Author: AlyssaSpencer PM
When John and the team are searching the city, it's just his luck to find a woman in a stasis pod. But who is she? John doesn't know and was already head-over heels cliche . What trouble does she bring with her from the past? Just read and find out. R&RRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Sci-Fi - John S. - Chapters: 77 - Words: 691,957 - Reviews: 221 - Favs: 35 - Follows: 36 - Updated: 04-01-13 - Published: 06-20-11 - id: 7102318
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Illyria Sheppard is speaking with Colonel Samantha Carter, Colonel John Sheppard, Doctor Rodney McKay and Ronon Dex.
"They are called the Vedeenans. They've only just come to my attention while I was ascended, but I've never met them. I remember that they do occasionally trade with others in the galaxy but for the most part they keep to themselves."
"And you just remembered this piece of information?" Sam asked and Illyria nodded. "And you wanna visit them because...?"
"It is said that their leader, a man named Davos, is a great seer."
"What do you mean, like a psychic?" McKay asked.
"I do not know the full extent of his powers, but it is rumored that he can even glimpse the future."
"Oh, gimme a break!"
"You do not believe such a thing is possible?"
"Well, gee, let me think. Umm, no. Look, in a mechanical, Newtonian universe, not a problem. I mean, you know enough variables, you can predict the outcome; but quantum physics blows that out of the water."
"I understand your skepticism. Even among my own people, the stories were not widely believed." She turns to Sam. "But I need to know for myself."
"You think this Davos might be able to help you find out what happened to the Athosians?" Sam asked.
Illyria nodded. "I realize that it may seem ... desperate, but it has been several weeks and our usual means of investigation have turned up nothing."
"Rodney, what's the latest from the forensics team on New Athos?" Sam asked.
"Uh, well, they're, they're still searching, but so far they haven't found anything useful."
"Intel hasn't turned up anything either." John said. "As far as we know, they vanished into thin air."
Sam nods and thinks about it as Illyria turns to her with a hopeful expression on her face.
John and Rodney have geared up and are walking in.
"Allow me to make a prediction. This will be a complete waste of time."
"I knew you were gonna say that." John said with a smile.
They walk over to join Illyria and Ronon who are standing in front of the open Stargate.
"Hey, wait, where's Lucrezia?" Rodney asked. "Not that I'm not thrilled about you coming with us-"
"Lucrezia," Sam said from the balcony, "is on Earth for the time being as a consultant of sorts. She'll be back, so just focus on the mission."
"Alrigh," John nodded, turning back to the group. "Alright – from what Illyria says, these people sound a little skittish. You can bet that four heavily-armed strangers showing up out of nowhere's gonna set 'em off a little, so let's be on our best behavior, children."
They walk into the event horizon.
The team comes through the Gate and stops in surprise to see six people standing by the D.H.D. They are unarmed and are smiling and showing no fear. A pretty young woman greets the team.
"Welcome. You must be the people of Atlantis."
John turned to Illyria. "These people don't look very surprised."
McKay, too, turned to Illyria. "You sure you didn't tell them we were coming?"
"I've had no previous contact with these people."
"My name is Linara." The woman greeted.
John smiled at her politely. "Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard."
"We know. We know all of you. You've been expected for some time now."
John's smile fades.
In the Gateroom, Richard Woolsey comes through the Gate, pulling a small wheeled suitcase behind him. Sam walks over to greet him.
"Mr. Woolsey! How was your trip?"
"Well, spending a day in quarantine on the Midway Station wasn't exactly my idea of a good time, but I suppose it beats a three-week journey on the Daedalus." He pushes the handle of his suitcase down, picks up the case and he and Sam walk up the stairs toward her office.
"Well, that quarantine was only set up at the insistence of the I.O.A."
"In response to some recent contagions that have taken hold on this base. Let's face it, Midway is the only buffer between Pegasus and the Milky Way. It can't hurt to err on the side of caution. Anyway, it gave me a chance to prepare for your three-month evaluation."
"Right! So – how am I doin' so far?"
"That's exactly what needs to be determined, but I want you know I'm here as an observer only. I have no intention of getting involved in the day-to-day operations of the base."
"Really? Huh! That's refreshing!"
"Well, the I.O.A. has come to realize that bureaucratic interference on Atlantis isn't always as beneficial as we might like to hope. And – on a personal note – it's been brought to my attention in my own performance evaluations that I can, on occasion, be a bit of a busybody."
He laughs in an embarrassed way. Just then the Stargate starts to dial in.
"Unscheduled offworld activation." Chuck called down from the Control Room.
"Excuse me." Sam said and walked into the control room, going over to Chuck's console. Woolsey follows her.
"We're receiving a signal. It's Captain Robbins on M2R-441."
Sam turned to Woolsey. "They're delivering medical supplies to a planet that was recently culled." She turned back to Chuck. "Patch him in." Chuck activates some controls, then points to Sam to show that she's on the air. "Captain, this is Colonel Carter. Please report."
"We had a bit of a development here, Colonel. According to the locals, a few days after the culling another hive showed up. They didn't kill anybody – they just wanted the surviving villagers to deliver a message."
"That's right. Apparently this particular Wraith wants to meet with both Sheppards."
Team Sheppard is walking along with the Vedeenans.
"So, you're telling me Davos knew we were coming?" John asked.
"He had a vision of your arrival." Linara said. "Before I take you to see him, there's something you should know. He is very ill. Our healers have done all that they can, but it's not enough. Some of us were hoping, well ... if you do come from the city of the Ancestors..."
"... we may be able to help."
"We would be forever in your debt."
"He must be very important to you." Illyria said.
"We owe him our lives. Two years ago he had a vision that the Wraith were coming. We had time to gather our provisions and escape to the caves in the northern mountains. Even from deep underground we could hear their ships searching for us. Eventually they went away and never returned. Not a single Vedeenan was taken."
"Impressive!" John said.
"Of course, for me, it's much more than that." Linara smiled over her shoulder. "He's my father."
The group has reached the village and Linara takes the team into a tent.
"Father? The people of Atlantis are here to see you." Linara said, pulling back the tent flaps.
Davos is sitting on a throne-like chair cut out of the roots of a large tree. He looks tired and unwell, but smiles as Linara and the team approach. "Yes. Yes, come in. I've been expecting you, and I know why you're here." He looks at Rodney, who has his most cynical face on. "You have doubt in your heart."
"Anyone with a basic understanding of body language could have told you that."
Davos holds out his hand to him. "Among my gifts is the ability to show others what I can see."
Rodney nervously declines his offer with a wave of his hand. John looks at him. "Well, you're the skeptic."
John jerks his head towards Davos. Rodney scowls. "Fine."
Part-reluctantly and part-nervously, he steps closer to Davos and hesitantly reaches out and takes his hand. Davos grasps it firmly and closes his eyes. Rodney gasps as Davos sends him a vision.
Rodney, in his offworld gear and holding a rifle, is walking with the rest of Team Sheppard through a forest. They walk into a set of old ruins which includes a tall archway. As they enter the ruins, Wraith guards come out of hiding and surround them. The team raises their weapons but there are too many guards for them to defeat.
In the tent, Rodney reels as Davos releases his hand. Davos slumps back in his chair, exhausted.
"What happened?" John said, putting his hand on Rodney's shoulder.
"I-I think I saw a vision."
"Of what?" Ronon asked.
"Us, being captured by the Wraith."
John stares at Davos as he sits weakly, being supported by Linara.
Team Sheppard is there with Sam and Woolsey.
"You said it was a forested planet – misty with ancient ruins." Sam said.
"It's what I saw, yes." McKay said and Sam turns to Woolsey, raising her eyebrows. "What?"
"While you were gone, we received a report that the people of M2R-441 were recently visited by a Wraith." Sam turned to John and Illyria. "Now, from the description of his facial markings, it sounds a lot like the Wraith who helped John escape from the Genii last year."
"My old buddy?" John said with a slight smirk.
Sam nodded. "Apparently he has a matter of great importance that he wants to discuss with you, both of you. We already sent an advance team to the address that he proposed for the rendezvous. The interesting thing is, it sounds an awful lot like the planet in McKay's vision."
"So, we're believing this now?" Ronon asked.
"Davos did know we were coming." Illyria said.
"Did you ask him about the Athosians?" Sam asked.
"I did not have a chance. After he showed Rodney the vision, he fell ill."
"They were hoping we could help him out." John said.
"I'll send Doctor Keller." Sam said, making a note of it.
"In the meantime, there's only one way to know for sure if he's right: go to the rendezvous, check it out." John said. He turned to his wife. "You're not going."
Illyria looked shocked. "Excuse me?"
"If there is an ambush, I don't want you apart of it. Plain and simple."
"Since when did you make decisions for me, John?"
"Since you became my wife!" Illyria shook her head and John sighed, realizing what he said. Around them, the team did their best to look away. "Look, I don't own you-"
"No, you don't and so I'm going."
"Colonel and Mrs. Sheppard," Sam said, getting their attention. "Perhaps you'd like to have this conversation somewhere more private?"
"Fine," they said in unison and turned away from each other. Woolsey cleared his throat. "Do you have something to add, Mr. Woolsey?"
"Well, as I said before, I'm here strictly as an observer." Sam nods and turns away. "But since you ask, I have to wonder how wise it would be. I may share some of Doctor McKay's skepticism but we don't need any mystical visions to tell us that this Wraith probably can't be trusted." He turns to John. "You're talking about walking deliberately into a trap.'
"Exactly," John said, staring down his wife.
Woolsey turns to Sam, bewildered. Rodney looks equally mystified.
Illyria was walking down the hall, furious about the breifing in Sam's office. John comes jogging down trying to catch up to her.
"Hey," he called out. Illyria looked over her shoulder, saw it was him, then kept moving. "Hey!" He called out again and she stopped with her back to him. John touched her arm and gently turned her around. "What's the matter with you?"
"What's the matter with me?" Illyria asked ridiculously. She chuckled. "Nice, John." She tried to walk away, but John held onto her arm.
"I mean it, Illyria, what the hells the matter you with you. You bit off my head back there."
"Only because you kicked me off the mission when you had no reason to!"
"No reason to?" John let go of her arm. "We have kids, Illyria! Only one of us can go on a mission like this just incase something happens. It's called being cautous! Maybe you've never heard of it having a prick like Breen as a husband. Allowing you to do crazy shit-"
Illyria's mouth dropped. "Nobody allowed me to do anything, John!" She swiftly turned around an walked off.
"Damnit!" John muttered, smacking himself on the forehead. "Wayto go, John! Nice one!" He shook his head and chased after her. "Hey! Illyria," Hekicked it up and stopped in front of her, holding out his hand to stop her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it-"
"You may not have meant it, but it still hurt."
He sighed. "I know, I'm sorry." He tried to take her hand, but she pulled back. John didn't care so he took her hand anyway. "I know I had no right playing the overbearing husband card back there, but you've got to understand: we have kids. Kids need parents."
"And wives need husbands." Illyria said softly. "Do you trust this Wraith?"
"Well, I wouldn't say trust…" Illyria raised her eyebrow. "Alright…we said the next time we saw each other all bets were off."
Illyria nodded. "And he asked to see us both, did he not?"
"But, wouldn't it anger him to see only one Sheppard instead of both? That would only want to make him hurt you more."
"Illyria, you're not seeing my point!"
"I am, John. I see it very well," she said, her eyes wattering. "Everyday, I wake up wondering if today would be the last time I see you – the last time I might see my children. And I wake up everyday praying to my ancestors to keep us safe. So, yes, John, I see your point very well."
Without hesitation, John pulled his wife to him, holding her close to his chest. He scrunched her hair with one hand and with the other, he held her body close. She wrapped her arms around his waist, breathing in his familiar scent.
"I know," He whispered into her hair. "I know."
"We take risks everyday."
"This one doesn't need to be one you take."
She pulled away slightly to look up at him. "Yes, it does." She stood one her tip-toes to kiss his nose. "Somebody needs to watch your six."
"Illyria," John said earnestly, "please."
The events of the vision which Rodney was shown are playing out. Rodney, in his offworld gear and holding a rifle, is walking with the men of Team Sheppard through a forest.
"This is a bad idea." He said.
"You're the one who said it's impossible to see the future." Ronon said.
"Yeah, I was thinking about that. I realized that quantum uncertainty doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility of seeing probable futures. It's like blackjack: you never know exactly what's gonna happen next, but a card counter can certainly increase the odds in his favor – and frankly, this feels like hitting on an eighteen."
"It's more like doubling down against a ten." John said.
The team continues on and reaches the ruins.
"Hold on." McKay said, stopping to look around. "This is the place. This is where it happened."
As they approach the archway, Wraith guards come out of hiding and surround them. The team raise their weapons but there are too many guards for them to defeat. The Wraith that John escaped the Genii with walked up to them.
"You were supposed to come unarmed."
"Yeah. Sorry about that."
Above their heads, two Puddle Jumpers decloak. The Wraith looks up at them, then turns to John and growls quietly. John shrugs mock-apologetically.
Sam is on the Control Room balcony, talking by radio to Jennifer Keller through the open Stargate. Woolsey is standing by one of the consoles.
"How's the patient, Doctor?"
"Well, from what I can tell, he seems to be suffering from a kind of lymphatic cancer. There's not a lot I can do for him here."
"Have you detected any physical anomalies that might be related to his visions?" Woolsey asked. Sam looks at him questioningly. He holds up a hand apologetically. "Sorry. Force of habit."
"I don't really have the equipment with me that's necessary to make that kind of analysis."
"All right, why don't you bring him back?" Sam asked.
"Understood. Um, just so we're clear: are we doing this to try and save his life, or to study him?"
Sam looks at Woolsey, who refuses to meet her gaze. She frowns, realizing that she's not certain of the answer. She spoke into the radio, "I'll have the Infirmary prepped and ready for your arrival. Carter out."
The door opens and John and Illyria walk in and go over to the cell, Ronon close behind them. The Wraith is sitting on the bench inside.
"So much for trust." The Wraith chuckled.
"You tried to ambush us." Ronon said.
"I had no intention of causing you harm, but I could not guarantee your co-operation simply by throwing myself at your mercy." He stands up. "My intent was to have this discussion on neutral ground."
"A discussion?" Illyria asked.
"But, first," the Wraith said, turning to Illyria. He bowed respectably and said, "Queen Illyria, it is an honor to finally meet you."
"You saved my husband's life." Illyria bowed her head. "The honor is mine."
The Wraith straightened. "Thank you. I bring grave news for you."
"What sort of news?" John asked.
"News that only pertains to the Queen."
Illyria held up her hand. "They may hear it."
The Wraith nodded. "As you wish. The Wraith whom you have named 'Sam' has fallen."
"Fallen?" Illyria asked quietly.
"Killed in battle."
Illyria's face fell, her hand hovering over her heart. John and Ronon held onto her elbows as she teetered.
"Illyria?" John asked quietly.
"I-I'm fine…" She said. She straightened, her face blank. When she stepped closer to the Wraith, Ronon was like her shadow. "I thank you for bringing me this news. I give you my word that no harm will come to you while under my protection."
The Wraith gratefully bowed. Ronon turned to her.
"What are you doing?"
"Sam was a great friend, an old friend." Illyria turned to Ronon and John. "This Wraith is under my protection and you will not harm him. Is that understood?"
Illyria's gaze held no question: either obey or suffer the consequences. John reluctantly nodded.
"Now," The Wraith said, "the main reason for my contacting you: I require your help." He looked down and smiled a little, perhaps finding it hard to believe that it could ever need to ask a human for assistance. He looked at John again. "We worked together once before."
"Doesn't mean I wanna do it again."
"Oh, more predictions. Just what I need." John said sarcastically and Illyria lightly stepped on his foot.
"As you know, Wraith are at war. I believe you refer to our enemy as the Replicators."
"Sounds vaguely familiar."
"While we have a weapon – a virus that was designed to re-set their attack directive, causing them to stand down and return to their planet – at present it is not working."
"Get to the part where we care."
"It is well known among the Wraith that Doctor McKay made certain changes to the Replicator base code, opening the door for them to alter their own programming. Well, knowingly or not, they have since repaired the weakness our virus exploited which means, in order to get it working again, I need to know the changes Doctor McKay made."
"Now, here's the part you're not getting-" John said, looking at Ronon.
"We're glad they're kicking your ass." He finished.
"Only because you are as yet unaware of their new tactic."
"What are you talking about?" Illyria asked him.
"They realized we have a significant vulnerability: our food supply. They have begun to annihilate human worlds."
Sam is talking with John and Rodney.
"Do you think he's telling the truth?"
"He gave us an address – claims it was a human planet the Replicators destroyed." John said.
"Is it in the database?"
"Mmm." McKay said. "M5S-768. We visited it last year. It was a thriving pre-industrial society."
"Send a M.A.L.P." Sam ordered.
A M.A.L.P. rolls across the floor of the Gateroom and heads for the Gate. Woolsey watches it from the balcony, then walks over to where Sam and Team Sheppard are watching a screen.
"Receiving M.A.L.P. telemetry. Here we go." Chuck said.
The screen switches to the view from the M.A.L.P.'s camera. It is night on the planet and the picture is not very clear but it is obvious that the village has been damaged, and there is no sign of anybody around.
"No life signs." McKay said.
"How do we know the Wraith didn't do that?" Woolsey asked.
"The M.A.L.P.'s detecting residual radiation. Energy signature's consistent with Replicator weapons fire." McKay looked up at the group. "He's telling the truth."
"How many people lived on that planet?" Illyria asked.
"Estimated somewhere between fifty and seventy-five thousand."
Davos is lying on a bed as a scanner runs overhead. Linara is standing beside him as Jennifer watches the screens.
"What does the machine do?" Linara asked Jennifer.
"It scans the cells in his body and reports any abnormalities. Hopefully they'll help us figure out exactly what's wrong with him."
"And then you'll be able to cure him?"
"I'll do my best."
The scanner shuts down and Jennifer and Linara help Davos to sit up.
"You'll have to forgive her, Doctor. She's not used to dealing with uncertainty. I may have spoiled her in that regard."
"Yeah, I've heard about your gift. It's remarkable."
"I can see many things, but unfortunately my own fate remains hidden from me."
Rodney is talking with John.
"If we hadn't deactivated the attack code, this never would have happened."
"It was my call, Rodney."
"But it was my idea. We had a ZedP.M., we had Elizabeth. All we had to do was leave, but I opened my big mouth."
"We never could have known it was gonna go this way."
"We don't know that for sure. Look, remember the nano-virus that caused the fatal aneurisms? I always suspected the Replicators were behind it."
"Yeah, but you never proved it."
"Yeah, but we know how they feel about the humans. They think we're a mistake. Look, we should have seen something like this coming."
Sam and Woolsey walk in.
"John, Rodney." Sam said. "OK, I know this news is hard for us to accept, but right now we need to focus; figure out what our next step is."
"I suppose the most obvious solution would be to shut down the attack code again." McKay said.
"Can we do that?" Woolsey asked.
"It's been done before – just not by us."
"By the Wraith." John said.
"What about our prisoner? What exactly is he proposing?" Sam asked.
"Well, he claims to have the original virus that deactivated the attack code the first time. It's not working this time around because of the changes we made to the Replicator base code. Theoretically, knowing what we know and knowing what they know, we should be able to work together to shut them down again." McKay said.
"Well, obviously that's out of the question." Woolsey said. Everyone looks at him. "Do I really have to remind everyone what happened the last time we co-operated with the Wraith?"
"The circumstances have changed. And what happened to non-interference?" Sam asked.
"As you said, the circumstances have changed. Colonel Sheppard, you have had the most experience dealing with this Wraith. Do you seriously think this is a good idea?"
"I think it's not your call." John said.
"I need to contact my superiors."
He leaves the room. Sam smiles ruefully at the others.
THE SHEPPARDS' APPARTMENT
Illyria was sitting on the couch, reading over some files when John came in.
"It's just been confirmed. Two more worlds have been destroyed." He sat down next to her, sighing heavily. "That makes three."
"How many are dead?" She asked.
"Well, it's just an estimate…"
"How many?" She asked again.
"Hundred and fifty thousand."
Illyria sighs again. :And this is just the beginning, isn't it?" John nods. "There's no reason to assume they're gonna stop."
"No. What about Woolsey?"
"He's contacted the I.O.A. They're taking the matter under advisement."
"Oh! Well, they're good at that! They'll bicker and argue, but in the end of the day they're gonna leave Sam holding the bag just like they did with you, just like they did with Elizabeth."
"Now I know why you didn't want the job." Illyria smiled, tossing the files on the floor. "Look, John, Woolsey was right about one thing: you have had more experience with this Wraith. You have a history."
"Well, it's not like we're dating."
Sam smiles. "I know we can't trust him – not completely – but what I don't know is whether or not it's worth the risk to play along with him, at least for a little while. You're the only one who can answer that." John looks down, thinking about it. "Just remember, he's under my protection."
Sam walks in and goes over to Jennifer who is sitting at a computer. She glances over to Davos who is in bed with Linara standing at his side.
"How's he doing?"
"Uh, not good. He went into convulsions a while ago. I gave him a sedative. Truth is, we got him here too late. All I can do right now is alleviating his symptoms but whether or not he survives ... it's out of my hands." Sam nods. Jennifer turns to her screen. "This is what I wanted you to see. This is the result of his brain scan. He's showing abnormally high synaptic activity. It's similar to what happened to Doctor McKay when he encountered that ascension device, only not as extreme – and in his case it's not advancing. Presumably he's been like that his whole life."
"You're saying he was born this way?"
Keller nodded. "He's a genetic accident – one in a million, if not more. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Woolsey's already asked for a copy of these test results."
"I'm sorry, Doctor, but like it or not, this is important information. He may be a window into our own evolutionary future."
Linara walks over. "Doctor? He's awake."
Jennifer and Sam follow her back to Davos' bedside.
"How are you feeling?" Keller asked.
Davos pulled himself up into a sitting position. "Much better, thank you."
"Hi. I'm Colonel Carter." Sam smiled.
"You are the leader of these people."
"Well, the ones on this base, yes."
"Not an easy task, I imagine."
Sam smiled. "Some days are worse than others."
"I understand. I myself was in a position of authority back on my homeworld."
"From what I understand, you had a little bit of an advantage."
"Believe me, catching glimpses of the future is not always as helpful as you might think. But there is something you should see."
He offers his hand to her. Sam looks at it nervously.
"Uh, you're not feeling well. I think ... it's OK. You should rest."
"Everything has a purpose, Colonel, including the circumstances that brought me here. Please."
He holds his hand out to her again. Rather reluctantly, Sam takes it. Davos closes his eyes and Sam gasps as he sends her a vision.
Drones soar down towards Atlantis from a Replicator warship hovering over the city. They smash into various towers and debris rains down onto the lower city. Inside, explosions are happening everywhere and people run for cover as massive chunks of the walls crash down. Outside, another drone smashes directly into the central tower two-thirds of the way up. The impact destroys the walls and the top third of the tower topples and plunges towards the ground.
In the Infirmary, Sam stares at Davos in horror as the vision ends.
"Oh my God!"
"What is it? What did you see?" Keller asked.
Sam looks at Davos, her eyes still wide. He looks back at her, exhausted but sympathetic.
Sam has told John and Woolsey what she saw in her vision.
"We should stop trusting that Wraith now." Woolsey said.
"I'm not buying it." John said.
"Doctor McKay's vision came true exactly as he saw it."
"Oh, I don't care. The Replicators are not destroying this city – not if I have anything to say about it."
"Maybe Rodney's right. Maybe what Davos can see is only a probable future."
"Well, his track record's pretty good, so I'd have to say it's highly probable."
"Which means it's gonna be hard to avoid." Sam said. "For all we know, nine out of ten courses of action are gonna lead to the same fate. Now, unfortunately, the vision I saw had no context to it. We have no way of knowing why the Replicators were attacking."
"Isn't it obvious?" Woolsey asked. "We're contemplating joining forces with the Wraith against them."
"We don't know that that's what causes it."
"It's a pretty safe assumption. Right now we're not a target."
"No, no. But the rest of the humans in this galaxy are, and it's our fault." John said.
"Nevertheless," Woolsey stressed, "our priority remains the safety of this expedition and you know as well as I do, the Wraith can't be trusted."
"This one may be different."
"Yes, I read the file. He helped you escape from a Genii prison and as a reward you let him live. Let's hope we don't all come to regret your decision."
Chuck comes to the doorway. "Colonel Carter? We've got a problem." Sam follows him back into the Control Room. John and Woolsey follow them. "We routinely track a number of hives with the long-range sensors. They don't usually do anything out of the ordinary. Most of the time they're just passing through." He sits down at his console and activates a wallscreen. "A few minutes ago, this one suddenly changed course. It's headed straight for us."
"They don't know we're here." Woolsey said.
"They're not supposed to." John said, turning and leaving the room.
The door opens and John storms over to the cell. "What did you do?"
"What are you referring to?"
"There's a ship on the way."
"Ah. They picked up my signal."
"Ask your Satedan friend. He's familiar with the technology."
"A sub-space tracking device."
"I had it implanted."
"We would have detected it."
"I only activated it after you brought me here. The ship is necessary to complete my plan. The Replicator virus is contained within its databanks. When it gets here, we will begin our work."
"When it gets here, I'm gonna blow it out of the sky." John turns and starts to leave the room.
"Now that would be unwise. That hive is loyal to me. For the moment they are the only ones who know the location of Atlantis..." John stops and turns back. "... but if you attack them, they will broadcast these co-ordinates to every hive ship in the galaxy." John walks back to the cell. "There is no reason for us to be at odds, John Sheppard. We need each other."
Rodney is working on a computer as Sam and John come in.
"Rodney. We need to know if you can shut down the Replicator attack code on your own." Sam said.
"I've been looking into that, and it's not very promising."
"You're the one who activated it in the first damn place!" John yelled.
"Well, that was easy," McKay muttered, "...well, actually it was spectacularly difficult, but then everything's relative."
"Rodney." Sam said, annoyed.
"Look, the Replicators were originally designed and programmed to do exactly what they're doing. I mean, they were built for this. It's much harder for the Wraith to get them to stop than it was for me to get them to start again."
"But with this Wraith's help, you think you could do it."
"If he really has the original shut-down virus, yeah, I think we can."
Sam looks at John. "He claims he ordered the hive ship not to give away our position unless they're attacked."
"Do you believe him?" Sam asked.
"Well, are there any other ships headed this way?"
"That's it. For the moment, he's telling the truth."
Davos, wearing a bathrobe over his medical clothing, is standing on the balcony enjoying the view. Illyria comes out to join him.
"Doctor Keller told me I might find you here."
"She was kind enough to let me go for a little walk." He gazes out over the city. "It's quite something, isn't it?"
Illyria sighed peacefully. "Yes."
"I know I was brought here for a reason – to play a role on a much bigger stage before I die."
"Surely it is not time to start speaking that way."
"Doctor Keller is a dedicated and skilled physician, but it doesn't take a great seer to know what she is thinking and not saying. My time is coming to an end." Illyria looks out over the city, her face sad. Davos looks at her. "You wish to ask me something."
"You know why I came to your planet."
"To learn the fate of your Athosian subjects."
"I can tell you only this: they are still alive..." Illyria's face fills with hope. "... but they are shrouded in darkness. I know you will continue to search for them, but I'm not sure this burden should be borne by someone in your condition."
"You carry a life inside you, do you not?"
Illyria looked away. "Yes."
"Your second time, but your third youngling, correct?"
"You are married and yet you conceal it from and the others," Davos noted.
"I…I-It is complicated."
"I see." Davos nodded. "I have something to show you, then."
Illyria turned to him and saw he was holding out his hands. She shook her head. "Doctor Keller says you are far too weak-"
"Queen Sheppard," He said with gentle authority. "Your hands please."
He holds his hand out to her again and Illyria reluctantly takes it. Davos closes his eyes and Illyria gasps as he sends her a vision.
Illyria sits behind Colonel Carter's former desk, the name plate reads 'Queen Illyria Sheppard'. John sat on the couch in the corner of the room, playing with Patrick and Breen. In her arms was a soft, blue bundle. Smiling, she peeled back some cloth and a small, pink face smiled up at her. The baby's hand reached up at her and she offered him her pinkie. She looked up at John and they shared a proud smile.
Back on the balcony, Illyria's eyes shoot open. Davos holds onto the railing for support, slumping over a little. "I-I'm sorry I cannot offer you more…"
"That is all right." Illyria gasped, trying to regain her breath. "Thank you."
"The future is pre-determined by the character of those who shape it. Remember that. And now…" Davos sighed, "you must take me to Colonel Carter."
"Yes, of course. This way." Illyria puts her arm around him to support him and helps him inside. As they walk along, his breathing becomes more labored. "Davos?" Davos collapses to the floor. Illyria supports him as he falls and kneels over him, activating her headset radio. "This is Illyria to the Infirmary. I need a medical team now!"
Davos grasps her hand firmly. She gasps as he sends her another vision.
In the Control Room, Rodney stares at a screen, wide-eyed.
"We've got a problem."
In the Chair Room, John is seated in the Weapons Control Chair, which is reclined and active.
He closes his eyes in concentration as his hand reaches for the control panel on the arm of the Chair. In space, a hive ship explodes.
Illyria stares in shock as the vision ends. Davos releases her hand and lapses into unconsciousness.
Davos was resting in bed with Linara by his side. Jennifer was across the room sitting at her desk when Illyria came in.
"Jennifer?" Illyria called out quietly, looking around the room for her. Jennifer looked up and waved her over. "Your message said it was urgent?"
"Ah, yes," Jennifer said, picking up a bottle from her desk. "I want you to take these twice daily."
"And they are…?"
"Prenatal vitamins and some other things you might need. Prenatal is pink; others are light blue. Once tablet of each; twice a day." Jennifer sighed handing them to her. "I assumed you didn't want to make it obvious so it's labeled sleep medication."
"Thank you," Illyria said softly, turning to leave.
"Hey!" Jennifer called out to her quietly, looking over her shoulder to make sure she didn't wake Davos. Illyria walked back to the desk. "Why am I doing this?"
"Being a doctor?"
"No, no, no, I mean, sneaking around my own lab to get you these."
"Because I asked you for a favor, Jennifer."
"Yeah, well, I'm gonna need more than that." She kicked a chair over and pulled Illyria by the hand to sit in it. "Start talking, missy."
"You should tell me whatever the hell is going on because (A) We're friends – at least that's what I think we are, (B) I'm your doctor, so even if I wanted to tell someone, I couldn't without your permission, and (C) I am risking my job for you," Jennifer counted out on her fingers. "Now start talkin'."
Illyria glared at her a moment, figuring out her options, and sighed when she came up with nothing. "What do you wish to know?"
"Everything!" She said not too quietly.
"Shh!" Illyria said, looking around. "A little more quietly, please? John's men are at the door."
Jennifer rolled her eyes. "Fine, fine, fine." But before Illyria could even start, Jennifer slapped her on the arm. "How could you even consider cheating on him? You married the hottest man in the universe and you're throwing all that away? For – For what, your Athosian creep mistress? Maybe Sam was right not to like you, 'cause right now I don't." Illyria slapped Jennifer's arm back. "Hey! I'm about the only friend you'll have once this 'little secret' leaks out."
"It's not like that, Jennifer!" Illyria whispered fiercely. "Would you really think I would sleep with any man but my husband? John took me in when he barely knew me; he believed in me; he wanted to marry me and raise my children as his own. Why would I betray him like this?"
"Oh, I don't know," Jennifer asked sarcastically, gesturing to Illyria's stomach.
"I am not a whore, Doctor." Illyria whispered through her teeth.
Jennifer's face softened. "I'd like to believe you're not, but the way you've been acting – not wanting to tell the possible father of your child, your husband, you're pregnant? It raises questions, Illyria."
"I-I…" Illyria looks away, shaking her head. "You wouldn't understand."
"Try me," Jennifer scoffed.
"Illyria Sheppard to the Control Room," Chuck called city wide. "Illyria Sheppard to the Control Room."
Illyria stood up quietly and walked to the door. She turned around in the doorway and held up to bottle. "Thank you, Jennifer."
Jennifer smiled and Illyria left. She turned back to her desk, crossing her fingers, and muttering, "Please be John's; please be John's…"
Woolsey paces around the room as he talks to Sam and Team Sheppard.
"Illyria's vision only confirms what I've been saying all along." Woolsey said.
"If we destroy the hive ship, we lose our best chance of stopping the Replicators."
"We may not have a choice. One way or another, events are going to result in the destruction of that ship."
"Well, if you believe that, then you believe Atlantis is gonna be destroyed, and we might as well pack up our bags and go home." John said. "How 'bout this: we play along. We wait for them to transmit the program to Rodney's computer, then blow 'em out of the sky."
"Betray them before they have a chance to betray us." Sam nodded.
"They're Wraith. Anyone gonna lose any sleep over this?" Ronon asked and John shrugs.
"Rodney," Sam asked, "can you guarantee that you could finish the job without the Wraith's help?"
"If I have the original virus, not a problem." Rodney said, smiling confidently.
"Can you guarantee it?" Sam repeated.
McKay chuckled. "Well, I mean..." He shifts uncomfortably in his chair and his smile fades. "No."
"That is not the only problem." Illyria said, rubbing her temples. "If we do not destroy the hive quickly enough, it may have time to send a message."
"All right. I think I need to meet this Wraith myself." Sam stands and starts to leave the room. "Mr. Woolsey." She turns to him. He looks at her nervously.
"Y-you want me to come with you?"
"Well, I'm sure you want your report to the I.O.A. to be as thorough as possible."
Woolsey nodded reluctantly. "Of course."
Sam turns towards the door again, smiling smugly down at John as she passes. He smiles back as Woolsey unhappily follows her out of the room.
"I've never met a Wraith face to face before." Woolsey said.
"Oh, well, you're in for a treat." Sam smiled.
They reach the door of the Brig and Sam nods to a marine who activates the code on the wall panel. The door opens and Woolsey gestures to Sam.
Smirking, Sam leads him into the room and looks at one of the marines inside. "Open it."
The forcefield around the cell deactivates and the door slides open.
"Don't!" Woolsey yelled.
"It's all right." The Wraith stands up as Sam and Woolsey walk into the cell. A couple of marines walk around behind the Wraith, aiming their Wraith stunner pistols at it. Another marine stands behind and to the side of Sam holding an Earth pistol ready. "I'm Colonel Samantha Carter."
"A pleasure to make your acquaintance." He looks enquiringly at Woolsey.
"Richard Woolsey." He introduced himself.
"I understand you're proposing that we work together on a joint venture."
"That is correct." The Wraith nodded.
"Last time we went down this road, things didn't exactly work out the way we'd hoped."
"You were betrayed. Believe me, I understand your reluctance."
"If we do this, we do it our way. Your ship remains in orbit. They make the slightest false move and they'll be destroyed."
"The program will be downloaded into a non-networked computer in one of our labs. All work will be conducted on this base. You will remain under constant guard and when you're done, we keep the virus."
"It won't be easy to upload it into the Replicator network. Are you sure you're up to the task?"
"We did it before; we'll do it again."
The Wraith thinks about it for a moment, then nods. "I agree to your terms. You see, I want this as much as you do."
"Let's say that this works. What happens then?"
"In my time as a prisoner among the Genii, I lost my position among Wraith. I still have a few loyal followers but nothing like the standing I once had. The Wraith your Queen named 'Samuel' was a close ally until his recent death. I am under his last orders to seek out your help."
"So you're going to use this to leverage your way back in?" Woolsey asked.
"In a manner of speaking."
"Sooner or later we're going to end up on opposite sides." Sam said.
"Yes, but not today. Do we have an agreement?"
"I believe among your people it is customary to shake hands." He offers his right hand to her. The marines all raise and cock their weapons as Sam stares down at its hand. The Wraith begins to laugh and waves its hand disparagingly. "Just a little Wraith humor."
He laughs again. Woolsey turns to Sam angrily. "I hope you know what you're doing."
He storms out of the room. Sam looks at the Wraith which is still chuckling, then turns and follows him. The Wraith sighs in a satisfied way.
In space, a hyperspace window opens and a hive ship flies out of it and heads towards New Lantea. In the Control Room, Chuck reports.
"Wraith ship just dropped out of hyperspace."
"Are they powering weapons?" Sam asked.
Chuck checks his screens. "Negative. They're sending a transmission."
Sam activated her headset. "Rodney, you're on."
In Rodney's lab, Wraith text is streaming down his screens.
"That's it? That's your super-weapon?" Ronon asked from behind McKay.
"Well, what were you expecting?"
"A big gun? Something that goes boom?"
The screens show the message "TRANSMISSION COMPLETE." Rodney activates his headset.
"Sam. That's it. We got it."
In the Control Room, John looks at Sam. "I can go down to the Chair Room and finish this off right now."
"Can't risk it, John." She activates her headset again. "Security, have the Wraith escorted to Doctor McKay's lab."
The Wraith is in Rodney's lab. It has a thick leather belt around its waist which has short metal chains attached to either side of it. The chains lead to leather wrist manacles which prevent the Wraith from moving its hands much. It is standing at a computer and looking at the screen.
"No, this is all wrong."
Rodney, sitting at a computer behind it, turns and looks at it. "What do you mean?"
The Wraith turns to him. "You must iterate all values of the expression before you can aggregate the results."
"Are you kidding? We're better off using known data points and extrapolating."
"You risk compounding errors."
The Wraith leans down to him. Marines in the room raise their weapons warningly. "If my hands were free, I could help you."
"No, it's-it's fine." McKay said nervously. "I'll do it myself. Thanks."
"As you wish."
He straightens up and turns back to its screen. Rodney gets back to work.
Sam and Woolsey are sitting at the desk talking as Rodney storms in.
"He's holding out on us. Part of the virus is missing. I mean, sure, they're minor subroutines – nothing that would be greatly affected by the changes I've made to the Replicator base code – but still necessary to make it work. Look, I probably wouldn't have even noticed it except ... well ... you know, I'm really good. Look, he's definitely up to something."
"We know." Woolsey said.
"You know? What do you mean, you know?"
"A few minutes ago, we started tracking another hive ship on course for Atlantis." Sam said.
Ronon is standing facing the Wraith with the muzzle of his blaster jammed against its chest. John and Rodney stand nearby.
"I swear I know nothing of this." The Wraith said.
"You gave our position away to another hive ship." John said.
"Why would I betray you now, just as we were beginning to trust each other?"
"We're not, really, are we? You held back some of the virus." McKay said.
The Wraith hisses. "Just a small portion. Nothing that prevents us from completing our work, and once that is done, I will gladly transmit the remainder."
"I say we kill him right now." John said.
"I agree." Ronon said.
"I am under the protection of your Queen. She gave me her word no harm will come to me." The Wraith said. "Besides, I had no way of knowing you would not simply take the virus and then turn against me."
"I'm offended you could even think that." John said sarcastically and the Wraith chuckled.
"The point is, you lied. How do we know you're not lying about the ship?" Ronon asked.
"Wraith are divided into many camps. There is much suspicion and mistrust. The last thing I need is for another hive to appear before I can complete this work."
Rodney clicks his fingers a couple of times. "That's it. That's why they're coming. They're tracking his ship. Think about it: a single hive off by itself out in the middle of nowhere, orbiting a supposedly uninhabited planet. That's bound to raise a few eyebrows..." he looks at the Wraith and flinches a little "... I mean, if you had eyebrows."
"There is only one solution." The Wraith said. "You must cloak the city."
Sam, John and Woolsey are there.
"If we cloak the city, we lose shields. We'd be completely vulnerable to attack." Woolsey argued.
"And what if he's telling the truth? If we don't cloak, we'll be giving up our position." Sam argued back.
"He's been playing us from the start. This is what he wanted all along."
"All right, wait a minute." John said, getting between the two. "A little while ago you thought the Replicators were gonna destroy the city. Now you think the Wraith are gonna do it. Which one is it?"
Woolsey looks at Sam, unable to answer. Sam turns to John. "How long until the second hive gets here?"
Sam walks over to Davos' bedside as Linara hands him a cup of water.
"Colonel. It's nice to see you, but I'm afraid I can't offer you any more insight into future events. These medicines dull my mind."
"That's all right. That's not why I came, although I did wanna ask you a few questions about your visions if you feel up to it."
"Have you ever been wrong?"
"Knowing how events play out, you haven't been able to change the future or avoid it?"
"I'm afraid not."
"What about the culling on your planet?"
"I did not see a culling, merely the Wraith ships arriving, and that is exactly what happened. Doctor McKay's vision happened as he saw it, but his interpretation was incorrect."
"Pretty hard to misinterpret what I saw," Sam said, grimacing.
"I make no judgments, but I do know it will come to pass."
"It's hard for me to accept that. You're telling me that the future is pre-determined but I have always believed that the future is what you make it."
"Perhaps both are true. Perhaps the future is pre-determined by the character of those who shape it. One thing has been clear to me from the moment I set foot in this city: the galaxy is at a crossroads. Never before have I sensed that the future of so many worlds can turn on the actions of so few."
John walks out onto the outside balcony of the Control Room to join Illyria.
"The other hive ship'll be here soon. Sam's sending me down to the Chair Room."
"So we've decided to take 'em out?" Illyria asked. She kept her back towards him, staring up at the sky.
"Right now, Sam's having a hard time deciding anything."
"Know what the problem is?"
"Too much information."
"There's only so much information Sam needs to make a decision. Anything after that complicates it – like these visions. Are they making things better or worse?"
"Well, they helped us avoid being captured by the Wraith."
Illyria turned to him. "You and I both know we would never walk into a trap unprepared, even if McKay didn't have that vision." She looked away. "The future is pre-determined by the character of those who shape it."
"Nothing," Illyria shook her head. "Look, technically Woolsey is correct. The safety of this city is our first priority and, based on that, there is only one decision: take out both the hive ships as soon as possible."
"What's the point of being out here if you're not gonna help people? We're gonna be safe and sound while the rest of the galaxy gets slaughtered?"
"So play it safe, or take a chance with the Wraith and maybe save millions of lives."
Illyria chuckled. "This kind of decision used to be easy, but then I was just making it for myself. Now, Sam's going to ask a lot of people to take a chance with her."
"Everybody on this base chose to be here, and they did so because they believe in the same things Sam does." John put his hand on her shoulder. "You always make a great leader."
Illyria nods. "If anything goes wrong..."
"I'll be ready."
He kissed the back of her head before going back inside. Illyria stays on the balcony, thinking over her decisions.
Illyria came back in as Sam gave the order. "Rodney, prepare to cloak the city."
"All right, people, you heard her. Let's do this." He sits down at a console as others take their places. Woolsey looks round at them all, obviously unhappy. He walks over to Sam.
"My understanding is it takes some doing to switch back from the cloak to the shields. It's not something that can be done right away."
"So if we commit to this course of action, there's no going back."
"I'm afraid not. There's still some time before the second hive gets here. You could return to Midway if you like."
"But then my report wouldn't be as thorough as possible, would it?"
He smiles slightly. Sam smiles back.
In the Chair Room, John gets into the Chair and it lights up as he reclines it. "I'm in position, Colonel."
"Understood. Rodney, how are we doing?"
"Engaging cloak now."
From out in the ocean, the city slowly disappears from view.
Linara looks in concern as Davos, now wearing a nasal canula, begins to struggle to breathe. "Father? Father?" She turns and calls out, "Doctor! Doctor, help him!"
Jennifer runs over to the bed. "Davos? Davos?"
Davos doesn't reply, staring ahead as his breathing becomes more ragged. Linara starts to cry.
"Father?" Davos' heart monitor begins to beep more rapidly, then his eyes close and the monitor emits a single solid tone. Sobbing, Linara called out, "No!"
"I'm sorry." Keller whispered.
Linara continues to sob, holding her father's hand and bowing her head over it.
Above the planet, a hyperspace window opens and the new hive ship arrives.
"Second hive just dropped out of hyperspace." Rodney announced. He looks up at Sam and Woolsey. "This is it." He looks back at his screens. "First hive is sending a transmission. They're probably trying to explain what they're doing here."
"C'mon, guys, what's happening?" John asked.
"Rodney?" Sam asked.
"They're still just talking." His console beeps. "Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa, wait a minute. We've got a problem."
"What is it? What's going on?"
"Both ships just powered weapons."
"My God!" Woolsey said.
"That's it. Firing drones." He closes his eyes in concentration as his hand reaches for the control panel on the arm of the Chair.
"John, wait!" Illyria called out. John opens his eyes again, his hand hovering just above the arm panel. "Just give it a second."
"Are you insane?" Woolsey said, turning to her. "They're gonna wipe us out!"
"Shut up, Woolsey."
Woolsey glares at Illyria for a moment, then turns away from her. "Colonel Sheppard. As a ranking member of the I.O.A., I'm assuming command of this base. I'm ordering you to launch the drones now."
John flexes the fingers of both hands over the arm panels, unsure what to do.
"Belay that order!" Sam yelled, turning to Woolsey, glaring at him. "One more word out of you and I will have you removed."
"Hold on. Something's happening. The hives are firing on each other!" Rodney reported.
"Are you sure?" Illyria asked.
"Definitely! They're not pulling any punches either."
Side by side in space, the hives fire at each other. One of them eventually can no longer take the onslaught and explodes. The shockwave from its destruction radiates out and envelops the other ship, causing it to explode too. In the Control Room, Rodney gasps as he looks at his screen.
"They just destroyed each other! I guess the other Wraith didn't buy their story."
Sam opened her mouth to say something, but Illyria beat her to it. "Was either ship able to get off a sub-space message?"
"Oh, right." Rodney checks his screen. "Negative. We're good!"
Sam smiles, then turns to Woolsey, who puts his hand to his mouth and turns away, shocked by what he could have caused if he had been able to take command. Sam speaks into her radio.
"John, you can stand down."
"Gladly," John said, elevating the Chair to its upright position.
In the Infirmary, Linara watches sadly as two marines wheel Davos' covered body out of the room on a trolley. She walks over to Illyria.
"I'm taking him back to Vedeena to be buried according to our custom."
"It is good that he is going home."
"I don't know what my people will do without him. He's always been there, warning us of danger, protecting us from harm." She starts to cry again. "And for the first time in my life, I fear the future."
Illyria put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. "Just because something is unknown does not necessarily mean it needs to be feared. Trust yourself, and the rest will unfold as it is meant to."
Linara nods, then turns to follow her father's body. Jennifer walks over to Illyria.
"He was an interesting man."
"Yes. He knew that I was pregnant."
"Really? You know, pretty soon, other people are gonna find out too. You're gonna have to tell them." Jennifer turned to Illyria. "Including your husband."
"I know," Illyria said softly.
The cell door slides open and marines go inside, aiming their stunners at him while others stand outside, some holding rifles and one holding the shackles ready to put onto the Wraith. He stands as John walks in.
"So all it took was the destruction of my ship for you to finally trust me."
"No, not true. I still don't trust you." He turned to the marines. "Take him to the lab. He's got work to do."
The Wraith growls in irritation as the marines hustle him away.
Woolsey pulls his small suitcase behind him as he walks to the Stargate, which is open ready for him to leave. Sam stands nearby. He stops and turns to her.
"Well. This is awkward."
"Yes." Sam nodded.
"For the record, I thought I was making the right call."
"It was a difficult situation for everyone."
"I just have one last question. How did you know the two Wraith ships would fire on each other?"
"I didn't. You gonna put that in your report?"
"It probably would be better if I didn't." Sam smiles slightly. "There may be such a thing as being too thorough."
"Oh, before I go, Colonel," Woolsey said, pulling a folded piece of paper out of his jacket pocket. "These are orders for you coming from both the IOA and the SGC." He handed them to her. "Goodbye, Colonel."
Woolsey turns and walks into the event horizon. Sam stared down at the paper while she walked down the side steps just as John was coming in.
"Where's Woolsey?" John asked.
"Oh, you just missed him…"
"That hurts my feelings. I didn't even say goodbye yet."
"How's McKay doing?"
"He and the Wraith are back at it, but I guess they're having a problem getting this virus to work."
"I'd hate to think this was all for nothing."
"Well, we got out alive and we kept our location secret. That still counts for something."
"You're still thinking about those visions, aren't you?"
"I can't get them out of my head. Everything Davos saw came true."
"For all we know, it won't come true for another thousand years."
"Or it could come true tomorrow."
"Right! So what else is new?"
Sam sighed and held up the piece of paper. "This."
"What's that?" John asked, taking the paper from her. He turned it over and saw the seal the bound the paper shut. He looked up at Sam, surprised. "It…It could be nothing. Recommendation, maybe?"
"The IOA doesn't make recommendations, John, they make changes."
"We won't know until you open it," John said, handing it back to her.
She sighed and took it back, carefully opening it. Her face fell and hands began to shake slightly as she read the paper further.
"Well," John said, "what'd it say?"
Sam looked up at him. "Illyria is to replace me effective immediately."