A/N: As always, thank you for the kind reviews. All will be revealed soon, I promise, and rescue, well, it's coming. :)
Carson was scared. Not uneasy, not mildly disturbed, but scared.
And he had not an inkling why.
Unlike his previous awakening, his mind wasn't a complete blank; he recalled the fact that he and Major Sheppard had been in a cell of some sort. It was dark, a bit cold, and neither one of them could remember heading off world, despite the fact that there wasn't a doubt that they had.
His joints ached, a dull pain not unlike the type he'd expect during a bad bout of the flu. He wasn't nauseous, thank goodness, but that was only a small victory.
He was also alone.
He was in a modest room, lying across a cot, that while not uncomfortable, was clean and covered with a gray blanket. A thin pillow was under his head and he blinked up at a dingy white ceiling covered with cracks and obvious water stains. Still, it was a step up from his last accommodations.
Last accommodations. That thought once again remind him of Sheppard's absence. They'd been stunned – again and…
He'd been stunned twice? He could only clearly recall the one time. Had their been a second? Or a first, for that matter?
Carson bolted up, ignoring the sharp stab of pain that ran from his head to his toes.
Something was happening. He surveyed the rest of the room, noting the door in the corner. He blinked at its presence, as if it was the key to clearing his blurry mind.
He'd obviously gone off world with Major Sheppard, which was certainly a surprise to him, since he despised the Stargate. The fact that his one experience helping another planet resulted in the disaster that was Hoff did not help things. The best way to move past Hoff was to try and never get himself involved in a situation like it again.
Yet, somehow, in the back of his mind, he feared he had.
No, that wasn't right. He frowned. Why wasn't it right?
He shifted, moving his legs slowly around so that they touched the floor. A slight wave of vertigo hit him, but he braced his hands on the cot and took a couple of deep breaths and it quickly abated. He noticed his was still wearing his uniform jacket and ran his fingers over it, nervously.
That's when he found it.
It, of course, only raised many more questions, but Carson would take what he could get at this point. "It" was an empty vial. Well, empty was accurate. It was nearly empty and if Carson tilted it in the light he could see the traces of a reddish liquid left behind.
Hoff immediately came to mind.
No, not Hoff. It was a Wraith enzyme, something that had made the person taking it stronger, easier to feed upon.
Carson nearly dropped the vial when it came crashing back.
Loren, the mysterious woman who did not like his diagnosis, the near riot when he claimed the Wraith were not gods.
His breath hitched and a sudden chill cursed through his body. He had to get out of here. He needed to find Major Sheppard and they both needed to go back to Atlantis, far, far from this place.
In an instant, he was up and tripping on his own feet. Dizziness threatened to take hold, but he didn't care. He couldn't stay here. These people were mad. These people had some sort of deal with the Wraith. They had to. He had to warn Atlantis.
His knees buckled a few feet short of the door. He closed his eyes to regain his balance, reaching out as far he could to grasp the handle. He said a silent prayer when his hand met rounded metal.
It didn't budge. Locked.
Carson opened his eyes and contemplated his next move.
His next move didn't matter when the door swung open.
Rodney eyes the gun in Bates' hands. They had gone all out, indeed. Elizabeth was taking no changes.
Not that he was about to argue with that, mind you. The trip through the gate was uneventful. Rodney was surprised. For some reason, he expected to be heading straight into a Wraith ambush, but all he saw was a breeze blowing through the trees.
"They aren't guarding the gate," Ford commented.
"They are not," Teyla agreed. "But something is not right."
"Maybe they didn't expect us to come back," Bates' responded, eyes scanning and gun raised.
"Perhaps." Teyla sounded anything but sure and Rodney did not like her uncertainty. He stayed close to her, as she was the one wielding the new unidentified weapon.
She shook her head. "This is unlike the Wraith. They surely know who we are. No, they are waiting."
"Wonderful," Rodney muttered. "So what do we do? Twiddle our thumbs until we fall into their trap? We can't go to the back to the village."
"That's where Sheppard and Beckett are. Of course we're going back," Ford said. "What did you think we came for?"
"I know we came back for Sheppard and Beckett," Rodney snipped. "But I didn't think that being fed upon by a Wraith was part of the plan."
Ford shot him a look, and Rodney ignored it. "Are even sure the Wraith are even here?" Bates asked. "None of you actually saw one, right?"
"No," Ford admitted.
"Then maybe they just get their hands on some Wraith technology."
Rodney snorted. "Like that is any better."
"McKay," Ford hissed. "You're not helping."
"The Wraith are here." Teyla had inched ahead of the group and Rodney scrambled closer to her. Ford stared at him.
"She has the Wraith weapon," he explained. Ford and Bates exchanged a look. "What?"
Teyla frowned. "I am not sure, but…" She stopped. "I fear Major Sheppard and Dr. Beckett are in great danger."
This was going nowhere. Rodney was getting impatient; at least at the lab he could trying to discover more about their mystery weapon. Here, he felt useless, and he hated feeling useless. "What gave you that clue? The fact that they were, oh I don't know, kidnapped!"
Three sets of eyes narrowed at him. He sighed. "This is getting us nowhere."
Ford looked at Teyla. "Thoughts?"
"We need to find Major Sheppard and Dr. Beckett. Soon. We cannot hesitate."
"Now there's a plan I like." Bates charged ahead. Ford and Teyla quickly followed. Rodney took one last look back towards the gate, found his gun and gripped it as hard as he could, and walked.
It was her.
Carson knew it the moment the door swung open. The mysterious sister of Loren. He tried to pull up a name, but drew a blank. Perhaps she had never given him one.
"I'm sorry" tumbled out of his mouth before he could stop it. "I told you, I can't help him."
"No, you can not," she replied. "Loren is dead. No one can help him any longer." Her tone was even, not reveling any emotion. "But you will help us."
Carson stumbled again, and this time he could not stop himself from falling. Luckily the woman reached out and caught him, lowered him gently to the floor. He looked up at her, and she gave him a smile that sent yet another again chill down his spine.
"Where's Major Sheppard?" he asked.
"Major Sheppard will be doing us a great service. He will please the gods immensely, I know it. And with you, we will be given good favor for many years."
Carson's mouth went dry. His mind flashed back to Loren, dying from the stress of a Wraith feeding.
He was scared.
He pulled himself away from her, crawling across the ground. But the pain in his body flared and found himself going nowhere.
"Dr. Beckett, you can help us. You will help us. Loren will not die in vain."
Her voice was harsh, her eyes cold. Behind her Carson saw two men, welding more weapons. He scrambled to get up, but he wasn't fast enough. He was dizzy, so dizzy that the room had began to spin and the nausea he been avoiding came, full force.
He was vaguely aware of throwing up, then being hauled to his feet before his eyes closed and he had no choice but to surrender to the dark.