Category: Crossover with Stargate SG-1
Series/Sequel to: Perfect
Pairing: Aiden Ford/Daniel Jackson
Summary: After Aiden's encounter with the Wraith could things ever return to the way they were before?
"I've tried. Believe me, Daniel. I've tried, but it doesn't work."
"It works, Aiden. What do I have to do to convince you?" Daniel asked into Aiden's hair. The younger man shook his head. "Aiden?"
"Maybe they can forgive me for what I did, but--."
"But you can't."
"I--. I don't know."
Daniel dropped his hand to Aiden's ribs and gave him a poke.
"I don't!" Aiden said, as he flinched. "I just can't forget that I nearly killed my closest friends."
"No one's asking you to forget, Aiden," Daniel said softly.
"So every time I see Dr. B I'm supposed to remember that I nearly strangled him?"
"Dr. B has moved on. So should you."
"You make it sound simple."
"It's not, I know," Daniel said, nuzzling the back of Aiden's head. He felt Aiden stiffen slightly and tightened his hold as he tried to squirm away. "Relax."
"Daniel, this isn't a good idea." Aiden tried to sit up and Daniel reluctantly let him go.
"Tell me why," he demanded gently. As he expected, Aiden couldn't look at him, nor could he supply a ready answer. "Is everyone else in Atlantis allowed to touch you?"
"No one else wants to."
"Except Mandy," Daniel teased. Aiden rolled his eyes.
"I'm a superior officer. She's not allowed to touch me."
"We're talking about wants, not regs," Daniel reminded him. Aiden's face colored and he looked apprehensive. Daniel was slightly confused by his expression, but he waited for him to speak.
"Do you still want me?" Aiden asked. "I mean, do you still find me desirable?" he corrected himself.
"Yes to both questions," Daniel said frankly. Aiden looked at him doubtfully. "Why does that surprise you?"
He quieted when Daniel placed a finger over his lips.
"You're still you."
Aiden shook his head.
"Okay, you're still you...with amendments," Daniel said with a tiny smile. Aiden shook his head again and rose to his feet. "Aiden..."
"I need some space."
"You're running away," Daniel said, rising. He was prepared to let Aiden go, but he didn't want him to think he could simply walk away from everything they'd just shared.
"I need some time to think about what you said," Aiden assured him. "I'm not running away." Daniel gazed at him for a few moments and then nodded. Aiden took a step toward him. "Honest, man. I'm not running." He pulled Daniel into his arms for a brief hug and then stepped back. "Thanks, Daniel." He turned and walked away as Daniel watched him go.
"You're welcome," Daniel said thoughtfully.
Aiden wandered through the corridors of the city, his steps inevitably leading him to the balcony that had become his personal sanctuary since his return from Atlantis. As he stepped out onto the deck he heard voices at the far end. He frowned and saw John sitting with Rodney and Carson. They were laughing at something Carson said. Aiden started to move away, but Carson rose to his feet and announced that he was leaving.
"I've got to get some shut eye. I've a long day ahead tomorrow," he said around a yawn.
"I'll go with you," Rodney said as he also rose and stretched with cat-like grace. "I'll never find my way back on my own. Coming John?"
"Nah, think I'll hang out here for a while," John said, sprawling on the bench. The others took their leave and slipped through the doors at that end of the balcony. Aiden sighed in relief and moved quietly to a bench.
He sat down and stared into the dark for a few minutes, smiling when he recognized "The Geek" in the western part of the sky. He let his body slump a bit as he thought back on his discussion with Daniel, but uppermost in his mind at the moment was the welcome warmth of Daniel's arms wrapped around him, offering comfort and support in Aiden's time of need.
He closed his eyes and felt it again; he heard Daniel's voice offering sound advice and sighed as he began to appreciate the truth in his words. Aiden conceded to himself that he stood at a crossroads; if he ever wanted to have his life back, if he ever wanted to have a life again, it was time to move on.
Aiden opened his eyes and saw John standing over him.
"I saw movement over here and decided to investigate," John said sheepishly. "If you'd rather be alone..."
"No, it's all right. I was just getting a little air before turning in," Aiden replied. He gestured for John to sit down. John did so and regarded him for a moment.
"How's it going?"
"Good," Aiden said evenly. "How was the mission?"
"Same old, same old; Teyla spoke to the natives and did that thing she does so well; Colonel Carter and I talked colonel talk and Rodney stood around bristling. Looks like we made some new friends--if they don't try to kill us."
"McKay was bristling? Why?"
"He doesn't talk colonel talk," John said mischievously. "I think he was jealous."
"In other words you baited him," Aiden said reproachfully.
"Hey, it's not like he's ever going to get anywhere with her. I told you she was with General O'Neill," John said. Aiden squinted at him.
"You know that for a fact?"
"I know what I know," John said evasively. "After the general was promoted and sent off to Washington to head home world security, SG-1 was disbanded and the colonel was temporarily assigned to Area 51."
"She told me that she split her time between Area 51 and Washington."
"That's hardly probative, John," Aiden smirked.
"Trust me," John said defiantly. He folded his arms and sat back. "So how are you doing?"
"I can't complain," Aiden said.
"'The Geek' is out," John said, looking up. "And look at the shooting stars over by the 'Jar of Hellman's.'"
"I see them," Aiden said. For the next few minutes they shared a comfortable silence. Aiden turned to look at John, who glanced at him questioningly. "John, do you ever think about shooting me?"
"I mean do you think about what you did on that planet? Does it bother you?"
"No," John said hastily. "Well, yeah, of course it bothered me. I hated the fact that I'd shot you. The only thing that got me past it was the fact that I didn't really hurt you. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I'd have to shoot my second in command. Even after--."
"Yeah, but that was different. He was dying; I just ended his suffering. You're one of my closest friends. You weren't dying and I hated myself for being in that situation because I knew it was different from the last time. You weren't beyond help. I hated the fact that I couldn't find another way to stop you. I even hated you for forcing me into a situation where I felt I had no choice but to shoot you. But I realized that it wasn't really you. It was that damned enzyme coursing through your veins."
"I did what I did," Aiden said bluntly. "I'm the one who took the enzymes from Dr. B, I'm the one who injected them and then ran off to kill Wraith and take their enzymes--."
"…And you would never have done any of that if you felt you had a choice, Aiden. You did what you thought you needed to do to survive. Hell, I probably would have done the same thing."
"I don't believe that."
"I do," John said softly. "And believe me--I gave it a lot of thought. Had I been in your situation I would have done the exact same thing. It was a pretty sobering revelation; it put a whole different perspective on things."
"Is that why you can forgive me?"
"There's nothing to forgive, Aiden! Yeah, you made some bad choices, but you were under the influence. We just wanted you back the way you were, alive and safe and home in Atlantis."
"Not everyone feels that way, John. I'm sure Sergeant Bates still thinks I'm a threat to the city."
"Sergeant Bates is back at the SGC and so are most of the men he managed to infect with his dangerous paranoia."
"That doesn't mean I'm universally welcome around here," Aiden replied, getting to his feet.
"Well, no; but then you weren't to begin with. What do you want, a miracle?" he said lightly.
"Right now I'll settle for a good night's sleep. See you in the morning."
"Breakfast is at 0700."
"Yes, sir," Aiden said crisply. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight, lieutenant," John said with a wry smile.
Kate Heightmeyer had just opened Aiden's file and sat down to review her notes when she heard a tap on her door. She looked up and saw him standing in the doorway.
"Aiden? You're not due for another hour," she said in surprise. Not only was this a first, he'd been downright reluctant to attend their weekly sessions in the past.
"I'm sorry, ma'am. I can come back later if--."
"No, no; you're certainly welcome to come in now," she said, rising to usher him into her sunlit office. "I'm just surprised to see you so--."
"Early, yeah," Aiden said awkwardly. "I--. I got nervous waiting so I decided to just come up now."
"What are you nervous about?" Kate asked gently. Aiden took a deep breath.
"I think I'm ready to talk."
"Have you seen Lieutenant Ford?" Teyla asked John when she met him at the counter in the dining hall. He turned and looked around the room.
"He should be here by now. He promised to meet me for lunch."
"Shall I look for him?"
"Give him a few minutes," John said. "Maybe he got caught up in something and lost track of time."
"That is very unlike the lieutenant," Teyla said. John had to agree; it was highly unlikely that he'd get caught up in his current assignment pushing papers, but he was all for cutting Aiden a little slack. Aiden had seemed like his old self that morning. He was relaxed and open and he ate everything given to him without argument. He'd even laughed like his old self. John was encouraged by it and hoped that the young man had somehow turned a corner.
"He had better come soon. He is very fond of hamburgers."
"Don't worry," John said with a grin. "I'm sure Mandy will save him one."
"May I speak with you, doc?"
Carson jumped at the sound of Aiden's voice. It's not that he had any lingering fear of the man, but Aiden's voice had come out of nowhere. Carson had been studying the results of his latest round of experiments on Wraith DNA when the lieutenant popped his head into his office.
"Sure, lad, come on in," he said as his heart rate recovered. Aiden stepped into the office with a smile on his face. Carson eyed him curiously. "What can I do for you?"
"I have a question. What happened to the bullets Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard fired into me?"
The question caught Carson off guard. It was the last thing he expected to hear. He sat down and gestured for Aiden to do the same.
"Well, one of them went right through you. That was McKay's shot to your shoulder. The other one we removed when you were first brought back. I thought it might cause you problems down the road, being embedded in muscle tissue as it was. May I ask why you want to know?"
"Just curious," Aiden shrugged. "They never bothered me when I was...out there...you know, on the run."
"I imagine not. Both wounds had healed cleanly. I only went after the second bullet because I feared that without the Wraith enzyme in you that injury might come back to haunt you. But you haven't had any ill effects, have you, lad?"
"No, none at all," Aiden assured him. "I didn't even know you'd operated on my leg."
"Well, you still had a bit of the enzyme in your system so the wound disappeared completely."
"And my face?"
"Plastic surgery, using technology gleaned from the Ancients; to what do all these questions portend, Aiden?" Carson asked as his curiosity got the better of him.
"I was just wondering," Aiden said. "I mean, I know you said that the enzyme was gone--."
"It is gone, Aiden. Every test showed no trace of it."
"But there might be lasting effects..."
"Well, we have theorized that had you had sufficient energy to fuel your body you might have retained a good deal of your enhanced strength and agility. But we haven't been able to test it since--."
"I don't eat enough," Aiden said with a smile.
"I'm not sure you can," Carson chuckled, "in order to achieve the energy levels we think you need. The enzyme essentially supplied you with boundless energy. Without it, we'd have to increase your diet by nearly 4,000 calories a day in order to match it."
"No one could eat that much," Aiden gasped.
"Actually, endurance athletes, ultra-marathoners and mountain climbers in high altitudes need that kind of energy. Dr., Johnson and I have considered giving you high calorie meal supplements to see if we could get you to that level. That would allow you to train at a much higher level and achieve peak performance, if you're interested."
"I'll consider it, doc," Aiden said doubtingly.
"Look, son; we don't want to turn you into a Guinea pig. Lord knows you've been through enough. But if you wanted to--."
"I understand, doc. Thanks."
"There was something else on your mind," Carson said knowingly. Aiden nodded.
"Do you think that some of the other changes stuck?"
"My healing ability; I cut myself shaving this morning," Aiden said, lifting his chin to show Carson the spot.
"Those tend to close rather quickly," the doctor said, pulling out his penlight to peer at the flawless skin. "But that does appear to be fully healed. In fact there's no trace of a cut at all." Carson frowned at him. "Did you just notice this?"
Aiden's silence answered his question. Carson went to his desk and pulled up Aiden's chart.
"Why didn't you mention it earlier, man?" he said sharply.
"Never mind," Carson sighed, turning around. "I understand completely. And I can't say I blame you after spending a month and a half being poked and prodded like a pig roasting on a spit. But I need you to trust me, Aiden. As your doctor I have to know these things."
"That's why I'm here, doc," Aiden said guiltily. "I know I should have mentioned it a couple of weeks ago when Teyla threw me to the ground and I landed off the mat. I was going to come to the infirmary to have someone look at my hip but by the time I'd showered and dressed the pain was gone and the bruise was nearly gone as well."
"Good God, man!" Carson strode out of the office and went to a supply cabinet. Aiden followed, wincing when he saw the doctor assembling supplies for drawing blood. "Can you tell me if this healing ability is still as strong as it was earlier, or if it seems to have diminished with the passage of time?"
"I have no idea," Aiden frowned. He sighed and rolled up his sleeve. He endured the blood test as Carson asked a dozen questions. When they were done, Carson patted him on the shoulder.
"Have you eaten lunch?"
"Not yet," Aiden replied. The grip on his shoulder tightened and he was escorted to the dining hall.
"Ah, here's the lieutenant now," John said looking up. Aiden was more than twenty minutes late, but he too intrigued by Aiden's expression to mention it. He looked to Carson for an explanation, but none appeared to be forthcoming. The two men set down their trays and joined the others. John looked on as Aiden immediately dug into his meal, enthusiastically biting into his burger.
"You are very fond of hamburgers," Teyla said.
"Yup," Aiden managed around a mouthful. He looked up and saw Sam and Daniel coming his way. He smiled and waved them over. Carson and John exchanged a look.
"Hey," Daniel said as he pulled a table over to enlarge the space. Sam took the seat next to Aiden, for which Daniel was glad. He could better study the younger man's face from his position on the other side of the table. "Why is it that every time I walk in here I find you eating?" he teased.
"It's his favorite hobby," John volunteered affably, hoping to protect Aiden from a potentially embarrassing discussion. But he need not have worried.
"I explained my metabolism problem," Aiden replied. "The doc just told me I'd actually need to double my caloric intake in order to regain my former strength."
"Is that a fact?" John asked.
"He's talking about his strength when he was under the influence of the enzyme," Carson said. "There's no need for him to go that far."
"That is good to hear," Teyla said. "We spend enough time at meals as it is."
"You spend your time watching," Aiden said. "I'm the one who has to eat everything you guys put on my plate."
"Speaking of which," Daniel said as he lifted one of two cupcakes off of his plate and placed it on Aiden's tray, "Mandy sends her best."
"Sir, can't you do anything about her?" Aiden asked, rolling his eyes.
"Why should I? I like cupcakes," John said as he rose. "Want one, Teyla?"
"No thank you, colonel. I must get back to work. I am preparing supplies for a shipment to the mainland. Dr. Beckett I will see you after lunch," she replied as she rose and gathered up her tray.
Carson nodded and turned his attention to John, who was half way across the room.
"I'll have one, John," he called.
"You can have mine," Aiden said, but his next words froze on his tongue when Carson eyed him sternly. "I prefer the cookies."
"You won't hear me say this often, but you, more than anyone else in this city, can afford to eat as many desserts as you wish," Carson said.
"Right," Aiden sighed. He looked up and saw John speaking with Kate Heightmeyer at the counter. He shook his head and averted his eyes to his plate, but when John returned he showed no signs of having shared anything more than the standard greetings with her.
Daniel noticed Aiden's discomfort and wondered at it. He continued to observe the younger man as Sam engaged him and John in conversation. Slowly, a smile formed on his lips and he absently propped his chin. Aiden noticed that he was staring and frowned, as did Sam and John.
"Daniel?" she said.
Hmm?" Daniel said, collecting himself and sitting up.
"Is something wrong? We lost you there for a minute," Sam teased.
"No, I was just... thinking," he said, his smile returning.
"That must have been some thought," John prodded.
"Yes, it was," Daniel said. He swallowed the last of his coffee and rose to his feet. "Yup, it was."
Several hours later, Daniel looked up from the screen before him when the doors to the library opened and Aiden strode into the room. Daniel sat back and pulled off his glasses.
"Hey, doc," Aiden said as he sat on the end of the desk. He gestured at the screen with his chin. "You can work that thing?"
"Yeah, it's not so hard once you know how," Daniel replied as he scrolled down a bit and marked his place. "Of course, it helps that Dr. Beckett gave me the gene therapy before I started."
"Oh; I haven't had it," Aiden said regretfully.
"No? I kind of got the impression they'd given it to everyone here."
"Well, the first version of the therapy didn't work for everyone they gave it to so they went back to the drawing board. They came up with something that improved the success rate from 50% to 76%, but that was right after the siege and I--."
"You weren't available. But you're back now."
"Some people in Atlantis think I shouldn't be allowed to have the therapy."
"Why not?" Daniel asked. Aiden just shrugged.
"Who knows? In the interest of peace I've decided not to push the issue. It's no big."
Daniel supposed that for Aiden it was big; it was undeniable evidence that some people still distrusted him. He tried to divert Aiden from such troubling thoughts.
"So what brings you to the library? Looking for a little light reading?"
"No, my Ancient's pretty rusty," Aiden quipped. "Actually, I wish I could read Ancient. I've already read just about every English-language, non-technical book we brought to the Pegasus galaxy during my rehab: War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Foucault's Pendulum, the Bible, the Koran… I even read the articles in someone's copy of Playboy."
"Who brought The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?" Daniel asked.
"Dr. McKay gave it to me. He didn't say where he got it but I think it came from his own stash," Aiden replied as he stood up. "Look, I don't want to keep you from your work. I just came by to thank you for last night. I don't know if it was something you said or if it was just the relief of finally getting everything off my chest but I slept better than I have in ages and woke up feeling better about myself."
"I know," Daniel said with a smile. He rose from his seat and took the position Aiden had abandoned on the desk. "I could see it in your eyes earlier. You've taken the first step, Aiden. From here on it's just a matter on taking the next step, then the next and the next. Before you know it you'll be off and running."
"I already took one or two today," Aiden said shyly.
"I saw Dr. Heightmeyer this morning. It was my regular appointment, but--."
"And Dr. Heightmeyer is..."
"She's the resident shrink. I wasn't ready to tell her everything I told you last night, but I did tell her that we'd talked and that I felt better for it. She said she was happy to hear that I'd opened up to someone, though she was a little surprised by my choice." Aiden and Daniel exchanged an intimate smile as he continued. "I explained that you and I were old friends and had a few common experiences that made it easier for me to talk to you."
"We've certainly shared some experiences," Daniel said dreamily. "I wouldn't categorize them as common, however..." Aiden averted his eyes and cleared his throat. Daniel was amused by the flush of color in his cheeks.
"I also went to see Dr. Beckett. I wanted to apologize for... But I chickened out," he said uncomfortably. Daniel reached out and caressed Aiden's face.
"Rome wasn't built in a day, Aiden," he said softly. "Give it time." Aiden looked up and met his eyes.
"I know. Thank you for being here for me, Daniel."
Daniel rose and took a step closer to Aiden. Encouraged by the fact that he didn't flinch, Daniel leaned in to claim his mouth. He was inches from his target when the doors opened and Elizabeth entered the room. She froze in her tracks, even as Aiden jumped back. Daniel fixed him to the spot with a gaze, then nodded reassuringly. Aiden took his cue and left, averting his eyes from Elizabeth as he fled. Daniel sat down on the desk and calmly awaited Elizabeth's reaction, not sure of how much she'd seen.
"I seem to have interrupted...something," she managed when she found her voice.
"It's quite all right. I'm sure I'll catch up with him later." Daniel smiled as Elizabeth's mouth fell open.
"I'm sorry; were you expecting some sort of denial? Yes," Daniel said with a tinge of exasperation, "I was about to kiss Lieutenant Aiden Ford. And yes, he was about to kiss me back--I hope."
"There's no need to explain--."
"I think there is, actually--assuming that whatever I say will remain in this room."
"Everything you say and everything I saw," she assured him. Daniel took a calming breath before his spoke.
"Aiden and I were lovers before he signed up for the Atlantis expedition. We were--I was very much in love with him."
"Was he in love with you?" Elizabeth asked bluntly, worried at Daniel's hesitation.
"I believe so, yes. We weren't big on verbal expression but if actions speak louder than words, then yes--he loved me. Aiden joined the expedition to Atlantis because he wanted to go through the gate and explore the universe. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm sure you are cognizant of the sacrifices every member of the original expedition made. Aiden probably sacrificed more than most."
Elizabeth sat down, trying to grasp Daniel's point.
"Are you speaking of your relationship?"
"No," Daniel said earnestly. "Well, yes, he had to give up our relationship, but so much more. Aiden was just twenty-five when he came here. His whole life was before him. If he couldn't return to Earth, he stood to lose more of his life, his potential time on Earth than anyone here."
"I understand your point, but forgive me, Daniel--what does any of this have to do with Lieutenant Ford being caught in a compromising position with you?" Elizabeth asked. Daniel chuckled at the question.
"Nothing, really; I guess my mind was on what he and I were discussing before--. Aiden still has his whole life ahead of him. He's just survived an ordeal no one should ever have to endure. Right now he's struggling to make his way back."
"And he's done admirably. I know it's been difficult for him. Frankly, it's been a strain on all of us at times, but Ford's got a strong support network and we've all been helping him find his way."
"I've noticed that and I'm grateful. I've spent some time with him since my arrival and I think he's made a good deal of progress just in the few days I've been here. I guess I just want to be assured of your continued patience--and your indulgence."
"In other words," Elizabeth said shrewdly, "you want me to overlook what I saw a few minutes ago because he's at a critical stage in his recovery? Relax, Daniel. You're well aware of my stance on 'don't ask, don't tell.' What happens behind closed doors is no business of mine. By the way, I strongly recommend that those doors be closed and locked. The library is not the most private of places in the city."
"I'll take that under advisement," Daniel said, somehow managing to look both smug and chastened at once.
Aiden was waiting outside Elizabeth's office when she returned. She suppressed a smile when she gestured for him to follow her inside.
"Close the door, lieutenant," she said. Aiden stood at her desk with a solemn expression. She gestured for him to sit but he remained standing. "I take it you're here because of--."
"Technically speaking, breaches of military protocol should be reported to the highest ranking military officer on site, but since you were the witness..."
"I wasn't witness to anything, lieutenant," Elizabeth said wearily. "Sit down, please." Once again, Aiden ignored the request.
"Ma'am, I know you saw us--."
"I'm not sure what I saw. Was Dr. Jackson removing something from your eye? Were you two about to butt heads?"
"Daniel told me about your relationship, Aiden. I don't have a problem with it. I would strongly advise you to exercise a bit more discretion, however."
Aiden looked somewhat tentative, as though he had something more to add. Elizabeth waited for a few seconds before she prompted him.
"Was there something else?" she asked, coming to her feet to signal the end of the conversation.
"Ma'am, we aren't--. Daniel and I aren't exactly in a relationship," he said awkwardly.
"Sure looked that way to me," Elizabeth said archly. Aiden's eyes widened. Elizabeth winked and he managed a smile before nodding and taking his leave. On his way out of the command center he nearly ran into John.
"Just the person I want to see," John said. He turned around and strode briskly down the hall. "Come with me, lieutenant."
"Is something wrong, sir?"
John gave him a sidelong glance.
"Why would there be anything wrong?"
Aiden frowned as he struggled to keep up with his commanding officer. John was practically running, it seemed and as he followed, Aiden grew increasingly concerned.
"Wait for it..." John reached a conference room and the doors slid open. He came to a stop just inside the room and Aiden cautiously took a step inside. He looked around and frowned again.
"Why are we here?" The doors closed behind him and Aiden felt a sense of dread creep over him. "You've spoken with Dr. Weir about seeing me--."
"You're here because--what?"
"You're here because you've just been reassigned; and no, unfortunately, not to a team--not yet, anyway."
"I don't understand."
"Wait a minute; 'seeing you' what?"
"Sir, could we have one conversation at a time?" Aiden said, removing his cap and scratching his head.
"Okay. You first: what was I supposed to be speaking to Dr. Weir about?" John demanded. Aiden rubbed his forehead. He felt a headache coming on.
"Nothing, sir. She and I just talked and--."
"She spoiled my surprise?" John said disappointedly.
"Your new assignment," John pouted.
"No; what's my new assignment?"
"Well, since the siege we've been able to get a number of systems online that we couldn't access with our depleted ZPM. We now have more resources and space at our disposal."
"What has that got to do with me?"
"You're going to be in charge of coordinating the expansion of our perimeter. Look," John said as he walked over to the table. Aiden noticed that it was covered with large schematic of the city and that a tablet PC on the table was showing a map of the city as well. "We've been confined to this quadrant since we got here. After the siege, we added about two dozen new personnel and we're bursting at the seams. Now that we've got a fully charged ZPM online we can think about expanding into this area," he said, pointing to a section of the city highlighted in lime green.
"And you want me to--."
"I want you to coordinate the expansion," John repeated. "I'll give you staff if you need help. You'll need to scout out the territory, solicit requests for relocation from individuals, assign people to their new quarters, and mediate the inevitable arguments that come up during the transition. It'll be strictly residential, so you should look into finding space for recreational facilities, too."
"I don't know anything about this kind of stuff," Aiden protested.
"No one around here does; feel free to wing it. I thought this would be a fun assignment for you. You're organized and resourceful and you know most of the people on base. Members of the original contingent will get first preference on the relocations."
"Yes, sir," Aiden said as he stared at the schematic. "Do I get one of those?" he asked, eyeing the tablet PC. John smiled and handed it to him.
"Consider it yours. They gave one to me after the last shipment came in. I have no idea what to do with it."
"Now, what were you speaking to Dr. Weir about?" John saw Aiden blanch and became even more curious.
"It's okay; we straightened everything out," he said as he backed away toward the door. "I'll study this--and these," he said lurching forward and grabbing the printouts. "I'll try and come up with something in a day or two."
He was gone before John could say another word.
On to Part 5