From this sort-of prompt: Where are the stories where a number of symbols on the floor of an room need to be touched all at once, and so when the Ancient weapon/shield/frogurt machine comes online and people come running to find out what happened, John and Rodney are all twisted up, boots in the corner, glaring at Radek in the doorway and going, "NOT ONE WORD."?
I claim no responsibility for or ownership of any part of this whatsoever. Except the order into which the words were put.
Elbow On the Floor
by Brat Farrar
“Rodney, I have only four limbs.”
“You’ve got elbows, don’t you? Or your nose—that would work.”
“No it won’t—not unless I suddenly become Mr. Fantastic or something. You’ll have to get it yourself.”
“Fine. I’ll just figure out the rest of the sequence first....Ha! Easy as pie.”
“Pie’s actually kind of difficult. Particularly the crust. I had one once that simply wouldn’t roll out. Ended up making cobbler instead.” Something in John’s knee cracked loudly, and he tried and failed to shift his weight off it. “Hurry it up, would you? I’m not sure how much longer I can hold this position.”
“Yes, yes, doing it now. No need to nag.”
“Well, I figured falling over would sort of mess everything up. Um, you might want to take your boots off first. You’ll need the additional flexibility.”
“I’ll have you know that I am perfectly flexible, thank you very much.”
John couldn’t really shrug without tipping over on his face, but he tried anyway. “Suit yourself. Just don’t step on my fingers.”
“I think I can manage that, Colonel. Let’s see—I need to step here and here, and press down that one over there, and your arm is in the way.”
“Sorry, but there’s not much I can do about it. Not without falling on you.”
“Yes, well, please don’t. Maybe if you lean that way a little I can thread my arm through here.”
John sighed, but did as directed, and wonder of wonders, it worked. Of course, that was when the door opened, revealing a rather puzzled-looking Lorne.
“Sir, is there a reason why you’re playing—”
Then the floor lit up, and Rodney crowed, “Got it!” and tried to stand up.
John had just enough time to yell “McKay!” before he finally fell over. The floor went dark again.
“Huh,” Rodney said.
“Ow,” John said.
“Guess the tiles need to be held down the whole time. That’s an odd way to design something. Hey, Colonel—would you mind—”
“Yes, I would mind. Get Lorne here to do it for you. Or better yet, find some marines. I am going to the infirmary. I think I sprained my wrist.”
“Don’t expect any credit once I finally get this thing working!” Rodney yelled after him, but John didn’t turn around. He wasn’t going to be able to move the next morning anyway. No need to make things worse by going back for more.
He was halfway to the infirmary before he realized he’d forgotten to put his boots back on.