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Title: Controlled Substances
Rating: PG
Characters: John Sheppard, Samantha Carter
Summary: Coffee was worth its weight in gold.
Notes: Having gone through withdrawal for both substances mentioned in this story, I can honestly say that caffeine withdrawal was far more brutal than nicotine withdrawal – but it was an easier habit to kick then smoking.

Coffee was worth its weight in gold.

For that one reason, coffee had actually become a controlled substance in Atlantis. Its consumption was strictly rationed and a twenty-four hour guard was placed on the supply.

After two scientists had actually gone into cardiac distress from withdrawal a few weeks after their first supply run from Earth – Elizabeth had actually considered banning it all together. When Rodney had pointed out there would be a large scale mutiny if she did that, John had suggested war rationing any substance containing caffeine.

When Samantha Carter had first arrived in Atlantis to replace Elizabeth, she had been shocked and horrified that she had to apply for a rationing card to get a cup of coffee.

“I don’t understand,” she had said. “There are six stills in open and public use, but I can’t have a cup of coffee whenever I want.”

John had shrugged and leaned back in his chair, watching the blonde pace the small space of his office. “I’m less worried about alcoholism then I am about the bunch of scientists losing their heads because there isn’t any more coffee.”

That had seemed to mean something and Sam had let the subject drop, though not without a scowl. And four days later, she’d watched one of the newer scientists have a small but spectacular breakdown in her office.

“He had a pack a day habit,” John commented later. “Been smoking for nearly fourteen years. Caffeine withdrawal is actually worse looking.”

“I didn’t realize Atlantis was a smoke free base,” Sam had said.

“It’s not,” John had answered. “But it’s nearly impossible to stay stocked up this far away from Earth. I can at least requisition more coffee – even if it’s just instant stuff. I can’t put in an order for a tobacco field.”


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2011 05:32 am (UTC)
Yesssssssss! I love explorations of Atlantis as an outpost, and this one is fabulous.

Six stills! Rationing cards! The fact that Rodney is on board!

Also, really interesting insights into nicotine/caffeine and withdrawal/habit.
May. 30th, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
I am glad you enjoyed it! And your prompt actually reminded me of a conversation I'd been having with someone I work with about giving up coffee (she because she is now expecting, I because I was drinking a pot an hour from the moment I got up until the moment I went to bed - sometimes three or four days later)
May. 30th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
Oh man, that is an intense coffee addiction to contemplate letting go off. I'm better now than I was in school, when I would get a latte and call it lunch, but I like to think there's a happy medium between drinking coffee and having it be awful for you? I hope such a thing exists.
May. 29th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC)
this is just BRILLIANT. totally realistic. ::loves::
May. 30th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Thanks! I am glad you liked it! :D
May. 29th, 2011 06:40 am (UTC)
As a non-smoker, that subject never entered my mind, I'm surprise the base survived the first year. Nice slice of life look at Atlantis.

Maybe they should have had the Athosians plant tobacco?
May. 30th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
Lol, I never considered the possibility of outside tobacco sources.

But I am glad you enjoyed the story!
May. 29th, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
I can't put in an order for a tobacco field

*rofl* Imagine the face of General Landry! *bahahahahaha*

I love this little view into the daily life of Atlantis.

Thank you very much!
May. 30th, 2011 02:01 am (UTC)
Could you imagine the kind of reply he would be likely to give too? Possibly with a rep sharpie marker and "WTF" written across the page?

I am glad you enjoyed it!
May. 29th, 2011 08:22 am (UTC)
Great story. I can imagine Carter's shock and horror.
May. 30th, 2011 02:03 am (UTC)
Lol, that's what made her such a good character for the outside perspective on something that is seen as "normal" in this version of Atlantis. She's a coffee lover at heart, and here she's being told the little punch card she's been given? Doesn't mean she gets a free coffee when all the little slots are punched out.
May. 29th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
Love the ration cards - very retro!
May. 30th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! :D
May. 29th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Nice concept, delving into issues that were clearly there but something that the writers never encompassed.
May. 30th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
It kinda makes you wish they had though, doesn't it? What kind of episode would they have put together about rationing or withdrawal or "the black market trade"?
May. 30th, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
Yes it does. I do believe there was potential to address these issues, well maybe not so much the 'black market trade' coz I'm not sure they'd want to delve into that as it was a military run base...but the others could have easily been written in when Atlantis was cut off from Earth if they'd considered it imo.
May. 30th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
God, we didn't even get to see as much as a patched shirt in this first, very hard year when they were completely cut off from Earth and didn't know if they would ever get back in contact again.

That whole side of having to make do, having to ration practically everything - we never saw much of this except when it came up a few times for a reason to go off-world. Bartering for food with the Genii and such.

I would have loved to see more of that and this short story dives headlong into this topic. :-)
Jun. 4th, 2011 08:50 am (UTC)
That's so true, there were so many missed opportunities by the writers. Thank goodness for fan-fiction! It always give 'us' what we want even if they producers never.

May. 30th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
Hah, there totally would have been a mutiny if Elizabeth had attempted to ban coffee. :D
Jun. 2nd, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Lovely little story. I, too,enjoy seeing see the trials and tribulations of daily life so far from earth and easy access to supplies.
Jun. 4th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC)
I love the idea that coffee is rationed! I wonder who runs the black market...
Jun. 5th, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
"There are six stills in open and public use, but I can't have a cup of coffee whenever I want"

This is utterly realistic imho. I can SO picture it - because every scientist I've ever known can do complex math when drunk but not when in caffeine withdrawal.
Aug. 14th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
This is excellent! Very good portrayal of a rarely-touched topic.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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