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“What does that do?”

Lorne picked up yet another device from the lab table.

“We are not sure of that one, either,” Zelenka sighed, walking over to take it from Lorne and replace it on the workstation. “That is why, Major, we have it over here where we don’t touch it much,” he added very pointedly.

Zelenka had asked for Lorne’s assistance in testing what the Ancients listed as a diagnostic tool. Unfortunately, the extent of that assistance was lots of sitting around interrupted by occasionally touching the egg-shaped object. Lorne was bored.

“What about this one?”

Zelenka glared.


Prior to joining the Atlantis Expedition, Lorne read every mission report downloaded to the SGC. So, when the inhabitants of M7G-677 invited Radek back to their planet as the Grand Marshall for their annual Harvest Celebration and Sheppard assigned him to accompany the scientist, Lorne knew what to expect. He laid out specific instructions to the Marines at the mission brief.

“Stand clear of the natives at all times and do not engage unless given a direct order,” he wrapped up. “Clear?”

“Clear, sir,” the soldiers echoed up.

“Ready, Dr. Zelenka?”

“No,” Radek answered honestly.

Lorne grinned. “Let’s move out!”


“Alright, kids,” Lorne intervened out of pity. “Let’s give nice Dr. Zelenka a break, okay?” he suggested in a ‘I’m nice but I’m in charge here’ voice.

Radek shot him a look of gratitude as the children of M7G-677 reluctantly put their face paints down.

“Russel, Pratt!” Lorne barked.

The two Marines hurried over.

“Russel, download your gear to Pratt,” Lorne instructed.

After Russel handed over his weapons to Pratt, Lorne told him to go play with the kids.


“Go. Play. That’s an order, Marine,” Lorne repeated.

Russel swallowed hard and waded fearfully into the throng of smiling children.
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