Summary: A companion to Planet of the Dinosaurs - somewhat like a DVD commentary, sans-DVD.
Categories: Stargate: Atlantis > Companion Characters: Acastus Kolya
Genres: Character Study
Warnings: Adult Themes
Chapters: 2 Completed: No
Word count: 7722 Read: 24500
Published: 22/01/06 Updated: 10/06/06
Part One by Penumbris
After much deliberation, I have, on behalf of the Gestalt, decided to put together what I'm calling a companion to PotD. This is a use of the word 'companion' in much the same way as it is used in Doctor Who - namely, to describe something that follows the main entity around and agrees with it a lot. Oh, and gets the odd meaningful line but little else. Though there will be no Daleks at any time, sorry. What there will be is... thoughts, I suppose, accompanied by bits of quotes, maybe even the odd insight. Maybe. I will merely be re-reading it (again!) and noting things down as I go.
So let's get started, with that seemingly simple line that sparked a shocking set of events into life, and created the fic that I may be dangerously obsessed with...
McKay is sitting slumped against the wall, his knees drawn up into his chest, his forehead all but touching them.
Oh, that poor man has no idea what's in store... *g* At one point, there was going to be a proper introduction to this, detailing what happened prior to Rodney and Kolya being captured by the Wraith. Exactly what happened remains a mystery to this day, though we do know that there was a confrontation between Kolya's squad and Sheppard's team on a planet now named as Raikora - a confrontation that was broken up by a Wraith attack in which just Rodney and Kolya were captured. The assumption is that coming after them was impossible - maybe the hiveship escaped, or something - and both were more or less written off as dead by their returning teammates.
And here's another point straight away - pay attention to how Kolya addresses Rodney as things progress. The man is very careful about how he uses peoples' names, choosing which and when for maximum effect. It's something I didn't notice him doing at first, but now am very aware of.
Rodney: "There is [no way out of here.] Not unless you magically have a small army up your sleeve. Or a sonic screwdriver, for that matter."
*smirks* References to the sonic screwdriver come up a number of times, this being the first. On the surface... I guess you could say it's just an innocent, fannish remark. It has, however, taken on other connotations...
Rodney: "What would you do if I managed to get us out of here? Fight them with your death glare and garrotte them with your bootlace?"
Ah, here we go, the first of many, MANY references to footwear. Kolya is quite right - Rodney IS very fond of using said items in his plans. Though the sheer volume of references really gets me at times! This has become a very, very long-running joke.
The death glare itself is a very old reference from the earliest SGA RP days – it was one of the first defining characteristics my Kolya muse took on.
The commander smiles. Things are looking up. He lays a hand on McKay's shoulder, in genuine - though still mildly intimidating - congratulation.
Heh. The shoulder-thing. That's one of Kolya's little gestures, particularly where Rodney is concerned. You can trace it back to canon - namely to that gobsmackingly wonderful scene in The Storm, just before the infamous knife-drawing incident. Usually, if Kolya's got his hand on someone's shoulder, it's his way of re-enforcing the power-dynamic, of providing an inescapable grounding in reality that leaves no room for mental - or physical - escape. Where Rodney is concerned, there's added layers because of the whole connection to what happened in The Storm. This particular moment is interesting, therefore, because for the first time, the gesture is not simply out of a need to intimidate the good doctor. Of course, here, that is still partly the point. But not entirely.
Rodney: "Do you touch everyone you hate?"
Oh, oh, the ironic foreshadowing!
And now we come to Rodney and Kolya vs The Wraith. When we came to write this bit, I was suddenly struck by a realisation that Kolya might never have met one before, so I decided to play that up and say that he hadn't - hence his internal reference to this being not a problem but a challenge.
You may also note that, from the very beginning, Kolya follows Rodney around like a bodyguard. There is a lot behind this, part of which becomes evident later on. Some of it is out of simple awareness that he's the better fighter of the two, and therefore ought to be defending Rodney because he's more able. But in reality it runs a lot deeper. Kolya at this point is still trying to deal with what happened to him on Atlantis and on Dagan, and is struggling with the realisation that people who go on missions with him tend to die. A lot of Genii got killed on Atlantis - please, don't get us started on THAT again! - and a number more were lost on Dagan (though seriously, man, you should have SEARCHED Sheppard-et-al properly before leaving them ALONE AND UNGUARDED in that bloody pit! Er. Sorry.) As a result, Kolya is desperate to prove that he is capable of keeping people alive, and when put in a fairly intense situation with Rodney, decides that this is his big chance. It gets much, much worse once they reach the Planet.
Back on his feet, Kolya barely has time to register what's going on before the barrel of the second Wraith's stunner smashes into his shoulder.
Yes, this would be THAT shoulder, i.e. the one Sheppard shot in The Eye. Though Kolya didn't really mention it again after this early point in the story, I know for a fact that he was in lingering pain for much of the time on the Planet. Why he chose not to mention it remains a mystery to me.
Kolya: "How long do the effects of this weapon last? Because if I end up having to carry you..."
Look! More foreshadowing! Lord knows how we managed to get so much of it in without actually planning anything!
...the shock of looking out of that window. Kolya has never actually been in space before, never looked down and seen a whole world circle below.
This was something else I realised needed to be said - when you live in a bunker your entire life, space travel is not a natural pastime! And Kolya really had a little Moment the first time he looked out of a window.
It's the same look he got when he stepped into the light from the shaft, facing Kolya and agreeing to come along. It's Rodney's really brave face.
Awww. I love that look. It makes me want to hug him.
Fortunately, there's only two Wraith, who look rather surprised to see a Human scientist storming in and struggling to duck and roll and crawl and everything he's been taught behind minimal cover, all at once, whilst screaming something that sounds somewhat akin to ‘AAAAAAHH!’
*smirk* Ah yes. This would be the first appearance of the Rodney McKay Battle Cry. It, too, has become a loooooooong running joke, and amuses me to no end.
Rodney: "Oh. Wonderful. We're so totally screwed. If I recall correctly - and I usually do - we're in orbit above Jurassic Park."
And that would be the line that changed this from a random little RP into Planet of the Dinosaurs. To this day, we don’t know why it happened – it was never planned. Rodney merely decided it would be that particular world.
Rodney: "Right. Well, you kill all the Wraith and I'll just hotwire [the Wraith dart.] Don't worry, I did this all the time in my delinquent youth."
It’s hard to pick out favourite examples of Rodney snarking, but this has to be one of them. It’s just such a lovely image.
…and, oh yes, the dart. Since we wrote this, we’ve seen one up close (in The Lost Boys,) so how both Kolya and Rodney manage to get into the cockpit is a little beyond me. Possibly the dart they steal is the family-size model.
…then suddenly there's an odd feeling of vertigo, something like Gate travel, and they rematerialise chest-deep in water, just in time to see the dart crash spectacularly.
A lot of this was unexpected. That was way beyond unexpected. For a moment, Kolya doesn't speak, and then finally he asks, quite blankly, "What did you do?"
Not only do I love this plan, but I have always liked the way Kolya reacted to it. I can completely see the Look that no doubt accompanied his question. One of the things I always find easiest when writing the good commander is the different tones of voice he uses – you can tell a lot from how he says something.
Kolya goes oddly blank as Rodney starts eating [the powerbar] - certainly a lot blanker than he is normally capable of. Yes. He can do denial too.
And THIS would be the first deliberate hint of UST – which means this part was most likely written shortly after I started writing Special. Though I should mention that, at this point, we really were still just RP-ing, with absolutely no plan whatsoever, and had no idea if things would ever become properly slashy.
Rodney: "Which is all the more reason to give me the stunner, because you can be all gung-ho and ninja it to death."
There are several times when Rodney manages to connect the words ‘Kolya’ and ‘ninja.’ This also amuses us greatly. And I do like the idea of the verb ‘to ninja.’
IN-JOKE ALERT: The boy Rodney mentions in his remarks about being sent on camp, Emett, is named after David Hewlett’s character in (the abysmal but amusing) Boa vs Python.
Kolya: "The Genii do not practice cannibalism of any kind."
This is included in Kolya’s top ten list of ‘Things I Never Expected To Say.’ Or it would be, if he had one.
Furthermore, there was a lovely remark in Coup d’Etat (which this story is set before and therefore which doesn’t apply, but nevertheless) about rumours that Cowan was killing off the Manarians (the guys in The Storm who sell out the Atlanteans to the Genii) in order to eat them. This amused us greatly. And we would like to repeat, for the record, that the Genii do not practice cannibalism of any kind.
…heh. Now Rodney makes a remark about not jinxing them by saying everything will be all right, and he mentions being sure that "the ceiling isn’t going to accidentally fall on your head." Most ironically, during a difficult moment in Part Two, this is something he’s worried might actually happen.
Rodney: "Well at least neither of us is a blond virgin, because otherwise the consequences wouldn't bear thinking about."
Note to the reader: Yes, Rodney really did just say that. And yes, it is important not to be drinking when this reply comes through, because otherwise you are at risk of choking.
Ah! Now we finally meet the first of the Little Bastards – the small dinosaurs which are responsible for SO much of the trouble that takes place. They’re about waist-high, and look a lot like mini-velociraptors. And they are MEAN.
Also? I adore the way Rodney hides behind Kolya when they’re talking about the first of the Little Bastards. It’s so very… foreshadowy. Is that a word? It is now.
Rodney: "I do know what you're doing, you do realise, don't you? Because I'm not stupid. Not at all."
Kolya: "And what am I doing?"
Rodney: "Just... don't. Really. Kate and I were only discussing this the other day."
This exchange gets interrupted by The Return Of The Little Bastard, but they do continue it later – which I was always very pleased about. What Rodney is referring to, of course, is that he thinks Kolya is trying to Stockholm him. The term is not one Kolya knows, of course, though he is aware of the syndrome itself and calls it by the Genii term instead.
I have a lot of very strong opinions about the Kolya/Rodney dynamic and the concept of Stockholm Syndrome, and I’m not going to start soapboxing about it here. Suffice it to say that, in this fic, at least, Rodney is mistaken. Kolya is not trying to Stockholm him. And if you wanted to make a case for either of them being Stockholmed, I think it would have to be the other way around, though my muse will most likely kill me for saying that.
If anyone’s really interested, do poke me sometime and I’ll get the soapbox out.
I’m always amused by the way Rodney initially doesn’t want to kill the Little Bastard that keeps attacking them – an opinion he certainly changes by the end of his time on the Planet!
The discussion they have over this issue – which becomes one of their (albeit lesser) Heated Exchanges – is also interesting, because it culminates in Kolya doing what Rodney asks, and is the first time he truly makes a concession for the good doctor.
Also, this moment is one of the few where the two of them become truly dichotomic, with Rodney acting very absolutist and Kolya (naturally) acting consequentialist. As a philosopher, this makes me Happy.
Rodney: "But I thought you were more of a cat person than a dog one."
Their little conversation about pets amused me, too. Though I have to disagree with Rodney – Kolya isn’t a cat person. He doesn’t really like the idea of something that won’t do what he tells it.
Kolya: "I have spent my life living in an underground bunker. We do not keep animals below the surface."
Rodney: "No, I know. But it would have been good for you. Having something warm and alive. Something that cares and you can stroke."
There. Are. No. Words.
Smirking a little, Kolya claps him on the shoulder. "Doctor, you sound almost... concerned."
See! See! It’s the shoulder-thing again! He does it all the time and often I only notice afterwards!
Rodney: "And there's a reason why I shouldn't be concerned when I'm not sure if I'm better sitting on a rock waiting for the local populace to gnaw my leg off or walk around with the psychopath?"
Good at putting things bluntly, the doctor is. Though Kolya resents being called a psychopath and would like me to point out that this is wholly unfair. Yes.
Kolya: "You could be with someone a lot worse. At least I'm not harbouring a desire to shoot you on sight."
Now this line, at first, seems to be a perfectly normal part of Kolya’s argument, but it is actually very telling if you know what to look for. He’s saying that Rodney could be with someone worse – but if you reverse the focus of this line, you get a glimpse of what Kolya is thinking; namely, that no matter how tricky Rodney is making things for him, he could be with someone a lot worse. (This would be Sheppard, of course, and is a thought that Kolya doesn’t truly engage with until much later.)
McKay folds his arms across his chest, nostrils flaring. Then he realises he's showing Kolya his arms and... crap, that's not a nice memory.
Kolya resorts to the glare again, noting that something new has just flickered in Rodney's eyes, and wondering if it is something he can use.
Old. Married. Couple. I love the way they end up glaring at each other half of the time.
Kolya: "You have no choice. Both of us still needs the other, and both of us are going to have to live with that."
Key word, here? ‘Needs.’ Watch his behaviour over time and you can see it reflect a change to ‘wants.’
Rodney: "And you couldn't have lied about something like this to make me feel better?"
Kolya: "Are you asking me to start lying to you?"
Rodney: "I was merely pointing out that if you do lie, things like that are good to lie about, but only if you can do it convincingly and you'd have to be good to fool me and you won't manage it now, will you?"
Kolya: "How do you know I haven't been doing it the whole time?"
This is one of my favourite exchanges ever. The idea of Rodney practically asking Kolya to lie to him is just… Yes. And Kolya’s last line is very telling if you know how things turn out at the end of this part.
Rodney: "Look, I know I'm rather unique but you could at least attempt to find some common ground between us. I know you've never heard of Stockholm but you must be aware of the concept..."
Kolya: "Stockholm? No, I am not familiar with the term. Though I am sure you will be more than willing to explain it."
Rodney: "It's fairly simple. It all has to do with not ISOLATING and intimidating people but getting them to have the same goals as you. Motivation? Ever heard of that?"
Kolya: "Of course. As far as I am aware, you and I do have the same goals - namely, to get off this planet alive. If that is not enough motivation for you, I suggest you tell me what is."
Rodney: "...You didn't think that it might help if I'm not half-wishing you would get eaten anyway?" ….. "…you should try to be charming and not look as though you'd like to see me dead as soon as I stop being useful. It's... You're doing this all wrong."
This would be Stockholm Part Two. Rodney is, of course, lying about what the term means, because he’s well aware that Kolya hasn’t heard it – and well aware that Kolya will, however, know it by another name. The most interesting thing here is not that Kolya really isn’t trying to Stockholm Rodney, but that Rodney is almost asking him to.
Kolya: "Do all your plans involve footwear, Doctor?"
Best. Line. Ever. I nearly died when he came out with this.
Kolya rolls his eyes resignedly, sits down on a nearby log, and is shortly offering one of his boots to McKay. Again.
McKay nods a thanks, then shakes his head. "I can't believe I'm doing this. Really. Aren't we supposed to precipitate it or something..?" then, shrugging, he dunks it. And swirls it. And swirls it some more, and tips it up and... oh maybe he should have taken the laces out but it's too late now. So he laces it up well, fills it one last time, and drops a tablet in. And stares at it. "You realise it takes several hours?"
And Kolya gives him a glare that would most likely cause spontaneous combustion under the wrong conditions.
Not only is all of this such an amusing image, but I’m always struck by how very strongly Kolya reacts to the whole footwear-plan-thing. I think he’s under the impression that being Mr Scary Genii Guy is difficult when you have no boots on.
…Hell, he’s going to kill me for saying that, too.
McKay's hands go to the floor on either side of him, and he's suddenly absolutely still. Whatever it is is sitting on his outstretched legs, sharp, clawed hands near his face... sniffing, its tail swishing menacingly from side to side.
Kolya watches it... and watches it... and watches it... and ok, yes, he's deliberately stalling, most likely out of some kind of malice. But after a moment, he's got the stunner pointed at the creature and, once he's sure of the aim, he fires, catching the target in the back.
McKay YOWLS as the creature instinctively digs its claws into his legs, its front ones scraping at his chest. Rodney tries to shove it off, clearly in a lot of pain, but the beast is fairly heavy and he doesn't seem entirely with it. "Kolya! Kolya! Oh my GOD I'm going to DIE! Help!"
This would be the point at which the plot really gets going, because most of what happens later is defined by Rodney being so badly injured. This, also, seems to be where matters turned into the Rodney McKay Whump-a-Thon.
I do love the way his first response is to yell for Kolya, though, and the way Kolya immediately rushes to his rescue without hesitation. You can tell a lot from how the commander acts when relying on pure instinct. In fact, the whole of what happens whilst Kolya is trying to deal with Rodney’s injuries is noteworthy because it is about the only time before reaching the Gate that both of them are utterly honest – probably because neither is diverting concentration power to anything but the problem in hand.
Kolya knows he needs to do something about the wounds, and quickly - and finds himself wishing once more, but for a very different reason, that he still had his knife. That's when his eye catches something on the side of McKay's lower leg - something the Wraith most likely missed, due to it being hidden by the doctor's now-removed boot. It's a short combat knife - and Kolya goes for it at once.
Now this is one of the few points where we had to actually confer over how Kolya was going to deal with all this, and it rapidly became clear that some sort of blade was needed. So we came up with the idea that Rodney had, in fact, been armed with an albeit small blade the whole time, and not mentioning it – which is not exactly hard to explain. After past events, he really doesn’t want Kolya armed with any kind of knife again.
Kolya, of course, was much happier from this point in, despite everything else. The man has a worrying knife fixation.
Rodney: "My pants.... have sentimental value."
Again, another line that should not be read whilst attempting to ingest anything, to avoid risk of choking.
Kolya: "Because, contrary to popular opinion, I do not just leave people to die. We are both going to get out of this, even if I have to carry you all the way to the gate myself."
Herein begins Kolya’s self-appointed quest to get Rodney McKay off the Planet, no matter what. As I noted before, he spends most of this little trip set on keeping the man alive, but after Rodney gets injured, Kolya only ends up more determined. A lot of deaths still weigh heavy on his shoulders and he made it very clear – especially to me – that he was going to keep Rodney alive no matter what.
This proved a lot more challenging than he first expected.
Kolya almost rolls his eyes at this, not commenting. "I doubt we can just stay here," he says. "More of these creatures will likely turn up. No... we need to be... off the ground..." And now, he's looking at one of the multi-branched trees nearby...
Exactly whose idea the tree was is now lost in the mists of time, but it fell to me to have Kolya start it all off. The tree practically became a character in its own right – they spend ages up there, and a lot happens whilst they do.
I can see it very clearly in my mind, too – it’s a rather nice tree, actually; very green and tall with the sort of branches designed for climbing. And it, too, sparked a lot of very long-running jokes.
IN-JOKE ALERT: Rodney: "I neglected to bring my orienteering gear and helicopter. Did you?"
This is a reference to the movie Die Hard, which we watched shortly before writing this scene. The reasons for watching it were threefold – one, because Bruce Willis looks really, really good running around with guns, two, because Alan Rickman is in it playing a bad guy with a shockingly delicious accent, and three, because I had just discovered, to my delight, that Robert Davi is also in it. His character isn’t around for long, but he plays a rather bad-ass FBI agent whose best scene involves him half-hanging out of a helicopter with a very large gun, shooting at people. Naturally, after watching this, Kolya went off on a long ramble in my head about how he wanted a helicopter, which Rodney was well-aware of in meta. Hence the remark.
And I should just say this without needing to quote… the scene where they climb the tree? Kills me. In so many ways.
Rodney: "Thanks for the ego-stroking but it really isn't the time or the location."
*smirk* Rodney talks about ego-stroking rather a lot.
IN-JOKE ALERT: Down below, there are... what might count as happy happy eating noises - if you're a dinosaur. Kolya continues to stay very still, not wanting to have to find out the hard way if these creatures can climb trees...
‘Happy happy eating noises’ is a particularly old reference that popped up in a very early SGA RP, and it made its way into our little corner of the fandom zeitgeist.
Kolya: "Relax, Doctor."
It is a sad but true fact that Kolya simply should not be allowed to tell people to relax. This becomes increasingly evident over time.
"Sleep, Doctor," Kolya says to him. "We're going to be up here for a while."
"Don't... want to..." headshake, "fall..."
Kolya considers this for a moment. "You only have two options," he says. "Either we both shift position so I can hold onto you, or... I could tie you to the tree." And it takes a lot to be able to deliver that line so very levelly.
I’m afraid this little idea was entirely my fault. In defence of both myself and my dear Genii, I must insist that it was, in fact, a good idea – no matter what Rodney may tell you.
Rodney: "Why are you here? Where's Colonel Sheppard? Where's Colonel Carter? Aren't you evil?"
Kolya: "Yes. Undeniably so."
Another of my all-time favourite quotes. I don’t know what I love more – Rodney asking Kolya if he’s evil, or Kolya flat-out saying yes.
Rodney: "I used to like the evil people best."
*happy happy foreshadowing noises*
And the dreams? To this day I have no idea if they mean anything. They’re certainly weird, though!
Kolya keeps a hand on the doctor's shoulder, trying to give him some grounding in reality.
...He does it all the time! Dear God, the man’s got a shoulder-fixation!
Rodney: "...'ere am I?"
Kolya: "Up a tree on the Planet of the Dinosaurs."
Rodney: "Oh. Wake me when it's normal then."
This about sums it all up, really! Again, another of my favourite quotes. That tree was just magical for getting good lines out of them.
Rodney: "Look. If we die... I'm sorry I wasn't flying better. I'm an astrophysicist. I'm supposed to be behind a desk. And... you're less of a bastard sometimes and you really should consider getting a weasel, maybe, they like it underground..."
This left me Dead From Cute.
At this point, of course, we meet the Very Big Dinosaur (yes, yes, we know Kolya is also not allowed to name things) – which, thankfully, does not try to eat them. We’d had several incidents with smaller dinosaurs, so thought it might be interesting to bring in something much larger. The Very Big Dinosaur is basically a diplodocus, and is the only dinosaur they meet that doesn’t want to eat them.
Kolya: "It hasn't bitten you in half, yet. Things could be worse."
I’m always excessively amused by the fact that whenever Kolya talks about getting eaten by dinosaurs, he always assumes they’ll go for Rodney and not him. Whether this is denial, self-confidence, or some kind of psychological tactic, I’ve never been sure.
Rodney: "I'm... going to go into hypoglycaemic shock, if I haven't already. I might... say things I don't mean."
Kolya has to force himself not to take advantage of this, because getting off the planet alive is more important than interrogating a half-delirious Rodney whilst up a tree. No, really, it is.
It would have been unnaturally amusing, though.
Kolya: "If you want conversation, make it. Unless you want me to tell you about interrogation tactics..."
Rodney: "Fine. Do you ever play good cop?"
This was another of those moments where both Kolya and I were VERY surprised at how Rodney chose to respond. As a conversation-killer, the interrogation-tactics-remark really didn’t work this time!
Also, as a little Achronism teaser… you will eventually get to see Kolya play good-cop. We promise.
Kolya: “Interrogation is not an arena for personal challenge. It is an art."
I nearly killed him for this.
Kolya doesn't say anything else, but smirks slightly. Idly, he takes out the small combat knife, running the edge of a finger down the blade, as if thinking. Or, possibly, as if trying to wind Rodney up.
He does this a lot, and it gets scary at times. Scarier still when I catch myself doing it.
*smirks* The ‘conversation’ they have in the morning (whilst up the tree) is also noteworthy as the first time they truly end up in Capslock City, though we never called it that. It’s bad enough when they go into bold and italics. Capslock is BAD news. They tend to be particularly vindictive when in capslock.
Also, this would be the point where both of them start arguing as to how the other views their humanity – in a moral as opposed to biological sense. It’s a fair discussion on its own but it takes on a remarkably amusing connotation when you know what happens right near the start of Part Two!
And the conversation they have whilst Kolya is holding Rodney out of the tree (deja-vu city!) also strikes me because in it, what both of them are saying boils down to this: Rodney wants to be noticed, and Kolya wants to be respected as a person. Ironically, both of them really do get their wish in Part Two.
Kolya: "Did it ever occur to you, Doctor, that I did notice you? That you were always the one I wanted alive?"
This is a very fair point. Watch Storm, Eye and Brotherhood. Rodney is always last on Kolya’s hit-list. Can’t imagine why… *g*
And oh dear, now he's really into Meaningful Conversation Territory.
*broad smirk* Heh. This is the first appearance of Meaningful Conversation Territory – before this, Kolya has internally mentioned meaningful conversation, and even the realm of meaningful conversation, but this is the first time it becomes a fully-capitalised ‘location.’ It’s a metaphor he really over-develops from here on in, and is another thing that amuses me to no end. It also highlights his increasing tendency to over-capitalise things. The man thinks in capital letters.
McKay eats his [powerbar], with none of the usual relish he shows. It's the last of his food and... frankly, the idea of eating Puff the Magic Dinosaur is not that appealing.
Whilst this reference to Puff the Magic Dinosaur is not technically an in-joke, it has most certainly become one!
"What if it catches you by surprise? We're both dead then." But Rodney looks suddenly... grateful. He smiles, weakly, but it soon turns into that smirk he normally wears. "Both doomed then."
Never mind dinosaurs, it's the smile that catches Kolya by surprise - and he almost seems to return it. "Not yet," he replies, confident.
Once again – DEAD. FROM. CUTE! This is the first time we get anything close to a genuine smile from Kolya.
The Attack of the Little Bastards scene was the last one we wrote before what I can only call the Summer Hiatus – i.e. the period from late May to early October when this RP-fic didn’t progress. Yes, we really wrote nothing in that time.
The scene itself is the penultimate dinosaur attack of the fic, and is the only one where they get swarmed. It offered a nice opportunity for Kolya to beat lots of things up and thereby make himself feel better, not to mention allowed for the inclusion of fried dinosaur in the great scheme of things.
And the part where Rodney once again utilises footwear, this time as a defensive weapon? Cracks me up every time. The man is so undeniably delightful.
The Fried Dinosaur scene – the first bit we wrote after finally picking this up again – was the first one not written in IRC. Up until this point, we had used IRC as our RP medium, but when we started up again, our IRC server was down and we were forced into AIM instead. One night of RP-ing in an AIM chat room, with its hideous restrictions on word limits – I had to write most of Kolya’s posts in Notepad and then copy-paste them across, almost line-by-line – was all we needed to move into Gmail. And that, I can tell you, was a brilliant decision. Now we no longer need to both be online in order to write posts – we just bounce it back and forth via Gmail, replying whenever is convenient. Some nights still involve high-speed replying, and other times we’ll only get one reply each, if that. The time I got ill in November saw us go about five days without a reply, until Rodney practically came to beat me up himself in order to get things moving.
This would also be the point at which the previous one-paragraph-each method died out, because we have so much more room in Gmail, and can write much longer replies. Though it makes editing much more tricky, it allowed us to develop the story much more fluidly – not to mention increased the word-count by a fair margin!
As for the Fried Dinosaur scene itself – oh, this one hurt to write. And Kolya gets quite shockingly honest at several points.
Kolya: "…and be glad that you are not John Sheppard - because if you were, one of us would most likely be dead by now."
Note that Kolya doesn’t merely say ‘he would be dead by now.’ This is because deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEP down, he has some acceptance that the colonel is hardly a pushover. Exactly what would have happened had it been Sheppard and Kolya instead of Rodney… now that I just can’t face thinking about.
Kolya: "I should have left Sheppard in that hole and just taken you home with me."
No matter how many times I yell this at the screen whilst watching Brotherhood… he never does.
All of a sudden, Kolya leans much closer to Rodney, the bloodstained knife still in one hand, and says, "Alarming, isn't it, when the lines start to blur? When you realise that life isn't as black and white as you thought?"
Oh. Now. I could write a lot on that quote alone, and not all of it would be about Kolya, believe me.
Rodney: "You have even more issues than I do. My psychiatrist back home would have a field day with you."
Kolya: "How interesting. Believe me, Doctor... given the chance, I could have quite a field day with your psychiatrist, too."
I’ve never forgiven him for that line. And it’s another of those that you can take several ways, none of them good.
Rodney: "[My psychiatrist] would love you. All anger and aggression and symbolic weaponry. You're a textbook case."
Kolya: "In my experience, most people who seem like textbook cases rarely turn out to be."
For the record, Kolya is not talking about himself, but Rodney – who despite seeming like a textbook case at first glance has quickly turned out to be nothing of the sort. Most people are easy for Kolya to read and the fact that Rodney isn’t makes him extremely interesting. It’s kinda like what would happen if a telepath met someone whose mind couldn’t be read – refreshing, in a way, though disconcerting at the same time.
It strikes the commander, suddenly, that their conversations are so incredibly odd. One moment, there's deeply open hostility, and the next, they're back to what seems like a casual discussion on the Human condition. Of course, it isn't really anything of the sort, at least not to Kolya. To him, it's the only workable way to duel with Rodney - a verbal battle, as opposed to the physical ones that he prefers. Sometimes, adapting to an opponent's style is the best way to face them.
Kolya tends to see life as a long series of battles, because his own life revolves around them so often. This becomes more evident in Part Two, when we get to see him in a more ‘normal’ setting. But Kolya doesn’t like a duel that he knows he can win easily – what would be the point? That’s why he engages in these ‘verbal duels’ with Rodney; because it’s challenging, in the way that any kind of physical fight would not be.
Rodney: "Is it [the dinosaur meat] still pink? Was it even pink to begin with? I don't want food poisoning."
Kolya: "It was red to begin with. Now... it is less so. But then, the preparation of dinosaur meat is not something I'm familiar with."
Food poisoning. Now that would just be the final nail in the coffin. And if the commander can keep Rodney McKay alive and up a tree all night, stop small, vicious dinosaurs from eating them, and butcher one such dinosaur with a very inadequate knife, then, damn it, he is not going to let matters get any worse.
Kolya was very adamant about this in my head. Food poisoning would have been the final straw.
Rodney: "What does [the fried dinosaur] taste like?"
No matter where you are in the great tapestry of the universe, some things never change.
There was simply no way this response could be avoided.
Rodney: "Interesting is just one step short of 'special'."
Nodding in thanks, Kolya nevertheless has a sudden, very odd flicker in his eye - though it quickly disappears. "Yes. It is."
This is not so much an in-joke but a personal in-reference to my own fic Special - which marks not only the first time I wrote this pairing, but the first time I wrote NC-17 as well. You should go read it. It has knives and chains and walls and angst and I really will get the next part finished eventually.
And then... it's back to How To Carry Your Scientist.
Your Scientist now comes with handy Scrabbling Feet action, Muffled Protest sounds, authentic weight and Grappling Hands.
This… just kills me all over.
Kolya is about to say something - something vague and offhand and probably very silence-inducing - but then, matters take a slightly unexpected turn. The, for want of a better word, 'path' that they've been following suddenly opens out, into a large, rounded clearing. Flickering sunlight casts hazy shadows on the ground, giving the place a strange and almost ironic beauty.
And all of it pales in comparison before what lies in that clearing - a great grey ring, with steps leading to it, those eternally alien symbols carved all over.
The Stargate - real, magnificent, and more welcome than anything else has ever seemed before.
The whole scene at the Stargate has to rank as one of my favourite things I’ve ever been involved in writing. This initial moment, when they first find it, is extremely clear in my mind, as is exactly how Kolya looks when he at last realises that the whole ordeal is almost over – and that expression? Is nothing short of reverence. You can tell from his initial behaviour, before the final… um… incident… that this is what he’s feeling.
It’s a fascinating moment, actually, because up until this point, arguments aside, Rodney and Kolya have been allies. It is here that, for a moment, they become enemies again – albeit briefly, because of how things turn out.
And it would have been interesting – though much less fun – to see what would have happened if they’d just gone through the gate without incident – because this is where Rodney really accepts that he’s been a prisoner the whole time, and Kolya accepts that he’s not happy with that fact.
The final Attack of the Little Bastard… was entirely my fault. Or, rather, Kolya’s. He insisted that it needed to happen, but only later on did I realise why.
Of everything that happens on the Planet… there is perhaps no event more plot-critical than this. So much of what follows hinges on it… and at the time, I wrote it on a whim.
This scares me in more ways than one.
Finally, stunner slung over his back again, [Kolya] goes over to where Rodney is curled in a shaking heap, hesitating at least once before he kneels at the doctor's side, a hand on his shoulder - nothing like the way he usually makes that particular gesture.
He's not used to this, not at all. Normally, people break down in front of him because he made them, and that's a good thing in those circumstances. This... oh, this is something different.
I love this whole scene – how could I not?! – but this initial moment is… special, and absolutely critical in Kolya’s character development. It is the point at which he finally lets his guard down – something he only does because he knows Rodney is unlikely to notice, but which makes him realise that he can let his guard down.
Their slow movement towards finally hugging completely breaks my heart every time. It was the moment in which Kolya finally made The Big Decision, though it took several more posts before he would enact it. It was also when he admitted a lot of things to me, at least, which helped a great deal.
Slowly, he starts to move, to get up - and then he hesitates. And watching Acastus Kolya really hesitate like that is fairly alarming without even taking context into account. Watching him hesitate twice would probably cause a large number of his subordinates to run for cover.
This is a different situation altogether, and he finally knows it. Quite suddenly, he rolls Rodney briskly but very, very carefully onto his back, leaning down to plant a quick, desperate kiss on his lips.
These are perhaps the two most important paragraphs I have ever written about Kolya. For one, they mark the first time in forty thousand words that the man uses his own first name. This, I realised, is more relevant than it first seemed. He has always thought of himself so much as a soldier, and rarely used his first name because no one else did. At this point, though, I think he finally realised he could be something other than just his job description.
Also, of course, that kiss defined the direction the story was to head off in. It took some time before he would let me hit the ‘send’ button, though, and we went over every word far too many times.
Of all the things [Rodney]'s ever expected, that probably rates as the least. Oh, apart from that time with the cauliflower cheese.
Don’t ask. We don’t know.
As for the final moments – now, they were in my head a long time before I actually wrote them. I had an amazingly clear image of Kolya coming back through the gate carrying Rodney, and of exactly what he said.
And that last line? So, so right.
Here ends Part One, of both the fic, and the companion. But don’t worry… both will return soon!
- Shadow Side (aka The Tall One)
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.