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03 May 2008 @ 01:46 pm
Help from Unexpected Places: The Siege, pt 1  
RL sucks sometimes, doesn't it? Sorry for the delay in posting. Look, season one's almost over!

All previous fics in the series are here.




The Siege 1


John hadn’t been so grateful for Alice in a long time. This was the fourth...maybe sixth...briefing in the last two days, and he hadn’t actually managed to sleep inbetween. Alice was keeping him awake, talking over Rodney where necessary when John’s attention started drifting.

“Not only has Teyla been able to ascertain that the Wraith are more interested in Earth than Atlantis, which is, you know, terrifying, she realised that the hive ships will go right past the only surviving LaGrange point satellite.”

“The last of what we assume were dozens of defence satellites destroyed during the Ancients’ last stand with the Wraith,” Zelenka clarified.

“That satellite’s dead,” Alice murmured.

“Yes, yes, yes...” Rodney waved Zelenka down. “The point is, we think we can use it to our advantage.”

“I thought you said it was dead,” John protested.

“It is, but we think we’ve learned enough about how it works to bring it back.”

“If we are right about what is wrong with it,” Zelenka muttered.

“Yes, of course if we’re right about what’s wrong with it! But if we’re right, and it’s just out of power, the Wraith have simply been ignoring it.”

“Our preliminary estimates indicate a single naqahdah generator would be enough to bring it back online.”

“Why can’t we use our generators to get the weapons systems of Atlantis working?” Ford asked, interrupting what was fast becoming a squabble between the two scientists.

“Because those systems were designed to be powered by the Zero Point Module – and the satellite isn’t.”

“And you think it’s powerful enough to take out a Wraith hive ship?”

“More than powerful enough,” Alice said indignantly.

“According to the Ancient database, it should be able to take out all three when fully charged,” Rodney told him. “Keep in mind that the Ancient technology was far superior – they only lost the war because they were vastly outnumbered.”

“Well, we’re vastly outnumbered!”

“And outgunned,” Bates muttered.

“But they don’t see the satellite as threat,” Zelenka explained.

“In military parlance, surprise...” Rodney frowned. “Is an element on our side.”

“What do you need?” Elizabeth asked.

“The satellite’s fifteen hours away by Puddlejumper. I recommend that we put together a small crew – say myself, Grodin and a pilot.”

“I’ll go,” John offered.

“No, Miller can handle it,” Elizabeth said. “Major, I need you to keep searching for alternate Alpha sites, just in case this fails.”

“The hive ships will be in range of the satellite in forty-nine hours. We’re gonna need every last second of that time.”

“Questions?” Elizabeth asked the room. “OK, let’s get on it. Well, Rodney, I don’t mean to put any undue pressure, but at this moment, that satellite is the only thing standing between the Wraith and Atlantis.”

She left before he could answer: John clapped Rodney’s shoulder, grinning. “No undue pressure.”

“Pressure? Listen, after this year it takes a bit more than imminent death to worry me.”

“Good, because this is a bit more than imminent death.”

“Very funny.”

“You think you can fix the satellite?”

“I think if I don’t fix the satellite, we’re all dead. Which also doesn’t worry me. This was a bad year.”

John’s radio activated. “Major Sheppard, please report to the infirmary.”

“on my way, Carson,” he acknowledged.

“Hey, if he’s handing out sedatives, I want one,” Rodney said.

“What, and miss all the fun? Miller’ll be ready when you are.”

The corridor outside the infirmary was empty, and he slowed to a halt, fiddling with his radio. “Can the satellite be fixed, Alice?”

“I can’t talk to the satellite from here. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. If it’s just a loss of power then McKay is right, your generators would be enough for one battle. If it’s something else...” She shrugged helplessly. “They’re looking for you.” She gestured to the infirmary door.

“Stick around,” he told her. “I might need you later.”

“I’m always around.”

John didn’t bother answering that, ducking into the infirmary. Carson was standing by Teyla’s bed, arguing something with her, but both broke off when he appeared.

“Hey, guys.” To Teyla, he added, “How’re you feeling?”

“I am fine.”

“I’m looking for something a little more enthusiastic than ‘fine’.” He glanced at Carson for help.

“I am ready to be put back on active duty,” Teyla insisted.

“I’m sure you think so but, uh...”

“Tell him I am fine,” she told Carson.

“She is, Major. I see no further reason she should be kept here under medical supervision.”

Teyla looked back at John, who shrugged. “Alright. You’re back on active duty.”

Teyla sighed in relief, sliding off the bed as he turned to leave.





Alice was smiling when John passed her on his way to the briefing room; he slowed, raising an eyebrow, and she fell into step beside him.

“McKay and Zelenka are telling each other that they’re friends, and not to get into trouble while he’s away. But they’re doing it by telling each other how stupid they are.”

“Sounds like McKay,” John said under his breath.

“It’s happening all over the city. People are saying goodbye.”

John slowed, wondering if he could get away with turning aside to talk to her, but Elizabeth was standing in the doorway of the conference room, watching him, and he sped back up. Bates was already inside, staring at his laptop, and John slid in beside him.

“M85-393?” Bates asked a while later.

John shook his head absently. “No. We’ve only been there at night and it gets ridiculously hot during the day, so no – not really an option.”

“We wouldn’t be having this problem if the damn Alpha site that we’d picked hadn’t been marked by the Wraith,” Elizabeth muttered.

“They’re a real pain in the ass, aren’t they?”

“Yes they are!” she agreed, smiling reluctantly.

“How about M4H-212?”

“No,” Bates said. “Crawling with Genii spies.”

“You know that for a fact, Sergeant, or is your spidey sense just tingling?”

Bates grinned, still studying his screen. “It’s a fact, sir.”

“Here we go,” Elizabeth said suddenly. “M1M-316. Stackhouse reported lush surroundings, and as far as his team could tell, it seemed uninhabited.”

“I’ll get my team together and check it out,” John agreed.

“OK, good. Remember, Major, we don’t need ideal. I think we’d all settle for close.”

“I’m on it.”

Bates followed him out of the room. “Major. Is Teyla coming with you?”

“You’re not seriously asking me that?”

“I think that’s a bad call, sir.”

“Here we go again!” He turned away, heading down the hall again; Bates stayed on his heels.

“All I’m saying is, we still don’t fully understand her connection to the Wraith and, in my opinion, I don’t think we should expose her to information we wouldn’t want the Wraith to have – not the least of which is the location of our evac site.”

“The doctor gave her a clean bill of health,” John told him.

“And that’s good to hear, sir, but if she can’t control how the Wraith use her...”

“You don’t know that,” he interrupted.

“That’s right, we don’t! She saw everything they saw – who’s to say they can’t do the same with her, see what we see? If she’s been compromised in any way...”

“She’s an integral part of my team. Period. End of story. We’re done here.” He turned sharply away, leaving Bates behind.

“It’s his job to think of those things,” Alice reminded him. “You gave him that job.”

“Suppose you don’t trust her either?”

“I’m not...”

“Programmed for trust. You need new lines.”

“I trust you. If you trust her, so do I.”

“Nice to know.”

“Besides, it’s nice to have someone else talk to me every so often.” She glanced away. “Your team’s waiting for you.”

“That was fast.”

“They want to be doing something, I suppose.” She turned away. “I’ll watch the city for you, John.”

“Thanks,” he said, watching her leave. “Yeah, we definitely need to have a talk,” he muttered, heading towards the ward room.



Seeing Bates glaring at Teyla was not what John needed after running for his life.

“I told you she was a liability, sir! Now I’m not gonna let your personal feelings endanger this facility any longer!”

“What?” Teyla asked in surprise.

“Look, I’m not accusing you of doing it intentionally, but the Wraith must be getting information from you!”

“What the hell are you talking about?” John demanded. “We ran into a...uh... what the hell was that?”

“Looked an awful lot like a T-rex, sir,” Ford offered. He was standing squarely beside John, backing him up.

“Yeah, a T-rex. It wasn’t even a Wraith! So why don’t you check those accusations?”

Elizabeth finally managed to break in. “I take it you don’t recommend the planet as an Alpha site, Major?”

“Wouldn’t be my first choice. If McKay doesn’t get the satellite online, we’re screwed.”

Bates backed off, still muttering angrily, and John brushed past him, passing his weapon off to the nearest soldier. Bates turned on his heel, heading away.

Teyla stood for a moment before following him. Ford tried to stop her, but she brushed past him without even stopping and he gave up, heading away.

“Sergeant Bates!”

Bates paused, looking back at her. “What is it?”

“You just accused me of disclosing our position to the Wraith.”

“Yes, I did.”

“Clearly you were wrong.”

“That’s yet to be determined, ma’am.”

Teyla took a deep breath, reminding herself firmly that John would not be happy if she attacked him. “Excuse me?”

“Look, I’m willing to accept that you’re not fully in control of what information you give away, but it’s still my opinion that you should not be allowed to move freely around this base of operations.”

“Perhaps you are not aware, Sergeant, but being accused of serving the Wraith is the greatest insult among my people.”

“Oh, I’m aware,” Bates said smoothly.

Teyla elbowed him in the face.

John grabbed her from behind, yanking her bodily away; Ford slid between them, blocking Bates when he went to retaliate.

“I was simply stating an opinion, Major!” Teyla spat, twisting against him.

“She attacked me!” Bates protested.

“And for good reason!”

John pulled Teyla away again. “Yeah, what reason would that be?”

“My guess would be the Wraith!”

Teyla almost got past John at that; he jerked her back. Bates almost knocked Ford over as he struggled.

“Walk away, Bates,” John ordered.

“Sir...”

“Walk away!”

Bates pulled free of Ford, pointing angrily at Teyla. “This isn’t over.”

“I would be disappointed if it were!” she yelled after him.

John waited long enough to be sure he was really gone before rounding on Teyla. “What the hell are you doing? You don’t go around decking the head of security!”

“He said...”

“I don’t care what he said!” he interrupted. “He says a lot of things. You just stay away from him.”

Teyla glared before turning away. Ford whistled as she disappeared around the nearest corner.

“You saw nothing,” John told him.

“Aye sir,” Ford agreed, heading away.

Alice watched, frowning. “Teyla doesn’t normally hit people.”

“Hey,” John protested.

“Unless she’s teaching you to fight,” Alice corrected herself.

“Better.” He frowned down the corridor. “That happening all over as well?”

“Some. No one else is accusing anyone of helping the Wraith, though.”

“No one else is stupid enough to believe it,” John muttered. “Keep an eye on it for me, ok? Let me know if anyone else starts getting serious.” She looked away, biting her lip, and he demanded, “What?”

“You need to lift the restriction on my entering your quarters if you want to be told of anything that happens.”

“I already lifted that.”

“For the Wraith arrival.”

“You...” he cut himself off, rubbing at the bridge of his nose. “All right. For the duration, use your judgment and come tell me anything you think I need to know. All right?”

“Yes. Thank you. You should talk to Zelenka.”

“Zel...why?”

“He’s trying to find a way to clear the database. I can do that, I’ve already said I would. It’s time he could be spending on other things.”

“Why is he trying to delete you?”

“To save it from the Wraith. Elizabeth told him to.”

“Well, then let him do it. Never hurts to have backups.” He studied her for a moment. “You’re coming with us, you know.”

“No?” She frowned. “I’m Atlantis, John.”

“We’ll be taking the ‘Jumpers.”

“The Gate ship program is only a fraction of this version of me. You know that.”

“Still you,” he said quietly. “We’re not leaving you behind.”

She hesitated before smiling. “No. I know.”

John nodded, turning away again. “Thanks for calling me,” he said over his shoulder. He glanced back when she didn’t answer, but she’d already vanished.





John was seriously starting to consider moving his cot into the Conference room. He’d get much more use out of it.

“What about M1K-439?” he suggested.

“Which one’s that?” Ford asked.

“The one with all the waterfalls.”

“The waterfalls...see, now, why don’t we just call it Planet Waterfall?” Catching John’s look, he added defensively, “What? I say we should just give ‘em names! Look, we’ve got a list of five planets here. That should be enough potential Alpha sites to get Stackhouse and his team started.”

The voice on the tannoy surprised them both. “Major Sheppard. We have a situation at Generator Station One.”

John frowned, glancing automatically around. Alice wasn’t there, and he gestured for Ford to follow him.

A Marine was crouching over Bates when they reached the generator station. “What’s the problem?” John demanded.

“It’s Bates, sir.”

“What about him?”

“He’s been attacked.”

John grimaced, looking down at Bates. Someone had really gone to town; the sergeant was bruised and bloodied.

“Get a medical team down here,” he ordered, moving out into the corridor. As soon as he was out of range of the lab he hissed, “Alice?”

“Yes, John,” Alice said from behind him.

“What the hell happened in there?” he demanded.

She looked past him, blinking. “I’m sorry, John, sensors are down in this area.”

“Sensors are...since when?”

“It’s temporary. A maintenance issue. What’s happened?”

“Bates has been attacked!”

“Oh.” She looked away. “I’m sorry. No sensors picked up anything suspicious.”

“You’re sure? Check everything.”

“A complete check of the sensors will take time, John.”

“Do it anyway. What’s up with you? You’re all...formal.”

“I’m currently active in several locations around the city. It slows processing.”

“Where are you active?”

“Teyla’s quarters, Elizabeth’s office, Zelenka’s workspace and three other labs, the Mess hall, the Infirmary, the...”

“Ok, point taken. Just...see if you can find out anything, all right?”

“Yes, John.”




It was early the next morning, just after dawn, before Carson was able to give them a report. John and Ford had been waiting in the infirmary since Bates had arrived.

“Is he gonna be OK?” John asked when Carson joined them.

“It’s still hard to tell. He’s got five broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, and the concussion was quite severe.”

“When can we talk to him?”

“We can’t. I put him in a medically induced coma until the subdural haematoma can be dealt with. We won’t be finding out what happened from him any time soon.”

Ford shifted uncomfortably. “Teyla and Bates got into it pretty badly yesterday, sir.”

“A fistfight and a beating like this are a long drive apart, Ford.”

“I understand that, sir, but they were in a fight; they were both looking to continue it.”

John grimaced, looking at Carson. “Anything pointing to who did this?”

He shook his head. “I’m having a forensic exam of both his body and clothing performed right now.”

“Let us know what you find out.” To Ford, he added, “Let’s go get her side of the story.”



Teyla hadn’t been sleeping, apparently, so John felt a little better about bursting in on her with Ford in tow. And even if she had been sleeping, she woke right up once she heard why they were there.

“You do not think I had anything to do with it?” she asked, looking from him to Ford and back.

“Of course not,” John said quickly.

“You and Bates did get into it pretty good yesterday,” Ford said neutrally.

“You know me, Aiden. I never would have taken it that far.”

“I know,” Ford agreed, “so let’s just see if we can’t rule it out altogether. Where were you last night?”

“I was here, in my room.”

“The whole night?”

“Yes.”

“So there’s no way of knowing whether you blacked out or not?” John deliberately raised his voice, trying to provoke Alice into appearing, but there was no sign of her.

“I have no way of proving it, no, but I did not leave this room last night – I am sure of it. I did not leave this room.” Teyla was watching him warily; he nodded quick confirmation, ignoring the doubt on Ford’s face and turning to leave.




“Alice!” he hissed later.

She appeared in front of him, looking past him for a moment before she refocused. “Yes, John.”

“Where was Teyla last night?”

“In her room. Talking to me, on and off. Why?”

“Talking to you?”

“She’s the only other person who knows about me. Sometimes she thinks out loud.”

“And how do you join in?”

“I listen. What else can I do? Why do you need to know where she was?”

“Because Bates was attacked,” he reminded her, “and we don’t know who it was.”

“It wasn’t Teyla.” She studied him for a moment. “Did you think it was?”

“No. I didn’t. You still...” He gestured vaguely. “Processing slowly?”

“I’m still active in multiple locations, yes.”

“How come the Ancients didn’t plan on that? What good is a program that slows down the more it’s used?”

“They did plan for it. I’m supposed to run on the ZPM, remember? I use three of your generators just to keep going.”

“Be careful, then.”

“I will, John.”

“I gotta go report to Elizabeth. Come with me.”

“I’ll meet you there,” she promised, vanishing.



It took him longer than he’d thought to round up Ford; night was falling as they reached Elizabeth’s office. She’d been keeping up to date and knew that Teyla was currently their top suspect, although she didn’t like it any better than John.

“I know there’s no love lost between her and Bates, but I can’t see her beating the hell out of the guy,” John said, finishing his report.

“Also, you know it wasn’t her,” Alice muttered.

“Ford?” Elizabeth asked.

“Ma’am?”

“What do you think?” she pressed.

Ford glanced uncomfortably at John. “I worry about what she might have done unknowingly. The whole Wraith connection thing and her nightmares make me nervous.”

“Yeah, well, what are we gonna do about it? Stick her in the Brig? This is Teyla we’re talking about.”

Carson leaned into the room. “We have a situation on our hands.”

“What’s going on?” Elizabeth asked, rising to her feet.

“I’ve completed the tests. I found DNA on Sergeant Bates’ uniform.”

“And it’s not Teyla’s?” John asked quickly.

“No, Major.”

“Who is it?” Elizabeth asked.

“I ran the tests twice to be certain. It’s conclusive. We have a Wraith in the city.”



John excused himself on the pretext of informing Teyla himself; the corridors were crowded, and he didn’t stop until he reached her quarters.

Teyla let him in without question; Alice was sitting cross legged on the edge of the bed, watching as he paced.

“It wasn’t you,” he said, and Teyla smiled wryly.

“Thank you, but I believe we had established that. Who was it?”

John looked over at Alice. “Anything you want to tell me?” She shrugged, palms up, and he added, “About a Wraith in the city?”

“There are no Wraith here,” Alice said in surprise. Teyla had risen to her feet, but she didn’t attempt to interrupt.

“Bates was attacked by a Wraith. Carson’s proved it.”

“There are no Wraith here! That’s a primary function! If there were Wraith, I would...” She cut herself off, looking away.

“What?” John asked. “What?”

“Sensors. The sensor malfunction...”

“Not a malfunction,” he finished. “Can you see him now?”

“No. But there are sensors out in several of the lower levels. I can’t...nothing down there is registering.”

Turning to Teyla, John said, “It was a Wraith, but we don’t know where it is.”

“I gathered that,” she agreed.

“The others are waiting in the conference room. Let’s go.” To Alice, he added, “You too.”

“I’ll meet...”

“No,” he interrupted her. “Stay with us, this time.”

“All right,” she agreed, frowning, but she was on his heels when he left.

Elizabeth was already in the conference room with Ford, Carson and Zelenka; John hesitated in the door, watching Ford murmur an apology to Teyla, who smiled at him.

“John, you’re standing in the door,” Alice said from behind him.

“Like it bothers you,” he muttered, coming forward to join the group. “Someone tell me how this is possible. How can the Wraith get inside the city?”

“They didn’t gate in,” Ford said.

Zelenka lifted his head. “The Dart.”

“What?”

“The Wraith Dart that scanned us. It made its way through the city, scanning for data. The second it was done, it self destructed.”

“So it beamed into the city,” John said slowly.

“Can they do that?” Ford asked.

“The same technology that is used to sweep people up and into their ships must work in the opposite way,” Teyla guessed.

“So the pilot of the Wraith Dart scanned us, transmitted his information to the hive ships, beamed down here and destroyed his ship.” Elizabeth glanced around at them.

“Yes, yes. It seems possible.”

“That is precisely the time I started to sense the Wraith continually,” Teyla said slowly.

“No wonder you were having nightmares,” John muttered.

“What’s he been doing here all this time?” Elizabeth asked.

“Well, Sergeant Bates was attacked near the naqahdah generator that powers this tower,” Zelenka offered.

“The Wraith must have been doing recon. Maybe his job is to knock out the power before the hive ship gets here – leave us dead in the water.”

“Or to make sure any self destruct plan we had in place wouldn’t work,” Ford added.

“Maybe a combination of both,” Elizabeth suggested.

“Exactly.”

“What we do know for sure is that we have a Wraith intruder in the city that we have to track down.”

Zelenka raised a hand. “I have an idea.”

He slid past John into the control room; the others followed, and John waited long enough to ask, “What’s he doing?”

“I don’t know,” Alice said with a frown. “That isn’t...oh, the life signs reader. Good plan,” she added, impressed.

“Life signs...”

John cut himself off, reflecting sourly that he seemed to do that a lot around her. Outside, Zelenka was speaking, and he joined the group in time to hear “...online for past month or so. It detects irregularities in biometric rhythm and reports them.”

“Wouldn’t it have picked up on the Wraith?” he asked.

“Well, it requires significant amount of power, so we’ve narrowed its field of focus to scan solely in the Gateroom, figuring that was the only place that the Wraith ... or any other alien, for that matter, would likely enter the city from.”

“OK, so that was wrong.” He glared at Alice, who glared right back at him.

“I can’t change where it looks,” she reminded him. “And I can’t see anything that isn’t on the sensors.”

Zelenka had mostly ignored him, fiddling with the controls. “Now, if I could only expand the scanning field to ... My God!”

“What?” John demanded.

“That’s him – look.”

Either Zelenka or Alice zoomed the map in, showing a red dot.

“It works very much like the lifesigns detector, but it’s able to distinguish different lifeforms,” Carson said.

“That’s him?” John asked.

“That’s him,” Zelenka agreed.

“You can track him in real time?”

“Yes.”

John turned, gesturing. “Ford, Teyla: we need two teams. Let’s go get him.”

“Yes, sir,” Ford agreed, following him out with Teyla.



John sent Ford and Teyla off together and took a couple of the Marines to make up his own team. The Wraith hadn’t moved since they’d started, but Zelenka was glued to the display in the Control Room.

“Is he still in place, Doc?” John asked his radio.

“Yes. He’s still in the same room. Hasn’t moved since we located him.”

“Let’s hope he’s still sleeping. Ford, Teyla: you in position?”

Almost,” Teyla told him.

“My team’s ready. We’re gonna breach the room at the same time from different directions. If he tries to get out the other door, take him.”

Understood, sir,” Ford said. “We shouldn’t be more than a couple of minutes.


“Alright. Stand by.” He motioned his team into place.

“John,” Alice said suddenly, taking two quick steps back out of his line of sight. The door hissed open; when nothing happened, the Marines edged forward.

A wave of energy burst from the room, knocking them all back. John gasped as he thumped into the ground; he was vaguely aware that the Wraith had appeared, but his muscles weren’t getting the urgent messages from his brain.

The Wraith crouched beside him, knife in one hand. “Nothing will keep us from our new feeding ground,” it said softly, raising the blade.

John tensed, unable to do any more than that, but a stunner blast hit the Wraith from behind and it collapsed, blade falling from limp fingers.

“You were on vox, sir,” Ford explained, crouching beside the Wraith and examining it. “We heard the whole thing and double-timed it.”

Teyla crouched by John, who blinked as best he could. “We got it, Major. You’re going to be OK.”




Alice was sitting cross-legged on the end of his bed when he woke up in the infirmary. Carson was audible somewhere nearby, but the curtains were pulled closed.

“That may have been the most rest I’ve had in a while,” he said idly, squinting at the ceiling.

“You were stunned, not sleeping. I’m not sure it counts as rest.”

“How’s the city?”

“Much the same. Your Wraith is in the brig. Are you planning on keeping him?”

“Haven’t decided yet.”

Carson pulled the curtain aside, eyeing him. “Still talking to yourself, Major?”

“Got to do something to keep myself occupied. Can I go now?”

“Give me a minute to check you out, Major,” Carson protested. “How’re you feeling?”

“Just pins and needles. I’m fine. I really have to go, though.”

“Aye, you’ll be wanting to go see your Wraith, I suppose. All right, go ahead. But you’ll come back...”

“...if I feel anything else, yes. I will.”

Alice caught up with him again in the corridor outside the infirmary. “Ford’s in the brig, with the Wraith,” she said, anticipating him. “John, I’m not going in there with you.”

“Why not?” he asked absently, stepping into the nearest transporter.

“Because I was programmed to help fight the Wraith, not hold them. The only reason alarms aren’t going off all over the city is that I’m suppressing them...Wraith never, ever set foot here. That’s also a primary directive.”

He considered her for a moment, nodding. “All right. I’ll see you later, then.”

She’d vanished by the time the door opened, and he headed down to the brig, picking up Teyla on the way.

Ford was watching several other Marines watch the Wraith. “Good to see you on your feet, sir. How’re you feelin’?”

“You know, pins and needles.” John shrugged. “Hate getting stunned by those damn things. Has he said anything yet?”

“No sir, not yet.”

“You got a name?” John asked. The Wraith eyed him but didn’t answer. “OK – we’ll go with...Bob. Bob – I’m gonna need to know what you’ve been doing here for the past two weeks, and I’m gonna need to know now.”

Bob still didn’t answer, sneering at a point somewhere in front of him. John took a step back, turning to Ford and Teyla.

“I don’t think he’s in a very talkative mood, sir,” Ford offered.

“Yeah,” John muttered. “I need to know what he’s been doing and whether or not he’s been transmitting back to the hive ships.”

“Wouldn’t we have picked up a transmission?” Ford asked.

“We can send secure messages – there’s no reason he can’t.”

“Maybe I can try and connect with him,” Teyla offered.

John shook his head. “I don’t think so.”

“If the Alpha site has been compromised, Major, we need to know,” she pointed out.

John looked back at the Wraith for a moment, turning back to her. “OK, see what you can do.”

Teyla crossed to stand in front of the cell, watching the Wraith carefully. John watched her as she took a deep breath before locking her gaze on Bob.

“What are you doing, human? You’re trying to get inside my mind. Allow me.”

Teyla stumbled, grasping at her head and collapsing.

“Teyla?” John yelled. “Stop it! Shut it off!”

Ford dropped beside Teyla, prying her hands away from her head. One of the Marines turned off the forcefield and John shot the Wraith, twice. It growled, more or less unhurt, but the distraction worked and Teyla sat up with a gasp.

“Are you OK?” Ford asked. Teyla nodded, gripping his arm.

“My wounds will heal,” Bob told John.

“Yeah, but for how long?” He shot it again...and again. Five times in all. Bob collapsed to his knees, snarling. “I need to know what you’ve done to this city. Listen, Bob, I have no problem with killing you whatsoever.”

He shot twice more, ejecting the clip and loading a fresh one.

“I’m not screwin’ around, Bob! Did you sabotage this base or not?” He fired another three times, finally overwhelming Bob.

“Those who feed upon you will know what you’ve done to me,” he warned John.

“Yeah. We’ll see.”

“Sir,” Ford said quietly. “I think maybe we’ve gone a bit too far.”

“I don’t think we’ve gone far enough.”

“John,” Alice said quietly from the door. He turned, stalking into the nearest corner. “McKay has been in contact. They destroyed one ship, but the satellite’s gone. Peter Grodin was on board at the time.”

“Damn,” he muttered, rubbing his forehead. “What about the other ships?”

“They’ve stopped for now. McKay’s on his way back.”

John started to answer, but paused when the tannoy whistled. “May I have your attention, please? This is Doctor Weir. Our plan to stop the Wraith armada has failed. They will make it to Atlantis. Therefore we must begin our evacuation plans. I wish I could tell you all that this is a fight that we will win, but I can’t do that. I wish I could tell you that we will find a safe harbor when we leave here. I can’t promise you that either. I can tell you this: up to now, you all have accomplished extraordinary things, and I believe that even in the face of an uncertain future, as long as we stay together we have a chance to continue to do so. Now, we all have our evacuation duties, so thank you – and I’ll see you on the other side.”

Alice closed her eyes. “Zelenka’s virus program is ready to go.”

Bob propped himself up on one elbow, glaring at John. “I will tell you this: no matter where you flee, we will find you – just as surely as we will find Earth. And when we do, we will feast.”

John calmly emptied the rest of his clip into it, watching it die.

To be continued.