blue flamingos

Old-Fashioned Methods

Fandom:

Category/Rated: Gen, PG

Year/Length: 2008/ ~3843 words

Pairing: Teyla Emmagan, Laura Cadman

Spoilers: Common Ground

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: Some things in Pegasus are very predictable; that's probably why Laura's not surprised when they all get thrown in jail

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

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It's the Colonel's first mission since he got captured and tortured by the Genii and Laura's team is up to accompany them. She didn't see it happening, was off-world with her own team at the time, but she's heard enough about it to understand why everyone's a bit twitchy about sending his team through the gate without back-up.

Even Sheppard seems to get it, or at least Laura assumes he does, since he never usually gives in to Dr Weir on anything concerning the military unless he wants to, and there's no other explanation for why her team have been drafted along on this mission.

"So, is it an honor to be chosen for this," Li asks as they make their way down to the gate-room, "or more of a 'someone's got to do it' thing?"

"Bit of both," Laura tells her cheerfully. It's an honor in the sense that her team are usually only sent to planets that have already been cleared, mainly because Dr Metcalfe is a historical anthropologist, which isn't a lot of use on first contact missions; it's also, as Lorne had said when he'd handed her the briefing pack, one of those jobs that no-one wants, which he's given to her team mainly because he knows she won't complain about it.

Sometimes, being friends with your direct superior is more of a pain than a perk.

"And I notice Dr Metcalfe isn't joining us," Cooper says, though she smiles sunnily when Laura looks at her, like Laura won't have noticed the inexplicable (she knows, she's tried to explicate it) animosity between the two women over the last year.

"Hey, if you think an in-depth knowledge of the history of three of the major five Pegasus cultures will be useful if we get shot at, feel free to go get her from her office," she says. "Otherwise, I'd certainly appreciate it if we came across to Colonel Sheppard as a bit more like Marines and a bit less like we're worried about breaking a nail defending him and his team."

Li gives the fingers of her left hand an exaggerated look. "You mean yesterday wasn't a good day to get a manicure?" she asks dryly. "Now you tell me."

"What can I say?" Laura asks. "Gotta be prepared for anything around here."

"Don't remind me," Cooper grumbles, but she salutes Sheppard sharply when they get into the gate-room.

Sheppard waves it away like he always does – most of them have managed to break themselves of the habit, but Cooper never has, or maybe has never tried. She's got kind of strict ideas about what is and isn't appropriate, the kind that make Laura wonder some days why she's still in the city.

McKay groans when he finally looks up from his life signs detector. "Great. The city's military commander and its chief scientist are putting themselves in mortal peril – again – and they're sending us a tap-dancing, bomb-happy Marine as protection."

"Aw, McKay, you say the sweetest things," Laura tells him, meaning it; if he really believed his criticisms, he wouldn't say anything, just chalk her up as not worth his time. "Just for that, I'll personally throw myself in front of any bullets meant for you."

"At least someone appreciates my importance," McKay mutters, mollified. The Colonel gives her a raised eyebrow, and Laura grins back; like McKay, he gives praise in ways you have to learn to look for.

"This everyone?" he asks. "Okay, Sergeant, dial it up."

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P7F 498 is, like around eighty percent of the planets they visit (Sergeant Andreas is keeping statistics, but Laura hasn't looked in a while; it's depressing to realize that her team is actually dropping in the 'interesting/bizarre happenings off-world' stakes) green and forested and not looking too much like it's going to net them any interesting technology, let alone another ZPM, which, seriously, it would have killed the Ancients to leave a map, maybe some clues when they left the galaxy? It's not like they didn't know the expedition was coming, after all.

McKay peers down at his life-signs detector then points straight ahead, down the path of well-trodden grass. "I'm getting a faint energy signature coming from that direction."

"No kidding," Li mutters.

"What?" McKay asks, glaring at her.

"Nothing, sir." Li gives him a sweet smile and McKay huffs, looking away. Laura's private theory is that Li's so tiny, McKay worries she'll break; Laura hasn't gotten around to telling him that she's a black belt in krav maga yet. "Should have brought Helena after all," she adds to Cooper.

Dr Metcalfe and her department are drawing up a population map of the planets in Pegasus, based on a whole lot of sociological factors that Laura's given up trying to remember, with some idea about plotting the spread of development and migration. If there's an actual population on this planet, she'll demand either a visit or that the rest of the team answer a whole lot of questions about things like whether they use two or tree utensils for meals and if there's any evidence of a class system.

"Take a few notes, if you can," Laura tells Cooper, who nods.

"Any time today," McKay grumbles, not looking up from his PDA but still clearly addressing Colonel Sheppard. "Or if we're just going to stand around by the gate, I'll leave you to it and get back to something more important like, I don't know, trying to make sure we don't all die next time the Wraith attack."

"Seriously, don't you ever need to breathe?" Laura asks. McKay doesn't even bother looking over, but Laura thinks she sees a tiny smile flicker over Teyla's face.

"Okay," Sheppard says. "Let's go see what's causing McKay's mysterious energy signature this time. Straight down here?"

"Yes. A dead straight line. Even you should be able to manage that, Colonel."

"And I'm sure you'll point it out to me the moment I don't," Sheppard says.

McKay ends up leading, with Ronon close beside him, and Sheppard lets Li and Cooper follow him, after giving Laura a clear raised eyebrow of do you have to?. Her return eyebrow of yes, because Major Lorne will kill me if I let you get captured again, and then Dr Weir will resurrect me so she can do the same apparently gets the message across clearly.

Teyla falls back to take their six with Laura, scanning the right side of the path as Laura watches the left.

"I am glad that your team has joined us for this excursion," Teyla says after a few moments.

"Uh, thank you," Laura says stupidly. It's not like Teyla never speaks to her – they see each other most weeks in Dr Heightmeyer's tai chi class, for one thing – but she thinks maybe she was expecting to be treated as a glorified body guard, and mostly ignored by Sheppard's team. "I guess physics jargon will be a nice change from anthropology stuff."

"You do not enjoy your current assignment?" Teyla asks.

"No, God, no, it's great. I didn't mean –" She stops when Teyla gives her another of those small smiles. "Okay, so you were just doing that to wind me up, weren't you?"

"A little," Teyla says innocently. "At least Dr Metcalfe's work is perhaps easier to understand than Dr McKay's."

"Of course it is!" McKay yells back to them. "Because what she's doing doesn't require years of advanced mathematical training, just an ability to tick boxes."

"Which may explain why your team gets imprisoned due to a diplomatic misunderstanding 3.24 times more often than mine," Laura yells back. "Um, with all due respect, sir," she adds when Sheppard turns to look at her.

He shrugs. "She might have a point there, Rodney. If you didn't keep trying to blow off the greeting ceremonies to go chasing after... what was it last time?"

"I believe Dr McKay traced the source to several children's games," Teyla says.

"Right." Sheppard nods. "Sure to help in our continued existence if we're ever attacked by bored five year olds."

"I'll remember that next time we all become Wraith food because you were more concerned with fulfilling some ridiculous ceremonial requirement than tracking an energy source, and we miss out on the ZPM that would have saved all of our lives," McKay says.

"At least you'll have something to comfort you while you're in a cocoon waiting to be eaten," Laura says cheerfully, and that, of course, is when the bushes rustle and twelve men armed with something that looks like a cross between a rifle and a crossbow appear on the edges of the path.

"Uh, Lieutenant," Sheppard says, eyes locked on one of their apparently would-be captors. "I don't like to criticize in the middle of a mission, but isn't this what we brought you along to prevent?"

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Their captors – because of course Laura's right about this, they never get abruptly jumped by a gang of people who are prepared to listen to how they're peaceful explorers armed for their own protection – take them back to town. She doesn't get long to look at it, but apparently these people have progressed to two-storey buildings, and also zippers, though apparently not to long sleeves or full-length trousers, since everyone she sees, male and female, is dressed in knee-length shorts and t-shirts with elbow-length sleeves.

She'd pay a bit more attention to trying to figure out what the different colors of the uniforms denote, but they're marched rapidly through the main street and into a long, low building, where they're unceremoniously locked up, two to a cell, apart from Ronon and McKay, who get the Colonel as well.

Their captors explained when they were being rounded up that they have trespassed without proper authorization, which Laura takes to mean they need a visa to get onto the planet, and that they will be held for future processing, but they don't say anything else, not even when Laura tells them, as they're slamming the heavy metal door closed, that she'd like her one phone call.

"I do not think they understood the reference," Teyla says when the grating of keys in locks finally stops.

"That's okay – I'd rather put off telling everyone back in Atlantis that I let Colonel Sheppard get taken captive again." Teyla's started one way round the cell, so Laura goes in the opposite direction. Not that it's really wide enough for that to be necessary – she could probably stand in the middle and touch both walls – but the only thing worth investigating is the small window at the top of the wall, and, even standing on each other's shoulders, there's no way they'll be able to reach that high. Perhaps if she was locked in with Ronon...

"There does not appear to be a simple way to escape," Teyla says when they're done.

"Never a secret escape panel when you really need one," Laura agrees. There's no furniture, so she sits cross-legged on the floor and starts unpacking the contents of her vest; they've all been relieved of their weapons and radios, but, luck working a little in their favor for once, been left with the rest of their kit. "I wish we knew exactly why they locked us up," she adds.

"Why?" Teyla asks, sitting opposite her.

"Because I just know McKay's going to turn this into my fault somehow otherwise." Not that he wouldn't have a point – her team was brought along to keep Colonel Sheppard and the others safe, she should have been paying more attention to their surroundings. Obviously just looking wasn't enough, since she didn't even see any movement before they were attacked.

Teyla touches her arm gently. "Laura. You cannot blame yourself for what happened. We were none of us aware of the presence of others until they revealed themselves."

"Thanks," Laura says. It shouldn't make her feel better, but it does, a little bit. She looks down at the little pile of equipment. "You know, if one of us was shot and bleeding, we'd be all set."

"I will try to remember that, should these circumstances arise again," Teyla says dryly. "Perhaps we could blow out the door."

Laura stacks the blocks of C4 on top of each other and balances a blast cap on the pile. "I don't know. It looks like a pretty thick door, and there's not much room in here. We'd probably blow ourselves up as well."

"Perhaps not," Teyla agrees. She puts the power bars, bandages and epi-pen to one side. "And it is some time before we are due to check in with Atlantis."

"You know... not that this isn't a nice enough jail cell, except for having no windows, but it'd be nice if we could rescue ourselves before Atlantis finds out we're missing." Laura grins at Teyla. "Just so that they wouldn't need to worry about us."

"Of course," Teyla says. "And so that Major Lorne would not have to trouble himself with organizing a rescue."

"Right," Laura agrees. "He's a busy man, he doesn't need the hassle."

"No. It would really be the charitable thing to do," Teyla says solemnly and Laura thinks, 'I could get used to working with her.'

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The door, sadly, though not surprisingly, proves unmovable without something tougher than their own fingers, and the wall doesn't provide much (or anything) by way of handholds to get up to the window. Laura thinks seriously about trying to blow a hole in the wall, but gives it up in the end, because, as Teyla points out, they don't know if there's anything better on the other side, and it would be humiliating to bring down the entire jail and cause themselves serious injury during their escape attempt.

They've been locked up for an hour and a half, with another three hours to go before check-in, and Laura's starting to think that their captors knew what they were doing when they left everyone with their vests.

"All this equipment," she grumbles, poking at the two piles (might be useful versus is totally useless and can be left behind during the heroic escape), "and none of it is any good for getting us out of here. I think the frustration might actually drive me mad before the captivity does. No offence."

"None taken," Teyla assures her. "I too would prefer to be elsewhere." She looks down at their stuff, then at the door, then turns to Laura. "I believe we will have to resort to old-fashioned methods."

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Since Teyla has the superior hand-fighting skills, she gets to play the victim, draping herself artfully on the floor and chewing on a handful of energy tablets to provide a reasonable facsimile of foaming at the mouth.

"Ready?" Laura asks.

"Ready," Teyla agrees.

"Here goes nothing," Laura mutters, and starts pounding on the door. It vibrates slightly, so it's probably not as solid as it looks, but it's too late to try a different plan now. "Hey! Guards! We need some help in here!" She glances at Teyla, who nods encouragingly. "Hey! Help! My friend's sick. Really sick. We need medical attention." She pauses, trying to hear for someone coming. "Come on, you seem like decent people. You don't want her to die in here. Our people will come looking for us, and they won't just bring guns. Hey! Help! Guards! Gua –"

"Shut up!" yells a voice from the other side of the door, followed by the scrape of a key in a lock.

"Hurry up!" Laura calls back. "She's really sick."

They unlock the door a lot faster than they locked it, and Laura catches a quick glimpse of two more guards in the small corridor as two push past her into the cell. Teyla, timing it perfectly, clutches at her stomach and lets some of the chewed up tablets drool from the corner of her mouth. "Please help me," she moans, and Laura would absolutely be convinced if she didn't know better.

The guards clearly are, one moving to crouch beside her as the other stands behind him, turned towards Teyla and away from Laura. "Tell me what hurts," the guard says.

"Here," Teyla says, grabbing his wrist to bring his hand to her stomach. Over his shoulder, Laura catches her eye, and Teyla yanks on the guard's wrist, pulling him forward and off-balance. Both guards yell, then Laura gets her arm round the other one's neck, hand over his mouth.

"Move an inch and I'll snap your neck," she hisses in his ear, and he freezes. Laura reaches down and plucks his weapon from the holster, checking quickly for anything that might be a safety release.

There's a crash from the floor, followed by a yelp of pain. Teyla looks up from where she's sitting astride the other guard, his weapon in one hand, and smiles, not at Laura, but at the door. "I would not do that if I were you," she says calmly.

The two guards in the door have their weapons out, both aimed at Teyla. "You think you could hit us first?" one of them asks. He looks younger than Laura, and she'd bet that he's never even fired the gun, certainly not outside of a training scenario.

"I believe I could, yes. Also, my friend would likely kill your colleague before you could reach her."

Laura gives them her best don't-fuck-with-me glare and tightens her hold on the guard's neck a fraction.

"I would prefer to propose an arrangement," Teyla says calmly. "As I do not believe you have called for assistance, we can end this without unnecessary bloodshed. In exchange for your keys and your cooperation, we will lock the four of you in here to await rescue. I am certain this will not take too long."

"If you're really nice, we might even tell someone in the town on our way back to the gate," Laura adds. They'll probably be too busy running for their lives, but stranger things have happened.

"Perhaps," Teyla agrees, though her smile says they shouldn't count on it. "We will also need you to tell us where you have placed the remainder of our equipment."

"And we're just supposed to let you walk out of here?" the young guard asks.

"I believe you would suffer more than us were we to resort to shooting," Teyla says. "You have seen how easily these two were over-powered."

"Also, I think he might like to breathe," Laura adds. "Though the blue's kind of fetching."

Her guard gives a well-timed wheeze as she says it, even though she's nowhere close to actually cutting off his air supply, and the other two guards' eyes widen a little. Teyla's guard seems to be unconscious.

"You swear you'll leave and not come back?" the younger guard asks, lowering his gun a fraction.

"Of course," Teyla says serenely, and Laura takes the moment of distraction, shoving her guard at the older, who automatically lowers his gun to catch him. Teyla picks up on it, launching herself at the younger guard, slamming his gun hand back into the wall and, in a move Laura would never have expected from Teyla, kneeing him in the groin.

He goes down in a whimpering heap, and then she and Teyla are in the corridor, armed with alien guns and two sets of keys. "Thank you for your cooperation," Teyla says, and slams the door closed on the four guards.

The scrape of the locks is very satisfying when they're the ones doing the locking.

"You've got –" Laura says when they're done, touching the corner of her mouth.

Teyla dabs away the remains of the tablets. "Thank you. I find I am feeling much better suddenly."

The desk turns up their weapons in a drawer, and a diagram of the six cells, the three in use helpfully marked Occupied, though not with names.

"Flip you for it?" Laura asks, not that it will do her any good.

Teyla smiles. "I will take the cell on the left. I believe Dr McKay was placed in that one."

Laura doesn't even know why she's surprised when she opens the cell on the right and finds Ronon and Colonel Sheppard poised for a fight on the other side, McKay half a step behind them.

"It's about time, Lieutenant," Sheppard says.

"Sorry, sir. I guess you were just waiting for the perfect moment to implement your cunning plan," Laura says, holding the door for the three of them to leave.

"Of course," Sheppard agrees. "Never under-estimate the importance of timing."

"No, sir."

"If you two are done with your little comedy routine," McKay grumbles. "Some of us haven't eaten in hours and are in serious danger of falling into a hypoglaecemic attack -"

"Here," Laura says, handing over one of their supply of power bars. Not that she expects it to help her in the long-run, but at least it will put an end to that rant. "I'm just saying, sir, for the record, you owe us one."

"I do?" Sheppard nods to Teyla, who hands over his radio and weapons with a smile. "Why's that?"

"Tradition." Laura looks Li and Cooper over, both of them nodding that they're fine. "Major Lorne and I trade off on off-world rescues, and now you owe me and Teyla for rescuing you. Messing with the system otherwise."

"Frankly," McKay says around his power bar, "Rescuing us all is the least you could do, since you helped get us captured in the first place. Can we get out of here now?"

"The exit is this way, Dr McKay," Teyla says, and catches Laura's eye and smiles.

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Laura doesn't see Teyla for the rest of the week, not until they're both changing into their gym clothes for tai chi.

"I see Dr McKay has not exacted any of his proposed punishments on you," Teyla comments.

"He tried," Laura assures her. "But I can run faster. Plus, I think Colonel Sheppard pointed out that Major Lorne might have been sent to rescue us if we hadn't done it ourselves, so he shut up."

"Dr McKay does have quite a lot of money 'riding' on our team winning the league of fewest missions without a rescue party being sent," Teyla agrees.

"Whatever works," Laura says, finally finding a hair tie in the bottom of her locker and pulling her hair back. "Was nice being captured with you though."

"You as well," Teyla says. "We make a good team."

"We do," Laura agrees. "And, hey, we're scheduled to accompany you guys again next week."

"Practice makes perfect," Teyla says.

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Laura ends up getting locked in with Li and Cooper on P9D 481; she's halfway to Teyla's cell when Teyla comes the other way with her team.

"Apparently you are no more in need of rescue than us," Teyla says, half-turned to McKay and just a little bit smug, and McKay groans and says, "God, now she'll never shut up about it."


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