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Learning How To Fly Chapter 4

Chapter Four


Chapter 4


Dean had been cheerfully flirting with yet another female member of McKay’s crew when the doctor dropped a datapad in front of him. Dean glanced at the monitor, saw the many complex mathematics equations and frowned. “What?”

McKay shooed the lovely Dr. Paula Webster away. “How do you make the… Seals?”

“I paint them,” Dean enunciated to the man. He had been fearing this conversation since the hive ship but had hoped that he had dodged the bullet. Apparently, the doctor had a long memory and a huge curiosity. Dean was doomed.


Dean could confuse and confound and just annoy the man until he left without the answers, because Dean knew that McKay would not accept any answer that involved the word ‘magic.’

McKay tapped the computer screen. “But how?”

“I just do.”

“Are you telling me that you don’t know why they work?”

“Do you know why force fields work?”

“Of course.” McKay opened his mouth to further explain and Dean interrupted before he could get a good head of steam.

“Bad example. Well, I don’t. I just install them.”

“You know all of the components. You should know why they work. I’ve studied both the one around the gate and the one protecting the barracks. Both emit low levels of energy, but I assume that that would change once a wraith is trapped inside. There is no way that we are going to bring a wraith to Atlantis for those experiments, so you are going to have to tell me why they work.”

“Dude, I don’t think anyone knows that.”

McKay looked a little bit horrified. “But, but…”

“How many elevator operators know why what they’re installing works?”

“I should hope all of them.”

Dean grinned at him. “Dude, are you seriously that naïve? They make those things dummy-proof. And the Seals are practically dummy-proof too.”

Rodney considered that. “So anyone can make them?”

“Once they have the equipment and the training, I don’t see why not,” Dean said carefully. He hadn’t the faintest idea of where Rodney was going with this, but he was slightly scared.

Rodney hmmed and made some notes on his laptop. He looked up. “Where’s your computer?”

“I’m a grunt,” Dean delighted in telling him. “I don’t rate my own computer.”

“Humph.” Rodney thought about his datapad for a moment. “I’ll send a datapad with the equations for force fields to your room. Study it and get back to me when you see something that matches your experiences.”


The genius left without saying ‘goodbye.’ Dean was cursing himself. How the hell was he supposed to know if science equations matched with his magical experience? How the hell was he supposed to understand McKay’s equations?

Dean made the decision then and there to avoid the chain of command as much as possible.

Atlantis was a big, empty place; how hard could it be?


Considering that every member of Atlantis had an earpiece and a locator via the earpiece, Winchester could vanish off the radar when it suited him. That fact had worried John greatly until one of the female members of the science team whispered to him that Winchester was a very skilled and friendly lover that didn’t ‘kiss and tell.’ She mentioned that McKay had humiliated a scientist (in this case, male) who had been pleasurably occupied during the night hours when McKay had decided that he needed the man immediately. Winchester was liked because McKay never found out if they had had company, not even with all the information at the genius’ disposal. John found it amusing that Winchester used his ability to disappear for sex. He felt better after a series of women approached John to provide an alibi for him at certain points of Winchester’s tour of duty. Boy, did that man get around and apparently he was still friends with the females afterward.

John systematically covered various areas where the Marine could be hiding. He wasn’t in the Marine rec area or the gym. Winchester wasn’t in his bunk (and how the hell had a grunt managed to score a single room? Chances were slim that he’d be in any girl’s room since he had a single.) John had ordered McKay to put a sensor on the South Dock that Winchester was known to haunt. It took McKay three days to figure out that Winchester had bypassed the sensor to keep his privacy. Luckily, Winchester told no one about his capabilities, or Rodney’s scorched pride would have made him outthink the Marine before now. As it was, Elizabeth had him working on several high priority projects that kept him busy. John was just waiting for Rodney to have a spare minute, or need a distraction from a current problem. When he did, Winchester would be tagged, like wildlife, and John would know where he was whenever an explosives expert was wanted and not just needed.

That hadn’t happened yet, so John was hunting Winchester the old-fashioned way. He was hoping that when Winchester figured out that the city was helping him, the Marine would finally cave to Weir’s plans. She thought that John was taking care of it as she had ordered. Sometimes, John wasn’t sure that he wanted Winchester to be cornered into having the gene therapy. It would give the man more power over Atlantis. With all of Winchester’s secrets, John didn’t totally trust him. So far, Winchester managed to miss three gene therapy appointments with Carson, mostly because no one had been able to relay that information to the Marine in question in time. Finally, Ohlman hinted to John Sheppard that the explosives expert didn’t like to miss meals. It made sense given the show in the gateroom and Carson’s medical diagnosis. So John arranged for the whole team to have a long lunch the next day. If John sat in a dark corner and worked on paperwork, Winchester could come and go without him noticing and had. John decided to sit out in the open and see if that netted him his slippery fish.

It did.

Winchester spied John before John spied him, as always. The sergeant grabbed a sandwich and a handful of the ‘chocolate chip’ cookies, which actually tasted pretty close to cookies made on Earth. Obviously, they were a favorite within the city. Then, Winchester sat in the dark corner John had previously utilized and scribbled in a notebook. John made a mental note to snag an extra laptop from Rodney’s group for the Marine and worked his way over to the man. He had recruited Ronon’s assistance and the big alien was covering the exits. Teyla contacted Carson and informed him primly that the cookies were available in the mess. Rodney was pretty sure that Winchester was monitoring their calls and John wanted to know how he did that. Why was Elizabeth so determined to trust this Marine? John normally used Teyla and Ronon as barometers of human behavior and both of them thought that Winchester was good for Atlantis. And then there was Lorne’s argument about the weight of O’Neill’s sponsorship.

The Marine had one thing in his favor: Winchester really, really did not want to fly and, before he realized that John was provisionally for Weir’s plan for flight training and the landside explosives lab, had spent over an hour in John’s office explaining why it was a bad idea. John hadn’t smiled when Winchester had boiled down his reason to ‘I’ll freak out like a sissy bitch.’ A person couldn’t fake that kind of sentiment to a pilot. John didn’t understand aviophobia and had been rather unnerved when Winchester had threatened to share it with him. It was impossible for Winchester to do that.

Wasn’t it?

Considering that McKay knew of no logical reason why the Seals worked, John gave the Marine the benefit of the doubt. He still had a job to do though. Winchester needed the gene therapy. He was getting the gene therapy now. John set his food tray beside the young man. Teyla sat across the table. Winchester looked up and his eyes narrowed. John leaned his chair back so it balanced on the back two legs. It easily gated the walkway.

“So,” John started cheerfully. “Are you going to surrender gracefully? Or is this going to get ugly?”

“I don’t fly well.” Winchester was just repeating himself now

John shook his head. “How did you survive the Daedalus trip?”

Winchester turned an interesting shade of white. “Three weeks of hell. Worked myself into exhaustion. Pacosky is a good friend.”

Why had Winchester put himself through that? Why had he requested the transfer out here? O’Neill would have cheerfully kept him at the SGC. “Do you want me to call him over to hold your hand?” John teased.

Winchester relaxed a bit and rolled his eyes. “That won’t be necessary, sir.”


“There ye are,” Carson stood at John’s side. John let his chair fall forward to let the doctor through. Carson smiled at Winchester as the Marine sighed and rolled up his sleeve. Thirty seconds later, Carson was sliding the needle out of Winchester’s arm.

The lights in the mess hall dimmed and something surged through John. When he woke up on the ground, a medical team was hovering over him. He must have been out for a little while. He rolled his head to the side. Carson and Winchester were on the ground being cared for. It hurt like hell but John rolled his head the other way. Through all the tables and chair legs he could see McKay and Lorne also on the ground being taken care of. Bates, the Marine John had chosen as Winchester’s puddlejumper teacher, was also down.

“What happened?” he asked the nurse taking his blood pressure. James was her name, wasn’t it?

“We’re not sure. It only affected gene carriers in the mess and Winchester.”

“Winchester had just gotten the therapy.”

“It takes hours for it to take affect,” James argued.

“Not this time.” There was a weird buzzing in the back of John’s head. Atlantis was noisier than normal. “It was localized to the mess?” he asked.

“Yes, sir.”

“My girl’s got a new favorite.”

The nurse reared back with a look of confusion but that was nothing like the protestation John heard in his head. “Sir?” The nurse looked around for someone to come take care of him.

“It’s fine. It’s fine.” He tried to wave a hand and almost succeeded. “It won’t happen again.”

“Sir, you can’t possibly know that.”

John squinted for a moment before forcing his body into an upward position. “The city was making sure that Winchester would be one of her own.”

James looked thoroughly unnerved and didn’t try to keep him down. She must be new to the city. John smiled and it barely hurt. “Don’t worry about it. Can I get up now?”

“Move slowly, sir, and let me know if you get dizzy or light-headed.”

“No problem.” John propped himself up and did a self inventory. He felt pretty good actually. What had Atlantis done?

The noise level in the mess increased a decibel or three. Rodney was awake. A quick glance around revealed that everyone else was as well. Lorne was being stoic and Bates was trying to get a date out of his nurse. That seemed like a Winchester thing to do. Winchester was too busy fighting with two different doctors and the tension in his body started to worry John. It translated into fight or flight to the career officer. He had seen the Marine’s real fighting scores and his bouts with Ronon. He did not want Winchester to panic now. A shadow fell over John and he looked up –way up. “Ronon, get Winchester out of the corner. Take him to the infirmary, but get him out of that corner.”

Ronon nodded once and stepped over anyone in his way. A quick glance around and then Ronon braced his arms on the long table that was blocking his way and shoved it into the center of the mess hall. Two emergency medical personnel had to jump out of the way. Ronon ignored all the commotion and held a hand out to Winchester on the floor. Winchester accepted the hand and hefted himself to his feet. The doctors protested.

“Hey,” John yelled. Blessed silence. Then Rodney realized that it didn’t pertain to him and immediately started talking again. “Ronon is taking Winchester to the infirmary. You can all poke and prod him there. Understood?”

Everyone nodded and then Beckett murmured to his attending physician. She stood and announced, “All personnel who… felt the affects of the surge are to go directly to the infirmary. We have tests to complete.”

Well, that just messed up John’s day and just about everyone else’s too. Why had Atlantis singled out Winchester? How had Atlantis singled out Winchester?


John hovered at Carson’s shoulder. Like John, the doctor had recovered, enough to take control of his infirmary and to preside over Winchester’s medical tests. The third time that Carson bumped into him and glared, John smiled, “So Doc, can we blow this joint? I wanna take him down to the Chair and see what happens.” If John understood the medical-ese being spoken, they didn’t have a clue why all of the gene carriers fainted, but they were pretty sure it was a one time deal.

Rodney had been near enough to eavesdrop and shamelessly spoke up. “If you’re taking Winchester to the Chair Room, I am going with you. And I’m bringing a science team with me.”

“It’s not a damn picnic,” Winchester grumbled. “I think I’d rather stay here than become the animal in the zoo again.”

John grinned at the beleaguered Marine. “It’s not that bad. Everyone has an audience for their first time in the chair. First several times actually. Now that I think of it, if you’re in the chair and it’s not a life threatening, apocalyptic situation, you will be observed. We have to judge how well you interface with Ancient tech and Atlantis.”

Winchester didn’t look reassured. “Yes, sir.”

There were advantages to giving Marines orders: most of the time, they followed them. John smiled bright and happy. Atlantis burbled in the back of his head, she was happy too.

“So Doc,” John repeated. “Can I take him?”

Carson stepped back and sighed. “I dinnea have a reason to keep him here. I want him observed for the next 24 hours. That stands for the rest of you. All of you are on light duty. You must be in the presence of a non-ATA personnel at all times. If I find you alone, or unreachable,” this glare had an equal measure for both John and Winchester, “I will have the Marines drag you back here. Is that understood?”

“Yes.” “Yes, sir.”

John led Winchester out of the infirmary. McKay was at John’s side, talking to his science team via his earwig. John wasn’t surprised to see Ronon waiting right outside the doors. Carson et al would have tossed him out, but he obviously didn’t want to go far.

Ronon looked over all three of the men and fell in step next to Winchester. “You good?”

Winchester nodded. John said, “yeah.” McKay paused in his orders to Zelenka to complain about a horrendous headache and missing his lunch.

“Wanna spar later?” Dean asked Ronon.


John tossed a serious glare at the Satedan. “Don’t hurt him, Ronon. Fun fighting only. No blood or concussions, or I’ll tattle to Carson.”

Ronon nodded. “I heard what Beckett said.”


The four men were each lost in their own thoughts on the ride down to the Chair Room. Zelenka and a team were waiting with the necessary equipment.

“Ready, Winchester?” John asked.

“No.” He was almost as white as when he had been discussing his fear of flight.

John pushed Winchester into the chair and the chair lit up appropriately. “Don’t worry. We don’t have enough energy for you to get Atlantis in the air.”

“Don’t even think about it,” Rodney snapped. “We’d use all of our ZPMs if the city thought you were serious.”

Winchester was rigid and stiff.

“You need to relax,” John offered.

“No thanks,” Winchester said. “Can we get on with it?”

“Winchester. Relax. That’s an order,” John reworded his statement.

Winchester at least looked a little looser.


“Now,” McKay snapped. “I need you to think about where we are in the universe.”

Winchester squeezed his eyes closed. At first, John figured that nothing was happening. Never before had someone with the ATA gene therapy been able to get the Chair to work the first time sitting down. Hell, Carson had nearly killed John and O’Neill and he had the ATA gene naturally.

Then the air went funny, thick. In the beginning, John was wondering if he should call up Carson and report that the surge had had lasting effects. Then Ronon swung his hand at nothing in the air. John blinked and he watched the air above the Chair turn red and blue and black. The colors seemed to ebb and flow around the room. Honestly, it kinda creeped John out.

When the colors blocked the light, Rodney looked up from the energy readouts. “What the hell is he doing? Winchester, you are supposed to be thinking of where we are in the galaxy.”

“I am,” Winchester said through clenched teeth.

“Winchester,” John took over. “Think about perspective and distance and units and where Atlantis is on your map.”

Instead of lines and dots appearing, white scribbles and arches did. It didn’t look like any star chart that John had ever seen and the scribbles didn’t look like any language, even Ancient. Where were the planets and stars? He asked his question out loud.

“They’re there,” Winchester insisted.

“Oh yeah,” Rodney challenged. “Open your eyes and point them out.”

Winchester opened his eyes and instantly the color-show vanished.

“Don’t stop thinking!” Rodney yelled.

Winchester was trying to get the ‘star chart’ back, but nothing happened with his eyes opened. Once he closed his eyes, the dark ocean of colors returned.

Rodney was grumbling insults. “Stupid Marines. Can’t think and do something at the same time.”

Winchester set his jaw, and the colors grew stronger.

“Winchester, put Atlantis directly above your head in your map.” John directed. The ocean shifted and the black settled in the center of the room, tendrils of black undulated to the walls.

“Winchester, you’re insane,” Rodney declared.

“Does that mean that I can go now?”

Rodney looked at the mysterious symbols and swirling colors. “Obviously, you are not going to be any help in learning about Atlantis. Get out of here, so that I can get real work done.”

Winchester was out of the chair in a flash, the color show disappeared at the same time. One look at Ronon and the two were out the door. John stepped to follow.

“Not so fast, Sheppard,” Rodney called. “I need to see if the surge affected you at all. You, I have a baseline for.”

John sighed, but obeyed. He was halfway curious as well. He resigned himself to a long afternoon.


“Why did you have Atlantis black?” Ronon asked as they walked to the gym.

“You can hide in the dark,” Winchester responded.


“You want to watch monster movies with Pacosky and me tonight?”




“McKay to Winchester, come in Winchester.”

Dean sighed. Why did it have to be McKay? Dean knew better than to push his limits there. McKay wasn’t called a genius because of his ego. If Dean pushed McKay’s patience (what patience?) he would be facing some pretty stiff obstacles. He needed to find a way to get around the man. Manipulating people had always been Sammy’s job. What would Sammy use? Maybe bribery? He closed down his new computer. “Winchester here,” he said as he touched his earpiece. “Over.”

“Finally,” McKay huffed. “Report to the puddlejumper bay immediately.”

Everything was immediately with McKay. “Yes sir. Over and out.”

Dean made a side trip to the mess to gather a bunch of cookies. Nothing with McKay would be short. He managed to eat most of them before arriving. When he walked into the bay, he saw McKay and a bunch of scientists standing around one puddlejumper. Sheppard was there too, but no Weir. Tons of recording equipment scattered throughout the bay. What were they doing that needed his input?

Dean stepped closer and saw the Seal painted on the ramp of the puddlejumper. One of the many places that Sheppard wanted Seals painted but it was down on his list and he still didn’t have the paint from Missouri. He tilted his head at it. “Something’s wrong.”

All of the scientists deflated. “We paint it how you paint one by the gate,” Zelenka declared. “’’Xactly.”

Dean shook his head and stepped over it. All of the sigils were correct, but it didn’t buzz. There should something. Dean was pretty sure the Seal was merely graffiti and not very pretty at that. “I don’t think this one will work.”

McKay humphed. He was touching buttons on his computer. “Just as I said. No energy output, you didn’t do something right. Try it again.”

“Am I excused, sir?” Dean asked Sheppard. He didn’t know how he felt about this latest development and wanted to be anywhere but here.

Sheppard tilted his head and Dean was reminded that his CO was no slouch in the brains department either. “You said that you copied the Seal a couple hundred times before actually using it, true?”

“True.” No one had asked what on Earth could be contained in a Seal and Dean was just waiting for that conversation. Heightmeyer was hot and all but he really did not want to see her in a professional capacity. O’Neill must have put something really creative in his jacket to keep all the questions at bay.

“At 1700, Marines are going to be arriving in their rec room and you will be teaching them how to make the Seal. I want every member of the expedition able to draw a Seal on command.”

Dean blinked and looked straight ahead. 1700 was in thirty minutes. He should have known that something was up. “Permission to speak freely, sir?”

“Granted just about anytime you need it,” John replied. Dean could feel his amusement with Marine protocol.

“Sir, I don’t have the time.”

“You do now. See Lorne. He has your new schedule. If it takes a couple hundred times of making the Seal for it to work, than all the away teams –and everybody else- will get the practice. You’re going to be grading a lot of papers, so you are also getting your own office here. The Athosians are also building you an office on the mainland, but I want to keep them separate.”

Dean didn’t know what to say. “Everyone’s going to need markers and compasses, sir. At the very least. And paper.” Nearly everything in Atlantis was on computers. There wasn’t a lot of paper to go around. “Drawing the Seal out on computer monitors would probably be a bad idea. We can practice some on the white boards and I’m sure we will, but not for the first several hundred times.”

“Already on order. Until then, we’re stealing part of Lorne’s paper stash. The equipment we do have will be in the rec room. Anyone that has a compass of their own is instructed to bring it to the rec room.”

Dean didn’t see a way he could fight this new development. Why couldn’t the scientists make a Seal that would work? And why could Dean suddenly know whether or not a Seal would work by looking at it? He was glad that no one else knew that Dean’s knowledge of a Seal’s energy output was a new development.

Dean dragged his feet on his way to the rec room. How the hell was he supposed to teach the Seal? It would have been nice to get a chance to plan. (It would have been nice to have enough time to wiggle out of the new task.)

Dean breathed out a sigh of relief when he saw that most people were elsewhere. Only the curious and the optimistic were attending. Pacosky sat front and center in a show of support. He had a stack of blank paper at his side. Teyla sat to his left. Dean knew the other Marines from his time at the pool table or from poker tournaments.

Dean could do this. He would teach to Pacosky and Teyla and hope for the best. “Does everyone have a compass?” he asked. He paired up those with and without. He passed out the blank paper and grabbed a dry erase marker. He drew a circle on the white board. “This is how you draw a Seal. You always start and end at north…”



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
" John found it amusing that Winchester used his ability to disappear for sex."

Figures that would be the second thing John likes about Dean, first being that he can make big bombs :-P

"It took McKay three days to figure out that Winchester had bypassed the sensor to keep his privacy."

I adore the smart dean, just perfect and nice to see something that was clear on the show and just something Dean didn't share with people from his years of his family putting him down...or at least Sammy....bad sammy...anyways the point of this rant was a yay for the smart!dean, which I bow to you for!

" John hadn’t smiled when Winchester had boiled down his reason to ‘I’ll freak out like a sissy bitch.’ A person couldn’t fake that kind of sentiment to a pilot."

Snorts such an out of character thing for Dean to say unless he's trying to get out of flying. Loved it!!!

ohhh and dang man, what did they do when they gave Dean the gene, I hope that its not bad and very very good for all involved...including the city.

"Why had Atlantis singled out Winchester? How had Atlantis singled out Winchester?"

BECAUSE HE"S AN ANGEL, at least I think so...Can't wait to find out if I'm right...I don't like secrets...just to let you know :-P

"“Why did you have Atlantis black?” Ronon asked as they walked to the gym.

“You can hide in the dark,” Winchester responded.


Love, LOVE the interaction between these two, always figured they would be like this and its great to see that played out here.

". Heightmeyer was hot and all but he really did not want to see her in a professional capacity"

*chuckles* all that has to be said....such a Dean quote.

Oh very intersting, not only do you give us Smart!Dean. possible Power!Dean but also Teacher!Dean, if you somehow get glasses on this man during this story I might have to ask you to marry me!!!!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )