Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, its universe, its characters and everything except the story itself, some secondary characters and the main villain are property of MGM. This is an unofficial fanfiction that is not endorsed in any way by MGM. It was written solely for enjoyment and I make no money with it.
As of now, Of Wraith and Men can be considered on permanent hiatus, since my motivation basically died with the show itself. I might find my inspiration back someday, but it won't be anytime soon.
This story is also available on AO3.
Behind the glass wall, John, Rodney and Samantha were gazing at the unconscious wraith — Todd — and the busy medical staff in the isolation room. John pouted pensively.
"And I thought I was getting used to weird things..."
"I don't know what is scariest," Rodney sighed, "to see a wraith in a hospital gown, or to actually feel concern for him."
His friend gave him a sidelong glance. The three of them watched in silence for a few seconds, then Samantha wondered:
"Why have you brought him back, John? You know there's very little we can do for him." She shook her head. "At best, we will only be able to prolong his agony."
"He saved our lives almost at the cost of his own, so I suppose we owe him one."
"Only because he needed you." she objected.
"Of course — except we need him too. I don't want to lose the opportunity of keeping at hand a live and somewhat cooperative wraith."
"Do you really believe it is worth the risk?"
"As you said, he needs us to stay alive. He might not disclose wraith vulnerabilities willingly, but he is our best chance to turn the war in our favour. Even with our brand new ZPMs, we require his intel more than ever."
"I hope you're right, John. And that we will gain more from him than he from us."
At this moment, Jennifer stepped in.
"How's your patient, doc?" Sheppard asked.
"I've managed to stabilise him, but..." Her shoulders lowered. "Honestly, it's already a miracle he was still alive by the time he arrived in the infirmary. His internals are a mess, and he lost tremendous amounts of blood. Add to that the fact we know next to nothing about wraith physiology... In vitro tests can only do so much: I almost killed him with the first sedative I tried. Now, the plasma drip seems to help a little, but I'm not even sure a wraith could possibly recover from major injuries without feeding." She paused before going on: "I'm sorry. He's dying, and the best I can do is slow down the process. At most, he has a few days left, if not only hours."
"Still, you can be proud." Samantha comforted her. "You did a great job, considering we have always looked for ways to kill wraith rather than healing them."
Jennifer nodded grimly.
Teyla and Ronon were sparring in the training room. As agile as a cat, the Athosian avoided the blow of his stronger but less precise partner; she grabbed his hand, twisted it and threw him to the ground.
Ronon stood up and they touched their forehead gently the Athosian way before wiping the sweat from their faces with towels.
"I can't believe Sheppard moves heaven and earth to save this wraith." the Satedan grunted.
"I don't like that either," Teyla pondered, "but I understand John. Even though you hate the wraith, you can't deny that this one has proved very useful. If it was not for him, we would be under attack from five hives by now, without enough power to fly Atlantis to a safe place."
"Yeah, yeah. But there's a difference between using his intel and..." he threw the towel away angrily: "playing the good Samaritans with him."
"I know. I'm not sure myself what to think. Ever since we met this wraith girl, I've wondered if perhaps, we could make peace with the wraith someday."
Ronon snorted, but Teyla continued:
"After we got John back from Kolya, I was all set to believe that this one, too, was different. Today... I don't know. He's tricky, and if he used to be as influential as he claims, he's all but innocent of what our people suffered for millenniums. Nevertheless, I can't help but hope that there is an other way than killing each other."
The wounded wraith slowly regained consciousness. Everything looked hazy and too bright-lit around him; he heard foreign sounds and smelled alien odours. When he moaned faintly, a dark figure bent over him. After a while struggling to focus, he recognised the man's face.
"Sheppard..." he breathed. "Where are we?"
As he tried to raise, he realised his hands were restrained against the borders of the bed and abandoned the thought.
"In Atlantis' infirmary. You scared the pants off us but our medics have done a pretty good job, all things considered."
"Your efforts are pointless." Todd seemed to have difficulties speaking, and he breathed loudly a couple of times. "You know there would be only one way to save me."
"Yeah, and speaking of that, I wanted to be sure it's not too late before I go."
The wraith's chuckle turned into a groan of pain.
"Come now... I know you, Sheppard. You will never sacrifice a human to feed me. Not this time... You'll bet you can manage without my help."
John's eyes clouded over as he remembered Wallace but he forced a knowing smile:
"Let's say I have an idea. Just hang on long enough, okay? It would really piss me off if I went through all the trouble, just to see you've died on us in the meantime."
Todd sighed with a strange — and somewhat disturbing — mixture of doubt, hope and greed. He leaned back into the pillow, his eyes closed, and fell into darkness again.
"This is a bad idea." Rodney complained while the team was settling down in the jumper, several marines following in the rear compartment.
"Do you have a better one?" John quipped.
"No..." McKay admitted after a while. "But it's still insanely risky!"
"Look at it this way: We have two jumpers with cloaking technology, more than enough firepower, and a fresh map of the surroundings. Things just can't go wrong. At worse, if there are too many wraith for us to handle, all we'll have to do is hide until we can leave safely."
"Famous last words." Rodney retorted as the jumper lifted off.
A gate travel later, the two jumpers emerged to a peaceful landscape, only troubled by ruins of a city nearby. Rodney activated the HUD as they approached them, scaring a couple of animals the size of a dog.
"Hm, I'm intermittently picking life signs but I think they belong to these... giant bunnies? Residual radiations scramble the readings."
"Which is precisely why we chose this place." John remarked. "There don't seem to be anybody around there." He turned to Teyla: "Do you sense wraith?"
She shook her head.
John smiled to Rodney:
"See? It's going to be a walk in the park."
The jumpers landed at the periphery of the destroyed city and cloaked. As everybody was disembarking, Ronon suddenly jerked his head towards a half-destroyed building in the distance.
"Ronon?" Sheppard asked.
"I saw something."
All senses in alert, The Satedan drew out his gun and pointed it at the devastated and apparently desert surroundings.
"Are you sure it's not one of those creatures?" At Ronon glare, John added: "Okay, maybe there are some scavengers. Whoever they are, let's scare them."
He fired a few blind shots with his P-90, soon imitated by some of the marines.
"Should do the trick, but stay on guard." he ordered. "Bethel and Knox, go watch the gate. Distler and Lorne, stay in the jumpers. All others are coming with us — Rodney, prepare the beacon. Don't forget, people, we need at least one alive, so use stunners unless you can't do otherwise."
He illustrated his words by raising a wraith stunner.
The two marines who were assigned to the gate watch were walking in a fast pace. Bethel, a short man with brown hair, showed a group of rocks to his companion, a somewhat muscular woman.
"Looks like the perfect observation spot."
She nodded her agreement and activated her ear radio:
"Colonel Sheppard? We've arrived at the gate. We've found a good place to hide."
"All right," John's voice replied. "Signal us if anything happens, but stay hidden as much as you can."
"Copy that, sir. Knox out."
The conversation hadn't stopped for a second when a masculine hand clapped on her mouth and a dagger slit her throat; at the same instant, a heavy rock crushed Bethel's skull. The two victims fell on the ground simultaneously at their murderers' feet.
"Tell about a lucky day!" the first man rejoiced from above the bodies.
"Indeed," his accomplice laughed, "what an unexpected luck. Our Commander will be most pleased."
"Hurry and get reinforcements. Whatever they're up to, we need to disable them before they leave."
"Rodney, what the heck are you doing?" John sighed.
A rustling noise could be heard and the scientist rose to his feet from the rubble he was kneeling on.
"You frightened it!" He complained. "Just when I was about to succeed in my taming!"
His friend rose an incredulous eyebrow:
"Don't tell me you are trying to tame one of those critters right now? Don't you have better things to do?"
"Well, no, I don't. The beacon is broadcasting, all we have to do know is wait for the wraith to show up, and there's nothing worth my interest in those ruins. Not that the Seranian civilisation had anything worth my interest to begin with," he mused, then he added: "Plus those big bunnies are cute!"
"You do have strange tastes. And they don't even remotely look like rabbits."
"Yes they do!"
"Everything but their tail is different. They look more like... I don't know what they look like, but definitely not rabbits."
"They remind me of a rabbit we had when I was a kid. And I find them cute."
"They bite." Ronon suddenly spoke with a cheeky half smile. "They could cut your finger off just with one bite."
Rodney paled a bit.
"No," the Satedan laughed, "but they taste delicious when spit-roasted."
"You don't really eat them, do you?!"
"We do, too, Rodney." Teyla remarked. "As do many people in the galaxy. Their meat is delicious and very nutritive. It is said to give strength to both the ill and the healthy. But they don't reproduce well in captivity and are fairly rare... usually. It seems they found their place here."
"Well, that's dreadful. How can you eat such adorable creatures?"
John's eye sparkled:
"Actually, I think that's a good idea. Let's catch some before we leave. A juicy wraith for Todd, and a juicy bunny for us."
"Ew!!" Rodney protested in disgust. "I can't believe you side with them! I should launch an animal defence league!"
"There are more important things in life, McKay." With that, he made for the outside. "I'll patrol while you wait for the wraith. I still wonder who we surprised earlier."
"Can't hurt." John nodded. Activating his ear radio, he said: "Lorne? Still no sign of activity?"
"No, sir," the major's voice replied. "We'll contact you as soon as the wraith arrive."
"Thank you major. Sheppard out."
A few minutes later, John turned to the door at the sound of footsteps. Before he even had a chance to speak, a grenade was tossed in the middle of the room, quickly spreading a dense smoke; at the same time, several indistinct figures fired with needle handguns. Within a handful of seconds, the Atlanteans laid motionless on the ground.
John slowly woke up, solidly tied against a heap of debris. He looked around to see his companions regaining consciousness too — the whole team but Ronon, Lorne and Distler. Green-grey clad legs stopped in front of him and he raised his gaze on an imposing man in the typical Genii uniform. Many soldiers were securing the area.
"Lieutenant-Colonel John Sheppard, it's a honour to meet you at last," the stranger quipped.
"I don't remember us having been properly introduced," John retorted.
The man laughed.
"True, true, how impolite of me. Commander Estav Moltei of the Genii, at your service. I suppose I should thank you for taking care of Kolya and allowing me to regain my rightful place among our military."
"Oh yeah, I feel very thanked right now."
Rodney chose that moment to open his eyes and wriggle about in panic.
"Huh? What happened? Did the wraith..." He shrank when grasping the situation. "Genii. Just great. Is it me or do these guys always choose the worst moments to show up? And where's ..."
John interrupted him by questioning their captor:
"What do you want from us? Last time I checked we were supposed to be allies with the Genii."
Moltei's mouth twisted.
"The Genii don't ally with traitors who work with the wraith."
"You mean when we eliminated the replicators?" John asked incredulously.
"The replicators were destroying human planets one after another. Believe me, we only asked wraith help to stop an even greater threat to the galaxy."
"A threat YOU had unleashed. It is about time we take the future of our galaxy in hand."
"So, what do you want from us?" John repeated.
"The two jumpers you came in and your identification code." The Genii Commander sneered. "I'll take over Atlantis, and unlike Kolya, I'll succeed."
Sheppard leaned against the rubble, a defiant grin on his lips.
"I don't think so."
"Then I shall kill you one by one! Starting with you, Colonel Sheppard."
Moltei raised his gun but his hostage was less than impressed.
"As soon as our people in the jumpers realise what happens here," John said unafraid, "they'll make sure you don't go anywhere. You can't win. But if you release us and nicely return back to the gate, you have my word I'll forget this little incident."
"Moreover," Teyla remarked, "this place will soon be swarming with wraith. We must cooperate or we'll all die together."
All nearby Genii soldiers tensed at these words and turned their eyes towards their leader.
"Wraith?" he asked suspiciously. "What would they be doing here? -- unless YOU called them. That would explain why you are carrying their weapons." He leaned over her with a disgusted anger. "Teyla Emmagan of Athos, I'm ashamed my people ever traded with you. I'll make sure you regret your dealings with the enemy."
"We don't deal with them, you idiot," Rodney cried out, "we are tricking them! We need to capture a few to, hm, to conduct an experiment too secret to detail."
"But be assured they won't come out of it alive," John added.
Teyla spoke again before the Genii Commander could voice his doubts:
"We all hate the wraith as much. We all seek to free the galaxy of their oppression. Working together would make us stronger, instead of fighting each other."
"Anyway," Rodney went on, "what would you do with our jumpers or even with Atlantis, heh? Even if you were able to understand how this all works, you can't operate Ancient technology without the appropriate gene."
Moltei burst out laughing.
"Many Genii now possess the gene of the Ancestors, Dr. McKay. Courtesy of Ladon Radim." He grinned nastily. "Underestimating my people will be your undoing. We don't need you; we only need the technology you appropriated when you sat foot in our galaxy. If we had had access to it for this long, the wraith would be nothing but a bad memory by now."
He added negligently as he turned away:
"When the wraith arrive, Colonel, I will leave some of your friends for them to find. That should convince you to give me your IDC. I feel in a generous mood today: I might even let you go back to Earth once Atlantis is mine. Those of you who'll still be alive by then, that is."
John, Rodney and Teyla exchanged worried glances.
The Genii soldiers had already led most of the marines away when Moltei approached the three members of the alpha team again.
"Take those two," he said a group of his men while indicating Rodney and Teyla, "and put them at the spot 17."
"Spot 17?" the scientist asked, attracting a scorning look from their captor.
After a while, Moltei decided to answer:
"You should be the last to be discovered when the wraith explore the ruins. It will let you time to change your mind about meeting my request. Sheppard stays with me."
Two of his men grabbed the prisoners and forced them to their feet.
"Don't worry, Rodney," Teyla reassured him gently, "we'll find a way out of here. We always do, remember?"
"Yeah, I'm sure that's what Elizabeth told herself when the replicators surrounded her," he replied acidly.
"If you hurt any of us," John growled, "it will be a declaration of war, you hear me?"
Moltei chuckled at the threat.
"But we ARE at war, Colonel. And I have every intention to win it." He nodded to his men: "Take them."
Rodney and Teyla were dragged away.
"If we make out of it alive," McKay moaned while they were led among the ruins by three soldiers, "I promise Ladon will pay! I don't know how yet but I promise I'll find something he'll remember until his last days!"
"Actually," his friend noted, "I'm not even sure he's involved. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Moltei intends to replace him."
"Even if he does, that wouldn't prove anything. Those guys are even more warped than the wraith."
He almost jumped out of his skin when one of the "giant rabbits" screeched at them a few meters away, and again when one of the Genii shot at it. Forgetting his position, Rodney glared at him:
"You barbarian! You find it funny to shoot at a poor defenceless bunny?"
The Genii merely laughed at him and pushed him forward. A few seconds later, a furry head popped up carefully hidden behind debris, and a pair of black eyes followed the humans as they went away.
Teyla suddenly tensed before they arrived at their destination. Rodney's eyes widened, and she nodded as an answer to his unspoken question.
"Oh crap," he let out under his breath. "Just when I was beginning to think they wouldn't come!"
The sound of darts didn't take long to be heard. Taking advantage of the distraction, Teyla threw herself against the closest Genii who fell loudly on the ground; she kicked the second one in the shins, making him cry out in pain; but the third one was fast enough to point his gun at her before she could get rid of him.
He was opening his mouth to speak when an energy blast hit him.
"Ronon!" McKay exclaimed with a grin from ear to ear.
After stunning the other two soldiers before they could regain a clear head, the Satedan helped Teyla getting up and cut her ties.
"Teyla, McKay, you all right? Where's Sheppard?" he asked urgently.
"The Genii Commander has him," Teyla replied. "But we must rescue the others first. The Genii left them for the wraith to find."
A murderous look in his eyes, Ronon paused before freeing Rodney in turn.
"They I say we leave THEM to the wraith."
"Nobody deserves such a fate, Ronon," Teyla objected. "Not even the Genii."
"Yes, yes, and what about deciding the Genii fate after we secure our own?" their anxious friend interrupted. He turned to Ronon: "You told Lorne and... and..."
"Lieutenant Distler," Teyla helped.
"And Distler what's going on, right?"
"No. I was busy."
"What are you waiting for?! Do it! And tell them I'll join them to..."
"No. We need all available help to get the others."
"But I don't even have a weapon!"
The Satedan grabbed a Genii gun and put it in McKay's hands.
"Now you do."
"Great," the scientist muttered.
Moltei dragged John into a relatively safe place behind a half ruined wall. Two of his men were carrying Atlantean equipment, including Rodney's tablet, the life signs detector and several automatic guns.
"The wraith are here, Sheppard. There is still time for you to call your jumpers and give me your IDC. If you comply, I promise I'll help you and your team evade the wraith."
"It's funny, I was just thinking of taking back my own same proposal to you."
"How many of your people are you willing to sacrifice to protect your precious hold on Atlantis?"
"How many of my people would you kill to take it over anyway?" John snapped back. "I already said it, you cannot win. If you don't release us, we'll all get captured together, and let me tell you, we have a better record of escaping hive ships than you do."
The Genii Commander remained silent for a moment before speaking again:
"You are an intriguing man."
"I feel flattered."
"You escaped Kolya with the very wraith that had just fed on you three times, you let it live even after your friends had arrived, and you dealt with it again later. I believe you are insane." He paused for a second. "How did you reverse the effects of the feeding?"
"What can I say? I'm a naturally lucky guy."
"How did you reverse the effects, Sheppard?" Moltei repeated, a menacing tone in his voice.
"I made my most irresistible smile and the green fairy granted my wish."
Moltei punched him in the face with a grunt, attracting nothing but a grin from his hostage.
"I hope I'll witness when the wraith feed on you," the Genii said, grinding his teed.
Stunners ready, two faced wraith and half a dozen warriors were searching the remains of the city. The sky was now silent but for a few birds. A rustling sound caught the attention of one of the masked wraith, who went away from his companions. He entered some ruins when a previously hidden gaping hole opened under his feet and two sharp chunks of metal, roughly fixed on wooden planks, pierced his body.
The other wraith ran up and observed the crude, but effective trap.
"A runner trap?!" one of the faced wraith hissed, displeased perplexity obvious on his face. He turned to the other, seemingly lower-ranked, one. "Inform the hive at once. They must send reinforcements."
"What does it mean? What about the distress call?"
"I do not know," the commanding wraith answered, warily securing his stunner and watching over the surroundings. "But I intend to know soon enough."
"I swear he's doing it on purpose," Rodney complained to Teyla while escalating rubble, and he shot a black look at Ronon's back. "We don't even know where the Genii took the others. And he chooses the most impracticable paths!"
The former runner turned his head:
"Yeah, sure. I avoid the traps just to annoy you, McKay. If you wanna run into them so much, just do it."
"Huh, the... traps? What traps?"
"I was busy after I saw the Genii arrive. Haven't had much time, but the ruins helped."
"Hopefully none of our people will fall into them," Teyla remarked.
A loud cry of pain, unmistakably human, contradicted her.
"Oh crap!" Rodney moaned.
The three of them hurried towards the origin of the scream.
The wraith leader suddenly turned his gaze to the left. With a silent nod to his warriors, he ordered them to head in that direction. He followed them, still careful of every potential hiding place around them.
Ronon, Teyla and Rodney were the first to reach the destination. Four tied marines and three of their armed captors were anxiously running their eye over the landscape, a likely dead Genii nearby.
The Satedan stunned one of their enemies; immediately after, Teyla shot her borrowed gun, killing another on the spot, then Ronon fired again to take out the remaining soldier. Before McKay could use his own weapon, all Genii were either dead or unconscious. After a while, the scientist finally grasped the situation and let out a sigh of mixed disappointment and relief.
They were freeing their companions from their bonds when a blue ray of energy hit one of the marines. In the instantly ensuing exchange of fire, Ronon stunned the faced wraith, then set his gun to kill mode with an irritated grunt. Rodney grabbed his arm:
"Wait, we need them alive, remember?"
His friend angrily freed himself and, ignoring the request, actively contributed to the death of the remaining wraith.
Once the place had become calm again, Teyla turned to the standing marines and showed the stunned one:
"You should take him to a jumper, then help us free everybody. Ronon will tell you where he put traps. We need to leave as soon as we can before the wraith decide to send too many troops for us to resist, or to simply fire at us from their ships." She smiled gently. "Be safe."
Moltei grinned nastily when John tensed at the sound of the distant scream of pain.
"It appears the wraith have found the first group of your people," he sneered.
His satisfaction vanished when Genii weapons could be heard a couple of minutes later.
"Seems to me they found yours," Sheppard retorted with a wicked smile.
He defiantly bore Moltei's vicious glare.
To be continued...
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Last update: December 7, 2008.