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Bates has a new CO, a flyboy with a do-not-promote stamped on his record who only got brought along because Weir wanted herself a piece of ass in a uniform and McKay wanted somebody to flip the fucking light switches. Sheppard's got Sumner's dogtags, but now Bates has his job. Secure the city. Keep the expedition safe. Keep Earth safe. Far as he can tell, he's the only one left who's keeping those priorities straight.
Eighty-seven refugees brought in through the gate, complete with personal property; no inspection, no search, just, "Give them rooms, and we'll straighten things out in the morning." By now they could've hidden a thousand transmitters all over the fucking city. At least he's managed to keep a man in the control room the whole time, and the conference room doors have stayed shut tight.
The goddamn party's still going strong, and he's got some damn good men here, but you can't ask them to stand a post all night long when there are fucking aliens at the feeding trough and they've been up for thirty-two hours straight. He's rotated the guys around as much as he could, and thank God he's got Berman and Yeats, who don't drink, and Chastow, who can be trusted not to if he's asked, but they've got to sleep sometime too.
He can see Sheppard moving through the crowd, out onto the balcony; saunter in his step that's never been crushed out by a 40-mile march, clocking hours in the sky instead of miles on his feet. The son of a bitch put a bullet in Sumner's heart, and now he's eating canapes and checking out the Athosian bimbo who probably set them up in the first place. Bates gets a little tight cold satisfaction from that, though; serves Weir fucking right, and now she'll have the pleasure of dealing with the insubordinate asshole she forced on them.
He knows that's not how he's supposed to think. He should be hoping for this to work, because if it doesn't, they're all dead. But he's not that kind of a guy. He's got a job to do and he doesn't need to psych himself up with false hopes to do it. And he may not be able to do anything about it, when, not if, Sheppard fucks up; but he's going to do his best to be ready.
For now, he's got a couple of pep pills in his kit that he doesn't have to account for, and they'll keep him going through the night. He can't patrol the city alone, but he can keep this one corner of it safe.
= end =
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