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Love In The Time of Work Quarantine

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It took Asuka a while to realize that the little sticky notes being exchanged on the pillar outside of the aerospace engineering lab on level seventeen were, in fact, love letters. She’d been drawn, at first, because of the handwriting. One of the lovers had beautiful old-fashioned school-teacher cursive, graceful and exacting at the same time. The other lover had perfectly neat draftsman print. If Asuka hadn’t known better, she’d have thought that the notes had been printed off of a computer, but she had no idea how one put a sticky note through a printer, and also printed notes wouldn’t include neat little sketches of coffee cups, wrenches, calculators, rulers, compasses, what looked like a drone, a jumper, and some airplanes. While Asuka had spent the last year and a half dealing with a lot of Air Force officers, she was in no way equipped to identify the models of any of the craft.

Need help. Bring coffee. Miss you, Cursive had written.

Below it was written a reply from Draftsman. Just the way you like it. Miss you too, and a little drawing of a coffee cup.

The next sticky note down read, from Cursive, Might kill others but have deadline and am too young and pretty for prison. Also you would miss me. Send chocolate. Drafstman’s reply was, Much chocolate. Please have mercy on them, and a drawing of a wrench with cartoon swoosh marks, like it was being swung.

The next note down from that was Cursive’s, You are beautiful and terrible. All hail. I need your math skills. Or just to see your face. Draftsman’s response was a little sketch of a calculator and, Flattery will get you everywhere. And remember, the answer is always 42.

The notes were papered up and down the pillar, and Asuka noticed, as people went in and out of the lab, they pretended they didn’t see the notes at all. Neither did people walking by in the hallway.

Asuka was incredibly curious, so she staked out the lab a couple of days later - the notes had been cleared away and more were appearing in their place - and she saw. Dr. O’Neill, who was indeed young and pretty, sticking a note to the pillar. There was a holler from inside the lab (Get your ass back in here, O’Neill, no one leaves till this is done!) and he darted back inside. As soon as the door was shut, Asuka prowled closer. Dr. O’Neill had lovely cursive.

We’re in work quarantine. Will send word when it’s safe to enter. Don’t forget about me.

Asuka had brought her datapad with her so she could sit in the lab opposite and work and still keep an eye on the pillar. About half an hour later, one of the many uniformed Atlantis personnel passing by the lab paused, studied the note. It was none other than Major Lorne. He bit his lip, expression thoughtful, then went on his way. He returned after another half hour carrying a thermos of coffee and a lovely woven basket full of chocolate, red bean candies, and spiced popcorn, which he laid reverently outside the door, like an offering at a temple, and then he fished a pen out of his pocket, wrote a reply to the note. As soon as he was gone, Asuka read it.

I’ll never forget you.