Gail’s request was for: *Smart Young Men*
Just a bit of a silly romp.
New Friends, Old Enemies
Blair Sandburg hated elevators. Being stuck in one with a bomb and four other nervous passengers would tend to do that to a guy, he thought as he stepped into the one that had just arrived on the fifteenth floor of the Cascade Science Museum, nodded a brief greeting to the only other passenger inside then turned and punched the button for the ground floor.
“It was already pushed,” his companion pointed out acerbically.
Blair shrugged. “Sorry. These things make me a little nervous. I’m just thinking about getting down and off it in the shortest time possible.”
“Hmm.” The other man shrugged back. “Never been fond of them myself. You’d think I’d be over it by now considering the dangerous places I seem to find myself in these days.”
Blair gave him a considering look. The guy didn’t look like the type to find himself anywhere dangerous. He was around 5’ 10, a little on the pudgy side, with a slightly receding hairline. Still, he guessed most people meeting him for the first time wouldn’t believe some of the misadventures he’d been through since hooking up with Jim either. So he just nodded and turned back to his perusal of the door.
After a few minutes of the usual awkward elevator silence, the car jolted to a stop and Blair stood aside politely to allow the other man to exit first.
“What the hell-“ the man said when the doors didn’t open.
Blair glanced up at the indicator lights above the door and groaned. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” he said.
“What?” his companion asked.
“It’s between floors,” Blair said, pointing up to where the lights were flickering back and forth between ground and 1st. “Sorry, man, I guess I jinxed us talking about my fear of elevators.”
“There’s no such thing as a jinx,” the other man said as he tried to wedge his fingers between the doors.
“I don’t think that’ll work,” Blair said.
“You think?” his new friend replied sourly, pulling his hand back. He reached for the phone on the wall and lifted the receiver. “Oh great,” he said, slamming it back into place. “It’s out of order. What kind of place is this? Haven’t they ever heard of maintenance in this city?”
Blair bristled a little at the implied insult to his beloved hometown. “I’m sure it’s just a glitch. They’ll realize in the control room that there’s problem and have us out in no time,” he said. Settling his backpack on the floor at his feet, he held out his hand. “I’m Blair Sandburg,” he said.
The other man shook his hand perfunctorily. “Dr. Rodney McKay,” he replied.
“Doctor? Well, that’s good,” Blair said with a grin. “At least if I have a panic attack before they get us out of here, I’ll have medical help right on hand.”
“Not that sort of doctor,” McKay said. “I’m an astrophysicist. To tell the truth, I have a problem with enclosed spaces myself so if you’re going to have a panic attack I’d really prefer you to do it as far away from me as possible. I’ll need space for my own nervous breakdown if they don’t get us out of here soon. Do you have a cell phone?”
Blair shook his head apologetically. “I left it at home. Sorry. My friend, Jim, keeps telling me he’s going to staple it to my backside one day. You?”
McKay shook his head. “Don’t really need one most of the time.” He scrabbled through his pockets and pulled out a small earpiece device similar to something Blair had seen on spy shows but then shoved it back in his pocket as Blair raised an interrogatory eyebrow at him, “It’s a toy,” he said. “I bought it for my niece. She’s into the whole cops and robbers thing at the moment.”
Blair jumped as an alarm bell began jangling shrilly outside the elevator.
“Oh, please don’t tell me that’s-“
“The fire alarm,” Blair finished his companion’s observation. “’Fraid so. Hey, look on the bright side. They always check the elevators before evacuating the building.”
McKay looked expectantly at the doors. “They’re taking their sweet time about it,” he said, walking over and banging on them with his fist.
“Won’t do you much good, I’m afraid,” another voice said from somewhere above them. “I’ve fed a continuous loop of the interior of this car into the security center. Of course, that loop was made before you two got in so as far as the security people are concerned, this elevator’s empty.”
“What the…” McKay looked up towards the ceiling of the car as Blair groaned.
“Brackett?” Blair yelled. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“Aw, you remember me,” Brackett replied, “I’m touched.”
“You’re touched all right,” Blair shouted back. “How the hell did you get out of jail?”
“Hey, I still have friends,” Brackett said, sounding hurt that anyone would think otherwise.
“What do you want?” Blair asked. “No way am I going to agree to steal another plane for you!”
McKay’s eyebrows climbed almost into his hairline at that and Blair couldn’t help grinning. “Besides,” Blair added, “Jim’s not with me. And you know if you do anything to me, he’ll find you and…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know what your big bad pet Sentinel will do but I’m not interested in either Ellison or you this time. You’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time, Sandburg, not that that surprises me. You’re collateral damage so to speak.”
“If you’re not after me…” Blair trailed off as he looked over at McKay.
“Me? He’s after me?” McKay asked. “Why?”
“Oh, don’t be coy, Doc. I l know what you do. You’re a special kind of guy. I know the CIA recruited you straight out of high school and I know the kind of work you’ve been doing at Colorado Springs,” Brackett said.
“I’m an astrophysicist,” McKay said. “I work with deep space telemetry.”
“That’s what they all say,” Brackett cut in. “There’s something at Area 51 a friend of mine wants. You’re going to get it for me.”
“And if say no?” McKay asked, pulling himself up to his full height and firming his jaw.
“I’ll kill your new friend, Sandburg.”
McKay looked over at Blair, raising his eyebrows in a “is this guy serious?” kind of look. “I thought they only said that in movies,” McKay said.
Blair shrugged as Brackett put in, “Well, the movies had to get the idea from somewhere, smartass.”
“Okay, I’ll go with you,” McKay replied. He looked at Blair and lowered his voice to a barely there whisper. “He’ll have to come and get me, right?”
Blair shrugged again then put a finger to his lips. He wasn’t sure if Brackett could see them or not but he wasn’t taking any chances. Sighing, he sat down and leaned back against the wall of the car.
“You promise to let him go if I come with you?” McKay called.
“Sure. Ask Sandburg. He knows I’m a man of my word. Besides I don’t want to kill him if I don’t have to. I might need him and Ellison again in the future.”
“As if,” Blair muttered under his breath.
“I’ll be right down to get you, Dr. McKay. Oh and no stupid tricks, boys. There’s nowhere to hide in an elevator and neither of you look the tough guy type,” Brackett said, an obvious note of triumph coloring his voice.
Blair waited two minutes to be sure Brackett had left the control room and no longer had access to the cameras then jumped to his feet. “Okay,” he said quickly, “this is what we’re gonna do.”
“Well, Doctor, ready to take a trip?” Brackett asked, as the elevator door slid open. He held a gun and kept it leveled at McKay. He stopped just inside the door. “Where’s-“ was all he had time to get out as Blair dropped from the roof of the car and landed on his back, sending him crashing to the floor, the gun slithering across the floor to land at McKay’s feet.
Blair held on grimly as Brackett struggled and cursed beneath him. He looked up at McKay who now had the gun in his hand. “Well, don’t just stand there,” he panted, keeping a firm grip on Brackett who was doing all in his power to buck him off his back, “do something!”
“All right,” McKay replied. Stepping forward he transferred the gun to his other hand then bent forward and delivered a rabbit punch to the back of Brackett’s neck, knocking him out cold.
Blair levered himself to his feet, then leaned forward, hands on his knees, catching his breath. After a few minutes he straightened up and grinned at McKay. “They teach you that in astrophysicist school?” he asked.
McKay smiled back. “I have a couple of friends who’ve given me some pointers,” he replied, putting the gun in his pocket. “Shall we?” He motioned to the elevator door.
“Oh, man, yeah,” Blair said, shuddering. “I hate elevators. Let’s call garbage collection and get this piece of trash removed.”
“So, what were you? Spiderman in another life?” McKay asked conversationally as they made their way to a phone.
“According to my mom, I used to play superheroes when I was a kid,” Blair replied, “but I actually worked on a high rise building during one of my senior years in college. You really learn how to climb on a job like that. And hang on for dear life to whatever’s available.” He lifted the phone and called the PD, asking the operator to pass a message onto Jim as well. “Let’s go keep an eye on Brackett,” he said as he hung up the phone. “The guy’s as slippery as an eel.”
“Sandburg, I swear to God if you don’t stop getting yourself into situations like this, I’m going to assign Rafe and Brown to babysit you on a permanent basis,” said a familiar voice from behind them about ten minutes later.
Brackett was awake and sitting sullenly against the wall. McKay was standing guard over him, gun in hand.
“Jim!” Blair said. “Am I glad to see you! Hey, I want you to meet my friend, Dr. Rodney McKay.”
“Friend, huh?” Jim Ellison shook his head and reached out to ruffle Blair’s hair affectionately. “If he’s a friend of yours then he’s probably a trouble magnet too.”
“Hey, I resemble that remark,” McKay said. He handed the gun to Jim then stepped out of the elevator. “Well, I can’t say it’s been a pleasure, Sandburg,” he added, “but it’s definitely been interesting.”
“You’ll need to stay around, give a statement,” Jim warned him.
“Sure, no problem,” McKay said, lifting his hand in farewell. “I’ll leave my name and address with one of the officers.”
Jim nodded then leaned down and hauled Brackett to his feet, cuffing him tightly. “Brackett, when are you going to learn that Blair’s not the pushover you seem to think he is?”
Blair couldn’t help a glow of pride at hearing that and he smiled as he followed them from the car.
“Hey,” Jim asked the officer he handed Brackett over to, “you get the address of the other witness?”
The man shrugged. “Didn’t see anyone else,” he replied, turning to push Brackett ahead of him out of the building. “I did see the weirdest light a minute or so ago though. Probably just a light bulb blowing or something.”
Blair laughed. “I guess Brackett wasn’t kidding when he said McKay was something special.” He led the way out of the building. “I’ll tell you all about it over lunch. You’re buying and I’ve gotta tell you, I am starving.” He patted Jim on the back as he walked beside him to the truck. “Yes, Jim, I’ll even settle for burgers.”