MORE THAN JUST PRETTY FACES
Disclaimer: Stargate: Atlantis and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story was created for entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s), not me. Thank you to the amazing writers, producers, actors, crew and directors who bring it to life.
Characters: Team Fic (Season 2)
Status/Parts: WIP – probably about 11 chapters? But don't quote me! Seriously, have I ever been right?
A/N – I'm writing a novel right now called Desert Orkids, that I can already tell will be a long 'un. So, I wrote this "short" story to balance out my current, er, repertoire. It takes place in a jungle.
Acknowledgement: NT. She helps me think.
Description: Deadly happenings on a jungle planet leave the Team fighting for their lives with Wraith closing in on all sides...
Hope you enjoy it!
CHAPTER ONE: AMBUSH
Teyla paused, holding up her fist. On her heels, Rodney stopped, lifting his eyes from his scanner. His eyes were narrowed, obviously reading the tension in her bare shoulders as she lifted her P90. Behind them, Sheppard and Ronon paused, the former Runner already looking for targets with his weapon, the safety off.
"What is it?" McKay asked, half annoyed, half worried, sweat trickling down his face from the overheated air. He quickly adjusted the scanner to look for life signs, but it was about as helpful as scanning for life signs in a Southern California mall. They were in a tropical rainforest—the area teemed with life. "You see something?"
"Teyla?" Sheppard prompted, his eyebrows furrowed as he released the safety on his P90 as well. McKay heard, turning to look at the colonel, and his right hand moved to rest on the 9MM at his side.
Teyla shook her head, her brow furrowing, opening up all her senses, not just her eyes. It had been on her recommendation they come to this planet. She and Elizabeth had been cataloguing a list of the worlds that Teyla or her people had visited against planets in the Ancient database that might house outposts, and this one was one of the few that matched. She had promised it would be safe. She knew the people here, had traded with them often, trusted them. They would be welcomed. Initial contacts about a meeting had been warm, promising.
She had promised.
"Something," she said unhelpfully. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes.
The smell of the jungle assaulted her nostrils, sweet and cloying. Her skin prickled from the oppressive weight of humidity, sticking her hair to her head and causing sweat to trickle down her back. The sounds...
That was it. Before, she'd heard birds and animals and insects. Now it was just insects. Hundreds and hundreds of insects. They buzzed incessantly around her head, louder and louder...until she realized it wasn't insects she heard. Insects didn't talk.
Her eyes flew open and she twisted to look at the others, whites of her eyes showing.
"Wraith!" she hissed.
"What?" Rodney almost squealed, "But I thought...you said..."
"We have to move," she said urgently, shoving past him to get to the colonel. "We have to get back to the jumper."
"How many?" Sheppard demanded as she reached his position.
"Too many. I can not hear their darts, but I can sense them nearby."
He nodded—that was all he needed. "Go. Lead the way."
She nodded, moving to the far side of Ronon and heading back in the direction from which they had come, lengthening her stride to a fast walk. She didn't need to look to know that Rodney was already right behind her, the scientist's position in retreat scenarios. Plus, she could hear him fumbling to keep up while putting his scanner away.
"What a waste," the scientist was muttering, grunting as he obviously had trouble with his many pockets. "We were close, too. We're practically on top of it, right beneath our feet. I pinpointed an entrance not far from the village that—"
"Shut it, McKay," Sheppard hissed from behind Rodney.
"Can't I even—"
"Are you deliberately trying to get us killed? Stop looking back at me and watch your feet for Christ's sake!"
Teyla had heard the unmistakable sound of Rodney tripping behind her, accompanied by a strangled, "oof."
"There," Sheppard said, "see?"
"Stupid, know-it-all colonels..." Rodney grumbled under his breath. Teyla couldn't help but smile, even as she felt the buzzing growing louder.
She pushed through the palm fronds, ducked under greenery-encrusted branches, focused on keeping them moving faster. They had to get back to the jumper.
With a growing sense of dread, she realized she could feel the Wraith closing in, moving to keep up with the Atlantians, to cut them off. She quickened her pace to a jog.
Behind her, the others moved in time to keep up, trusting her judgment. Even Rodney, despite being overloaded with equipment and the cloying heat dogging them all, kept up. She knew he was probably already red faced, and she heard him panting heavily. Hell, they all were.
With a growl, she attacked the heavy leaves in her way, shoved through the low-lying branches covered in trailing moss and ivy, and cut a straight line through the dense bushes they had skirted before. They didn't have time now. Massive flowers of every imaginable color dappled the lush green and brown surroundings, and iridescent dragonflies and spiders sparkled like diamonds in the tight spaces between the vegetation. The sun lit the thickly covered rainforest floor like bolts of light from above, creating moving shadows outside the almost tangible light.
The buzzing was so loud now, she was beginning to panic. They were so close! Behind her, she heard Rodney hiss, his heavy step close.
Suddenly, a Wraith shade flew across the front of her path. She hesitated, then looked to her right.
Two Wraith crashed through the vegetation towards them, starkly white against the bright colors of their surroundings. They looked washed out—like actual wraiths of myth. Ghosts in the forest. She stopped, her P90 exploding in her arms as she fired her clip at them. The Wraith went down.
Then she pulled her aim, pointing the weapon at the trees. Standing right with the Wraith were three of the native people of this planet—people she had known to be friends. They were almost invisible inside the forest cover because of their clothes and coloring. It was how they survived. Were they captives? Three men, traditional warrior paint on their faces, dressed for the hunt...
Her eyes widened as one of the men raised a blow-pipe to his mouth, pointing it towards her.
"Teyla!" McKay yelled, diving forward and bringing her down. Above her, she heard Ronon and Sheppard firing on the men who had been with the Wraith.
By the Ancestors, she realized, the people here were helping the Wraith! They'd been set up! She had been set up!
"You okay?" Rodney asked, pulling her up. She nodded, turning to look behind her at the tree at her back. A green-feathered dart was stuck deep into the trunk. Despite the wetness of the air, her mouth felt as dry as sandpaper.
The buzzing in her ears was deafening, and she turned wide eyes to stare up at the scientist. She barely understood as he turned her around and pushed her forward, saying something about needing to keep moving...
As if on cue, she looked to the left and saw more Wraith...and more of the natives bearing down on them. She raised her P90 to fire, almost on automatic. Rodney was firing with his pistol, and she saw both Wraith and men go down. But there were more coming...there were always more coming. She turned to look at Sheppard, to tell him, but he was focused on the area behind them.
Then the colonel turned, his face twisted in anger, his eyes looking directly at her.
And she did.