The Dangers Inherent in Consuming Alien Comestibles

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Carson was establishing baseline human vital signs for one of the Ancient machines recently identified as medical technology when the quiet was broken by the wail of the gate alarm. His eyes flew to the chronometer, confirming what he'd suspected; there wasn't a team due back for hours yet. His hand was halfway to his radio when it chirped at him. "Beckett," he answered crisply. "How bad is it?"

"They're fine, Dr. Beckett," Weir told him via the radio.

Rodney's voice was in the background, but unmistakable. "I'm not fine! I'm having some sort of...of reaction! This is not fine!"

Putting down the emergency kit he'd automatically grabbed, Carson could only grin at the stridency in Rodney's voice. If he was angry, he was alright. It was when that panicked, words rolling over each other babble that Carson knew he had to worry. Rodney's voice over the radio link faded, presumably as someone led him away from Weir and towards the infirmary.

"Can you give me a little warning on what's got Rodney in such a lather?" he asked Weir.

There was a slight pause. "I think you have to see this, doctor," she responded. There was a definite hint of amusement in her voice.

"Right," he sighed and switched off the radio link. He really would have preferred to know right away--something that didn't seem serious to an observer might prove very serious to a doctor--but he knew that tone of voice. Insisting would only give him an alarmist reputation. More than he already had, anyway. Besides, they'd arrive in just a moment.

Sure enough, Rodney's impatient tones soon preceded him into the infirmary. "We could have just left," he was sniping, "but no, you had to play it up. Visitor from another planet, leader of our merry band, gracious in the face of their awe."

"Rodney," Carson interrupted...and then cut himself short as his friend walked into the infirmary.

Rodney was purple. Not his clothes. His skin. Every exposed area was flushed a rather attractive lavender shade. "Rodney," Carson managed at last. "You're...purple."

"I'm aware of that, thank you," Rodney snapped. He stalked over to one of the exam beds and hitched himself up onto it. "Well?"

Swallowing a chuckle, Carson stepped up to him and folded his arms thoughtfully. "Have you got any other symptoms?"

Rodney glared over Carson's shoulder, presumably at Sheppard, Teyla, and Ford. Carson knew they'd accompanied him--teammates always did--but he didn't dare turn to look at them. If one of them was smiling... "No," Rodney answered shortly.

"And the color?" Carson prodded.

Rodney switched his glare to Carson, who had to swallow back a giggle when he realized that Rodney was actually beginning to go even more purple. Really, he was rather...magenta, when he was angry.

"What about the color?" Rodney demanded.

"How, uh, far...down does it go?" Carson managed, fixing his eyes. Ducking his head, Rodney muttered his answer. "Sorry, Rodney," Carson prompted, almost apologetically, "I didn't quite catch that."

"I said all the way, okay?"

Carson almost managed to choke back the laughter. He swore he'd have succeeded if it weren't for the snickering that suddenly erupted behind him. Rodney just looked so offended and he'd gone quite literally purple in the face... The giggles just burst forth, stealing Carson's breath. Rodney's disgruntled pout and the way his swung his legs back and forth in his impatience didn't help at all. Leaning forward, Carson braced his hands on his thighs and gasped for air between fits of giggles.

"Sure, laugh it up," Rodney said sourly. "I'm having some kind of reaction over here."

Sucking in a few long breaths, Carson managed to rein in the giggles. "I'm sorry, love," he said, wiping tears of laughter off his cheeks. "I think I needed that." He took one more breath. "So, how did this happen?"

"I believe it was something he ate," Teyla interjected softly. "The villagers held a feast in our honor. I felt it was...diplomatically important that we attend. Major Sheppard agreed with me."

Rodney shot her a venomous look. "If it was something we ate, why aren't either of you purple?"

Carson had to choke back another giggle. He cleared his throat. "Ah, Rodney, we do know that your metabolism is a little more delicate than the others. I suspect this is a mild allergic reaction." Reaching for a syringe to draw some blood was a familiar routine, calming to his giggles. "I'll draw some blood to be sure, but it should wear off on its own."

The look Rodney shot him was horrified. "You mean I have to walk around Atlantis like this?"

"You already have," Sheppard pointed out helpfully.

"I realize that. I'd like to not do it again, thank you very much."

Sheppard just grinned. "We should report to Weir."

"You three can report to Weir," Rodney said obstinately. "I'm going to wait here for my test results."

"Of course," Teyla said graciously, cutting off whatever Ford had been about to say. She inclined her head slightly. "Doctor."

"Teyla," he acknowledged, and watched as she led the rest of the team out of the infirmary. When he turned back to Rodney, the man was still pouting. Carson rested a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry for laughing," he said sincerely.

Rodney heaved a sigh. "I guess it is kind of funny," he admitted grudgingly. "But why did it have to be purple?"

"God is an iron," Carson said, lips quirking.

Rodney's eyes narrowed. "Because committing gluttony makes you a glutton, and committing felony makes you a felon..." he rattled off. "They're my books, remember? Spider Robinson is a Canadian author. Are you ever going to give those back?"

"He started out American," Carson said evasively.

"He had the good sense to emigrate," Rodney waved dismissively. "So?"

Carson grinned. "You can have them back when you're not purple anymore," he said, retreating towards his office.

Rodney sat bolt upright. "Wait! Does that mean this could take days? Carson? Carson!"