thedeadparrot (thedeadparrot) wrote,

The One Where They Have To Deal With Bureaucracy

The One Where They Have To Deal With Bureaucracy
NCIS/SGA, gen (for now), ~1700 words

This mission would have been fine, Tony thinks, if PX1-453 hadn't had that weird plantlife that made everyone's hands turn green.

"I wish to convey the Council's sincerest regrets for the detainment of you and your people," the Elder Senior Councilor of the Tratorian Government Council of Diplomatic Affairs and Public Transit says. "There are strong taboos against wearing the color green amongst the Tratorians. Several laws were put in place a few years ago regarding acceptable public use of the color, and wearing the color on the hands is strictly prohibited. However, if you fill out these applications for diplomatic immunity, I am sure we can process them in twelve cycles of the sun. Then, you can petition the council for an exemption to Code 10549 by justifying it as a cultural misunderstanding."

Gibbs says, "I'd rather you just let us go now." His face is doing that impenetrable-Gibbs thing, the one where he tries to intimidate people with his eyebrows. (Granted, his eyebrows could probably intimidate the entire state of Rhode Island if Gibbs was having a good day. They were very intimidating eyebrows when Gibbs wanted them to be.) Ziva's eying the Councilor as if she's imagining all the ways she could rip out his liver. McGee's trying to keep his face neutral, but he can't quite hide the furrow of his forehead. Not that Tony can blame them. Their cell, quite frankly, sucks. No one who is familiar with a mop has come near it in the past decade or so, and the one teensy tiny window does not make up for the Tratorians' incredibly inefficient lightbulbs. The metal bars have a nice old-school feel to them, but they're also rusting, so grabbing them just leaves behind gross residue on your hands. It kind of sucks when you're trying to reenact a scene from A Fistful Of Dollars. Also, McGee is subtly fighting Tony for cot space. Tony elbows McGee in the ribs. McGee kicks Tony in the shins.

The Elder Senior Councilor just blinks at Gibbs several times in utter confusion, as if the thought of releasing a group of prisoners without twenty pages of paperwork is so strange, he had never contemplated it before. Tony fiddles with his life signs detector, which is being slightly stubborn and refusing to show him anything but the four people in the cell with him. He knew that McKay was totally lying about how easy it was to use these things. Also, he kind of wishes the gene therapy had worked on McGee so he could be the one who has to deal with all the annoying technology thingamabobs without having to yell Tony over to think things at other things every two seconds.

Oh yeah, and then that way, he could be in charge of the life signs detector, and Tony wouldn't have to spend his free time learning Ancient so that he could read its annoying error messages. Once, it insulted his mother, but he might just be getting the word for 'being who gave birth to you' confused with the word for 'insufficient signal.'

"I'm afraid that is not an option," the Elder Senior Councilor says. His hands disappear into the sleeves of his robe. The robe is actually kind of cool-looking, a deep, rich red, covered in a vine-like pattern made with gold stitching. Tony wonders if they can trade for a few of them once this whole misunderstanding gets cleared up. He knows he could probably get a high quality DVD rip of Battleship Potemkin and two Snickers bars off of Lt. Buchanan for one of those things. Buchanan's been putting the word out that she wants a new DM robe for her D&D games with the anthropologists. When the Councilor's hands reappear, he's holding two rolled up sheets of paper, which must have been hidden somewhere in his giant sleeves. "Hmm. I assume you will be filing as a single delegation?" he says. McGee shoots a look at Ziva, who is quiet, because even she seems to know better than to open her mouth on the Planet of the Deranged Bureaucrats. Back when she first joined the team, she would try to explain the international nature of the Atlantis mission to people whenever a Pegasus native tried to comment on the strangeness of their customs, as if there were any people on Atlantis who didn't wear shoes on their feet.

"Yeah," Gibbs grits out, and Tony's suddenly really glad for this guy that there's a whole bunch of metal bars separating him from Gibbs.

The Councilor doesn't seem to notice. "Splendid!" he says. "You'll need forms A-1 and A-2 to give us the relevant cultural information and coordinates, as well as the primary leader's name and rank. There's a place to put the secondary leader's name and rank right below there, just in case. You never know when the Wraith are going to get hungry. " He laughs, tittering at his own joke. "If you would like to set up a permanent embassy in the inner ring of the Capital, you will need form P-2 as well as a letter from a trusted world that we can use as a reference. We've had a few problems with Wraith worshipers in the past. You understand. If you would like to set up a permanent embassy in the outer ring--"

"Just give me the damn forms," Gibbs says, holding out a hand with an impatient flick of his wrist. "That first thing you said."

The Councilor gives Gibbs' still-green hand a look of obvious distaste, and seriously, Tony is never going to collect samples for the Botany department ever again. No matter how many grapefruits they promise him. Despite his expression, the Councilor hands over the forms with a slight bow of his head. Gibbs yanks the rolled up paper into the cell and hands it to McGee. The Councilor sniffs the sniff of the supremely smug. "Call a guard when you're ready to submit the paperwork. There is a contact frequency at the bottom of each page if you have any questions. Please make sure to say the 15-digit form number of the form you are currently having problems with when you request assistance."

"Sure thing," Gibbs says, and the Councilor leaves, along with two personal guards. After they're gone, he turns his patented Gibbs-glare on McGee. "Well, what are you waiting for? Fill them out."

McGee blinks for a second, startled, before his giant brain kicks in. "Uh, yes. Of course, boss." He pulls out a pen from his vest and gets to work, unrolling the forms with careful fingers. His pen is shaped like a lightsaber. Must have stolen it from Abby, then. She has a cup full of them on her desk in the lab. Some weeks, she and the infirmary gremlins do a reenactment of the Battle of Geonosis with them, despite the fact that it's from The Trilogy That Does Not Exist, according to McGee. And he would know.

Ziva is beginning to pace, back and forth, back and forth, and her restlessness is a little contagious and a lot irritating. Tony hates being put in the same cell as her whenever they get captured offworld. On M45-J67, they almost resorted to stabbing each other with the plastic sporks that came with their food, and they sniped at each other all the way back to the jumper. Even as they were trying to avoid getting shot while running through an empty clearing. "How much longer, McGee?" she says.

"Uh, it's been five minutes," Tony says. "Even McTypesALot can't write that fast." He grins at her, which he knows is a really bad idea, but he does it anyway.

"I do not see what you have to be so cheerful about," she says, a tiny hiss at the end of her words. "I am becoming annoyed with this pattern."

"C'mon, Ziva. You're not used to it after the last five hundred times we've been thrown in jail for some arbitrary and ludicrous reason?" Tony asks.

"I think it's actually closer to one hundred," McGee says without looking up. Gibbs is staring holes into the back of his head as if he'll finish things faster that way. Which is actually probably true. McGee's sweating pretty hard.

"One-hundred and seven, McGee," Gibbs says. "We're about to beat SGA-4 after today."

That seems to diffuse things for a bit, and Tony goes back to imagining how he might be able to bribe Abby into setting up solitaire on his life signs detector. She's usually into caffeine of any type, but for something like this, Tony might need to secure all of Atlantis' Caf-Pow! rations for a month. Maybe he can make a deal with Sergeant Oki to get her to accidentally misplace the whole lot in exchange for the third season of Gossip Girl. Or maybe he could just cut through the bars with the sheer power of his mind, and then they could get out of this fucking cell and then he could maybe rewatch that one badass scene in X-Men 2 where Ian McKellen demonstrates exactly why one should be careful about the amount of iron one allows into one's bloodstream. Or maybe he could just sit here until the Council decides to approve their paperwork, which will hopefully happen before Tony dies of boredom. Fairly unlikely, but it's still a possibility.

"Uh, boss?" McGee says, interrupting Tony's line of thought. McGee's mouth is turned down in a grimace, his eyes still fixed on the page. "On a scale of one to seventeen, what would you say Atlantis' level of agricultural development is?"

Um, there will probably be more later, hopefully.

ETA: There is! next part

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