Training Mission von Madison

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Dedicated to 'Teyla' – we always wondered how she put up with these guys!!
Training Mission

When the attack came, it was executed so swiftly and silently that the team was surrounded before they knew what had happened. One moment the four of them had been moving easily down a well-defined trail in a dense forest; the next they were surrounded by at least half a dozen people dressed in leather and leveling wicked looking crossbows at them. In another heartbeat, Teyla realized that all the hostile force present were women.

"Great, just great." Dr. Rodney McKay managed to keep from speaking loud enough to be heard, but just barely. Three other women emerged from the forest as though they had dropped a cloaking shield--so perfectly had they blended into the surrounding woods. They moved in on the team, and with precision, disarmed them. A lean athletic woman dressed in fur-trimmed leather pulled the P-90 out of Col. John Sheppard's hands where he had been holding it in a neutral position since the ambush began. She turned the weapon over in her hands thoughtfully.

"I'd be careful with that if I were..." Sheppard began but ended abruptly when the woman standing behind him struck him hard in the kidney with the end of a staff. He made a stifled noise of pain and buckled at the knees, almost dropping down to the forest floor. He straightened slowly, biting back a comment as he winced and gripped his side.

"You were not given permission to speak." The tall blonde woman who stepped forward had lowered her weapon. She was dressed in a combination of leather and natural fiber clothing that had been dyed the color of moss and old leaves. Her hair was braided in a heavy plait as thick as a horse's tail and rested over one shoulder along with a quiver of crossbow bolts. Her ice-cold green eyes flicked over the team. She turned to Teyla and spoke contemptuously. "How is it that you allow men to take the lead in these matters?"

Teyla opened her mouth to question what this leader meant but was interrupted by a peal of laughter from Lt. Laura Cadman at her side. "Teyla!" She grinned hugely. "She thinks we are letting them take charge!" She tossed her head in the direction of the two men.

Teyla looked at the lieutenant doubtfully. She did not know Cadman all that well--having only been on one or two missions with her since her recent arrival. She was taken aback by this sudden outburst and she sensed that Sheppard and McKay were thrown off kilter as well. Cadman seemed to be staring at her with a multitude of expressions on her face: a suggestion of warning, a hint of mischief and a "play-along-with-me-on-this-one" that she had seen on Sheppard's face before in similar situations.

"Indeed." Teyla said solemnly. Fine. She would follow Laura's lead.

"Well, that is just plain silly." Laura laughed. "Oh no, we were just taking them out for a little exercise."

"Exercise?" The leader frowned and several of the women behind her exchanged puzzled glances.

"Well, of course exercise." Laura sounded very matter of fact. "How else can you keep them tame and happy?"

This comment set off an angry buzzing among the capturing force and the leader spoke sharply. "We see no need to keep them `happy'. We see no need to keep them at all! We take men hostage when they are needed, use them as we see fit and then dispose of them."

Uh-oh. This did not sound good. Teyla noted that the expression on the faces of the two men, which had momentarily looked interested, now looked concerned.

Laura made a "tsking" sort of sound. "Seems to be to be a huge waste of time and energy on your part. Think of all the time you spend just going out and hunting them down to start with."

"Why waste resources on feeding them and maintaining them as captives?"

"She has a point." Teyla conceded thoughtfully to Laura. Sheppard and McKay shot her wide-eyed looks that she appeared not to notice. She turned to address the leader. "Although, we have found that if they are happy then they are more docile and less likely to try and escape."

Cadman shrugged and waved one hand airily. "Yes, let them have their toys, let them run around in the woods from time to time and shoot things, let them think they are in charge, pretend to be interested in the things they like and they are really not very much trouble at all."

The two men were now fixing Laura with hard stares. She too seemed equally oblivious.

"When they are happy, they make much, companions...too." Teyla added with a suggestive arch to one eyebrow. She was beginning to enjoy this.

McKay opened his mouth to protest but Sheppard quietly gripped him by the elbow. They both appeared somewhat stunned.

"They are useful around the camp." Teyla tried to make her voice sound grudging. "You know, for moving heavy objects."

"Oooh yes, and opening lids on jars." Laura threw in. "You do have to train them though." Laura's expression was suddenly serious.

"No, you can not just let them run amuck. That's what we are out here for today--a training session." Teyla nodded in agreement.

"This one," the blonde pointed at Sheppard, "seems to need some more lessons in manners."

"Yes," Teyla sighed, "he can be somewhat obstinate. Still, you must be patient; you can not train them overnight."

"I think you misinterpreted his actions." Laura volunteered. "He was merely trying to tell your friend here how dangerous the weapon was that she took from him. He didn't want her to get hurt."

The party of women exchanged glances. One of the women leaned in and whispered something in the leader's ear. She appeared to consider it for a moment and then spoke. "It is obvious we misunderstood the situation. You are free to go; you will leave the men here with us."

"Oh fine," Laura's voice was a shade bitter. "Let us do all the hard work and just when they are coming along nicely..." She looked a little disconcerted at the direction the conversation was going and McKay looked like he was about to explode with the effort of keeping his mouth shut.

"If that is to be the case," suggested Teyla slowly, "then perhaps we should go over some basic instructions."

The leader of the women looked slightly puzzled. "Instructions?"

"Regarding their care and handling." Teyla's voice was bland. "We have put a great deal of time into their training. We would not wish it to be a wasted effort."

"Oh, yes!" Laura got it suddenly and took a deep breath. "Okay, this one here," she began, shaking a finger a McKay. "Well, I am not sure you will really appreciate his talents. For one, he talks way too much. I mean, for heaven's sake, don't tell him any state secrets."

"Hey, I resent that..." McKay sputtered, but Laura stepped in and patted him on the cheek. "Shut up, Rodney." She said firmly. From the way he flinched, Teyla suspected the pat on the cheek was a tad firm too. Laura rolled her eyes over at the leader with an `I-told-you-so' expression. "Still," Laura went on, "he can fix just about anything and he is very resourceful."

McKay actually looked pleased. "You think I'm resourceful?"

"But high maintenance." Laura sighed, ignoring him. "Not very socially perceptive either. Useful in a crisis though. And he's really come a long way in his training since he first arrived. He grows on you after a while. Don't pout, Rodney."

McKay began to flush from the collar up until his face was a very bright red.

"This one is fairly `high maintenance' as well." Teyla indicated the Colonel, who up to this point had been trying not to grin at the skewering that McKay had just received. She had a good idea what the phrase meant, but could not keep the quotations out of her voice when she used it. "But in a very different manner." She spoke directly to the leader. "This one needs a great deal of exercise--he gets bored quite easily. So it is extremely important to get him out and let him run around on a daily basis. Sometimes he needs to shoot things as well. Remember, lots of exercise. I'm sure you can think of something."

The collective silence as the women thought about this matter was intense.

Sheppard began to rock back and forth on his heels slightly. "Are we going to go sometime soon?" He asked plaintively. He managed to look like a sulky child.

"Just a few more minutes..." Teyla hesitated, at a loss for a non-Athosian term of endearment that would make sense to the team from Atlantis and then had an inspiration. "Buttercup."

Sheppard gave her a dark look, but muttered, "As you wish."

The leader of the women narrowed her eyes at the exchange and traded looks with her second in command, who merely shrugged.

"Oh, don't forget about feeding." Laura suggested.

Teyla made a little expression of mild distaste. "Well this one," she indicated the Colonel again, "will eat anything that is not nailed down. I mean seriously, it can be a little frightening to watch."

Laura nodded vigorously. "But Rodney...well, he needs to eat frequently or he gets cranky. And I hope you have some sort of bitter tasting brew that has stimulating effects on the nervous system because he requires lots and lots of that too. I think that just about covers it." She looked at Teyla for some clue as to what to do next. The women of the forest were starting murmur to each other again. A few still looked doubtful.

"Yes, I believe so. Although I am certainly not looking forward to telling Elizabeth we lost the boys today." Teyla sighed.

Laura looked stunned for a moment, then nodded in agreement. "Gosh, you're right."

"Elizabeth?" The leader asked suspiciously.

Teyla nodded again. "She's the leader of our people. She is going to be quite unhappy when we come home without these two...they're, well, they are sort of her favorites."

"She's put so much time and energy into them don't think she would go to war over this, do you?" Laura asked worriedly.

The women of the forest withdrew slightly for conference, with just a few still holding them under surveillance. "I can't believe..." Rodney began to hiss but both Teyla and Laura said simultaneously, "Shut up, Rodney." It was all Teyla could do to keep a straight face. She could not meet Laura's eyes--she knew if she did it would all be over.

The leader finally turned and approached the two women of the team. "We do not wish to cause conflict with your leader, Elizabeth. We will let you go in peace. Now that we know the purpose of your training lessons, your people will be welcome here at any time. Please convey this to your leader. I would very much like to meet with her at some future time."

When the team burst through the gate back into the city, Laura Cadman whooped and turned to Teyla. "That was beautiful!" She was grinning with excitement.

"What gave you the idea to take that course of action?" Teyla was grinning too.

"Well, when we were first ambushed, I thought how useful it would have been if we had dogs with us to warn us of an attack...and then it just sorta went from there."

Teyla started to respond, but noticed the thunderous expression on McKay's face. He and Sheppard were both standing with arms folded, staring at the women.

"I think you ladies had entirely too much fun at our expense." Sheppard said in that careful drawl that boded no good for the recipient.

"`Don't POUT, Rodney?' Since when do I pout?" The man in question shouted, waving his arms explosively.

"Hey, at least you don't get bored easily." Sheppard retorted.

"Well, maybe that's because I am socially imperceptive!" McKay's tone was withering. Laura looked at Teyla and winced.

"Yeah, and high maintenance too." Sheppard agreed.

"Whose side are you on, `Buttercup'?" McKay snarled. "Fat lot of good you were today! Why didn't you shoot something?"

"Gee, you're starting to sound a little cranky, Rodney. When was the last time you ate anything?" Sheppard shot back.

Cadman made a strangled sound and cleared her throat, stepping carefully away from the rest of the team.

"Ah, I think I will go update Elizabeth on the situation." Teyla interceded. She turned slowly, flashing a meaningful look at Laura in the process and began moving towards the stairs.

"Yes," Laura agreed, brightening at the thought. "You know, I need to talk to Dr. Weir myself." She turned and with a little skipping motion, caught up to Teyla, bumping her with her shoulder as she did so. The two women burst into laughter and bolted up the stairs. Elizabeth was going to love this.
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