|A Beacon in the Darkness
Author: danners3 PM
An emergency beacon is picked up from an outlying planet in their galaxy, a planet that for all intents and purposes appears to be devoid of human life. Sheppard and his team set out to investigate the beacon and find a little more than they bargained for... indigenous life on that planet is definitely not friendly, and one lone survivor.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - John S. - Chapters: 20 - Words: 45,700 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 06-08-12 - Published: 06-02-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8175750
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
CHAPTER 20 – INTO BATTLE
Morning came and with it clarity. Of many things. He would spend his life with this woman, and the two children whom had become a part of their lives. And today? He would go to battle to protect his family and this galaxy from annihilation. He would show the wraith that they now had a weapon and could no longer dominate the humans of this galaxy. The war had begun, and today? It would also end.
Although he had gotten little sleep, he felt more rested than he had in a long time. A plan of action and a plan for life. They were emeshed, inseparable and together? They would work. He laid out his plan to the military and security teams in the conference room. Keli and the children sat in on the meeting, as did Rodney and some of the other scientists – those whose services would be required in this mission. He sensed the excitement in the room, saw the eagerness on the faces of all these people who had spent so much time in this city trying to find a way to rid the galaxy of the wraith. He locked eyes with Teyla and Ronon – knew what this would mean to them in particular. Ronon's home planet of Sateda had been destroyed by the wraith and he had dedicated his life to their extinction. Teyla also, had spent a life time being persecuted by this enemy and knew that this team of earth people were the ones who would eventually bring peace to this galaxy.
All eyes turned to Keli and the twins. They sat on each side of her, Casie curled against her side and Mikel, trying to appear mature and strong. John had to fight down a smile. It appeared that he sat in such a way as to offer protection to Keli, and knew that the kid would have her back. Eight years old or otherwise. And now, his boy. Their connection had been formed and he would show him how to become a man – but first? He would teach him how to be a boy.
"John. It's solid. We need twenty four hours to put the security detail into place in Atlantis, and I need to know that you'll not be a damn hero out there – when you put your butt on the line as bait. I want you back, and in one piece. Is that clear?"
Sam glared at him, those blue eyes showing quite clearly that he had better listen to her on this one and that she would expect no less than what she had demanded. He nodded. He had a damn good reason for coming back in one piece. Hell, he had three good reasons now, and he'd not let them down.
"Ok then. Rodney? Where's the nearest wraith activity? Can you pull it up on the screen there – give us a decent visual. I want no surprises on this one. John? You go in under stealth mode until the moment that you are ready to let them see you and lead them back here. I want the emergency signal to activate at the same time that John deactivates his stealth mode. I want them to follow him, but I don't want their full focus on him. You can shield until you get to a certain point, then I need you to deactivate the shield as well... we don't want to risk interference with the mind link."
She paused in her instructions, wanting all the personnel concerned to be perfectly clear in their tasks. There were to be no surprises.
The twenty four hours passed quickly. John spent the time with the security and military teams, planning strategy around the city and ensuring that full weaponry was set up into place. He left Rodney to stay with Keli and the twins, to ensure that they were kept calm and centred and most of all, rested. They would not be able to go into this tired and Rodney sent the kids back to their room in the afternoon for naps, much to their disgust. Keli went with them. Their room was right beside John and hers and he had arranged a DVD player and other fun electronic equipment set up in there and there were plenty of fun DVD's that had been brought back from earth to entertain them. Keli put a movie into the player and stretched out the the bed alongside them, intending to watch a movie herself, but it was Keli who fell asleep and with amused glances, the children continued watching the movie while she caught up on all the sleep that she had lost over the past few weeks.
When John popped his head in the door just before dinner, he almost laughed. Mikel had put Star Wars on and Casie was quietly reading and Keli? Sound alseep on the bed and he could not resist the urge to sit down beside her and stroke her cheek.
"She seems tired John Sheppard... we thought it best that she sleep."
"Hey, Mikel? Why do you call me John Sheppard?" He stood up and went to sit beside the boy, running a hand over his head.
"That is your name?"
"Yeah, but you can just call me... John. And perhaps, one day... you'll call me something else."
He looked into the blue eyes that saw altogether too much, and saw the knowledge in the boy's eyes. He knew what John meant, and accepted it – saw the small smile that crept over his face, and felt the small hand that slipped into his own.
"Perhaps, John... I will. Perhaps we both will. Tomorrow? You will be careful? If anything were to happen to you, we would be upset, all of us."
John still marvelled at the way these children spoke. Certainly nothing like normal eight year olds, but considering what they had been through, he could only imagine that their lives had not mirrored normal childrens since they were taken from their birth planet. And even then? He assumed that their training pushed them into a level of maturity that they had no choice but to catch up to.
"I will be careful Mikel. You guys are my family now. You and Casie, and Keli... I've got a lot more to live for now."
Mikel looked at Keli, alseep on the bed, then back at the Colonel. "We all have more to live for."
The next morning it was a somber group who met in the jumper bay. While all military and security personnel were in place, Ronon and Teyla along with Sam, Keli and the children, had come to the jumper bay to see John off. He wore full combat gear and Keli stood back a little watching the change in his face as he readied himself for this mission. Her man was gone, replaced by the soldier who stared dispassionately around at the people assembled, already in the air and planning his next move. He would have preferred to leave quietly, simply fly the jumper down to the gate, wave a casual salute at those in the control room, then through the gate. In and out. Get on the road so to speak.
Instead? He stood near the jumper, readying his weapons and tried not to see the emotions that hovered across the faces of the people who had come to see him off. Ronon and Teyla, looking for all the world as though they wanted to jump on board and go with him and he knew that it was killing them to stay behind. He'd not risk any more lives other than his own, and while they understood that, they did not agree with it, and John could see now, the protest forming in Ronon's eyes and he attempted to silence it immediately with a look of his own.
Then he looked at Keli, one hand holding Casie's and Mikel standing protectively beside her. Rodney waited anxiously for them down in the laboratory, John knew that – and he let his eyes linger on this woman he had fallen in love with and saw the message she broadcast in those clear blue eyes. To come back to her and the future that they would have together. He saw her hand go to her stomach, and saw the small smile and his eyebrows shot upward and a surge of hope shot through him. Perhaps a little magic had woven it's fingers over them, and he saw the serene smiles on the faces of the children as they leaned close to their new guardian, and knew that they sensed already, what she had knowingly just told him.
He walked up to her then and pressed his own hand where hers had been and kissed her hard, then dropped down to one knee and hugged Mikel and Casie. No words, just action, then he was in the jumper – no casual salute, no jesting, no words. And Keli sighed, touched her stomach again, then with her charges beside her she headed for the laboratory. Their work would just be beginning.
They formed the circle. It needed to be running for some time to make shielding complete, as least that was what Rodney had surmised and they did not see any need to try and convince him otherwise. He was the expert, they knew what to do, but not really what it did. The science was his department, making it happen was theirs.
The circle complete, they ensured that the power ran smoothly and uninterupted and felt immediately, the moment that Rodney added the power of the device to their own energy. Keli felt on fire, as though hot coals tingled experimentally along the tips of her fingers and danced in a soft tango over her skin. Hot, but not burning. Alive in a way that very few people in the universe got to experience. Every nerve ending knew immediately what the other was doing, and firmly and carefully meshed with the energies of the children, so strong and powerful for ones so young.
Rodney simply stood back and watched the masters work, the puppeteer, no longer in control of his puppets. They walked their own line now, pulled their own strings and he could only jump on the back and tell people he was simply along for the ride. As long as the circle stayed whole and complete, there was nothing he could do.
He heard the crackle of the radio from time to time. Knew that Sam remained in the control room, in constant contact with John in the jumper and knew that the military and security had taken up secure defensive positions around the city. The shield was down, in accordance with Rodney's instructions. If not for the mind energy and the completed circle, the city would be unprotected, a state it had not been in for a long time.
It took John two hours to get into position in deep space, following the path that Rodney have given him, inputting it into the interface for the jumper so that he had a clear guide to follow. He simply sat back and was along for the ride at that point. He shielded and cloaked the jumper. Didn't want anyone else getting a good look at him until he was ready for them to do so, and the solitude and peace of space calmed him as it always did. Letting his thoughts roll over him as a wave onto a shore, then pull back with the tide to head back to sea. Relentless, calming and he was able to think about the future that they would have together – if he managed to pull this off, and if their newly elected guardians showed the wraith that there would be no more galaxy domination.
His sensors beeped and he knew that he was nearing the hive ship. He got visual on it and as always, it took his breath away. Hanging still and eerily calm in the dark still of space, almost peaceful if he had not known the deady cargo that it held.
He contacted Atlantis and told them to lower the shield and begin broadcasting the emergency beacon and he just let the ship coast for a moment in space, pondering this point in time, where lives would and could change - in the blink of an eye. Uncloaking his jumper, he took a deep breath.
"Copy that John. Good luck, and we'll see you on the flip side." Sam's quirk of humour brought a smile of his own to his face, and flicking a casual salute at the hive ship, he waited to see what would happen.
He didn't have long to wait. The signal would have been picked up immediately and at the same time they registered the fact that there was a lone jumper staring them boldly in the eye. He watched, slightly bemused, as the dart bay doors opened, spewing out their deadly cargo.
Game on, he thought, and shielding the jumper, he turned for home, knowing that they would be on his tail.
A game of cat and mouse ensued and he led them through space, darts penetrating the space around him, and weapons firing ineffectually. He knew when they pulled back to regroup and continued his journey. They would have worked out by now that he was no doubt laying some sort of trap. Intelligence was not lacking in the wraith, far from it and he knew that they would be using their extensive mind network to bring in additional forces, thinking that perhaps Atlantis was at last up for grabs.
Bring it on, he thought and that thought was immediately followed by Keli and the kids. Hope you're ready guys... the big guns are coming to town.
As he got closer to Atlantis, he lowered his shields and knew that he was at his most vulnerable, knowing also that the city was too. No longer cloaked or shielded, it relied on the as yet untested mind energy created by three individuals and a device that was only now being tested. John sent a quick silent message to the inhabitants of the city down below him, and hoped that the hatches were now firmly battened down.
He felt the jumper list and shake, and knew that he had taken a small hit, just the tail part of the jumper, but enough to jar his controls and send him slightly out of control. Damn, he thought. Lost my concentration there, let the jumper work for you, not against you. Concentrate, Sheppard. He told himself off, knowing that the controls of the jumper relied on his mind interface to work, knowing that his lapse in concentration had allowed a wraith dart to fire a hit. He saw that the darts had converged on Atlantis, now far below them, but getting steadily closer. They began their bombing runs, making long slow sweeping passes low over the ocean, then pulling up at the last minute to fly in through the tall buildings. They did not fire immediately, and John watching from where he fought to regain control of his jumper, knew that they were scanning the city, taking stock of how many life signs they could read and what sort of weapons the city was preparing to fire at them. With the shield down and the emergency beacon on, the wraith would assume that Atlantis was at their mercy, without power and subsequently without weapons. Either that or they would think that a trap was being set. Which ever direction their thoughts took, they would be vigilant, John was sure of that.
He managed to regain control of his jumper and saw that the hive ship much further out was sending more reinforcements down and it was then that the darts decided to open fire.
Back in Atlantis deep in the laboratory, the circle - fully formed, began to hum. Rodney stood back - keeping an eye on the device to make sure that it did not overload, and keeping a firm watch on the humans that had been thrown into the mix, to make sure that they did not overload either. He had grown somewhat attached to the twins - as much as Rodney would ever admit to child attachment, and he was worried that this would be too much for them. He knew that the hive ship had arrived - knew that it was now in orbit in the space above Atlantis and that it had released it's cargo. Up to a thirty darts would be circling the skies above Atlantis, flying in low over the city and looking for the weakness and scanning the city to find out why they were not attacking. They would not sense the mind energy - he was almost, but not completely sure of this fact, but his research had led him to believe that it did not operate on a frequency that the wraith could tap into. Under the radar, so to speak.
Keli sensed nothing but the energy that flowed between her, Mikel and Casie, felt the connection strengthening by the minute. It gave her hope, and a small part of her mind tried to focus on what John was doing and whether he was safe, but the circle took over and she had to reluctantly push him aside and concentrate on sending more energy and maintaining the link. She knew that it was working, knew without hearing Rodney's excited chatter into the radio. Could feel the expansion of the energy, forming a protective barrier around the city and above the skies of Atlantis. Was not aware when the energy became complete and the darts began falling out of the sky in balls of flames. She did not hear Rodney's yell of delight when this information was relayed from the control room, and did not hear the celebratory cheers that echoed throughout the city, nor did she see the man whom she had fallen in love with, close his eyes briefly in relief as from his place above the city where he was still attempting to evade darts that were firing upon his jumper.
She did not sense, when momentarily distracted, his jumper took another hit and this time spiralled out of control and went down, hitting the ocean with a sickening crash. Sam in the control room, saw him take the dive and immediately radioed for two jumpers to go out and assist in getting him out, including a dive team. Ronon, upon hearing that John had gone down was in the jumper bay immediately and the first jumper left within minutes of him going down.
The darts continued their onslaught and continued to fall and eventually the control room noticed that the hive ship began to leave the orbit above the city and the remaining darts turned tail and left. Subdued cheering went up in the control room. Sam had not heard back from the jumpers that had gone looking for John and she nervously awaited news before going down to the laboratory to tell Keli their mind energy had succeeded in creating a more than feasible working shield and weapon against wraith darts. Deciding she needed to go down and tell her, she waited until all the darts had left the Lantien sky and the hive ship was well out of range and ordered the shield to be reactivated, effectively blocking out the mind energy and shutting it down.
Keli came out of her trance like state with a start, and knew immediately that something was wrong. That something had happened to John.
"Rodney? John... what has happened to him?"
"Hush, Keli. He'll be fine. That man has more than nine lives, and I'm pretty sure he hasn't used up his quota yet."
Sam walked in and gave Rodney a withering stare after having heard the tail end of the conversation.
"His jumper took a hit Keli and went down into the ocean. I've sent help down... Ronon's gone too and I have every confidence they'll find him and bring him out. You guys did an amazing job, you did it – the three of you – Rodney too, with your device." She attempted to deflect Keli's worry from John briefly, but it didn't work. She saw the woman jump to her feet and rush to her side, pulling on her arm with her own uncasted one.
"Please Sam, you must let me go to him..."
"I can't do that Keli. You can come with me to the control room, but I can't let you go there. There's nothing you can do. The one's who have gone after him, they're trained to do this, and they'll find him and pull him out. Trust them..."
"He promised to come back alive..." Mikel looked up at Keli with tears in his eyes, and Keli thought that at last he was beginning to show the behaviour of a child. Allowed to cry, when before he would not have been allowed to have that emotion.
"He did, Mikel. And I'm sure he will..." She pushed aside her own fears to comfort the children. She needed to be strong for them and not fall apart, so taking their hands, ignoring the pain in her broken one, she followed Sam to the control room to wait for her man to return.
It was a tense two hours before a cheer went up from one of the technicians in the control room. He had received communication from one of the jumpers that Colonel Sheppard had been located and brought aboard one of the rescue jumpers. Keli heard his cheer and closed her eyes briefly, swaying just a little in relief. The children clung to her and it was Casie who sensed something more inside her.
"Keli... you are weakened. You need to rest."
"We all need to rest Casie, but I cannot until John is safe in Atlantis. Then we will all rest."
They held her up it seemed, gave her both emotional and physical support and from time to time, Sam cast concerned glances at her and when at last the jumper arrived back, Keli and the children climbed down the control room stairs and made their way to the jumper bay, needing to be on hand when he was brought out.
He was conscious and his eyes sought hers immediately. She went to him and held his hand tightly, allowing Carson to fuss around him and Ronon to transfer him to a gurney. He had some injuries, none too debilitating, but enough to keep him out of action for a couple of days, and keep Carson on his back about rest and recuperation. And she firmly intended to make sure that all of Carson's orders were strictly followed.
"We did it Kel... you did it. You guys were amazing. If you could have seen what I saw... the darts were simply exploding when they came in contact with your circle. I have never felt so proud of someone as I did of you three when I witnessed that."
She saw that his consciousness was fading and knew that he had pushed himself to remain conscious until he could see her, and until she could see for herself that he was still alive. And had come back to her.
She dropped a kiss on his forehead, and glanced up to see Carson waiting to take him to the infirmary. Carson was looking assessingly at her face and spoke quietly to her.
"Seems to me that you are in need of a check up yourself lass..." He glanced down inperceptibly at her stomach and smiled slightly. Of course he was a doctor, and sometimes these things... well, you wore them like a badge of honour. Her hand reached down to touch her stomach lightly and she saw John's eyes sleepily reach out to cover it.
The circle was most definitely complete.
Just so you know... I'm finishing this one here for now - I might pick it up again in the future and roll a bit further with it. I am going on holiday until mid July, so no more stories until I get back. I do have a new one in the works - and will get that up and running when I get back. I'll give you guys a break from my proverbial ramblings and come back refreshed and full of new ideas - hopefully!
See ya on the flipside!