Disclaimer: Once again I own nothing. Someone else has that honor.
AN: I introduce a new character in this story which I intend to use for future stories if people like her, so please let me know. I will put " " when I change perspectives or scenes. Let me know if this ever becomes confusing. And please review! It really motivates me to post more!
We're All Human
By Rowana Farrin
Chapter One: Just Another Day
Ree'an woke as usually, just as the sun's first light touched the trees of her forest home. It promised to be a beautiful day and the young woman planned to spend time fishing in the nearby river. She dressed quickly and tied her hair back in a series of expert twists that kept it out of her eyes. After a brief meal of bread and hard cheese, she climbed down from her house, which was disguised within the thick branches of the trees.
Like most other planets in the Pegasus galaxy, her world, Kor'ania, was under constant threat of Wraith culling. This kept it's people from advancing far technologically. Most of the people lived in small, scattered villages, but Ree'an had lived alone ever since the Wraith had destroyed all others from her village.
The walk to the river was not long, but she stopped, as she often did, to spend time at the ruins of her old home. The overgrown walls of a few dilapidated houses were all that remained. Reverently, she left a few wildflowers at the site to remember all those who had perished, including her own parents.
She continued on towards the river, stopping again only to check her traps. Unfortunately, yesterday's heavy rains had washed away the bait, so she had no luck that morning. By the time she reached the river, the sun was fully up, but several spots shaded by overhanging trees promised good fishing. She sat on the bank, careful to keep her short bow close at hand, and concentrated on baiting her fishing line. It was not long before a plump stream fish was struggling on the hook. Gently, she coxed the fish closer to shore.
Suddenly, the still of the forest was broken by an all too familiar sound: the Stargate was opening. It was only a short distance away through the trees on the far bank. The birds, startled by the sound, all took off at once in a noisy cloud. Ree'an could feel her heart pounding as the fish thrashed forgotten on her line. Traders sometimes came through the gate, but the Wraith also came; to terrorize and capture the people of Kor'ania.
Eventually, he curiosity overcame her fear. Cutting the fish free, she picked up her bow and moved carefully downstream to where several large rocks made for an easy way to cross the fast moving water. Once across, she moved in a half crouch through the thick undergrowth. The Stargate was not far, so it took less than a minute to reach it. Crouching behind a bush, she peered at the giant ring nearby.
The Stargate was already dark, but she could see the people who had traveled through it. The four figures were clearly human: three men and one woman. This alleviated her immediate fears, but they were unlike any human she had ever seen. Their clothes were strange to start, but the objects they carried were even stranger. She thought they must be weapons from the way they carried them. They seemed to speak her own language like most other travelers she had met, but she was too far away to hear the exact words.
The group appeared to know where they were going and began walking in a direction that took them away from the river. They were, in fact, headed for one of the other villages. They seemed peaceful, but Ree'an's natural suspicion of strangers kept her from revealing herself. Instead, she followed them at a distance, being careful to remain hidden behind trees and bushes.
The group continued walking, apparently unaware they were being followed. The village was several miles away, so it took them close to an hour to reach it. The people there were mostly farmers. Their village was located at the beginnings of the Grass Sea, so the soil was rich and the fields perfect for grazing herds. Ree'an knew the place well and could remember trading with these people for grains and milk. Now they shunned her because only she had survived the holocaust of her village.
Knowing this, she avoided entering the village as the strangers did. Instead, she climbed a large tree near the edge of the circle of dwellings. From this vantage point, she could see all that took place within the village.
Major Sheppard and his team were exploring yet another planet where Teyla was introducing them to another of the Athosians' trading partners. The world had a pleasant, temperate climate and beautiful scenery that reminded him of home. If it hadn't been for Dr. McKay's grumbling, they might have enjoyed the walk to the local village.
"Why..." he asked, panting, "does it always...have to be...so far?"
"Come on Rodney," Sheppard teased, "You could use the exercise." McKay glared at him, but he just grinned before falling back to walk with Lt. Ford for a while. The younger man was quiet and glanced occasionally at the surrounding trees with suspicion.
"What is it?" Sheppard asked, following his gaze.
"I think we're being followed, sir."
Sheppard frowned. He hadn't noticed anything, but he had been distracted by McKay's complaining. He pulled out a life signs detector and checked it. Four green dots moved on the screen along with several smaller ones that he figured must be animals. This did not reassure him, however, as the device only had a small range.
"Let's keep moving," he orders. "Wait for them to make the first move."
The rest of the trip passed with no further sign of any pursuers, but he still had the feeling that someone was out there. The villagers greeted them warily at first, but relaxed upon seeing Teyla. "We hardly recognized you in your strange clothes," one of them commented. He led them to the largest house, followed by a crowd of children. The house was not big, but the center room was open and airy with a circular fireplace in the middle. Since it was a warm day, it had no flames, so the travelers sat around a nonexistent fire. A messenger was sent to fetch the village leader who, along with most other able bodied men and women, was working in the fields.
He arrived several minutes later; a tall, lean man in his mid-forties. He greeted them respectfully, "Welcome travelers. My people tell me you are interested in trade." He sat opposite them. "I am Mau'ar." He looked at them expectantly.
Sheppard took the hint. "Hi. I'm Major John Sheppard. That's Teyla, Lieutenant Ford and Doctor McKay." He pointed to each in turn.
Mau'ar nodded. "Teyla we know. We have traded with her people in the past. But you are not Athosians. Who are you?"
Teyla answered this time. "They are travelers from a distant world. They have saved people and myself from a Wraith attack."
He stared at them with new interest. "You must be formidable indeed to challenge the Wraith. What can we offer such a people?"
"Actually, food would be nice," Sheppard said hopefully.
"We have some of the finest crops here," he said proudly. "What can you offer in return?"
"Help, medicines...you could be surprised at what we can do."
He considered. "We shall see. First let us get to know each other better." He smiled and motioned for refreshments. "You must be tired after your journey. Come. Taste some of our bounty."
The villagers brought food and drink, which the team accepted gratefully. They spent the next half hour exchanging pleasantries and sharing information. The Kor'anian people were peaceful and survived, as most did, by avoiding the Wraith wherever possible. They did have one advantage in that respect: the Stargate was inaccessible by ship. It was surrounded by thick trees that forced invading Wraith to come by foot. This made it easier for the locals to avoid culling by simply hiding in the thick vegetation.
"It does not always work," Mau'ar admitted. "A few years ago, the Wraith surrounded and attacked a village in the forest not far from here. All were either taken or killed."
"Have you considered posting guards at the gate?" Sheppard suggested.
He shook his head. "They would have no way to signal us in time to act."
Sheppard considered. "We might be able to help you with that."
"It would be greatly appreciated."
The discussion continued on the topic of crops and supplies. McKay was getting pretty bored without any advanced technology to investigate. He sighed and wished he had stayed behind where at least he could do something more interesting than sitting and talking. He was about to ask if he could head back, when Teyla stiffened.
"Wraith! They are here!" she said urgently.
"Are you sure?" McKay asked. Suddenly going back was looking like a really good idea.
Sheppard didn't wait for confirmation. "Can you get your people to safety?" he asked Mau'ar.
The man stared at him bewildered for several seconds before realization dawned on him. "Yes. We know what to do." He left quickly to warn his people.
"Right. We'll head back to the gate and draw as many as we can away from the village." The Major rushed out, closely followed by Ford and Teyla.
McKay hurried after them. "We will?" he asked worriedly.
"Don't worry," Sheppard assured him. "You'll be fine."
Outside the loud booms of a warning drum alerted villagers to the coming danger. Painfully aware of how little time they could have, Sheppard led his team through the organized chaos to the edge of the village. The jog through the trees passed in a blur. Sheppard moved while keeping an eye on the life signs detector. The last thing he wanted was to run head long into a Wraith ambush.
He spotted them a little over halfway back, but by then the creatures had already heard them coming. He ordered his team to take cover as the six Wraith charged forward expecting to catch their prey by surprise. Instead, Sheppard and Ford appeared behind and shower them with a hail of gunfire. Several of the Wraith stumbled, but they quickly recovered and turned their weapons on the team. Sheppard and Ford broke cover and ran for the Stargate. They continued to fire at the advancing Wraith, but only succeed in slowing their charge.
Teyla and McKay were running ahead of their comrades and reached the gate first. As McKay hurried to dial the address for Atlantis, they could here the battle getting closer behind them. Suddenly, Sheppard and Ford appeared, dodging trees and still firing behind them. Sheppard was vaguely aware that only five Wraith still pursued them and he almost dared to hope that they'd managed to kill one. His thoughts were cut off as he tripped on an unseen root and went down. Ford, who was ahead of him, heard his fall and turned to see the leading Wraith bearing down on the Major. Without hesitating, he emptied his last shots into it's chest and it fell heavily to the ground. Without waiting to see if it was dead, the two men made a mad dash for the Stargate.
By now, McKay had activated the wormhole and all four team members ran for the watery opening. Teyla activated her IDC before rushing through. The others were right behind her, but as Ford entered the gate, one of the remaining Wraith shot McKay from behind. The scientist fell stunned by the blast while still several feet from the gate.
Sheppard saw him fall out of the corner of his eye and instantly turned back. By now, however, the Wraith were close enough to get proper aim. They hit him with two blasts that knocked him backwards through the event horizon. He was unconscious before he reached the other side.