fic: Getting Back On the Horse [sga]

Rodney climbs back into the saddle.

Spoilers for "Grace Under Pressure"

Stargate: Atlantis belongs to someone else.


Getting Back On the Horse
by Brat Farrar

Rodney didn’t want to be there, wanted very much to be in his labs instead, but he hadn’t had a whole lot of choice in the matter.

Well, technically he had—it was only an offer, not an order, a casually said “Hey, McKay—Radek asked me to take jumper eight out for a spin. Thinks there’s something wrong with the nav system. Want to keep me company?” If Rodney had said no, had come up with some excuse, that would have been the end of it.

Until the next time they had a mission requiring use of a jumper, and Rodney had a meltdown in the middle of it. The mission, not the jumper. And that was why he’d said yes, and was now currently in the copilot’s seat, painfully aware of both their altitude and the jumper’s utter lack of anything even approaching aerodynamics.

“Huh. Everything looks fine,” Sheppard frowned at the HUD, which obligingly scrolled through a different set of data before flickering off. “You want to take over for a bit? Maybe it’s just being finicky for non-naturals.”

And Rodney wanted even less to do that, because his flying was iffy even on his best days, and right now his palms were sweaty and he was focusing mainly on not panicking. But if he said no, he might not ever be able to get himself to say yes afterwards. So he nodded, mouth dry, scrubbed his hands once against his knees, and placed them on the control panels. Talking would lead to babbling would lead to freaking out, so he stayed silent, and listened instead to the steady hum of the jumper.

Everything felt not-quite-right, as was usual when he tried to fly the jumpers, but no worse than usual, and as Sheppard had said, the navigational system appeared to be functioning properly. The jumper was drifting off course a little, but that always happened when Rodney was flying and so could be ignored.

He attempted a sharper curve, and the jumper responded smoothly, easily, just as he wanted. The afternoon sun glinted against the window, and for a moment everything slid into place, and Rodney forgot that he was basically flying a brick. Far above him was the endless sky, far below him the fathomless ocean, and he trod his careful way between the two. The jumper continued ticking along in the fashion of well-maintained machinery, no loose wires or exploding engines. In the other seat, Sheppard sat with the stillness he seemed to possess only when in the air, all unshaken confidence—a comforting presence.

In a moment everything would slide apart again, and Rodney’s brain would helpfully supply him with things like rate of descent and the way it had felt to know he would die entombed on the ocean floor, the sound of the door shutting him in all alone. But for just a moment he could forget all that, and he did.
Lovely, and a very different take on GUP. Most go for the emotional angst - John happy Rodney's alive, Rodney touched John saved him, etc. No one's ever considered Rodney's attitude toward jumpers in the after math, and he would have a bit of a phobia.
No one's ever considered Rodney's attitude toward jumpers in the after math, and he would have a bit of a phobia.

Really? I know that would be my reaction. I mean, it doesn't matter how brilliant a flier you are, the jumpers are basically boxes - there's nothing you can do to keep from crashing should the engines fail. You probably wouldn't be able to drag me back into one if I'd survived a crash of that sort. Lead me to the planes that use Bernoulli's law - at least they'll glide for a bit, if you know how to manage them.
As someone who's had to literally get back on the horse after busting up my back in a fall (only four days after I bought my first horse even LOL), I can empathize with what Rodney's going through. He's braver than I am, though...horses are one thing, things that fly and crash spectacularly and sink are quite another!

So, go, Rodney! ♥
Ouch! I'm sorry to hear about your back. I managed to avoid any real injuries during my stint of riding, although I almost got trampled once - which was exciting. Aside from the first time I fell (which was frightening mostly because it was so unexpected), I didn't have any hesitation getting back on. But I was young then, and rebounded more easily.

What kind of horse did you buy, if you don't mind me asking?
Ohhh very nice, and as kriadydragon said, a rather different angle to take...well done. :)
Ooooh, very nicely done! That seems just like something John would do and you handled Rodney quite well. *claps* Bravo!
Thank you! This was my first stab at writing from Rodney's POV, so I'm glad you think it worked.
Great insight into Rodney and how the crash would have affected him. Very well done.
Thanks! I've been neglecting the rest of the team in favor of John, so it seemed time to start looking at the rest of them.
What a cool angle to take with this one. :)

I can very much see Rodney approaching the situation with this logic and I love his determination to get back on the horse. Both his and John's actions and reactions here were very much in character for each of them.

Can't wait to see your next one! :)
It's good to hear that my portrayals of them are sound - that's my main concern with these sorts of pieces.

Can't wait to see your next one!

Just what every author wants to hear! ^_^
Oh, you just know that the nav. has nothing wrong with it. :) A nice piece about Rodney, and his (to me) astoundingly mature realization that he has to get back up and fly again before it becomes a problem. Good job.
Very nice. And I can totally believe that Rodney would have trouble getting into jumpers again. :) Thanks!
that's really lovely--Rodney at his most freaked and trying to hold it together--and then forgetting, even for just a little while.
Mmm. That's lovely. A little detatched in the POV, but all the best parts are there, for sure. Do you see why I love the man? I think you do. ^^
The detachment is probably due to this being my first attempt at someone other than John. The run-on sentences capture Rodney best, I think.

I do love how almost defiantly a coward he is until that last moment when he has to actually choose between himself and others. ^_^
i like it! short and sweet! after spending practically all week reading huge epics, it's nice to just sit down and read a quick, well written one-shot!

nice job!
Oh, it's me and driving. And right now I'm pushing through with the driving lessons.
Good for you. I feel sort of the same way about driving, although in my case it's because I got hit while trying to make a left turn. So I'm still in the grit-my-teeth-and-drive-anyway stage.
Excellent perspective piece. I think this is absolutely in character for both and moreover, quite a realistic response for (anyone in) Rodney('s place).
Thanks! I'm always thrilled when an older piece like this gets some love. :P

If you don't mind me asking, how'd you come across it?