“Code Red! Code Red!”
Weir’s voice boomed
over the speakers of Atlantis, startling most of the residents out of a deep sleep.
Carson Beckett rolled
over in bed and blinked sleepy eyes at the clock at his bedside.
“3 o’ clock
in the morning?” he groaned.
“Code Red! Code Red!” came the insistent call. The reminder drove him to action. In a few minutes he was
out the door and to his station in the infirmary. The code meant something bad,
he knew. Code Red meant that everyone had to man their posts, no matter what
the reason. His staff was bleary eyed and half awake, but the tension in the
room was growing as various military personnel raced down the hallways outside.
“Dr. Beckett?” The call from Dr. Elizabeth Weir came
through the infirmary com system.
“I need to see you in my ready room.”
Carson muttered under his breath as he exited the infirmary.
“We have incoming
darts,” Weir informed him the moment he stepped into the room. “I’m
going to need the use of your Ancient gene.”
“What do you need
me to do?”
Weir hesitated, then said,
“You’re not going to like this, but . . .”
“If Colonel Sheppard
wasn’t off world I would have had him do it.”
“Do what, Elizabeth?” Carson was feeling nervous. It
wasn’t like Elizabeth to hedge around a topic.
“I . . . I need
you to see if you can get the chair working.”
it’s the only weapon we have at the moment. The jumpers that are on base
are being renovated, and the others are offworld. The chair is the only weapon
we have, Carson.”
“And you want me
to sit in the bloody thing again?”
remember what happened last time? And the time before that? We don’t get along together. I don’t think it
matter, Carson. I
need you in that chair, and I need you there now.”
There was no use arguing,
and Carson knew it.
He had avoided the chair as long as he could, but he knew in the end, he would always end up back in that room, sitting
in the chair, frightened out of his wits at the power beneath him that he could unleash at any given moment.
Weir and a tech crew accompanied
him to the now rarely used room, and he had his first glimpse of the chair after several months.
It was the only object
in the room, sitting on a podium illuminated with blue light. At his presence,
the room lit up, and the blue lights beneath the chair began to power up.
Weir nodded at him, a
reassuring ‘go ahead’ in her eyes.
Tentatively, Carson approached the chair.
“What do you need
me to do?” he asked Weir. He stood on the podium, staring at the chair.
“We just need weapons
to take out the darts,” Weir replied. “That’s all you need
to do, Carson.”
he muttered. “Here goes nothing.”
Carson gingerly eased into the chair. On cue,
the podium lights intensified, and he could feel the chair powering up beneath him.
It was a strange connection, really, he thought. He never felt what the chair was doing and did not understand how it made the connection, but like a snap . . . everything
would click together and he and the chair were one.
“Is . . . is it
working?” he timidly asked.
“I don’t see
any weapons powering up,” one of the technicians informed him.
“Think about the
weapons, Carson,” Weir prompted.
“Right . . .” Carson took a deep
breath. “Okay, chair, let’s do our thing.”
He squeezed his eyes shut
and concentrated. Weapon, weapon, weapon. Something exploded like light in his mind, and he could see the Ancient weapons in
his mind, glowing in an ethereal energy.
right,” he said. “Now let’s do something with them.”
The chair responded, and
he opened his eyes to see the scene playing out for him above his head. Wraith
darts were speeding towards Atlantis. Scouts, he knew, but they could not be
allowed to get away with the information they were undoubtedly seeking. The chair
vibrated gently, and then he saw the weapons speeding out of Atlantis towards their targets, decimating them in little fireballs.
“Oh, thank God,”
he gasped. The power of the chair had not left his grip, however, and with his
exclamation, another weapon sped out of the city, turned, and lit up one of the towers like a Christmas tree. It toppled as Carson watched in horror.
“Turn it off! Turn it off!” he shouted.
The technicians were scrambling. Weir was shouting. Carson was hyperventilating. The chair was purring
“Help!” Carson yelled.
Weir grabbed him and pulled
him out the chair. The lights powered down, and Carson stared at the chair in shock.
“Carson, what were you doing?” Weir demanded.
do anything! I swear!” Carson
replied. “It was an accident. I
told you it doesn’t like me!”
has happened before,” one of the technicians said. “We think you have to have all of your energies concentrated on the task at hand in order for it
to work properly. One little slip of thought and accidents happen.”
Weir said, turning away.
Calls started coming through,
and then Weir turned back to Carson, still staring at the
chair. “Good news. The tower
the weapon hit wasn’t occupied. It was in a remote part of the city and
sectioned off from anything that could have caused damage.”
must have looked despondent, for Weir added, “It’s all right, Carson. It wasn’t your fault. You took
out the darts. That’s the important thing.”
“I just can’t
wait for Colonel Sheppard to get back so he can do the dangerous stuff,”
Carson said. “I
don’t have any control over that bloody thing. You need to put someone
else in that chair.”
“Carson, besides Colonel Sheppard, you’re the only one that seems to have any connection
with that chair,” Weir replied. “Maybe it’s because you were
the first one to try it out . . . I don’t know. I think you’re better
with the chair than you think.”
“I hope you’re
right, Elizabeth,” Carson
replied. “I hope you’re right.”
* * *
It was only a few weeks
later that Carson was again summoned to the use of the chair. McKay and Colonel John Sheppard were standing next to the chair, staring at the podium
and deep in thought.
on?” Carson inquired.
“The chair doesn’t
like me,” Sheppard replied.
“It zapped him,”
Sheppard said. “Let’s see if it works for you.”
“I’m not getting
in the bloody thing if it’s going to zap me!” Carson
alive,” Sheppard rolled his eyes.
make me!” Carson replied.
“Just shut up and
get in the chair,” McKay answered, sitting on the floor next to the chair with his computer and other tools scattered
“How do you know
it won’t kill me?” Carson asked.
McKay replied. “Just get in the chair, Carson. You don’t need to blow anything up this time, so stop complaining. We just need to see if it will work for you.”
“I don’t like
this,” Carson muttered, easing into the chair and tentatively
expecting a blast of zapping light to envelop him. The lights activated and the
chair tilted back, welcoming him. No zap.
mused. “I must be losing my touch.”
“Okay, can you pull
up a map of Atlantis?” McKay asked.
you look that up on a computer?” Carson snapped. He was irritable thinking that he might have gotten zapped quite painfully just because
McKay and Sheppard wanted to see if it would work for him.
looking to see if the chair has any connection with the rest of Atlantis’ computer systems,” McKay snapped back. “Just do as you’re told.”
me like a child!” Carson complained.
“All right! All right!” Carson leaned back and took a deep breath, feeling the power pulsing beneath him. Map? he questioned.
The chair displayed a
map of the planet in front of him.
McKay complained. “A map of Atlantis.”
Carson snapped. “I’m
Map of the city, he ordered.
The chair correctly displayed
the map Rodney had requested, and Carson held his breath,
remembering what the technician had said. Keep
it there, he ordered, thinking map thoughts.
muttered to himself, clicking away on his computer.
Sheppard turned to leave,
throwing over his shoulder, “Have fun, boys.”
After two minutes, Carson was turning blue, so he took another deep breath and asked, “Are
you almost finished?”
“Fine.” He kept thinking map thoughts, then the thoughts wandered to how boring map thoughts
were and he started thinking about the chair. In response, the chair whirred
beneath him, and he jumped, exclaiming, “Did you feel that?”
looked up, startled, “but I heard it.”
“It came from the
chair!” McKay exclaimed. “I have to get out of here!”
He sat up, but Rodney
jumped up and pushed him back into the chair. “No! What were you just thinking about?” he asked.
“I was thinking
about how much I don’t like this,” Carson replied. “Let me go!”
“But it did something!”
McKay protested. “Look! I
got a different readout for just a second on my computer. This could be something
but you’re going to have to do your investigating without me,” Carson
replied. “This whole thing is creeping me out. You know how much I don’t like the chair.”
“But it responds
to you!” McKay argued. “I can sit in it all day and hardly make it
do a thing.”
“I think you need
to wait until Colonel Sheppard gets back,” Carson said. “He enjoys this sort of thing much more than I do.”
“I don’t know,
Carson . . . It’s like you have some kind of connection
with the chair.”
“Well, as of this
moment, that connection is terminated for the day,” Carson
said as he pushed McKay out of his way and jumped off the podium.
* * *
Strangely enough, it seemed
to Carson that no matter what happened, every time they needed
the use of the chair, Colonel Sheppard was always absent. Carson begged the Colonel to stay on Atlantis one day when McKay needed maintenance work
on the chair, but Sheppard refused.
“I don’t know
if I’m going to get zapped again, and besides, it’s more exciting going off-world than sitting in that chair,”
the Colonel protested as he stepped through the Stargate.
“Dr. Beckett, your presence is required on tier five,” the loudspeakers boomed.
he muttered. “The bloody chair! I
can’t get away from it!”
The use of the chair had
seemed to multiply in the past few months. It used to be special occasions that
they would use the chair. Sometimes they needed it for the sparse weapons they
possessed, but most times it was just McKay who wanted to work on the chair.
tired of this, Rodney!” Beckett protested as McKay sat him down in the chair and proceeded to draw up another map. “I don’t like this! Why does
it always have to be me?”
“I don’t know,”
McKay replied. “Maybe you just have bad timing.”
“Or maybe it’s
the chair,” Carson mused.
used to be like this, Rodney,” Beckett continued. “The first year
we were here, I was lucky if I sat in this bloody thing three times. Now, it
seems like every other day I’m here. What’s so important about this?”
“Just be quiet,
trying to work.”
The chair hummed happily
Beckett decided to do
his own investigating after that. What he found horrified him.
“Dr. Weir! Elizabeth!” he
shouted, running breathlessly down the halls towards Weir’s office.
She appeared in the doorway,
perplexed. “What’s wrong?”
chair!” he exclaimed, bursting into the room. “This might sound crazy,
but I think that it . . . it has a consciousness. For some reason it’s
been trying to latch onto me. That’s why it seems I’m always the
one you need to use the thing! It’s setting me up!”
“What? That doesn’t make sense.”
“Okay,” Carson put his hands out, a conscious effort to slow himself down. “The chair . . . it’s alive.”
“How can that be?” Weir was incredulous.
“I don’t know,”
Carson shook his head.
“I did some medical tests and ran a few scans on the chair and . . . I think it’s been using me for something.”
“I don’t know,”
Carson replied. “But
don’t you think it’s strange how every time Colonel Sheppard goes off base then for some reason you need the use
of the chair?”
“No . . .”
“I think you’re
getting a little paranoid, Carson. This all sounds a little farfetched to me. When was the last
time you slept?”
“Slept?” Carson drew a blank.
“I thought so.” Weir turned around and sat down at her desk.
“Now . . . McKay has asked to continue his work on the chair. I
need you to help him.”
“What? But I just—”
“No arguments, Carson.”
Carson slowly retreated back into the hall and started for tier five. “The chair,” he muttered. “The bloody chair. It’s gotten to Weir, it’s gotten to Rodney . . . What am I going to do?”
On tier five, the chair
sat patiently waiting for Beckett, humming softly to itself.