TITLE: Planet of the Demons
AUTHOR: Wraithfodder

Copyright Disclaimer: The Stargate Atlantis characters, as presented on the series, belong to MGM, Sci Fi, and other registered copyright holders. No copyright infringement is meant or intended by the writing and posting of this material. I'm just borrowing the characters and the universe for a piece of non-profit 'fan fiction' and will return in one piece (well, usually). However, all original characters and story material are copyright to author. Please do not repost this fiction, in whole or in part, anywhere, without expression written permission of the author.

SUMMARY: Sheppard's team goes to a planet to eradicate an enemy that could be even more dangerous than the Wraith - only Rodney objects! .

Author's Notes: Please note that this was written for the SGAHC list, and might possibly make more sense for fanfiction writers than for the casual viewer. But, enjoy!

Planet of the Demons

"You killed it!"

McKay's aggrieved voice echoed throughout the valley like an air raid siren, startling a pair of birds out of a nearby tree, but even better, another one of those wretched creatures bolted from the safety of a bush, dashing for a nearby cluster of protective boulders.

Sheppard didn't give the beast any time to reach that shelter. The P-90 sprayed a cascade of bullets its way. Blood and fur spattered the rocks like the director's cut of a Quentin Tarantino movie.

"My god, you're slaughtering them!" accused McKay.

"Yes, I killed it and I'm going to nail every last one of the damned things if it takes all day," Sheppard snapped back, his temper flaring.

"You've gone insane, that's what's happening." McKay's eyes bugged out in apprehension and he took a step back, suddenly wary of his team leader. He'd arrived just a few seconds ago, ahead of the rest of the team, in time to witness what he felt was unwarranted carnage. "Carson!"

Beckett trudged up the grassy hill, followed by Major Lorne. "I thought there weren't any Wraith on this planet? What's all the shooting—oh dear lord." The Scot stopped dead in his tracks, a look of abject horror covering his face. "Is that what I think it is?"

"Yes." McKay nodded fervently, and then gestured his head very subtly at Sheppard, an act not lost on the colonel. "Do something," he mouthed silently to the doctor.

"Beckett, you even try to knock me out and you'll be missing some teeth," threatened Sheppard, shifting the P-90 in his hand so the weapon's butt was aimed in the physician's direction. Beckett just gulped at the non too-subtle motion. "Colonel, I realize that the past few months have been a bit… trying," Beckett said very soothingly.

Sheppard just narrowed his eyes, biting back the comment he really wanted to say, but even if Teyla didn't understand the profanities he was ready to let loose, she'd understand the implications and as team leader, he at least had to maintain a modicum of composure. However, that didn't cover shooting small, unarmed creatures. He spied another one of the vile things scampering in the underbrush: both the beast and the bush were mangled beyond any belief by the next spray of bullets.

"The creatures are evil," Teyla spat out in uncharacteristic anger. "They must all die if we are to live."

McKay had slowly backed himself up to stand just a little behind and beside Beckett. Sheppard could see that the scientist was doing mental calculations of how long it would take to run in a mad panic back to the jumper to radio for reinforcements, which to the scientist probably mean Heightmeyer and a few guys with wraith stunners and straitjackets.

"Colonel, you're killing those poor wee beasties on spurious information that one of Teyla's contacts gave you," added Beckett. Sheppard noticed the man trying to be nonchalant about patting down his tactical vests. Probably searching for sedatives. Well, luckily the doc didn't bring tranquilizer darts with him.

"Fine, then go ahead and touch one," challenged Sheppard.

"COLONEL!" Teyla screamed. "How could even suggest that?"

Sheppard had the good graces to look a little apologetic. While Beckett, McKay and Lorne had been off on their scouting mission, he'd gone off with Teyla and Dex in search of the rumored hideous beasts. He'd laughed himself silly at the incredulous tale she'd spun, until he sauntered over in total reckless confidence and picked up one of the animals. A second later, he'd found himself flat out on the ground, feeling like he'd been plowed over very slowly by a Hummer, with both Dex and Teyla staring down at him in deep concern. It had taken him a minute to recover from the horrific effect. Teyla had touched one, shuddering visibly but in context, she was relatively immune from their effect, so far. Dex declined to participate in the experiment and instead waited to see what happened next.

"I think this little trek has gone far enough," warned Beckett. "We should return to Atlantis."

"No," countered Teyla. "Wait, I will get one."

"Teyla," cautioned Sheppard.

"I will be… fine," she forced a smile. "If I can withstand a Wraith inside my mind, I can withstand the touch of one of … them."

"Don't we have any tongs?" Sheppard looked around.

"Tongs?" questioned McKay.

"Yeah, like for a barbecue," answered Sheppard. "Maybe the touch wouldn't be so bad then."

"He's gone completely utterly nuts," McKay said very loudly to Beckett, who stood just a foot away. "Look, I'll just go back to the jumper. Maybe we have some oven mitts there while we're at it."

Teyla went to a cluster of thick leafy bushes, poking around noisily until one of the larger creatures scampered out. It crouched low to the ground in the tall grass, as if hoping that its human predator might miss it. Teyla reached out with a finger, tentatively touching its softy furry back. She recoiled with an audible hiss. A second later, she literally booted the creature into the open. It landed with a loud squeak, startled at the abuse.

"Kill it!" she ordered. "Quick, before it gets away!"

Sheppard wasn't one to disappoint a lady. A second later, a bloody mass was all that remained of the beast.

"Shouldn't we be hunting Wraith?" Dex suggested in a droll tone.

"No, these are worse than Wraith." Sheppard paused for a moment, recalling vividly the horror that had flashed through him at making the mistake of picking one of those things up with both hands. Everybody stared at him, except for Teyla, who seemed to understand. "Yeah, definitely worse than Wraith."

Beckett's jaw had dropped open, perhaps even dislocated, at that statement. One of Rodney's eyes twitched. Lorne looked like he wished he had a Wraith stunner in hand.

"They need convincing," Sheppard stated flatly.

"I do not think that is such a good idea," warned Teyla.

"Well, hell, we need all the manpower we can get and those two, no, three," he eyed Lorne with almost contempt at the lack of the man's inaction, then realized he was new to this kind of Pegasus Galaxy insanity. "They'll kill 'em once they know."

Sheppard waved his hand toward the bushes beyond. "We'll just find a suitable one for them."

Teyla made a noise of disgust. It sounded a lot like a cat hacking up a furball.

"I'll get one." Dex just shook his head as though he were humoring Sheppard. He stalked into the bush, kicking out any number of the animals that all squeaked and squealed at the abuse. Sheppard shot any of the animals that got too near to him. He heard noises of disgust and fear emanate from Beckett and McKay. Cowards.

One of the smaller creatures moved cautiously toward Dex, sniffing at the man's leather boot. Sheppard flinched as Dex reached down and grabbed it. The large alien stiffened as though he'd been speared through the back with that large sword he now carried. A second later, he threw the animal down so hard that its squeak was a horrible scream of pain and its body twitched from the damage. Dex yanked out his laser pistol – not even bothering with the fancy twirling that always ticked off Sheppard as someone was gonna shoot him one of these days as he wasted time doing that – and shot the beast. Not once, but three times. All that remained of the creature was just a small smoking crater in the ground. Dex began indiscriminately blasting the other creatures, which ran in panic all over the ground. One of the bushes caught on fire.

"No!" shouted Sheppard. He tackled Dex, not a smart idea, as the man was bigger and as solid as an oak tree. However, when Teyla's form was added to the fray, Dex went down. Sheppard tore the laser pistol from the man's hand. "We can't kill them all!"

"THEY MUST DIE!" roared Dex.

"We have to find their nest!" yelled Teyla.

"Do you realize what that THING had me and Sheppard doing?" Dex exclaimed in shock.

"If we don't find where they breed, we'll never be able to stop them," finished Teyla.

Dex's struggles stopped as he the logic sunk in. Thank god, because Sheppard was sure the man had bruised several of his ribs in the struggle. He sat up, startled by the sight in front of him. McKay, Beckett and Lorne all had their weapons aimed at the trio on the ground.

"Rodney," hissed Sheppard.

"We're all just going to head calmly back to the jumper," McKay said nervously. "Right?" He shot a worried glance at Lorne, who look a lot like he was plotting a mutiny.

"Sir," Lorne said very carefully in an almost placating tone. "The situation is getting a bit … out of hand."

This was like some ridiculous Mexican standoff and shooting each other over it made as much sense as letting McKay pilot an X-302 by himself. Okay, maybe he had overreacted a bit but hell, touching that creature had given him an extremely visual as well as visceral picture of what lay ahead in his future if he didn't do something, and it was going to be very, VERY painful.

A flash of something totally "GAAH!" infiltrated his mind and he looked down. One of the wretched beasts had slithered right up to him and was rubbing itself against his hand. He smacked it viciously, like he playing hardball, and with a thump and audible squeak, it landed right in front of McKay and Beckett.

"Go ahead, I dare you," challenged Sheppard. It was cruel, extremely cruel, for he was still trying to shake that image out of his head of Beckett and McKay just going at it like…. oh man, he was gonna have to fly the jumper to the mainland after they were done here and get totally plastered to get that visual out of his head.

"You dare me?" McKay said almost mockingly.

"Yup. Didn't think you could do it," Sheppard shook his head in mock disappointment. McKay look infuriated. He knew there was nothing more McKay hated than people telling him what he could or couldn't do. As predicted, McKay fell for the bait and scooped up the creature, albeit it was by the short fluffy tail. Not that it made much difference where you touched it.

A second later, McKay looked like someone had just told him all his scientific research was wrong and his next job would be handling the fryer basket at a fast food place for the rest of his life. He let out a scream of - horror, terror, disgust - it was hard to tell and he threw the beast away. Beckett, obeying his oath to Hippocrat or whoever, automatically caught the beast to prevent it from being harmed. That didn't last long because the physician's face mirrored the same flurry of horrified emotions. Like a hot potato, the creature was tossed aside and landed in Lorne's hands.

The major did justice to his training in the military service. Didn't scream in horror but he dropped it immediately and shot it several times, eliminating the threat.

"That was nasty." Lorne admitted. He stepped away from the other two men.

"Must have been one of THOSE creatures," muttered Dex.

"Huh?" He had noticed more revulsion than anything else on the men's faces, while his own experience had been more in the category of 'dear god, get me out of here!'

"There's movement in the tree!" McKay yelled, pulling out his .9mm and shooting wildly into the branches above Sheppard's head.

"McKay!" snapped Sheppard.

"They're… horrible," blurted McKay. He backed away as though the creatures would suddenly pop out of the ground beneath his feet. He bumped smack into Beckett, who recoiled.

"Don't even think of touching me, McKay," warned Beckett. "How on earth did creatures like these evolve?"

Oh, one of those creatures, realized Sheppard darkly. Teyla had explained the gruesome abilities of the creatures on the trek up the hillside but he'd snorted just as much in disbelief as had Ronon, but now it was believers – six, non-believers – zero.

"I do not know," replied Teyla, who stood up. She checked the clip on her P-90. Sheppard was glad they'd come on the jumper. They had more than adequate spare clips back in storage there and he had the feeling they might need them.

Within a minute, they were all standing together in a group, a bit more composed than the panicking, yelling and general murderous mayhem of a few minutes ago.

"Just how many of these things are there?" asked McKay nervously, actually checking his own weapon like a good soldier. "Maybe we should get reinforcements from Atlantis?"

"They must all die," repeated Ronon in a dark and nasty voice.

"Oh god, will you stop the stupid Jaffa revenge thing?" McKay blurted. He suddenly appeared nervous as Ronon began eyeing him in the same manner as he had the tiny creature before blowing it into oblivion. "Well, I mean, let's have a, uh, er, plan."

"Look, we're here, we should take them out now," ordered Sheppard.

"I agree," said Teyla. "If left unchecked, they could breed."

"Like rabbits?" McKay said in a slightly hysterical tone. "What did you say these things were called? Plot bunnies?"

Teyla frowned. "Plabunees," is I believe what the correct term is, but it does sound like…" She paused, looking confused. "Plot bunnies."

Sheppard looked at the remains of one of the dead plabunees. They did look like rabbits – small, cute and furry – but their evil telepathic abilities or whatever they possessed, just promised incredible agony, death (although not permanent it seemed) and scenarios he'd really rather not contemplate, but judging from Beckett's and McKay's reaction to each other, they'd picked up one of those plabunees.

"We must find the nest, destroy them." Teyla checked her weapon.

"No argument from me," said Sheppard.

"Maybe we should just nuke the planet?" suggested McKay.

"Bit of overkill, isn't it, Rodney?" said Sheppard.

"It would not work." Sheppard looked curiously at Teyla. "Bullets kill 'em. I'm sure a nuke would too, but it's not like we have spare nukes lying around either." If only the planet were totally devoid of any life or practical application, then maybe. Good grief, what was he thinking? Nuking a planet to kill rabbits?

"They are not all on this planet," Teyla said regretfully. "They have been seen elsewhere, I have been told, and some people even…"

"Cook them?" Ronon's smile looked positively sadistic.

"Adopt them," finished Teyla.

"Why in god's name would they do?" cried Beckett.

"The mystery of why anybody would wish these hideous creatures to survive and grow to adulthood escapes me, Dr. Beckett," replied Teyla sorrowfully.

"They get bigger?" McKay looked panic-stricken.

"Indeed," Teyla replied, her eyes sweeping over the demure countryside that hid the horrible creatures.

"Okay, folks, lock and load," ordered Sheppard.

"Lock what?" asked McKay. "People are always saying lock and load, but shouldn't it be load and lock? I mean, it doesn't make sense to lock up as then how can you load and —"

"Rodney, shut up," hissed Beckett. Even he had his gun out.

Sheppard heard rustling off in a far-off group of bushes. "Sssh," he held a finger up.

"Oh, let me guess," McKay said with a snarky grin . "We're hunting wabbits?"

Sheppard glared at him, but well, the whole scenario was pretty insane. First, they'd kill off the 'plot bunnies' on that planet, then they'd hunt down the ones that were adopted and get rid of them, too.

"Yup," replied Sheppard with an equally inane grin. "Be very, very quiet."

THE END - aren't you glad?