Title: Spin Me Right Round
Warnings: some violence, random POV changes
Prompt: Angular Momentum
Notes: Written for apocalypse_kree.
Summary: It's the worst date ever. And that's before the zombies show up.
The one thing they can agree upon is that it is definitely not their fault.
"I've always had this feeling, this fear - phobia, I suppose, might be taking it a bit far - that something I'd do or think up would ultimately lead to the end of existence. One last, great failure to overshadow a lifetime's worth of many, many acts of genius and triumph and working towards the betterment of mankind - I have worked really hard on that, you know? Betterment and... stuff?"
"That overwhelming feeling of dread, knowing your actions could lead to a catastrophe greater than whatever catastrophe you're already trying to prevent all because you forgot to carry a one. Yeah, I try not to dwell."
"But this, this isn't our fault."
It is a small consolation, considering.
"Isn't it great that we have these shared experiences no one else can ever hope to match because - not to sound conceited, but no one else even comes close to our level, do they? It's something special, that we share. Together. You and me."
"I'm just saying. Worst comes to worst, we'll be the last surviving members of the human race, and will bear the responsibility of repopulating the Earth. If anyone's up to the task -"
"Pass the vodka."
The first strange thing Sam notices is that they are alone. Alone as two people can be in a bar on a Friday night, anyway.
Upon returning from the restroom she sits back down at their table and looks over at the two empty chairs, then looks around the room and comes up empty. "Where's Vala?" she says. "And Colonel Sheppard?"
"I know he doesn't look like it, but Sheppard's a lightweight, and I kept telling him to pace himself but it's not as if he listens to me at the best of times, so I'm hardly surprised."
She stares at him. "And?"
"Oh. And Vala offered to take him back to the SGC. That's where they're putting us up, couldn't even spring for a hotel room and it's not like we're here long enough to go anywhere else, and by 'else' of course I mean 'good' -"
McKay is rambling now in a fairly good imitation of acting naturally, but there's a flash of guilt, or maybe it's good old-fashioned fear in his eyes when he glances up at her from his beer. Not that she needed to see it to come to the conclusion she's been set up.
She takes a moment to curse Colonel Sheppard, who probably did it just to be nice. And Vala - the one who dragged Sam out in the first place, no less - who probably accepted some form of bribe in return for making a discreet and timely exit. Traitor.
"So," Rodney concludes brightly, "Looks like it's just you and me."
The next strange thing she notices - after discovering that, despite the fact it requires a tenth-grade knowledge of geometry, McKay is possibly the worst pool player she has ever encountered, and she's played against Daniel for crying out loud - is the sudden flurry of fear and confusion as people burst though the doors from the street.
Shouts from outside filter through, then, accompanied by the sounds of glass breaking and running feet.
But that comes later. After she's kicked his ass at pool, twice in quick succession.
The other strange thing is, for someone with an ego roughly the size of Montana, McKay doesn't seem to mind losing too much.
It is, she tells herself firmly more than once, not cute or endearing at all. And neither is he.
"I mean is it some kind of alien warfare we haven't seen before? Or just some idiot experimenting in a lab somewhere."
"Depends, doesn't it. We could be dealing with a virus, or some other biological agent, reanimation technology, radioactive waste leaking into a graveyard... Oh come on, that one's a classic. Don't you watch movies?"
"Hm, okay, this is real life we're actually dealing with here?"
"You're right. Killer robots, parasitical alien beings - you never see anything like that in the movies."
"Maybe I just have better things to do with my time."
"Funny, I had you picked as a 'Resident Evil' kind of guy."
"Oh, the one where Mila Jovovich is blonde - sure, I've seen that. There's a sequel, too, you know. Very hot."
She tells them to stop, she warns them first.
Her sidearm is next to useless, anyway, it turns out.
The shotgun the guy behind the bar suddenly produces from under the register has better luck, and after he's seen the first two - things - to come through the door, one of them dragging and chomping on a still-screaming and alive person, have their faces blown off, Rodney starts wishing for Ronon, and his big scary space gun. And maybe a shotgun or two of his own.
Around him, people are moving in a panic towards the back exit. He moves forward, hesitant, but that person, just a young guy, a kid really, had been still alive. A few steps and he's near enough to see the blood gushing from the wound in his neck - even through all the gore he can see that it's too much. Sam has him by the arm then, pulling him back out of the way, behind the relative safety of the bar. She's disarming the freaked-out owner and demanding to know where the spare ammunition is.
"In the safe?" Rodney echoes, his voice rising in panic as it tends to do when he is, appropriately, panicking. Because more people-that-really-aren't-people have appeared in the doorway. There are others, shadows at the windows, and screams, more screams, from all directions.
Then the room goes dark.
He's used to Wraith, and Replicators, and this is Earth, this is downtown Colorado Springs and he's supposed to be safe here. Sheppard is back at the mountain, meanwhile, and Teyla and Ronon are a million light years away and the only thing he does have is Sam's hand on his arm. And when it is pitch black and there are zombie people stumbling towards him and there are chewing noises under all that yelling, that is one hell of an inadequate lifeline.
Especially when she lets go.
The thing about Samantha Carter, he quickly realises, is that while he's attracted to her for her brains - along with, obviously, all the hotness - it's also all he really knows of her. He's never known her as a soldier. He's never seen her fight for her life - and his.
Actually, he can't see much now, either, because of the worst-timed black-out in the history of electrical lighting. He's mostly just aware of movement, thudding of flesh and bone, someone falling and hitting something hard, a table overturning, and those people who don't fight at all, who just come, and come.
By the time the bar guy finds a flashlight, she's the one left standing, wide-eyed, blood on her face, the shotgun held in her hands like a club.
"I wonder if a zat would work," she says, and looks over at him. "There's one in my glove compartment."
Then she throws the gun back at its owner, saying, "You might want to go open the safe, now." And reaches for Rodney again, and he's following.
"Are you all right?" he says. "Are they dead?"
"Shh," she hisses. They're at the door and she's peering through the crack. "We'll use the dark - we can't see them, they can't see us. I assume."
Her hand tightens on his wrist. "Quiet, Rodney."
He follows her outside.
"For the record, this is the worst date I've ever been on. And let me assure you, my standards in that respect are high."
He is seated, leaning back against a crate of cleaning supplies. She is stretched out on her back nearby, her head resting on his rolled up jacket, staring up at the low ceiling.
"In what far stretch of the imagination was that a date, McKay? Manipulating the situation to get me alone -"
"You could have left at any time. You didn't, ergo your participation was voluntary. I even paid for food."
"Those were your buffalo wings, I could tell because you ate them all."
"Ah, but you let me buy you a drink. That, plus voluntarily spending time with me in a social setting - how is that not a date?"
"It was forty minutes of me kicking your butt at pool."
"Oh please, I let you win."
"No you didn't."
"No, I didn't. But even if I was better than you, I still would have, because you were enjoying it. Admit it, you were having fun on our date."
"No, I wasn't."
"Yes, you were."
"All right, maybe -"
Something happens then, something loud and sudden and close by. Too close. The building above them shakes with the force of it, plaster dust sifting down on their heads.
"What the hell was that?"
"That was an explosion."
"Things are exploding now? Who is blowing things up out there? As if we don't have enough problems without the legions of the undead wielding heavy artillery. Could this possibly get any worse?"
"Oh, you had to ask, didn't you."
"What, now something worse is going to happen? Oh god. Now something worse is going to happen."
Five minutes of tense silence later, absolutely nothing has happened to either improve or deteriorate the situation.
"Way to tempt fate, McKay."
The zat gun works. Their phones, on the other hand, do not.
"This doesn't make sense," McKay says.
"Even if the civilian network is down, or overloaded, these things are military issue."
"They should work."
She wonders if she's going to have to turn the zat on Rodney, next.
They're crouched down between cars in the parking lot beside the bar. The commotion has died down somewhat - it's an unsettling quiet now, that they're left with. Quiet, punctuated by sudden, short-lived bursts of shouting and pounding feet - the sounds of people running and dying. She can't help them. The threat is everywhere, and they seem to be able to sense movement, or heat, life, something. An increase in sensory ability, she thinks. Maybe they can hear ragged breathing, a heart beating fast.
"A landline - a landline might work," McKay is saying. "We can call for help. Wait, why would we do that? We have a car, we can leave, why aren't we leaving?"
"Because," she says, "We have no idea how far spread this is - we don't even know what this is. We don't know if the same thing that has taken out the power and the phones will affect a car, and even if it works perfectly, if the roads are clear. And the last place I want to be trapped while a bunch of them come at me is a small metal box surrounded by glass designed to break into a million little pieces at the slightest impact."
"We need to find a phone."
"Oh, that's great. Half a bottle of vodka on top of a head wound - that's helping."
"It's only a mild concussion. And it's only a third of a bottle, so far, mostly used as disinfectant. Two-fifths, tops."
She tries to sit up, only to fall back down. The bottle tips on its side and rolls away, leaving a widening puddle in its wake.
She's a little dizzy, rapidly working up to nauseous. When she turns her head to one side he's watching her with concern that's carefully disguised by scorn.
For some reason, it makes her smile. Then she frowns. "The room isn't actually spinning, is it?"
"That's not the room, that's your dangerously unhinged notion of an appropriate response to a situation like this."
She sighs and privately agrees with him as she watches the edges of her vision shift. "You know there's a theory, that if you spin counter-clockwise," she lifts her hand and twirls a finger in the air to demonstrate, "The motion robs the planet of angular momentum, slowing it down just a little. Infinitesimal. But if you spun enough, long enough, you could make a day last just a little longer."
"Well, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, and coming from you that's... You realise you're employing the Superman school of temporal physics here?"
"It's a theory, not my theory. I think it's sort of romantic."
"Romantic. Because the aim here isn't to make it through the night, but to give the flesh-eating monster-people more time to find us and devour us and did you say romantic?"
Unmindful of the way the world tilts a little, she rolls over on her stomach, her face about level with his knee as she looks up at him. "Think about it McKay," she says, "You don't want to go for a spin?"
"Speaking of inappropriate responses -"
"Actually, I think this is extremely appropriate. Have you got anything better to do?"
"Escape with our lives...? Just a thought," he adds quickly.
She smiles, pushes up off the floor and shuffles closer on her knees.
"It's a first for me, too."
He watches her pour vodka on a wad of napkins and start dabbing at her head. The cut on her temple starts bleeding again, turning the napkins red.
"Considering everything we've seen," she says, "It's actually kind of impressive that we can still encounter something new."
"They're not actually zombies."
There's a generator down here, and they have light now, along with towering racks of bar supplies, so he gets to see the look on her face. Then it disappears in a wince, and she stops applying pressure long enough to lift the bottle to her lips and swallow.
He reaches over and takes the bottle from her. "You're on duty," he snaps, before taking a drink himself.
By the time he's stopped coughing, she's gone back to staunching blood flow.
She doesn't look good, he realises. She's pale and she can't lift her right arm above forty-five degrees. The problem with adrenaline, he has found, is that it never lasts as long as the life-threatening situations do.
"Let's take stock of the situation, shall we?" he says. "We have no way of contacting anyone, short of smoke signals -"
"Which wouldn't work at night, anyway."
"Yes, thank you. We also have a generator from the fifties - possibly the eighteen-fifties from the sounds it's making - we have a lifetime supply of alcoholic beverages, that's one in our favour, this being the kind of situation where I guess getting wasted can only help. On the other hand, this could be the end of the world and we're, oh yes, trapped in a basement."
The landline phone had proven just as useless as their cells. The bar had been empty by the time they got back inside, until the - and he still didn't know what to call them - walking dead, zombie plague, whatever, had given up trying to beat down the barricaded doors and started smashing windows instead.
Their only option had been retreat.
"And," he adds, "You're injured. And possibly drunk."
She snorts. "I wish."
He rolls his eyes. And then realises that no, she really isn't drunk. She just sounds like she might be, and that probably, definitely isn't good. Head wounds - possibly the only thing he knows about them is that sometimes they get worse, rather than better.
"Maybe you should lie down. I think I might, too."
He wants to put his head under a pillow and pretend none of this is happening. But there are no pillows, just a hard, bare floor, and Sam, looking like she should be unconscious. So he stays upright and hands over his jacket to put under her head.
She looks at him suspiciously, but accepts.
"Look on the bright side, McKay," she says once horizontal. "If this is the end of the world, at least there's very little chance that either of us had anything to do with it."
He's kissing Samantha Carter.
Which makes him wonder what the ventilation is like down here.
Then again, if this is another hypoxia-induced hallucination, at least this time the Samantha Carter in his head is as easy as he's always thought she rightly should be.
"I like it so much better when you're the one with the concussion," he tells her, before kissing her again, this time with no intention of stopping for talking. Words have rarely seemed so pointless.
A few seconds later, just as he decides it's time to go for the bra, white light engulfs them.
"Damnit," he says.
At around the same time Sam says, "Oh thank god."
She has materialised a few feet away from Rodney, as opposed to in his lap. This is a fact which Sam has only a few seconds to appreciate before they scramble to their feet to find themselves in one of the Odyssey's large docking bays, being faced down by a line of zat guns sported by Teal'c, Colonels Mitchell and Sheppard, and a host of airmen.
"Okay," Rodney says, raising his hands.
"What's going on?" Sam asks.
"Sorry we took so long," Cam says, "The radiation made it near impossible to get a lock, even with your locators." He lowers his zat as around him the others do the same, and then speaks into his radio. "Jackson, Vala, we got em, and they look okay. "
"Radiation?" Sam says.
"The kind you two are covered in. Fellas?" he waves over the crewmembers standing by in hazmat gear, who immediately converge on her and Rodney, herding them over to a screened area.
"What kind of - hey! I am wearing those!"
"Just go with it, Rodney," Sheppard calls helpfully from the other side of the screens.
His further protests are ignored, but she can sympathise, as first they are being stripped, and then come the hoses from three different directions. Then the scrubbing starts.
"I repeat, what kind of radiation?" Rodney splutters over the sound of the water, locked in a brief and ultimately futile battle to keep his boxer shorts on. "And hey, watch it, she's hurt."
"Are you injured Colonel Carter?" It's Teal'c this time, his booming voice easily heard even while being half-drowned.
"It's just a knock on the head," she calls back, wincing as someone tries to get her to hold her arms up, "I'm fine."
"She's drunk, too, so don't listen to a word she says."
"I am not drunk!"
"Soon as you two are scrubbed down you're due for a check-up and anti-radiation meds anyway," Cam says loud and firm enough to end any further arguments.
"Great," Rodney says. "Now seriously, what kind of -"
"I don't think we have a name for it yet."
"That or they told us and we just don't remember it," Sheppard adds.
"Some gnarly kind that fries electrics and turns people's brains to 'homicidal cannibal mode' is what we've been getting from the science guys."
The water shuts off suddenly and Sheppard continues at a more reasonable volume, "Are either of you experiencing the urge to, oh, how should I put this?"
"Feast on our flesh?" Cam offers.
"I think that works."
"That's why you greeted us with the zats just now," Sam says, trying to ignore the fact that she's shivering, wet, and naked. "They work because -"
"Yes, yes because they disrupt electrical signals in the brain, obviously," Rodney interrupts. "But where did it come from and how is it spreading?"
"That's what we have the two of you for," Cam says. "More importantly, how do we fix it?"
"I'll be happy to get right on that," Sam replies, "Just as soon as I get dressed. Eyes front, McKay."
"Don't make me bust out the citrus," Cam threatens casually.
"Radiation," Rodney says to Sam once they have clothes on and are being escorted to medical. "Exotic radiation - that could be our fault. Your fault, anyway, I mean really, I'm on Earth for two days, how much damage could I do?"
Plenty, Sam thinks, but doesn't bother answering.
She's thinking back over the night - fighting zombie-type-people, thinking she was going to die, making out with McKay, McKay seeing her naked... Clearly, she has bigger problems, of which a pressing need to save the world, yet again, only ranks about third.
"Hey," Rodney says loudly to anyone within earshot, "Before I do anything, I'm going to need a sandwich."
Though actually, Sam thinks as she glances over at McKay, food doesn't sound too bad right now. She's starting to feel a little... peckish herself.