The film had been a rousing success with the girls. It'd taken longer than normal to watch as they stopped the movie to explain the odd bits to Teyla that someone from another planet, never mind galaxy, would find confusing. Like sitting in a barrel and going over the Niagara Falls, why?
The girls scrambled off the bed and despite having just eaten a huge amount of popcorn decided to still have dinner.
Orla removed the DVD and closed down the laptop as she'd been shown. "I dunno where to take this laptop back to, Ronon never said. Think I should take it with us to dinner and give it back there?" Orla asked not able to decide whether to take the items or leave them.
"Leave it, we can come back for it but if Ronon isn't about then we'll have to be really careful it doesn't get damaged," Jennifer replied slightly worried about taking such an expensive piece of equipment to a very busy mess hall.
The four amigos entered the mess hall and chose their food. Teyla instantly picked the lasagna she'd eaten before and enjoyed. She was joined by Orla and Jennifer but Laura had been pining all day for that Big Mac and on spotting hamburgers on the menu instantly chose the burger. Her mouth was watering all the way to the table, as she sat she looked about her snorting at her friend's options, didn't they know there was nothing that could beat the great American burger.
Laura added the Ketchup to the burger and piled pieces of salad on top of it finally topping it off with the burger bun. "Watch and drool in envy, a burger… finally," Laura bit into the burger and chewed in burger heaven until her face froze in surprise.
This was obviously not an American burger, in fact Laura wasn't sure if it was even a burger, the meat tasted… unknown, should she even swallow it? Laura grabbed at her napkin turned away and spat the contents into the napkin. Laura looked about the mess hall spotting Major Lorne she stood and strode to the man in question.
"Excuse me, Major Lorne?" Laura impatiently interrupted the man's conversation.
"Laura, what's up," the Major asked as he finished his Lasagna.
"I just ate, what I thought was a burger do I need to know what it was." Laura moved sideways rocking on one foot then the other.
"Probably not, I'm joking Laura," Major Lorne teased the horrified girl. "At the end of the month when we're waiting on fresh supplies from the Daedalus we exchange with the people on the mainland for meat and in return we give them whatever they need. It's usually used for burgers, it's meat but not as you might know it. There's nothing wrong with it, the flavor just needs… time to get used to," Major Lorne explained remembering his first Atlantis special burger. He hadn't had one since.
Laura took the contents of her tray and emptied them in the bin, surprised when Major Lorne put his hand on her shoulder and told Laura to follow him. They walked back to the serving area to be greeted with a tired and hot chef.
"Chef, this young lady is one of the ladies accidentally changed and as such wasn't aware of the Atlantis burger surprise. Can she please have a portion of Lasagna?" Major Lorne followed his little speech with his best sparkling smile.
"Hell child, why didn't you say? Of course you can," the chef understanding the mix up replied filling a new tray with delicious lasagna and salad.
"Thank you," Laura quietly offered, "You too Major Lorne. Thank you," Laura continued.
"No worries Laura, when you're back to normal I'll call in the favor," Major Lorne winked at the young Laura and gently guided her back to her table.
The girls had headed back to their accommodations full from their dinner but nervous, they'd been told to eat early as they'd need to gather at the entrance to the temporary accommodation by six o'clock in the evening.
Orla not wanting to lose Ronon's laptop asked the Marine on duty by the accommodation block where she should take it. The Marine had radioed Ronon asking him what he'd like Orla to do with his laptop. Ronon replied he'd be by to collect it when they came for the girls just before six o'clock.
The girls had been told to leave all their clothes and items they'd managed to acquire in the week in their quarters. They could come by and collect them later.
Just before six o'clock Colonel Sheppard approached the temporary housing along with Ronon and Lieutenant Stephen Wilkinson. They met the girls, all slightly nervy about what was to come.
"Ladies we're about to head to the botany lab this incident started in, you'll be kept there until the change takes place. We've been advised it could be just over an hour so anyone who needs the ladies room, go now. You won't be allowed to leave the lab once you're there," Sheppard waited to see if anyone needed the bathroom.
"Okay, once you're there you'll notice there will be other personnel from Atlantis about the lab. Don't worry this is for your safety. Hopefully in approximately an hour you'll all be back to normal," Sheppard smiled sighing slightly at the prospect of the weight of this experience about to leave his shoulders.
"Colonel? I have Ronon's laptop with me," Orla lifted the machine until it came into view, Ronon walked forward and took the laptop smiling at the pretty scientist.
"Thanks," was all Ronon replied, he nodded to Sheppard and headed back to his quarters to stow the item away safely.
The large group started their trek to the botany lab.
Kirin, McKay, Beckett, Zelenka, Major Lorne and the orb were all residing in the botany lab awaiting the girl's arrival.
"Major Lorne, I know you've told me already but I can't help but worry. The council, are you sure they did not seem agitated or conspiratorial when you informed them of my delay?" Kirin asked the man whose return from Dalaran had been recent and uneventful.
"Kirin, the council accepted the reasoning and to be honest I don't think any of them really wanted to be in your shoes and walk back at night either. They know you're in Atlantis with the orb. There's nothing they can do, they only have the Alpha site address not the direct line as it were. Everything will be okay, I promise. I'll even take you back with a team myself if the Colonel okays it," the Major hoped the man would feel relieved, he'd come to like Kirin a lot, the man was a saint. He'd not once lost his temper with McKay; he stated the council's actions had trained him well for McKay.
"Thank you, I'd appreciate it very much. You and your team would of course be most welcome to stay in my home if you wished," Kirin excitedly offered,
"Thanks Kirin, but if everything's okay at your end we'll probably start back to Atlantis but we'll see what the Colonel wants first," Lorne smiled at the man almost wishing he'd stay.
The botany lab doors opened and the noise poured into the lab before its creators did.
Sheppard and Lieutenant Wilkinson arrived with the twenty two young girls nobody really sure what to do next.
"Ladies, find a place to sit. We made sure there's enough chairs for you all, you're gonna be here a while," Sheppard watched the girls making sure he had all twenty two.
The noise periodically rose to a level requiring the Colonel to intervene and calm the girls down, especially when Ronon joined the men anxiously waiting for the orb to do its thing. He'd walked in and hollered at Sheppard that they could be heard almost two corridors away.
As it approached the hour the accident had occurred everyone grew nervous, not just the women but even Kirin. He placed the orb into the four legged stand Radek had dropped it into a week ago. Kirin then placed it on a work space nearest the girls.
"Doc you ready just in case?" Sheppard asked Dr. Beckett his leadership skills taking over the situation.
"Aye Colonel, I've got a few bits here but the infirmary has been set up for a major trauma just in case," Beckett answered truly hoping he wouldn't be needed.
Sheppard activated his ear piece, "Mr. Woolsey, sir. This is Sheppard," the Colonel called out. "Yes sir, its a few minutes before the orb's due to activate again. Just wanted to check in and let you know everything's a go here, sir," Sheppard explained to the leader of the Atlantis expedition.
Mr. Woolsey had decided to stay in his office in case anything further went wrong. They couldn't have both the civilian and military leaders in attendance when they weren't sure what was actually going to happen.
"Do you think we'll be friends when we change back?" Orla voiced what the other three girls had all been thinking.
"I would like to think so, we became friends easily, why would we not as adults?" Teyla remarked using her infinite logic once more.
"Yeah, hope so. It's only been a week but I'm gonna miss you all," Laura admitted swallowing harder than usual not wanting to cry.
"I'm gonna miss you all, I hope we're friends after…," Jennifer turned her head trying to stem the tears welling in her eyes.
"You know I bet we are, I wish we'd remember how much we liked each other just in case then we could… make sure we're friends," Orla was struggling with her own tears as she watched her three friends fight their own emotions.
"Ladies, it's nearly time. We don't know if the orb will work dead on one week or if it will happen a few minutes after. I guess what I'm saying is be patient, this will end," Sheppard repeated more for himself than the girls sitting about the lab.
Sheppard retreated back to where Ronon and McKay were standing, space was limited this was the botany labs not the gate room or gym.
"Ever feel like you're watching a pot boil?" Sheppard looked at McKay with Ronon staring at him in complete confusion.
"Come on guys, you gotta have heard the expression a watched pot never boils,"
Sheppard started to regret using the saying at all. He felt they were watching a pot that wouldn't boil.
"Why wouldn't it boil, it's on the fire right?" Ronon tried to understand the strange comment the Colonel had made.
"Ronon, it's a stupid saying we have on Earth called "an old wives tale," it just means that because you watching the pot rather than doing something else it seems to take longer. It doesn't," McKay elaborated
"You people talk in riddles too much," Ronon grumbled he was tired and starting to reach the end of his patience.
"No, just Sheppard," McKay threw in earning a sneer from the Colonel.
"Colonel Sheppard," Kirin called out not taking his eyes off the orb.
"Kirin, what's up?" Sheppard eagerly asked as he approached the man guarding the orb on its stand.
"Shush please… can you hear it, the humming?" Kirin asked a smile appearing on his face, the time had come.
The men had stopped talking on hearing Kirin's words.
"It's humming," Sheppard broke into a smile looking back at his friends, this was it.
Everyone braced themselves, not sure what would happen only that whatever it was was imminent. The anticipation of the people within the lab was tangible; people looked at each other with a smile and just a hint of trepidation.
A huge sound wave exploded out of the orb moving outwards fast hitting the women seated making them feel as though they'd been physically struck leaving them looking stunned and grasping at themselves for the injury they'd felt they'd surely sustained.
Sheppard and Ronon reacted instinctively noting all the male Atlantis staff and Kirin were fine, it had been just the girls who'd been affected by what sounded like a massive sound wave.
The men moved forward to the stunned women looking about their surroundings confused.
Sheppard reached Teyla, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder he gently asked, "Teyla?" the anticipation almost too much.
"John, what's going on?" she replied looking at the Colonel for answers.
"How old are you Teyla?" Sheppard asked gingerly unsure how'd she react.
"You know how old I am John, in your years thirty," Teyla was truly confused, it appeared the Colonel had lost his memory.
Ronon moved quickly over to Orla's side looking her over for any physical injury.
"Ronon, I thought you were on the mainland with the Colonel and Rodney? What are you doing here?" was all she managed to ask before the giant Satedan gave his Orla a toothy grin. He bent forward encompassed her in his muscular arms and picked her up so she was level with him, then he kissed Orla passionately not caring who saw.
Ronon stopped kissing Orla for a moment before nuzzling into her saying, "I missed you, little one."
Rodney moved toward Jennifer's side anxious for her reaction to him. He was never as sure of himself as people like Ronon and Sheppard. He'd always worried that without the looks and physicality of men like his team members, women would dismiss him, Jennifer hadn't. She'd opened up to him like no woman he'd known.
"Jennifer," Rodney whispered almost forgetting how to speak.
"Rodney, thank god. What's happened?" Jennifer swiveled in her chair to face the scientist. Rodney knelt down at Jennifer's side reaching for the woman. Jennifer laced her arms about Rodney's neck and buried her face in the crook of his neck.
Beckett strode toward Laura not sure how she'd be, but certain she'd not kick him again. As he approached the woman his confidence wavered slightly, did she want him coming over to her? At that point Laura smiled at the Scotsman jumped up and ran into the open arms of her lover, Carson.
"Oh lass, I've so missed yer," Beckett smiled at the beautiful face of the woman in his arms.
"We haven't been anywhere?" Laura laughed and snuggled closer to the Doctor.
"Mr. Woolsey, this is Sheppard. We seem to have resumed normality. Dr. Beckett and his team will be performing scans and examinations before releasing all the women to their quarters. It'll be a few days yet before any resumption of normal duties can take place. It means that Kirin will be able to go home, orb included tomorrow." Sheppard explained with relief evident in his voice.
TBC... Please review