Special thanks to ToraK for beta and Inbetween for inspiration. Decidated to my brother, with whom I have interesting conversations about NID recruitment procedure
They’d been looking for the off switch to the Ancient air freshener (and let’s face it, if you don’t know about the Ancient Air Freshening Device, you’re probably the envy of most of Atlantis at this point. It might also explain why you don’t know about Them, you know - or rather you don’t know - The Superunderpants); they’d deliberately not taken the Colonel along. Rodney had maintained that the Colonel was probably more danger than help right now, and, as they were rummaging frantically in the Ancient Junk Cupboard, the rest of the team had to agree.
When Rodney had told Sheppard that, no, he couldn’t come look; he’d just got a vicious glare and a “see, if I want to play the Prime Not Prime game when you inevitably get stuck,” which had done nothing for Zelenka’s nerves.
Then everyone jumped as oxygen masks fell from the ceiling, and Rodney danced the dance of “Ha! My point!” while the rest of them looked at the masks longingly. They only seemed to have fallen in the command centre, and it wasn’t as if they could open any of the vast polarised windows, since Air Con, as everybody knows, works best as a sealed system.
The Ancients, being better at everything than everyone including Dr Rodney McKay, had taken this to extremes, which is why nobody could get out Atlantis except by Puddlejumper. And the scent of hibiscus flowers and jasmine was beginning to get a little wearing.
And Rodney was convinced it was setting off his allergies and had demanded that Carson dosed him up to his eyeballs with anti-histimines and come along just in case somebody else on the team developed an unforeseen allergy. That and so the doctor could open any particularly stubborn doors. Kind of ignoring that when there were stubborn doors, there were invariably things that made even the Ancients nervous.
Like the flocks of flying squid, still colonising the outer piers.
There was a muffled “thwump!” and everyone jumped, and Rodney dived under the command deck.
It looked like the flying squid might cease to be a problem.
But, then, how far different were the members of the expedition from flying squid?
By the time they’d arrived in the storeroom, on the basis that the least likely place to find something is probably de facto the most likely, and maybe the Ancients liked to place things out of the reach of smaller Ancients, or more likely out of the reach of militaristic archaeologist squatters; Miko was sneezing, Carson was setting off stray bits of ancient technology and the Marine brought along for heavy lifting was sporting a new haircut. He was lucky, his colleague currently resembled a small amphibian, save one large enough to fill a room.
Rodney had begrudgingly let Zelenka stay there and try to figure out the Ancient Device That Turns The Unwary Into Amphibians’ deactivation process. Nobody was entirely sure why the Ancients would want to be very large amphibians, and like the very large bed on level B-6 that made Miko’s eyes grow wide and dark, it probably involved sex. For a bunch of people into turning into beings of pure energy and thought, the Ancients sure seemed a little too interested in the pleasures of the flesh.
Maybe being Ascended was secretly kinky, Rodney resolved to corner Daniel Jackson at the next available opportunity, which was currently millions of light years away.
They really needed that ZedPM, Rodney decided, or they might never be able to share their bounteous insight into the wonders of the universe. From the looks he was getting from Carson, Miko, and the Marine with the blue rinse dreadlocks, Rodney had probably said that aloud, as well as the bit where he said that they’d distinctly under-packed underpants and the remaining ones in stores might be fine for military brutes but they were damaging his delicate equipment.
There was a strange silence, and then, something beeped.
Rodney almost landed on the Ancient Synthesia Device and almost trod the Ancient Mind Joiner for Super Sexy Orgasms underfoot, though in his defence it looked like a device for removing warts and other unwanted protuberances.
And the strange glowing device on the other side of the room made a final half-hearted beep and then, floating in the middle of the room, was Rodney’s heart’s desire.
Underpants of undeniable coolness.
Beckett took one look at the joy flowering upon Rodney’s face, “Rodney, no! Remember the last time you put something the Ancients left lying around on!,” he paused, Rodney seemed beyond reason and Miko sensing this, had covered her eyes, “Rodney, your fantastic brain is too young to die!” as Rodney began to shuck off his BDUs and display his underwear preference of the moment, “Rodney! Think of the coffee! And powerbars!” and nothing seemed to work.
Even though, by his profession Carson was no stranger to the human form, he would rather not have known that Rodney had resorted to going commando in the face of marine-issue briefs. Or the way Rodney’s already ample behind made a strange heart shape as he bent over to pull up the Underwear Of the Ancients.
The Marine looked rather too interested and Carson wondered what else that Device had done, besides the Marine’s hair.
Carson had to admit that they fit nicely, even if he wouldn’t ever go for yellow with some strange pattern, which Carson was sure he could discern if only he got closer, only he didn’t want to encourage the poor Marine-lad.
Carson also had to admit that the expected screaming didn’t happen.
Rodney just pulled his pants on again, settled with tying his boots together and slinging them around his neck, and tip-toed delicately in his socked feet and promptly picked out not only the appropriate switch, but an instruction manual and a device that would vacuum away the remaining pockets of scent.
And if that wasn’t surprising enough, they actually worked, once they’d got out with the still-amphibious marine in tow and Zelenka muttering disgruntledly under his breath that you’d think he wanted to stay a giant frog. And while they were celebrating, the Marine had wandered off in the direction of the west pier to eat some flying squid. Zelenka and the blue-haired Marine gave rather ineffective chase carrying the Amphibious Reversal Device.
That evening, Carson, having failed to persuade the still not talking Sheppard even after offering him all of his hair gel, wandered casually into the labs so that he could just happen to see Rodney.
“Rodney, bairn, are ye alright?” he asked, still nervous that he might end up with more unexpected side effects to treat, or worse still, more demands for amphetamine shots and high dose vitamin C.
Rodney looked up from the Ancient Manual he’d been perusing at what Carson considered frankly uncanny speed, “No, everything’s fine, Carson, have some coffee.”
That was unusually nice, for Rodney, and well, Carson didn’t really want to upset him but, well, he still needed to know, “Rodney, you know well as I do that the Ancients wouldn’t just make underpants. They’d have made underpants with spare nuclear death-rays, or really kinky sex devices, or more death-rays, and areyousuretheycomeoff?”
“Is that it? That’s why you want to see me?” Rodney smiled, it made Carson nervous, particularly since there was no jello in sight, “They come off fine, I’ve checked, and I know exactly what they do.”
“Rodney, what do they do?”
“Come here,” Rodney said and pointed at a bit of Ancient text no more discernable from the rest of the scrawl than you might expect, and Carson leant over his shoulder to get a better look, taking one more swig of the really quite good coffee; it must have been Rodney’s personal stash, “there, it boosts the intellect and gives an increased sense of calm simply by suppressing the male libido. Just think of all the work I can get done! Increased productivity! No wasted brain power!”
And as it turned out, that work began with removing coffee stains from the Ancient Beginner’s Guide To Really Quite Useful Technology.