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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - Never a Crossword [Fin]


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Dana Eckhart sat up with a heavy sigh. Why was it that the one time she wanted to sleep she couldn't?

Peeking out of the tent, she saw the shadowed form of Vinny sitting on a log conducting his watch. He always took the middle watch as it caused the most chaos in the body clock.

She crawled out of the tent and made her way over to him, glancing idly at the piece of paper he held. "Crossword, Vinny?" she asked quietly.

"Yeah," he returned, evincing no surprise at her sudden appearance. Despite his lackadaisical mien, he had panther-like reflexes and missed nothing. He eyed her thoughtfully. "Can’t sleep?"

"Nope," she groused. "Brain won’t shut down."

He gave a soft huff of laughter. "I'd be surprised if that brain of yours ever shuts down!" he accused.

"Sometimes it does," Dana protested.

"Hah," he mumbled. "Eckhart; you were babbling on about Planck's Constant last night."

"And you recognized that ... how?" she shot back. She'd stopped buying his dumb act a long time ago.

The Lieutenant coughed. "Anyway ... Wanna do one of my crosswords?" He gave her that smug smirk that belied a challange.

"Okay." She settled herself more comfortably and accepted the puzzle and a spare pen.

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Three days later:

Just one answer left. That was all she had. Then she would finally be able to wipe the ever-constant smirk from his face.

He'd been taunting her for the last two days, stating that he knew the answer for 13 down. He seemed determined to make her ask him.

She was equally determined that she wouldn't. She was a Eckhart. And Eckharts never quit.

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Two days later:

"Lieutenant Eckhart," General Hammond said quietly, jerking her attention back to the pre-mission briefing.

She blushed and tried to ignore Vin's smug smirk. "Sorry, sir; I'm a little distracted," she admitted.

"We noticed, Eckhart," the Lieutenant said. "Something on your mind?"

He had the gall to droop his eyelid in a lazy wink, and she seriously debated the merits of kicking him in the shin.

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Five days later:

"So ... you ready to fuckin' quit, Eckhart?"

She jammed her cap onto her head and glared daggers into the man's back as he sauntered up the ramp and into the wormhole.

Then she set her jaw and followed him through, wishing all kinds of bad luck on him. Maybe she'd yank his spark plugs. Or ... replace all his 'Popular Mechanics' magazines with 'Martha Stewart Living'.


"Why keep torturing yourself?" Vinny purred as she fell into step beside him. "All you have to do is admit I'm the King of the Crossword and I'll give you that tiny five-letter word."

Dana clamped her lips on the urge to tell him to shove his tiny five-letter word up a three-letter portion of his anatomy. She wasn't about to give him what he wanted.

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Two weeks later:

"No fucking way." She stared at Vinny, who was wearing the biggest shit-eating grin she'd seen in a long time.

"Way," he retorted childishly.

"That isn't even a word!"

The Lieutenant tsked at her before picking up a new electron microscope and fiddling with it. "Dear me, Eckhart; who knew you were such a sore-ass loser?"

Dana closed her eyes, praying to whatever deity was up there laughing their ass off for patience. "Vin; that microscope cost over five thousand dollars."

"Your point, Eckhart?" He set the microscope down with a thump and she winced.

No fucking way is that a real word!, she fumed to herself. She debated asking Rea but didn't quite trust him not to be on the Lieutenant's side for once. His baby blue eyes and slightly chubby cheeks gave him a boy-next-door sweetness that belied his inner evil streak.

"Pay up, Dana." Vinny waggled his fingers in a 'give' gesture.

She snorted. "Not likely, ass." Then spotted General Hammond strolling past. She knew he'd spent some time in that part of the world - maybe he'd know.

She darted out, hoping he wouldn't think her crazy. Well, any crazier than she'd appeared over the last few weeks. "Sir; you wouldn't happen to know an Afrikaans word for hemp, would you?"


"Crossword," Vinny piped up cheerily.

"I see." General Hammond regarded her as if she had a couple screws loose then sighed. "Dagga," he said.

It really was a word? She didn't even have to look at Vinny; she could hear that smug smirk from here! "Ah." She cleared her throat. "Thank you, sir," she said politely.

Hammond gave her another measuring look then moved on.

"Pay up, Lieutenant," Vinny taunted once more.

Dana groaned and went back into the lab, dug out a fifty and slapped it a little too hard into his palm. "There you go." And I hope you choke on it.

"Why, thank you. Always a pleasure, Eckhart!" He made a great show of kissing the folded bill before putting it in his back pocket. "Doin' crosswords again tonight if you feel like joining me," he said.

She wondered what he'd do if she slapped him upside the head, but chose the wiser course. With gritted teeth she went back to her laptop and opened up the research she'd been running. "I think I'll pass," she said lightly.

"Ah, c'mon, Eckhart; lighten up! You can't be expected to know everything!" the Lieutenant retorted. "Do I fuckin' care anything about your field? Nope. Don't expect linguistics shit from you too."

"You're not a linguist either," she pointed out. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and bounced lightly. "Are you?"

"Y'know; I could go for cake." The man pushed himself away from the door jamb in a fluid motion. "Kommst du, Eckhart?"

"Uhm ... okay!" She was kinda hungry, and so preceded him out. Then stopped short, causing him to nearly plow into her. "What did you say?"

"It was just German, Eckhart," he said innocently. Then added in Russian; "Not like I was speaking Goa'uld."

Dana shook her head. The man was incorrigible. "I loathe you," she muttered.

He clapped her shoulder. "Nah; you fuckin' love me really," he teased.

She smiled as she stepped into the elevator. Yeah; she did. God help her; she did.

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