Author's Note: A while back a few SGA fans asked if I could try writing a story centered around his hotness, Major Evan Lorne. After asking the evil plot bunnies (also known as GLENN - the Giant Lop Ears from North Nagook) they took some time to mull it over before giving me their answer. The following story is their contribution. It will have mystery, suspense, action, humor, and of course, a smattering of romance. Because after all, what's a great hero without his heroine? In this case, I've paired Evan with Jen.
NOW before you go running off saying Noooo not Evan and Jen, I ask that you give the tale a chance. Read it, digest it, and when it's done, let me know if you think the pairing has any merit. It's primarily an action/suspense story, but there will be romantic elements integral to the overall plot. I love Jen's character, and I think she has so much strength and possiblity, that everyone just needs to see past the episodes. I think it's a very interesting pairing, personally, and am really looking forward to finding out your thoughts.
PS - Thanks to Cindy Ryan for her help beta'ing my Jack O'Neill. :)
PPS - I am so not a chemical engineer or scientist by any means, so any mistakes made in reference to the 'recipe'... blame Google. :)
Jennifer Keller had never been a flirt. She just didn't have it in her. Didn't really know how – well - not properly anyway. Not practiced. Not well enough that she could accomplish anything other than getting laughed at. And, she supposed, she had to admit it was because she didn't really understand why. Her extremely logical mind never really figured out the required necessity of taunting or teasing the opposite sex with no other purpose than to yank their chain. If you want it, just say it.
But somehow… for some bizarre and completely dysfunctional reason… she couldn't stop flirting with Evan Lorne.
It started out harmlessly enough… he'd said something in passing, and in a completely unheard of and spectacular moment of personal bravery, she'd fired back a retort, earning her laughs and surprised applause at his expense, and thus, history had been made.
Coming from anyone else, Jen would most likely have been more of the mind to slap the messenger for being overly forward and completely out of line with some of the comments the man made. But coming from Evan, the slyly suggestive tone and sexy smirk only succeeded in making her laugh.
And some days, in this galaxy of insanity, Jen was very, very glad that she had someone like Evan who could always make her laugh.
So she was honestly and truly pleased when he sauntered into the empty boardroom and dropped into the chair directly beside hers. Woolsey had called an emergency meeting, and that always meant bad. Yet upon seeing Evan, all the little worries were quickly put aside to make room for the flutter that was jumping around in her stomach.
He smiled to see her, blue eyes sparkling as he rolled his chair even closer. "You know, Doc, if you wanted to get me alone, you didn't need to have Woolsey pretend to call an emergency meeting."
Jen swiveled in her chair and propped her elbow on the table. Balancing her chin in her palm she held her face a few inches from his. "If I wanted to get you alone, Major, the boardroom would not be the first place I'd choose."
Without moving his head, Evan glanced down at the surface of the conference room table, then quickly locked his eyes on hers. With his face hovering only inches away, he smirked. "Why not? Looks sturdy enough to me. And there'd be plenty of room to move around."
"And plenty cold, too." She shook her head slightly, rocking her chin against her palm.
"Oh… I think I'd get you warm enough."
Jen purposely dropped her gaze to stare at his mouth, pausing before moving slowly back up to his eyes. "One of these days…" She said softly. "I'm going to call you out on all these promises you keep making me."
He leaned closer, until their noses were almost touching, his voice barely a whisper. "Now who's making promises?"
A throat cleared and Jen jumped back with a squeak as both Richard and John approached the boardroom.
Richard stalled in the doorway, his eyes moving from Evan, to Jen, then back to Evan. John brushed past him and dropped into a chair on the other side of the table.
Jen felt her face cycling through just about every shade of red that was available in the color spectrum as Evan leaned casually back into his chair, a satisfied smile quirking up from the corners of his mouth. The look on Richard's face pretty much summed up what was probably a wonderful view from the hallway. The base commandeer thought she'd been making out with Evan in the conference room. Great… just great. She immediately found something interesting on her hands to check out while concentrating on getting her face to return to a normal color.
"Mr. Woolsey." Evan greeted. "Colonel."
"Doc." John nodded with a knowing smirk. "Major. You kids behaving?"
"Always." Evan grinned. "Now the Doc, here…"
Jen scowled and wacked him across the arm, which only succeed in making him laugh.
"All right, lets get this over with…" Rodney exclaimed with a frown as he walked up to the table and plopped himself down in a chair at the end. The conference room doors hissed quietly closed behind him.
Sliding his tablet out in front of him, Rodney looked expectantly at Richard, who was shuffling through papers at the other end of the table. When he got no response, the scientist then glared pointedly at John, who shrugged and angled his head at Woolsey.
"Thank you for coming on such short notice." Richard began, nodding at each one in turn.
Rodney sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "I didn't do it."
"Not everything's about you, McKay." John frowned.
"Oh." Rodney nodded, then smiled. "Okay then. Carry on." He waved his hand dramatically.
Richard sighed. "The IOA has requested our help with a matter of grave importance."
John snorted. "The IOA actually asked for our help? Now there's something you don't hear every day."
Evan grinned. "Probably forgot where they put the latest round of regulations."
"And I'll tell you exactly what they can do with them when they find them." Rodney mumbled.
"This has nothing to do with regulations, I'm afraid." Richard shook his head.
"So what do they want?" John rocked back in his chair and eyed Richard warily.
"I've been asked to wait for… official representation." Richard nodded at the video screen over his shoulder.
"Official representation?" John raised his eyebrows. "I thought you were official representation."
"While the matter at hand is directly related to Atlantis," Woolsey looked at the Colonel. "It is not my area of… expertise. We have been requested from the top of both the IOA, and the SGC, to commit the fullest levels of cooperation in this matter."
"Cooperation." Rodney rolled his eyes. "That's bureaucrat speak for we're about to mess up your weekend."
Richard touched his ear and looked up at the four people gathered in front of him. "Control room this is Mr. Woolsey. Please send the feed through to the conference room." Then he swiveled in his chair to face the large screen monitor which flickered to life in the corner. The audio was loud and abrasive as the image of an older man boisterously complained to someone off to his right.
"Who's that guy?" Rodney looked at the others, searching for any recognition for the man staring back at them from the other side of the screen.
Middle aged and balding, their burly, virtual visitor turned towards the camera and glared sternly while he adjusted the lapels on his black business suit. His bulbous face filled most of the monitor as he leaned closer to the camera, his mouth twisted into what seemed like a permanent scowl.
"You're late, Woolsey." He snapped at Richard.
"Director Wilsher." Richard nodded to the screen.
The man harrumphed in return, his eyes taking in the group at the table behind Richard. "This is them, then? O'Niell's crack investigative team?"
"Crack investigative team?" Evan mouthed, looking across the table at John who shook his head with a shrug.
Richard quickly made the introductions. "Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, Dr. Rodney McKay, Major Evan Lorne, and Dr. Jennifer Keller." He paused to the room before continuing. "Director Marcus Wilsher of the IOA's Investigative Liaison Office."
"Investigative Liaison?" Rodney frowned around the words.
"Fancy title for civilian consultant." John glanced over at the scientist.
"Colonel, Doctor, Major." He snapped as he moved his eyes around the table then stopped when he reached Jennifer, where he paused, then smiled.
At least Jen thought it was a smile. It might have just been a more maniacal version of the same smirk. She shifted nervously in her seat as his eyes narrowed slightly before he spoke.
"So this is your infamous Dr. Keller?" He snorted. "She read's a hell of a lot older on paper, Woolsey. From the way everyone's singing her praises I expected grey hair and bifocals. She even old enough to vote?"
Jen blinked in surprise, her face flushing. "I'm sorry… what?"
"Excuse me?!" Evan's elbows hit the table with an audible thunk as he leaned past Jen to glare at the man on the screen.
"Director Wilsher," Richard held his hand palm up to John, who was about to echo Evan's anger at Wilsher's disrespect. "I can assure you Dr. Keller is the only person in either galaxy qualified enough to assist you in this matter."
"So you keep telling me." Wilsher waved his hand dismissively. "What about these others. You're sure they can be trusted?"
"What's that supposed to mean!?" John glared at Wilsher, then turned to Richard. "Who is this guy?"
"Does he realize we can hear him?" Rodney asked with a disgusted glare at the video screen.
Richard sighed. "I can assure you, Director Wilsher, my people are held in the utmost regard by both myself, and the SGC. And in the unlikely event that you have forgotten, it is you that requested our help. And, as you are well aware, General O'Niell personally selected this team of operatives."
"Operatives?" Jen frowned and glanced worriedly at Evan, who was still glaring at Wilsher.
"Fine. But if this goes down the flusher, it's you they'll decapitate, Woolsey." Wilsher grunted.
"I am well aware of the implications… Wilsher." Richard dropped the formalities of using the man's title in place of a pointed pronunciation of his last name. Richard made a show of glancing at his watch before looking up at the screen. "Shall we proceed?"
Wilsher waved his hand in accommodation.
"Dr. Keller." Richard turned and handed Jennifer a small file folder. "If you would kindly take a look at this? Director Wilsher would appreciate your feedback."
Wilsher snorted, then returned to his scowl.
Jen hesitated, then held out her hand, accepting the small package.
Not waiting for an invitation, John and Rodney stood up and moved to stand behind her. With Evan watching over her right arm she cast a quick glance at Richard before flipping open the cover on the folder and extracting three pages.
The first was a photocopy of a chemical analysis report from a lab in Washington DC, titled Sample A-24. Jen reviewed it, her mind quickly summarizing the elements, before setting it carefully aside. The second page was a photocopy of a hand drawn, complex chemical formula. The edges of the original appeared to have been burned, or charred. She set it next to the analysis report on the surface of the table. The third page was a glossy color print-out of a digitally enhanced DNA strand. Setting the photo down in line with the other two pages, Jen's heart began to beat a little faster as she connected the three documents together.
Jen knew exactly what it was.
The question was, why was she looking at it.
Her eyes narrowed, catching something unusual in the chemical makeup in the hand-drawn sketch. She inhaled sharply, her eyes moving from the photo, to the Washington address, then back to the photo. This was wrong. Very, very wrong. She looked quickly at Evan, then over her shoulder at John, who was standing directly behind her, and finally up at Rodney.
"What's wrong." John's gaze narrowed, not missing the sudden worry she was trying to hide. "What is it, Doc?"
Picking up the chemical analysis, Jen re-read the document, reassuring herself that she was right. Her heart continued its erratic beat. There was no way it could be… but this is exactly what it was.
"Where did you get this?" She looked down the length of the table to the monitor.
"That's classified." Wisher barked.
"What is it, Doc?" Evan leaned closer, scanning the pages from over her shoulder.
"Well?" Wilsher's voice grating out through the speakers. "Answer the Major. Or don't you know what you're looking at, Doctor Keller?"
Jen looked at Richard, purposely ignoring the man on the screen. "You know what this is?"
"Dr. Keller." Wilsher interrupted Richard's answer, his voice sharp. "I'm not talking to Woolsey. I'm talking to you. Now answer the damn question. Do you know… what it is… you are looking at?"
Jen stared at the man on the screen, her mind spinning over the pages she held in her hand. He waved his hand as though trying to get her attention. "Heloooo. Dr. Keller… Anybody home?"
"Director Wilsher, what's your security clearance?" She finally asked.
"I beg your pardon?" He blinked.
"What's your security clearance?" Evan pronounced each word slowly, as though talking to a child.
"I heard the woman, Major." Wilsher snapped. "What I want to know is what the hell my clearance level has to do with her answering the damn question."
"Level 4." Richard answered, after quickly referring to his notes.
Jen stared into the video screen, and the angry face of the man glaring at her. She looked down at the pages before her, then turned quickly to John. "Kill the transmission."
He immediately raised his hand to his ear, his eyes never leaving Jen's. "This is Colonel Sheppard. Kill the transmission. Now."
Evan grinned at Wilsher and waved good-bye.
"Now wait just a minute!" Wilsher shouted, his face reddening. "You don't have the authority to-"
The video ended with a hiss and the screen fell silent.
"My apologies, Dr. Keller." Richard shrugged. "The man is…"
"A chauvinistic pig?" Rodney finished.
"I was going to say pompous ass…" Richard nodded in agreement. "However, we do have a more pressing matter at hand." He turned towards Jennifer. "Dr. Keller? Your findings?"
Jen stood quickly and shoved her chair away. Evan followed suit and within seconds they were all standing side by side, staring down at the three images.
"This," Jen pointed quickly to the photo of the DNA strand. "Is a computer enhanced rendition of Wraith DNA. Specifically the sequence relating to their ability to produce the enzyme." Her finger moved to the chemical analysis report. "This is a breakdown of the enzyme and its chemical reaction in the human blood stream. And, if I'm right," she picked up the last page and handed it to Rodney. "This is a recipe for manufacturing-"
"A synthetic version of the enzyme." Rodney exhaled quietly, as he stared at the document in his hand.
"Synthetic?" John blinked. "As in-"
"As in someone's trying to make their own Wraith enzyme," Jen reached for the chemical report and handed it to John. "And apparently, they're already testing it on human beings."
"Talk about your performance enhancer…" Evan muttered.
"On Earth?" John looked directly at Richard.
All eyes turned to face the base commander.
"On Earth." Richard confirmed.
"So why didn't he just say so?" Evan scowled at the dead monitor in the corner.
"It was a test." Jen shrugged.
"A test?" John repeated, turning towards her.
"Despite both my assurances, and that of General O'Neill, Director Wilsher wanted to be sure Dr. Keller… knew her stuff." Richard acknowledged.
"Wait." John stepped forward. "We're dealing with a possible recipe for Wraith enzyme loose on Earth and the IOA wants to throw us a pop-quiz?" He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Richard.
Richard held up his hands in defeat. "I assure you, Colonel, this was not my idea."
"Uh… don't you need a sample of the real thing to initially create a synthetic version?" Evan asked.
"Yes." Rodney and Jen echoed.
"How the hell did someone get their hands on Wraith enzyme?" John fisted his hands and shoved them deep into his pockets. "As far as I know, it's never left the city."
Rodney moved to the end of the table and grabbed for his tablet. Balancing it in his left hand, he made several jabs against the screen with his right index finger. "According to the logs, all our samples are present and accounted for, and locked in the vault."
"I'll pull them all." Jen glanced quickly around the worried faces. "Make sure what's there is really what's supposed to be there."
"A task you'll need to delegate." Richard said quickly, double checking his wrist watch. "General O'Neill is expecting the four of you twenty-two minutes."