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Title: Smarter Than You
Author: mific
Pairing: Gen
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Ronon Dex, Teyla Emmagan, Elizabeth Weir
Rating: G
Words: 2280
Summary: They're all morons. Luckily.
Notes: For Sga_Saturday, the prompt: Brain. Teamfic.




"Which of you is the most intelligent?" asked the chief elder, cocking his head. John stared at him, frowning. He had a bad feeling about this.

"Well of course I'm the brains of this outfit," Rodney said casually, not even bothering to look up from his scanner. "I'm a genius - the smartest man in two galaxies."

John kicked Rodney viciously on the ankle. "Shut up, McKay," he muttered, glaring at the cluster of elders confronting them. They looked harmless enough, but he knew from bitter past experience that appearances meant very little.

Neither Teyla or Ronon had known much about P3D-448 but the chief and only city, Kran, was rumored to have ancient tech hidden away. They'd expected it might be difficult to gain access to the leaders of the city, but in fact the officer at the Stargate had seemed pleased by their arrival and they'd been brought to see the elders with hardly any delay.

Rodney yelped and shot John a wounded look. "Ouch! What was that for?"

"Don't volunteer information," muttered John. "We don't know why they're asking. With our luck it'll trigger a civil war or they'll kidnap you to feed to their pet zombies."

"What? Where?" Rodney looked nervously from side to side. "What zombies?" The elders had gone into a whispering huddle.

"There are no zombies, Rodney," murmured Teyla reassuringly, giving John one of her quelling looks. "John was merely teasing you. He does have a point, however. I recommend that we do not divulge too much until we know the reason for this enquiry."

"Typical," grumbled Rodney. "We finally meet a culture that appreciates my intellect and all you lot want to do is shut me up. Oh, wait…aha! There's an anomalous energy reading. It just started showing up on the scanner." Rodney spun around and pointed down a side corridor. "Down there somewhere. It's big; could be an ancient facility."

The chief elder was approaching them again. "This is most fortuitous. The intelligent one will come with me," he said, reaching out to take Rodney's arm. John and Teyla both moved to block him, and behind Rodney, Ronon growled.

John held up a warning hand, not quite touching the old guy. "Yeah, no. I don't think so," he said. "Not unless you explain what you want. And probably not even then."

The chief graybeard snapped his fingers and all hell broke loose. A heavy net fell on them, knocking Rodney flat and bringing even Ronon to his knees. Ronon got off a random blast from his gun but it passed harmlessly through the weave, and seconds later they were being disarmed by a horde of guards, their weapons tangled in the webbing.

"Fuck," John spat, tasting old, dusty rope. "Godammit McKay, I said you should've kept your mouth shut!" Instead of the usual angry reply, there was only a muffled squeaking. John squinted up through the thick ropes and the guards who were restraining them, to see Rodney being dragged off, his mouth covered by one of the guards' meaty hands. They were hauling Rodney into the corridor where he'd said the energy reading came from. "Stop!" yelled John, as best he could with two guards half sitting on him. "He's not the most intelligent!"

The elders, who had been heading off after Rodney, paused as one and turned back. The chief elder stepped forward. "You are trying to trick us. He has admitted his intelligence already."

"Look, I have no idea why you're so hung up on intelligence," tried John, squirming to look up at the chief elder, despite being held down by an especially heavy guard. "Hows about you tell us why you want the most intelligent one and we'll tell you who that really is. McKay's well known where we come from for blowing his own trumpet. He's full of hot air." This was met by an uncomprehending glare.

"The Colonel means that Dr McKay is well known for talking about himself in a grandiose fashion," Teyla clarified. "I can confirm this." Smothered by his captor, Rodney made furious grunting noises, his face purple - either from rage or lack of oxygen; it was hard to tell. "Please explain why you require the most intelligent of us to identify ourselves," Teyla continued, on her knees between two guards. There were four on Ronon, and he was still struggling.

The chief elder frowned. "The altar of the Ancestors must have only the best and brightest, to function at its peak. The chosen sacrifice will give of his – or her – intellect to power the mind which runs all the functions of our city. We must offer up the most fit sacrifice, or the Ancestors will be angry. The consequences of their wrath might be catastrophic – the Ancestors' protection from the Wraith could even fail."

"Wait – you're going to sacrifice McKay on some sort of altar? Because he said he's the smartest of us? Damn it, let me up!" The elder nodded and John struggled to his knees, guards on each side. Ronon was also sitting up, several guards clinging to him as they bound his hands behind him. "If it's some Ancestors' device, then chances are you want me, not McKay. Does it need a…a descendant of the ancestors to operate it?"

The chief elder shook his head. "There are no descendants of the Ancestors alive any more. Anyone can make the sacrifice. It rests with our council of elders to choose the best candidates – those who will confer the most benefit to the mind that operates our city."

"We have some knowledge about Ancestor technology," Teyla said urgently. "Please let us see the altar, that we may best advise you which of us would be the optimal sacrifice."

Okay, thought John, so Teyla's playing along as well. "Yeah. I give you my word we’ll come quietly, no fighting. Just bring us along with McKay so we can…advise you." He shot Ronon a warning look, narrowing his eyes. Ronon tensed, and then nodded imperceptibly and stopped struggling.

"Secure their arms and bring them to the altar," ordered the chief elder.

It sucked to be bound, but they were hustled down the corridor with McKay, who also had his wrists tied behind his back. As soon as his mouth was free he started up again. "What the hell d'you mean I'm full of hot air," he hissed angrily.

John kicked him in the shin again. "Shut up, Rodney!" he whispered. "Altar wants to eat your giant brain!" Rodney paled and clamped his mouth shut.

It looked something like a cross between Snow White's glass coffin and a horizontal Borg recharging station. A metal cap fitted over the sacrifice's head as they lay in the oblong box. "The mind of the sacrifice is absorbed into the intelligence which runs the city," explained the elder. "The greater the mind, the more pleased the Ancestors, and the better the city functions."

"I'm not real keen on this 'sacrifice' word you keep using," said John, eyeing the device with distaste. "It sounds kind of final."

"Sacrifice get to change their mind?" asked Ronon. "Take the hat off and go home, after you've hooked them up?"

"Never!" The chief elder looked shocked. "Their mind is entirely transferred into the city. Only their body remains, an empty shell. No reversal is possible – to suggest it is to insult the Ancestors!"

Ronon shrugged. "Not meaning to piss you off, just trying to understand this set-up." He took a deep breath. "So it's me you want, anyway. I'm the smartest of us all. I was a runner from the Wraith. I escaped them for seven years and killed over a hundred. None of the rest of these guys can say the same. I'm cunning and I know how to survive. You want the city to defend you against the Wraith? I'm the one you need for that."

"Whoa, hang on there just a moment," protested John. Rodney's eyes were wide in his pale face.

"I am afraid that I have to disagree, Ronon," said Teyla, calmly but firmly. "I am considerably more intelligent than you, or anyone else on our team." John tried to interject but she glared him down, then turned to the chief elder. "I am the leader of the Athosian people – an honour not conferred lightly. I am a skilled diplomat and trader, and the only member of this team with any social or emotional intelligence at all. Your city cares for your people, does it not? Surely you want it to be socially aware? I am your only choice."

"Yeah, no. I don't think so," said John, stepping forward as far as the guards would let him. "I'm a Lieutenant Colonel in our military forces – that's a very high rank." Rodney rolled his eyes. "I'm the military commander of the city we come from, trained in strategy and tactical planning. I'm also the leader of this team, so that automatically means I'm smarter than the rest of them. They wouldn't let me lead them otherwise." He ignored Teyla's objection and Ronon's snort, cutting them off. "You want your city run properly, by a highly trained military mind? I'm your man."

The chief elder looked perplexed, stroking his beard. "This is most irregular–" he began.

Rodney cut him off. His chin was up truculently and his eyes were narrowed with determination. "Oh for Christ's sake, they're all trying to bullshit you, self-sacrificing morons that they are." He glared at the rest of the team. "I'm the scientist on the team, and Head of Science in our city. I've got two doctorate degrees, and I'm a certified genius–"

"And yet here you are trying to convince me to sacrifice you," said the chief elder, frowning. "As are your colleagues. This is not, surely, an intelligent thing to do. At first, when you laid claim to intelligence, you did not know the consequences, and yet even after being given information about the nature of the Ancestors' altar, you persist in your assertions of superior intellect. It is most puzzling." He sighed deeply. "At first, when you came through the Ancestors' Ring we were glad, as the city's mind was beginning to fail. The last sacrifice was not ideally suited and only boosted the city's functioning for a few days. Your arrival seemed fortuitous, but now I do not know what to think."

"How many sacrifices have you fed, I mean…offered up? On the altar?" John asked.

The elder shrugged. "On average each enhances the city's functioning for several weeks, so from ten to twenty every year."

"And may we ask how long this…practice has been followed in your city?" asked Teyla.

"Our priests discovered this way to boost the mind of the city over fifty years ago. We have not been culled since."

"Maybe it powers some sort of cloak, or a shield?" muttered Rodney. John gestured vaguely to shut him up, but he was thinking at least 500, maybe a thousand. Up to a thousand hapless travelers trapped and plugged into that damn altar, then emptied out. He tried ordering it "off" with his mind, but felt no answering mental handshake. Probably wasn't Ancient tech at all, but some bastardized apparatus invented by a successor civilization after the Ancients had fucked off to be glowy and above it all.

"Look," he said, hoping the others would take their cue. "Let's stop wasting time. I'm the military intelligence here. Hook me up and let's get on with it."

"Shut up, Sheppard," said Ronon angrily. "I already said – I'm the one with the street-smarts. I've got the survival skills to keep their city safe." He turned to the elders. "Take me, the rest of them are useless."

"Do not listen to them," interjected Teyla, her voice commanding. "I am the only truly intelligent one here, the only one with real communication skills and innate leadership ability. Release these fools – I will be your sacrifice."

"They're all idiots and as I have now told you twice, if you only paid attention, I'm definitely the smartest man here, in this galaxy and probably several others. I've got the brains, so I'm the one you want."

They all started talking loudly across each other, arguing about who was the smartest and bad-mouthing the rest of the team. Even Teyla was flushed and strident.

"ENOUGH!" The chief elder raised his hands. Everyone stopped talking. "We are decided. None of you are in the least intelligent, judging by this bizarre behavior. No intelligent people would argue so vehemently to be sacrificed. We will not take the risk of contaminating our city with any of your minds. You will be taken back to the Ancestors' Ring and expelled from our world." He glared at each of them. "Do not return."

"Yeah, okay," said John. "Good decision, there. We are kind of stupid. We'd probably make your trains run backwards or overflow your toilets or something."

"Speak for yourself!" said Rodney, and then "Ow!" as Ronon cuffed him none too gently.

Back in Atlantis, after the debriefing, Elizabeth frowned. "So we lock them out of the database?"

"Nope," said John, "We're not done with those bastards. We're taking a jumper back, putting a drone in their goddam precious altar."

Elizabeth frowned. "Is that wise? It may be powering some sort of shield, Rodney said, or a cloak to protect their city."

John stood. "Yeah, well I think we already proved we're not big in the wisdom department. Excuse us, we've got a brain-eating device to blow up."

He turned and headed for the jumper bay, and as one, Rodney, Ronon and Teyla swung into place alongside him.


- the end -


Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
rissabby
Oct. 28th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
That was fun. All totally true, and hilarious. Go Team!
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 09:56 am (UTC)
Thanks! - they are hilarious, indeed.
schneefink
Oct. 28th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
Brilliant stupid team <3
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)
There's method in their madness - thanks!
tarlanx
Oct. 28th, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Loved it! Loved the dark humor :)
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!
goddess47
Oct. 28th, 2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
That is fun! I love how they confuse the aliens! "No, no, br'er bear, don't throw me into the briar patch!"

Good job!
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)
They're very tricky - thanks!
springwoof
Oct. 28th, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
Great Teamy self-sacrificing shenanigans.
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 09:58 am (UTC)
Why should John have all the self-sacrificing fun? Thanks!
faith_manages03
Oct. 28th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
This made me laugh. ^^
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 09:58 am (UTC)
I'm glad!
esteefee
Oct. 28th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
hahahaha, oh *Team*, so brilliant. <3 <3 <3 FUZZIES FOR ALL.

Release these fools !!!!

::dies::
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC)
Teyla doesn't mince her words in a good cause. Besides, she's been wanting an excuse to say that for ages! :) - thanks!
titan5
Oct. 28th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)
LOVE the team trying to save each other and coming off as a bunch of goofballs in the process. I can hear them all arguing their point of why they are the smartest. I also love the twist of their selflessness actually saving them all. Very nice!!!
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC)
Happy that you liked it - thanks!
outsideth3box
Oct. 29th, 2012 01:02 am (UTC)
Yay TEAM!

Loved it!
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC)
Thank you!
fanficfan123
Oct. 29th, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if among them the team did not cover more than the "seven types of intelligence." Classic team snark and bickering here.
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 10:03 am (UTC)
I really should have added in visuo-spatial for John's flying - glad you liked it!
fanficfan123
Nov. 2nd, 2012 07:57 am (UTC)
Smile.
busaikko
Oct. 29th, 2012 08:51 am (UTC)
Oooh, dear *g* Poor Rodney... so smart, yet so slow to catch on! (And you do know that the brain-eating tech is canon for the Ancients in SGU? Ayup. So it deserves to be blown to kingdom come *nods firmly*)
mific
Oct. 29th, 2012 10:05 am (UTC)
Wow, so my hand-wave at canon was more of a hand-shake than I realized, cool! Happy you liked it :)
ceitie
Oct. 30th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
Hah! Oh, team, they love each other so much it makes them stupid. :)
mific
Oct. 30th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
It's a paradox - but a nice one! Thanks!
lilyfarfalla
Oct. 31st, 2012 12:20 am (UTC)
This was super fun! I love how it went from "kidnapping Rodney for his brain" (one of my favorite tropes), to "team self-sacrificing for each other." <3!! But I also love the arguments you gave them! They are all super smart!!
mific
Oct. 31st, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
They are! I love that stealing Rodney for his giant brain trope too. Happy you liked it, thanks!
ozsaur
Oct. 31st, 2012 09:27 am (UTC)
Take me! No, me! No, ME! LOL

Enjoyed it!
mific
Oct. 31st, 2012 09:46 am (UTC)
Happy you did - thanks!
hickman1937
Oct. 31st, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
Probably wasn't Ancient tech at all, but some bastardized apparatus invented by a successor civilization after the Ancients had fucked off to be glowy and above it all.

Lol! Loved the whole story but especially that line. Thanks for writing.
mific
Nov. 1st, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed it!
selenic76
Nov. 3rd, 2012 08:07 am (UTC)
Go team! XD Funny and witty, loved this! Rodney clearly isn't the only one who holds themselves in high regard :D Sometimes it's so wonderful to see the team act stupidly, makes them all the more human and lovable :)

Thanks for sharing!
mific
Nov. 3rd, 2012 08:29 am (UTC)
They are lovable, and cunningly stupid. Thanks!
aqualegia
Nov. 11th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
LOL They have a very unique way of avoiding being sacrificed.
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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