, but will be under Guild control."
"In other words, they report to you directly and not to General Hammond," John said.
"Yes. I spoke to Radek, but he doesn't wish to be in charge. Apparently, there is far too much paperwork and general hand-holding involved," Elizabeth said with a wry smile. "Though he did agree, reluctantly, to be acting Head of Science until we find someone to fill the position."
John grinned, wondering how much Czech swearing had been muttered during that meeting. Zelenka and McKay might prove to be even more interesting to watch - Zelenka had cut Kavangh down to size on more than one occasion when their paths had met.
"So who's going to be in charge?" he asked.
"Dr McKay, if he agrees. I'm hoping that the position of Head of Science might tempt him into staying."
"That's a gamble, isn't it? We hardly know him and he really doesn't sound like leadership material to me."
"I believe that being responsible for others will help," Teyla said. "There was once one amongst my people who pushed others away, but when she was placed in a position of trust and responsibility as a teacher, she learned to look outside of herself. She even found friendship and love after a time. I am hoping that the same may be the case for Dr McKay."
"It's a risk, but I'm willing to trust Teyla's instincts. Besides, I'm not sure he would be willing to settle for anything less - his last three jobs have ended badly because he didn't like taking orders."
"So, you will have two people who don't follow orders well. McKay and Sheppard," Ronon said, finally entering the conversation and startling John, who had forgotten he was there. How someone of that stature and presence could disappear into the background always amazed him.
"Hey," he protested indignantly. "It's not like you, or Teyla for that matter, always follow orders offworld!"
"And it is good that we do not," Teyla answered him with a teasing smile, "Or you would be dead many times over."
"More true than you'd like to admit," Carson butted in.
And damn it, it was.
"I'm sure I will be able to handle Dr McKay," Elizabeth said confidently.
"So, is that all?" John asked, eager to leave.
"Not quite," Elizabeth said, a glint of mischief in her eyes, knowing full well he wanted to go. "I'd like for you to take one of our scientists with you when you go offworld, to help determine the usefulness of any alien technology you come across. I think that, to start with, you should rotate any scientists that are willing to join your team. Then you can make a decision on who should be your permanent scientist once you've had a chance to see how they cope offworld."
"Sounds doable," John answered, though not entirely thrilled at the idea. "They'll need to have some training first."
"I'm sure you can work that out. I have three volunteers so far - Simpson, Kusanagi and Abrams. I also think it would be good for our medical staff to have some offworld experience."
"Bloody hell," Carson moaned. "Do I have to?"
"I think it would be good to lead by example, don't you? Which is why, should Dr McKay accept the position here, I would strongly encourage him to take a turn as well."
"Don't worry, Doc, we'll take care of you," John said with a grin. Carson looked less than reassured - but then, Carson's loathing of wormhole travel was well known amongst both the Guild and SGC.
"So, any other business?" Elizabeth asked.
John was willing no one to answer, sighing in relief when Elizabeth ended the meeting.
"Wanna spar?" Ronon asked nonchalantly.
"Sure," John replied. It wasn't like he had anything better to do and his stick fighting was improving. Maybe he'd be able to get a few hits in this time - before Ronon wiped the floor with him.
Rodney had just finished his lunch, when Beckett entered, followed by Teyla and a tall man, with glasses and a pony tail.
Beckett smiled at him, though his smile would have been more reassuring if it had reached his eyes, and Rodney began to feel nervous at this unexpected visitor.
"Teyla, you've met of course, and this gentleman is Dr Kavanagh, he is..."
"The foremost authority on telekinesis," Dr Kavanagh cut in. "Which I have been informed has been bio-engineered into you."
Rodney winced at the reminder, before anger at this so-called doctor's tone of voice set in. The man carried on before he could retort, though, which only added to his annoyance.
"I will give you a test that an eight year old with any rudimentary ability can do. It will give me an idea of the strength of your telekinesis, and we can work our way up from there," Dr Kavanagh stated, placing a pencil, a notepad and a glass paperweight on a white plastic tray on the end of his bed.
Rodney suddenly felt nervous - the word 'test' bringing up bad memories. Teyla must have noticed as she came over and sat down on the bed next to him, resting her hand gently on his leg.
"All will be well. We just need to know how much ability you have so that you receive the correct training. Dr Kavanagh only tests, he does not teach," she reassured him.
Kavanagh shot her an irritated look, before continuing.
"Now I want you to concentrate on the pencil, feel it with your mind and then try to roll it."
Rodney tried, his brow furrowed in concentration... but nothing happened.
"Think of your mind like a stream, stretching from your head to the pen, and then when you can feel the pen, reverse the current," Dr Kavanagh instructed impatiently.
Again Rodney tried and again nothing happened.
"Perhaps you are trying too hard, Rodney," Teyla said in her soothing voice. "The mind is more like a gentle breeze that can be turned into a storm, when required."
"What is this? Stream, wind? A nature lesson?" Rodney growled, getting more and more frustrated when the stupid pencil wouldn't move an inch. Why wouldn't it move? It was only a stupid small pencil! Maybe they were wrong. Maybe he wasn't telekinetic after all and the table had fallen over of its own accord. This was supposed to be child's play and yet it wasn't working! He couldn't do it, damn it!
"Don't worry, McKay," a man's drawl came from the doorway, and Rodney realised with a start that they had been joined by Colonel Sheppard. "It doesn't matter if you can't..." Sheppard trailed off, his eyes drawn to the pencil, as it clattered back onto the tray.
Rodney looked at the pencil in surprise, not aware that he had moved it.
"Well, let's see if we can repeat that," Dr Kavanagh's voice cut through the room, as Carson moved over to Sheppard, who was holding a cloth to his left brow.
"I was sparring with Ronon..."
"Ach, no need to say any more. Come on then, let me take a look at it," Beckett said, mild exasperation in his voice as he led Sheppard over to one of the beds on the other side of the infirmary.
Rodney was glad they had moved away as their conversation had been distracting him, but now it had lowered to a quite hum that he could ignore. He concentrated on the pencil again, but no matter how hard he tried, he was unable to duplicate raising it - despite Kavanagh's growing irritation, that only fed Rodney's own annoyance with the whole endeavour.
He was about to tell Kavanagh exactly where he could stick said pencil, when Beckett came back over - having dealt with Sheppard's injury and sent him on his way - and called a halt to the proceedings. Rodney was grateful as he had been developing a nasty headache, as well as starting to feel nauseous - not to mention wanting to hit a certain someone who was supposed to be helping him but wasn't!
Beckett took one look at Rodney and quickly cleared the room, until only the two of them remained.
"Don't worry about it lad. Like all things, it takes time and practise."
Rodney tried to be reassured by the words, but wasn't really.
"You want me to deal with that headache you're trying to hide?" Beckett asked.
"If you want."
Beckett placed his hand onto Rodney's arm, and slowly the headache and nausea went.
"Thanks," he muttered.
"You should probably try to get some sleep."
"Fine," he said, though he doubted he would sleep. He wasn't used to being a failure at something, even if that something was an unwanted ability that had been foisted onto him against his will. Maybe it was for the best? It was bad enough having to hide his gills from people without having to hide something else as well.
He still felt like a failure though, and he hated that.
"I could give you something to help. I know you've been having nightmares."
"No, I'll be okay," Rodney said, though he was tempted to take the offer. But he didn't like the idea of being knocked out by sleeping pills - it would make him vulnerable. And although these people hadn't hurt him, he wasn't willing to trust them that much. At least, not yet.
"Alright, I'll leave you to get some sleep. If you change your mind, just press the call button," Beckett said as he left.
Rodney lay down, pulling the covers up and curling on his side to try and help with the sick feeling. Although the tests had exhausted him - more than he thought they should have - it still took a while for his mind to slow down enough for his body to sleep. Worries and fears about his future plagued him, and it wasn't a big surprise to wake up from a nightmare a short while later.
He just wanted to feel like himself again. He wanted to feel confident again, able to deal with those around him and not afraid of being kidnapped and tortured by unknown enemies - or betrayed by those who seemed to be helping him.
In his life prior to this, he may have been isolated and alone, but he had, at least, felt safe.
He didn't feel safe any more.