Warnings: Eventual non-con (het), Occasional foul language
Word Count: apx. 2500
Notes: Sadly, this is still a wip I started posting on fanfiction.net. I've set a goal for myself that I will add one chapter a day to LiveJournal, and by the time I'm caught up I must have a new chapter. The gears are finally moving in my head, so I think I might just manage to make it happen!
Summary: A visit to a village covered in mud leads to a captured Colonel, and an unexpected alliance with an old enemy. Shep whump.
“Unscheduled off-world activation!” The tech announced.
Dr. Weir stood from her desk and walked briskly to the console, her reports forgotten. After Colonel Sheppard’s team had missed their scheduled check-in yesterday, she was more than a little anxious, given the team’s penchant for trouble.
“Receiving IDC. It’s Teyla.”
“Lower the shield.” Weir commanded. Sweat made her hands stick to the handrails she was tightly squeezing. Would there be injuries yet again? She waited to see her cocky second-in-command step through the gate, and fear clawed at her stomach when she saw the two blackened faces and one limp body come through.
“Medical team to the Gate Room.” Weir raced down the steps to the team. Ronon gently laid McKay on the floor, and she was relieved to see him twitch around a bit.
Teyla looked at Doctor Weir. “The Colonel is missing. We believe either someone or the villagers themselves may have kidnapped him before setting fire to the inn where we were staying.”
“Are you all alright? What happened to Rodney?” No one was bleeding seriously, which was slightly unusual, though a welcome relief, for this team. Their faces were however, streaked black with what looked like soot, and Ronon had a bleeding gash on his forehead. The blood ran in rivets down his face mixing with the soot like a deranged Picasso painting, but the runner appeared unfazed by his injury. Right, facial wounds always bleed a lot, doesn’t mean it’s serious. Get a grip Weir; you have a mission to lead. Teyla had a similar injury on her upper arm, and was just as stoic.
“We believe that we were drugged at the dinner last night.” Teyla supplied. “Ronon and I seem to have been able to fight the drug off, but Doctor McKay has yet to fully awaken. Our other injuries came from rocks throw at us by the villagers who insisted we leave. Our lodgings were burned down just before dawn, for which the villagers hold us responsible.”
At this point Beckett appeared with a gurney and hurried over to McKay. “What happened?” he asked. Teyla repeated what she had told Dr. Weir. “Right. Rodney can you hear me?” Beckett asked while gently tapping McKay on the face.
McKay’s eyelids flickered as he turned his head to look at the doctor, but he didn’t answer. He scrunched his eyebrows as though trying to figure something out, then mumbled, “Carson?” Beckett had to lean over to hear him, but he smiled with relief when he did.
“You’re going to be fine Rodney, just rest easy.” Beckett turned to the other two members of the team, taking in their bleeding arms and faces. “Are you two alright?”
“My arm is fine; it is just in need of a simple bandage. I feel a little light headed from whatever we were drugged with, but otherwise I am well.” Teyla answered.
“We need to get back and find Sheppard.” Ronon demanded to Weir, ignoring Beckett’s attempts to examine him.
“And we will, but let’s take care of you three first.” Her voice was firm.
“Help me get him onto the gurney.” Beckett lifted McKay’s shoulders as Ronon lifted his feet. “Right, now you two need to come to the infirmary too. After I patch those up,” he indicated their injuries, “I want to run some blood work and make sure you’re all really alright.”
And with that, the four silently set off towards the infirmary. Dr. Weir stared after them for a moment, taking in all that had happened. Then she tapped her radio, “Major Lorne, report to the Control Room.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She heard in response. They had a rescue to plan.
Three stitches to Ronon’s head were almost impossible to insert, as the runner would not sit still. Neither he nor Teyla would allow any of Beckett’s staff to see to their injuries until Beckett assured them that McKay was indeed all right. Teyla’s arm indeed only required a standard dressing, as she had predicted, along with a dose of antibiotics to be safe.
Beckett took blood samples from the team, then allowed Ronon and Teyla to use the infirmary showers to get cleaned up. A nurse helped Teyla wrap her dressing in plastic to keep it dry. As she stepped in to the shower, Teyla turned the water on a little hotter than she normally liked it, intending to relax her tensed muscles. Instead, all she felt was a reminder of the flames that she had awoken to this morning. Changing her mind, she set the temperature slightly cooler than her norm.
She felt the light-headedness that had been plaguing her all morning, courtesy of a certain drug, fade away as she scrubbed the black reminders of Nultara from her skin. She told herself the angry red marks her scrubbing left behind had nothing to do with her fear for Sheppard. Despite her attempts to reassure herself, the disappearance of the Colonel continued to weigh heavily on her mind as she toweled herself dry and redressed in a clean uniform the same nurse had left for her. Ronon met her in the infirmary, having changed back into his same clothes. At her look, he said, “I’ll clean them later,”
Dr. Beckett was with Dr. McKay as they returned to the main section of the infirmary. A different nurse was washing McKay’s arms, having already cleaned his face. Both doctors turned at their arrival, though the dark haired nurse continued working. McKay’s reaction time was slow, almost lethargic, but he was definitely more aware than he had been a mere half hour ago in the Gate Room. “I’m glad to see you are feeling better Dr. McKay.” Teyla smiled wearily at him.
“You alright?” Ronon asked.
Swallowing several times, McKay looked around searching for something, and apparently not finding it, rasped, “Where’s Sheppard?” His volume was lower than normal, and his glassy eyes made it quite clear that he was not entirely free of the drug yet. The nurse paused in her washing to reach for a cup of water, which she dutifully held for the doctor to drink.
“Still on the planet, we believe.” Teyla answered, squeezing his shoulder. McKay shut his eyes tightly, clearing trying to process everything he was being told, plus the certain chaos that his own mind was producing while trying to contribute to the conversation. “We will get him back, Dr. McKay.”
“I’ve run tests on the blood from the three of you. I found remains of an alien sedative.” Dr. Beckett quietly interjected. “It’s mostly cleared from your systems,” he pointed to Teyla and Ronon, “and it is leaving, though slower, Rodney’s system.” He gave McKay a reassuring pat on the shoulder, paralleling Teyla’s previous contact.
“Why did it affect McKay so much more than the rest of us?” Ronon asked.
“Well, considering if it was in your food like you suggest, I’m going to venture that Rodney ate a lot more of it,” Knowing grins appeared on several faces, “and sometimes certain drugs affect people more strongly than others. Rodney’s never had a very high tolerance for medication.”
“So he’ll be okay?” Ronon clarified.
“Aye, I believe so; Mary and I are taking good care of him.” He nudged the nurse playfully. “Just to be safe, we’ll continue to monitor him carefully until he’s one hundred percent again.” Beckett smiled gently at his patient, who was torn between misery and embarrassment.
Secure in the knowledge that McKay was in good hands, Ronon’s mind began to focus on his other friend in need. He had to get back to the planet and find Sheppard. And to do that, first things first, “Are we free to go?” he asked, knowing he would leave regardless of the answer.
“Aye, but I expect you to report back to the infirmary if you feel anything unusual.” Beckett allowed. In truth, he would have preferred to keep them all in the infirmary to make sure there were no long term effects from the unknown drug, but Beckett had been working with the military long enough to know when a little risk was acceptable when other matters were at stake, such as missing Colonels. Besides, he comforted himself, if there were to be an effect, Rodney would most likely exhibit more severe symptoms first, and would be less likely (or capable) of hiding them.
Teyla nodded at the doctor’s command, relieved that she would not have to escape the infirmary against the doctor’s wishes. “Very well, we shall join Dr. Weir and Major Lorne in the Conference Room. I hope you feel better soon, Dr. McKay.” A limp wave was the reply.
“It is disturbing seeing Dr. McKay so subdued.” Teyla remarked as she and her teammate traveled to the meeting.
“He’ll recover.” Was the terse response. Ronon’s step was angry, leaving no doubt in Teyla’s mind that he felt guilty for leaving the planet without the Colonel.
“There was little else we could do; we did not abandon him.” Teyla assured her teammate. “We will get him back.” Ronon merely grunted and fingered his knife.
As they entered the Conference Room, they saw Dr. Weir, Major Lorne, and Colonel Caldwell reviewing the pre-mission briefing the team had received before heading to Nultara. “Ronon, Teyla, good of you to join us,” Dr. Weir greeted. “I take it you’re both alright?” At their nods, she continued, “Good. Well then, perhaps you can fill us in on what happened on P2J-697?”
Teyla nodded. “Not far from the gate we came across the Nultarans. My people have had no prior meetings with this planet, so I have no background information to offer. The village showed no obvious signs of advanced technology and the locals were relatively friendly. Colonel Sheppard and I spent most of our time with Hazzan, the village elder. Hazzan was quite friendly to us, though he did seem most surprised that we would bother to visit a people as impoverished as Nultarans. While Colonel Sheppard and I laid out the preliminary negotiations, Dr. McKay and Ronon scouted around the village for any power readings.”
“And did you find any?” Weir asked.
“There were several small power signatures across the village, but none of them were significant. The comparison McKay used was ‘not enough to charge a cell phone battery’.” The runner snorted, “Whatever that means.”
After a moment of silence it became apparent that Ronon had no interest in continuing, so Teyla resumed control of the report. “Some of the villagers had a few pieces of Ancient technology left over from when the Ancients lived there. Hazzan showed Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard an Ancient scanner during dinner; however he was unable to activate it, as I believe the same of everyone else in the village. He did seem particularly excited when Dr. McKay and the Colonel were able to operate it, though he became quickly disappointed when Dr. McKay informed him that Colonel Sheppard was born with the ability that his people lacked.”
“Did you tell him about the gene therapy?” Major Lorne asked.
Nodding, she continued, “We did indeed. However Hazzan showed no interest in it once it became apparent that Colonel Sheppard could still do things that Dr. McKay could not.”
“So do you think it’s possible that Hazzan might have captured Colonel Sheppard for his ATA gene?” Caldwell asked.
“It is possible,” Teyla agreed, “However, I am not sure how much Hazzan could achieve by it. The most advanced Ancient device any of us saw was that scanner. Its purpose was to scan soil contents. I know that can be useful to a farming people, but the advantages of a friendship with Atlantis would easily outweigh such a minor advancement.”
“More importantly, do we have any reason to suspect that Colonel Sheppard is no longer on the planet?” Dr. Weir asked.
Teyla and Ronon exchanged a look with each other before shrugging. “I cannot say for certain, Dr. Weir,” Teyla spoke, “And it is always a possibility, but it is most likely that the Colonel is still there.” Ronon nodded his agreement.
“Ma’am, I suggest my team and Lt. Johnson’s team take a jumper to the planet along with Dr. McKay if he’s up to it, or Dr. Zelenka if he’s not, with a life signs detector and look for the Colonel.” Lorne looked at Teyla, “Did it appear that there was ever a time of day, say for a religious ceremony, where everyone in the town would be gathered at the same time.”
Ronon shook his head. Lorne sighed, “Oh well, that would have made it too easy. Okay then, one team will be in the jumper searching the surrounding area, and one team will search the village on foot.”
“The Nultarans will not welcome us back to their village.” Teyla informed Major Lorne.
Lorne just shrugged. “They’ve kidnapped my CO, as far as I’m concerned, that’s an act of war against Atlantis.” Lorne looked to Weir for approval.
“Colonel Caldwell?” Weir asked, not giving an indication one way or the other.
“I agree with Major Lorne.” Caldwell had absolutely no reservations about taking Nultara by force if necessary.
“Very well, Major, you have a go.”
Lorne nodded sharply and turned to leave. Teyla and Ronon followed.
The sight of the smooth beige walls was the first thing Sheppard saw, even before he realized he was awake. The walls were soothing in their familiarity, and he was reminded of his room in Atlantis. Atlantis?
Blinking slowly several times, Sheppard’s hand moved of its own volition to wipe the grit from his eyes, the movement slow and uncoordinated. He tried to swallow, but his throat felt thick and swollen, causing him to cough. As harder coughs racked his body, thought returned and he jerked abruptly, causing his vision to swim. Where am I? What the hell?
The memory of hands grabbing him while he was sleeping came to him and Sheppard felt his situation becoming increasingly more unsavory by the moment. Looking around for his team, he discovered he was alone in a room that looked disturbingly like the crew quarters in Atlantis, minus the furniture.
Slowly setting his feet on the ground, Sheppard realized he was on a bed larger than those in Atlantis (the only furnishing in the room), with a surprisingly thick mattress. Huh, wish I could have one of these back home. His legs wobbled as he stood, but after a moment, they accepted his weight. He dizzily paced the length of the room, feeling the circulation return to his limbs, although it occurred to him after a moment that he was unable to walk in a straight line.
Taking a mental tally, Sheppard discovered his vest, jacket, and shoes were gone, along with his weapons (no surprise there). The question of his location continued to bother him. As far as he could tell, Nultara had no Ancient buildings to speak of. Had he been abducted off-world? The thought chilled him. A rescue would be very difficult if that was the case.
Having no watch to check the time, Sheppard had no idea how long he’d been out. Hours at least, but he doubted days - his body felt too strong for that. Running his hands across the blue control panel by the door, Sheppard was unable to get it to open the door. Frustrated he tried to find the panel containing the control crystals. This was shockingly easy to do, and even more easy to break into. Then he realized why: all the control crystals had been removed. There’s gotta be a manual lock on the other side of his door. Figures.
With nothing else to do, Sheppard returned to the bed to wait.