Author: Leesa Perrie PM
An Ancient outpost causes excitement…and they learn about the inventors of the nanovirus from ‘Hot Zone’. This becomes AU after the episode Coup D’Etat, second season.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Angst - Chapters: 3 - Words: 14,387 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-13-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3287077
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By Leesa Perrie
A/N: When this was started it wasn't an AU. However, Season 3 has made it one (!). Also, I'm not a medical person and have only a vague understanding of genetics. All genetic talk in this story is guess work, and could be considered AU to actual reality, as I'm sure any geneticists out there would agree!
Chapter One – The Outpost
From the moment the MALP showed the picture of an Ancient outpost, he'd been acting like a little kid, and he knew it, but couldn't help himself. Even though there were no energy signals emanating from the outpost, he still couldn't wait to go and have a look. There could be all sorts of devices in there, and if necessary, they could use a naquadah generator to power the place up for a while. Oh, yes, this looked good. It didn't even look particularly damaged, just overgrown with various plants.
And once he was there, the feeling of being a kid in a candy store hit him full force. There was so much to look at, he almost didn't know where to start. He'd be looking at one room full of various Ancient devices, and then next door there would be more, and then more…He found himself darting about, not able to concentrate on one thing for long before something else caught his eye…
Colonel Sheppard, Teyla and Ronon had merely shared an amused look at his antics. Sheppard had then sent Teyla and Ronon to check out some of the rooms, telling them not to touch anything, as he really didn't want to deal with McKay in a snit, but to keep an eye out for trouble. In the meantime, he would follow the excited astrophysicist around and try to ensure that he didn't get himself into any trouble. A distracted McKay, he decided, could miss a whole hoard of Wraith until they were upon him. Fortunately, it soon became clear that the place was deserted, but Sheppard still kept close to McKay.
A few hours after arriving, more scientists had arrived, along with a military contingent, just in case, and many of the very full storage rooms that had been found were being emptied. It looked like they were going to be able to pick up a lot of spare parts and some spare equipment. Unfortunately, they hadn't found anything like an armoury as yet, so no drones. Or jumpers.
Sheppard realised that it was going to take days to sort and pack everything they wanted to take back. And McKay was now integrating a naquadah generator in the hopes of at least being able to access the database, if it was still intact. It looked like he and his people would be babysitting scientists for some time yet. Great, he thought, plenty of time to get bored, then.
It took almost two weeks to get the database downloaded – fortunately it wasn't anywhere near as extensive as Atlantis' database – and to load up every moveable, and some not so easily moveable, objects and take them back home. It had been decided that the outpost wasn't defendable without a ZPM, and also, it was extremely close to the Genii home world, making it not the most suitable place for an Alpha site. Though it looked like the Genii had not been to explore this place, otherwise it would have already been picked clean. However, they didn't want to test fate by setting up as neighbours.
During the time checking out the outpost, many people had ended up camping overnight. There had been a few complaints about food rations disappearing, and some quarrels and accusations thrown around about it. Nothing too serious, and easily handled. Though who was taking the extra food, no one had been able to find out. Sheppard didn't think too much about it, it was hardly a major problem. Not now they had regular supplies from Earth.
The last night on the planet, Sheppard, McKay, Teyla and Ronon opted to camp out. It was clear McKay was going to be busy for most of the night anyway. Everybody else elected to go back to Atlantis and return in the morning.
Having finally lured McKay away from the Ancient technology, and persuaded him to get some sleep, no easy task, Sheppard took the middle watch.
It was only a few hours to morning, and he found himself starting to drift off, when a small figure darted out of the woods, grabbed McKay's pack, and darted back into the woods.
"Hey! Stop!" Sheppard got to his feet, the others rousing at his shout.
"What? What's going on?" McKay demanded, blearily.
"Thief," shouted Sheppard as they all took off into the woods, following the trail the person had left behind. It was soon clear that whoever they were following wasn't trying to hide his – or her – trail.
After about thirty minutes, they slowed. Ronon pointed to a clearing just ahead of them.
"Okay, you circle round, and I'll approach him from this side. Set your gun to stun. I'd rather not kill anyone," he looked pointedly at Ronon.
Ronon nodded, slipping away into the woods as ordered.
"Teyla, McKay, stay here, but be ready to act if you need to."
Sheppard approached slowly. The sun was beginning to rise already, and some light was making its way into the clearing. As he got closer, he could make out a shape hunched over McKay's pack, searching through it.
"That doesn't belong to you," he said.
The kid, he could see now he was a teenager, looked up in shock and terror. Standing, he backed away from Sheppard.
"Hey, no need for guns. Just…I'll just go…leave it for you…no need to get nasty…" the boy said, moving away from Sheppard, and darting his eyes from side to side. He didn't look behind him though, and so didn't see Ronon approaching.
"I'll…er…I'll just be on my way, then…" he turned and ran smack into Ronon's arms. "Hey, let me go. Let me go. Please," he shouted, trying desperately to slip out of Ronon's embrace. Ronon merely looked to Sheppard.
"What do you want me to do with him?"
"Just hold him for now," Sheppard moved towards the kid. "I'm Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, and this is Specialist Ronon Dex, and these are Teyla Emmagen and Dr Rodney McKay," he added, as they entered the clearing as well. "We don't intend you any harm."
The boy settled, but only because he realised that he couldn't get free. He looked at Sheppard with scared eyes, and it was clear he was shivering in fear.
"Just let me go, please. I won't…you won't see me again. I'll go away. Please, just let me go…"
Sheppard realised he as still holding his gun on the kid, and pushed it to down, hoping to look a little less threatening.
"Look, no one's going to hurt you, okay?" The kid didn't look very convinced of that. "Why don't you tell me your name?" Sheppard continued.
"Talyn. Talyn Cardeya. I know who you are. I've been watching you. You're the ones who live on Atlantis. The ones who helped kill my people," the boy paused, and then continued.
"Your people?" Sheppard queried.
"Hoff. I'm from Hoff. But I didn't take the serum. My parents, they took it, and tried to make me, but I wouldn't. I didn't want to risk dying. And Neran said it was a bad idea. That the Wraith would still come, and that they'd wipe us out because of our defiance."
Sheppard had paled slightly at the mention of Hoff.
"We tried to warn Chancellor Druhin, but he didn't listen. Neither did the majority of your people," he said.
Talyn looked away.
"I know," he muttered quietly.
Sheppard could tell the kid was holding back tears. He sighed.
"Come back with us. Maybe we can help you."
"No!" Talyn started to struggle wildly. "I don't trust you! I don't trust anyone! After my parents died from the serum, Neran took me in. When the Wraith came, he took me to the gate. Waited for it to close down, and then dialled out. But he didn't take anyone else with him, even though he could have. He lied to me, he wasn't from Hoff, he was a Genii spy! He took me to their home world and they took me in, said they'd look after me, and then they turned on me! I barely got away! I'm not letting that happen again. Please, just let me go!"
"Hey, now, settle down. We're not going to hurt you."
"I don't…I can't believe you."
The light in the clearing was improving rapidly now, and Sheppard noticed something odd about the kid's eyes. He moved closer, and Talyn pressed back against Ronon.
"Don't. Please," Talyn could tell Sheppard was looking at his eyes, and he looked downwards. "I'm only half Hoffan. My father, my true father, was…was…Dalna," he closed his eyes, trying hard not to panic at the confession.
"Dalna?" Sheppard looked to Teyla. "Ever heard of them?"
"No," she replied.
"I have," Ronon stated. "There are stories about a race called Dalna that fought the Ancients before the Wraith. They were said to have hated all life that was not their own."
"They hate humans?" Sheppard asked. "That can't be good."
"Please…I'm not like that…my father wasn't like that…he…he died to save my mother, and the few others that were with her."
"Maybe you should tell us more," Sheppard asked.
Talyn took a deep breath, and looked Sheppard in the eye, trying hard to push down the fear he was feeling.
"My mother and a few others were taken when the barrier was breached."
"What barrier?" asked McKay.
"The Ancestors, they placed a barrier around the Dalna home world, trapping them inside. It was a…a…slow-time envelope. But there was a breach, and my mother and some others were captured and taken back to Dalnan. The Dalna were experimenting on them. Trying to find the most effective way to wipe out everyone in the galaxy."
"Crap," Rodney exclaimed. "You don't think they were behind that nano-virus the Ancients were studying?"
"That's not a comforting thought," Sheppard replied. "Go on," he nodded to Talyn.
"My father, he didn't agree with what his people were doing. He didn't hate like they did. Didn't see us as a disease to be eradicated. And he, he fell in love, with my mother. He took her, and any others he could get to, and left through the breach. He knew how to seal the breach, and he did that. Then brought my mother and the others to an isolated world.
"After a short while, the Wraith passed by the planet. They must have detected life there, and attacked. But my father, he had some weapons that he used to buy time for my mother and the others to get to the gate and dial Hoff. My mother said that my father's ship was destroyed. She saw it happen just before stepping through the gate.
"When I was born, I looked normal. She never told anyone that my father was Dalna, and even my stepfather didn't know. But just after my sixteenth year, my eyes changed. And I started to be able to absorb information really quickly, and see connections in the information that others hadn't seen before. My mother was forced to tell the truth about my parentage.
"People were afraid of me, but after a while, they realised I was useful, and that as I had been brought up as a Hoffan, I had no allegiance to the Dalna, nor believed what they did. So everything settled down, until you came.
"Don't hurt me, please," this last was little more than a whimper.
"We won't," Sheppard assured him. "We'll head back to camp, and then I'll contact Elizabeth and let her know what is going on."
On the way back to their camp, it was clear Talyn was thinking of running if he got half a chance. Sheppard knew that Ronon and Teyla were watching the boy like hawks, as he was, and so there wouldn't be much chance for him to run. He wasn't sure if keeping Talyn with them was a good idea, but he seemed harmless. More scared than anything. And finding out more about these Dalna seemed like a good idea.
"Okay," he said, as they got back to camp. "You stay here and I'll contact base to let them know what is happening."
"Your base is Atlantis," Talyn said.
"Atlantis was destroyed by the Wraith," Sheppard said, but was interrupted before he could continue.
"No it wasn't. The Genii said that you tricked the Wraith into thinking that, that's all."
"Okay…why don't you tell us more about your time with the Genii? You seem to know a lot for a boy your age."
Talyn didn't look too sure about this, but then sighed, seeming resigned to having to tell them his life story.
"The Genii aren't what they seem, and I don't think they wanted me there. But Neran talked to Cowan and it was okay. Then there was a take over. Cowen was killed, and a new guy, Ladon, took over. But everything was okay again, I guess, though I was afraid of them. They were using my ability to absorb information and make connections that others didn't see, and I was afraid that if I didn't help them, they'd turn on me.
"And then, a few weeks later, some guy named Kolya turned up and there was fighting."
"Kolya?" McKay said with a shudder. "You mean that psychopath isn't dead?"
"No, he's not. He killed Ladon and took over. When he became aware of my presence amongst the Genii, he wasn't happy at first. I think he was going to have me killed. Neran had died during the fighting, but one of Neran's friends persuaded him to keep me alive. Only now I was a prisoner.
"A few days later, I was brought in front of Kolya. He was terrifying. He made it quite clear that I was to be kept as a prisoner, and that I was to do whatever I was told, or else I'd be punished. They wanted me to keep doing what I had been, you know, absorbing information and making connections, helping them with their research. But they also wanted to study me. Took lots of blood and other samples. Lots of tests. A couple of times I hesitated when ordered to do something, and I was…whipped…"
Talyn paused. His breath was hitching, and he slipped down to the ground. He curled into a ball. "You won't do that, will you? Please? I'll do whatever you want, but please, don't…hurt…me."
Sheppard knelt next to the boy.
"I told you, we won't hurt you," he reassured him.
"To hurt someone like that is not our way," Teyla put in as well. Talyn looked at them, calming his breathing, but still looking small and scared.
"How did you get away?" Sheppard asked.
"I saw a chance, and I took it. I knew they wouldn't kill me if I tried to escape, though they would punish me if I failed. But it was worth the risk, and I got away. I'd seen their database of gate addresses, and I saw one that had a mark next to it. I know it meant there was something of the Ancestors there, but I knew it wasn't Atlantis. That address wasn't in that database," as Talyn talked, he slowly uncoiled into a sitting position, though still wary of the adults around him. "The planet I ended up on was this one. I was here a few days before you arrived. The outpost had a shield around it. That's why the Genii had left it alone. But the shield collapsed a couple of days later. And awhile after that, you arrived."
"Hmm, the ZedPM must have become depleted, causing the shield to collapse." Rodney said, shaking his head. "If we had found this place sooner, we might have been able to boost our power for a while, though probably not for long."
"Well, at least we've got our hands on a lot of technology," Sheppard pointed out.
"Why did you not approach us?" Teyla asked.
"I was too scared, especially when I realised you were from Atlantis. I took food when I could risk it, and when I realised you were all leaving, I decided to try and take some other things. Maybe things I could use to survive. I thought you were all asleep when I took that bag, but I was wrong. And I didn't run far enough. I don't like being alone…but I don't know who I can trust."
"Well, I'm sure you'll realise that you can trust us, eventually," Sheppard said. "Just give us a chance to prove our good intentions to you."
Talyn looked at him, and then at the others.
"Okay," he sighed, looking far from convinced that he was doing the right thing.
"Right. I'll head to the gate then, and I'm sure Rodney will have some spare food you can have, right, McKay?"
"And you don't have any spare food, Colonel?" he huffed.
"Not as much as you," Sheppard replied, smiling at the look on Rodney's face, and then getting up and heading towards the gate.
Rodney narrowed his eyes, and then turned his attention to the kid. Talyn looked at him fearfully. He gave a heavy sigh and grabbed his pack, finding a power bar at the bottom.
"Here," he said ungraciously, pushing the power bar over to the kid. Talyn grabbed it, and immediately pulled the wrapper off and started to devour it.
After a long discussion with Elizabeth, it was decided to bring Talyn back to Atlantis. He seemed overawed by the place, when he stepped out of the wormhole, until he caught sight of the guards spread around the room. He stepped back, eyeing them fearfully.
"Welcome to Atlantis," Dr Weir approached, smiling. "I'm Dr Elizabeth Weir."
Talyn just looked at her as she approached, and then took another step back.
"Okay," Elizabeth said quietly, it was clear Talyn was terrified that they were going to turn on him. John had mentioned the kid was rather 'skittish'. She looked at John. "Maybe you should take Talyn to the infirmary for a check up?"
"No!" Talyn shouted. "No, don't…"
"Easy, kid," Sheppard said. "No one's going to hurt you. It's standard procedure to check the health of any visitors. In fact, Dr Beckett will want to check us over as well."
He carefully took Talyn by the arm and started to guide him out, gently. Talyn still looked pretty spooked by the idea, but seemed resigned to it.
Teyla and Ronon followed, positioning themselves ready to catch Talyn if he made a run for it.
Rodney started heading towards the control section.
"Rodney?" Sheppard said, looking less than pleased with the physicist's actions.
"What? Oh please, I've got far more important things to do than spend time with Beckett."
"Go with them," Elizabeth ordered. Rodney looked at her, and then sighed in frustration.
"Oh, alright then," he huffed, and headed after his team mates.
Talyn took one look at the infirmary, and tried to bolt. Ronon grabbed him gently, not forcing him into the room, but stopping him from running.
"It's okay," Sheppard said, trying to calm the kid. "No one here is going to harm you."
Talyn looked at him with wide frightened eyes.
"But…but…you'll want to…study me…like they did. It hurt…"
"I would never harm you, lad," Beckett said.
"You harmed my people!"
It was a low blow and hit Beckett hard. He swallowed.
"Aye, I had a hand in it, I'll not deny that. But they proceeded against my wishes. I never would have helped them if I had known the outcome."
Talyn looked away, embarrassed by his accusation.
"I know…really…I know...It's just…" he paused. "You won't hurt me?" he asked, staring at Beckett warily.
"I have no intention of causing you any pain, lad."
"He's not like the Genii doctors, Talyn," Sheppard added.
"Okay…" it was clear that the boy was still very scared, and extremely nervous.
"So, who's first?" Carson asked.
"I will go first," Teyla replied.
In the end, the team had their check-ups first, by which time Talyn had calmed somewhat. He was clearly still nervous, and easily spooked, but not as terrified as when he had first arrived at the infirmary. With gentle handling, and reassurance from both Sheppard and Teyla, Beckett was able to do an examination of Talyn. The boy had baulked at the scans, but after Teyla had suggested she be scanned as well, he allowed them to scan him, seeing that they had not hurt her.
Ronon had also remained, but had stayed in the background. McKay had left as soon as he was cleared to start work on the various devices they had gleaned from the outpost.
"Okay, all done for now," Carson smiled reassuringly at Talyn. "Nothing much wrong with you that some rest and a few decent meals won't cure."
"Teyla, Ronon, could you show Talyn to the mess hall and get him something to eat?" Sheppard asked.
"Of course," Teyla agreed, and Ronon also nodded his consent.
"Light meals to start with. I believe they have soup on the menu, and jello," Carson added, as they exited.
"So, doc, how is he?"
"Like I said, a few decent meals and some rest will do him wonders," Carson looked at Sheppard. "And a few sessions with Dr Heightmeyer would probably help as well. There are scars on his back that confirm he has been whipped sometime in the last year."
Sheppard heard the anger in Carson's voice at that, and silently agreed with it.
"I'll let you know when I have the results back from the blood tests," Beckett said grimly.
"Okay. I'll assign him some quarters. I think it would be best not to leave him alone right now. I'll assign a couple of guards. Just hope he understands the need."
"Aye, not a good way to gain his trust, but we can't be taking any risks."
"I'll fill Elizabeth in on the details."