M7E-252 was a pleasant place to visit, to trade with. But the planet's mores dictated that they must not be visited on days that corresponded with their full moon.
On the fifth visit, a miscalculation caused AR-1 to arrive during the full moon. They found a completely different world people screaming and completely out of their minds, or alternately rigid in their beds, unable to respond to anything or anyone.
John took a step backward, seeing what they'd stumbled into. "What do you say we come back in a couple of days, when things are normal again?"
"I think it's a good ideOW!" Rodney gasped, grimacing as he pulled his injured hand up to his chest and glared down at the child who had bitten him. She barked like a puppy, laughed at him, and skipped away.
"The children are running wild," Teyla breathed. "Surely this can not be--"
"It's not our place," Ronon told her, gripping her shoulder even as his other hand was prising Rodney's from his chest. "Let me see, McKay." Rodney relaxed his hand, and Ronon was able to study it. "Skin's broken." He wrapped a cloth around Rodney's hand.
"Hey, wait, do you know where that's been?" Rodney gasped.
Ronon met his eyes. "It's clean," he assured him, tying a knot to hold it secure.
"Better let Carson have a look at that at home," John said. "Let's get home, people. We'll come back when they've straightened themselves out."
All four of them cast wary, concerned looks over their shoulders as they left the village.
Rodney never made it to see Carson. The minute they were through the Gate, Radek had snapped him up to look at some anomalous energy readings. They worked for hours on it, finally tracing it down to one of the naquadah generators "throwing a temper tantrum", as Rodney put it.
Finally, they got it turned off, and Rodney swayed as he stood. "Oh," he groaned. "I feel....strange."
"Like you would notice a difference," Radek teased gently, putting their tools away.
"I'm serious," Rodney said. "I feel.....I f-feel...." He glanced out the high windows of the generator room and noticed the twin full moons. " .strange," he breathed. "Very....strange."
Radek approached him. "Rodney?" he asked, frowning deeply.
Rodney turned to face him, his eyes no longer blue. They were a golden yellow, and his breathing was coming in ragged gasps. "Get..away....from me!" he snarled, his voice deep and filled with an animalistic growl.
"Rodney!" Radek gasped, taking a step backward.
The pain was incredible as Rodney's body seemingly broke apart and reformed into something no longer human. He was filled with rage, and that rage needed to be released.
The annoying smaller man with the glasses kept talking at him. One bat of his hand paw? sent him across the room, where he landed in a heap. But even then he kept talking.
There was only one way to shut him up. Rodney crossed the room in three large bounds, snarling all the while. Three slashes of brand new claws, and his senses filled with blood as the small man finally fell silent and still.
The radio flared to life in everybody's ears with an urgent and frantic call. "Medical alert in Generator Room Three! Medical alert in Generator Room Three! We need a med team now!"
John stood, alarm filling him. He touched his radio. "Radek, what's going on?"
"Is Rodney!" Radek yelped, his English slipping as usually happened when intense emotion overtook him. "He said he feels strange, and then he..... he..... please, please hurry! I do not know what this is!"
Carson's voice filtered through. "We are on our way, Radek. Turn off general broadcasting, we are coming!"
"Please hurry!" Radek repeated before he cut the channel.
John was on the move to Generator Room Three, meeting Carson and the medical team just outside the doors. Seeing them racing there, John turned to the door and thought it open.
They all raced in and found Radek on his knees beside Rodney's twitching form. He looked up, his eyes terrified behind the glasses. "He fell.... he just collapsed! He has been like this since!"
Carson touched Rodney's cheek and pulled an eyelid open, shining a light into it. He frowned. "He's not responding. Get him on that gurney!" he ordered. "We need to "
"Carson." John had unwrapped Rodney's hand. He held it up, and Carson could see the bite. It was now red and swollen, sluggishly oozing yellowish-orange material.
Carson swore loudly. "Move, people! Get him out of here!"
The team rolled Rodney away swiftly, and John turned to Radek. "You okay?"
"Yes," he breathed. "I am fine. He just said he was feeling strange, and he collapsed. He did not touch me."
John nodded and squeezed his shoulder before he left the room, heading after Rodney.
Rodney stalked down the halls of the city, following the scent of the prey that inhabited it.
This was prime hunting ground.
He couldn't wait to kill again.
Carson ran test after test, then returned to where Rodney's team were gathered around his bed. "It's bacterial," he informed them. "The bite was loaded with it. It's acting like a powerful hallucinogen."
"But he's unconscious," John said.
"Aye," Carson nodded. "The ATA gene has reacted with it and caused that. He'll remain so until the antibiotics we're putting in his IV kick in." He looked up toward the sky. "Or until the moons set."
"The....moons?" Teyla gasped. "What do they have to do with his condition?"
"When the moons rose, they began to emit mild radiation. All moons do. It's harmless to the inhabitant of the planet but it's reacted to the bacterium and activated it strongly."
"So..... Rodney is going to be all right?" John asked.
"Yes," Carson nodded. "Once the bacterium is clear of his system."
As Carson walked away, Teyla looked at John. "Now we know why the villagers were acting the way they were."
Ronon shook his head. "Remind us never to go there on the full moons again."
"Definitely not," John sighed, eyes never leaving Rodney's still form. "Never again."
Rodney was bacterium-free in 24 hours. He would have to stay on the antibiotics for a few days, and his team and Radek would make sure he took them all.
But Rodney remained morose and still. Silent and withdrawn. They couldn't figure out why until Radek came in to see about him.
Rodney sat straight up in bed and yelped, "Radek? You're alive!"
And with that, the story of what he'd hallucinated came out. How he'd become a werewolf in the light of the full moon and had killed Radek. And Miko. And Lorne. And had turned Katie Brown to mate with her.
At the end of the telling, Teyla quietly got on the radio and ordered Miko and Lorne to the infirmary and Carson sat on Rodney's bed and explained that the hallucinogen had been powerful, but there had been nobody harmed. Katie was safely away on vacation, aboard the Daedalus, nearly to Earth by now.
And when Miko and Lorne walked in, healthy and untouched, Rodney finally believed everything was going to be okay.
When the next full moons arrived and nothing at all happened, he was able to let go of the rest of his lingering fears.
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