This was a bit of a plot bunny that has been bugging me – it's a Shep whumper – "No, surely not!", I hear you cry – and the inspiration was basically as simple as "Sheppard gets shot in the shoulder". What can I say? I like my whump simple and uncomplicated.. :)
Other than that I felt the need to write it Sheppy POV, first person – which I've not really done before.
Please review and let me know what you think so far :)
I had a bad feeling about this mission right from the start.
Oh sure, the villagers seemed friendly enough; they welcomed us, fed us, were happy to open trade negotiations, waved us off with smiles and promises to trade for all kinds of great stuff on our return. They seemed nice enough folk.
So why did I keep getting an itch right in the middle of my shoulder blades? Why did I feel so darned uncomfortable the whole time we were in that village? Oh yeah, that's right; cos I had a bad feeling right from the start. All McKay's derogatory comments about military minds aside, instinct is a large part of soldiering. And my spidey-sense was going off like crazy. Something here just wasn't… right.
I could tell Ronon felt it too. He was on edge. Not that you'd ever know it just to look at him… but I knew Ronon well, knew what to look for. He wasn't happy about this mission either.
And Teyla? Teyla had been somewhat less than her usual engaging self during the meet and greet. On leaving the village she was quiet and.. alert. I'm thinking she had a bad feeling too.
McKay, of course, was sweetly oblivious to the tension in the air, occupying himself on the trek back to the gate with a continuous tirade - something about the futility of stopping off on every primitive planet to make friends with the locals. I'm sure he'd have been quite hurt to realise that not a one of his limited audience was paying him any attention whatsoever. Aside from the fact that learning to tune out Rodney's occasional ranting was a necessary survival skill in itself, the three of us who were trained in actual combat survival techniques were far too preoccupied by.. a really bad feeling.
The attack, when it came, was sudden. And well-planned, I'll give them that. Despite our alertness and all our caution, we still had only a split-second's warning – just time for Ronon to call out "Sheppard!" as he caught a glimpse of something to our left, and then shots rang out, shattering the silence of the summery afternoon.
I shouted, "Get down!" as we returned fire and I instinctively took a brief second to make sure Rodney was paying attention and taking cover. That second cost me dear. All I was aware of at first was the impact, a solid thud against my shoulder that punched into me and staggered me backwards. I think I would have stayed upright but suddenly my legs gave out from under me and I found myself flat on my back, gunfire ringing in my ears, struggling to comprehend how I'd ended up there. For a moment everything was numb and then a burning pain set in, centred on my right shoulder and spreading outwards, stealing the strength from my muscles and the breath from my lungs.
"Shit!" Well, I had enough breath left to swear, at least.
I gritted my teeth and rolled, trying to get enough leverage – with only one functioning arm – to get to my knees and eventually my feet. That was the plan anyhow. I'd gotten as far as the knees stage when a large hand grabbed hold of the back of my tac vest and pulled sharply. The motion pulled me off balance, twisted me around again, and I suddenly saw sky again and then, craning my neck to look back over my shoulder, the back of Ronon's legs as he dragged me roughly behind him.
I bit back a curse as he pulled me swiftly across the stony ground, the tac vest bunching up under my armpits as he ran, turning to fire over his shoulder, my legs dragging helplessly in our wake. He dumped me unceremoniously on the ground behind a decent-sized outcropping of rocks, my head thumping against the hard earth as he let go of my vest and turned immediately to rest his gun on a nearby rock, taking careful aim as he picked off another attacker.
I lay stunned for a moment, my brain trying desperately to catch up with events, and then my radio crackled to life.
"Colonel Sheppard?" The concern was evident in Teyla's voice. Gunfire spat in the background.
"Yeah. Here." I struggled to sit up. "Where are you? Is McKay with you?"
"I'm here, Colonel!" McKay's voice was high-pitched, panicked.
"Are you guys okay?" I reached across my body with my left hand, fumbling to remove the 9mm from its holster on my right thigh. It takes two hands to use the P90 that still dangled from my tac vest but, even left-handed, I'm a better than fair shot with the 9mm.
"No, we're not okay.."
"Teyla?" I ignored Rodney's incredulous response, simply talking over him to get to the person I wanted to hear from. I knew I could rely on Teyla to give a calm assessment of their situation.
"We are unharmed, Colonel." Thank goodness for small mercies. "We have taken cover near our original position but our situation is not secure."
"Okay, hang fire. Ronon and me are coming to get you."
My voice was starting to sound tight, my breath short from the burning fire in my shoulder. I gritted my teeth and clambered clumsily, painfully, to my knees beside Ronon. He spared me a quick glance inbetween letting off bursts of fire at the ambushers trying to sneak up on our position.
I couldn't tell how many there were – now that they had lost the element of surprise and we'd gone to ground they were being cautious, staying in cover, trying to move up in increments and out-flank us. Ronon was doing a good job of holding them off so far but time was not on our side. They had us outnumbered.
"We've got to reach Teyla and McKay, they're compromised."
Ronon's voice was calm enough but his words hit me hard. "We're cut off, Sheppard. We've got enemy fire between us and Teyla's position."
"Dammit." This day really was turning out incredibly crappy. What the hell else could go wrong?
I got my answer soon enough.
A burst of gunfire rang out from the direction of Teyla's position. The angry pain in my shoulder was nothing next to the sudden tight fist that gripped my heart.
I clicked the radio. "Teyla!"
Silence. Static. Ronon's gun fired, the sizzling retort loud in my ears.
I tried again. "Teyla? Rodney? Come in?"
There was a sudden crackle of static and the radio burst to life. An unfamiliar voice, at first too distant to make out the words. I could faintly hear McKay's voice in the background, relief flooding through me, his words indistinct but the tone of biting sarcasm clear enough, and the unknown voice became louder as the radio was obviously held closer to the speaker's mouth.
"Colonel Sheppard?" He didn't wait for an answer. "You will surrender your weapons or your friends will die."
"Who the hell is this?" I was in no mood to be polite right now.
"Surrender or I shoot Dr McKay first."
Shit. Whoever this guy was he seemed to know a lot; right down to who was who on my team. I tried haggling one last time.
"Is my team unharmed?"
There was a moment's pause and then Teyla's voice came faintly over the radio, cold with resentment. I could just imagine the mutinous look on her face. "We are uninjured, Colonel…"
"For now." Didn't get much clearer than that. Hands up – or else.
"Sheppard.." Ronon didn't need to say any more than that; I shared his misgivings and then some.
But.. "We don't have a choice here, Ronon."
"Your last chance, Colonel." The voice was cold, uncompromising. "Lay down your weapons."
I took the time to utter a particularly choice epithet and took a breath before replying. "Okay. Let's not do anything rash… we're coming out."
"Throw your weapons out first."
Not stupid either, it would appear. I looked at Ronon and he glowered, then tossed his gun over the rocks with a look of profound disgust. My 9mm followed. It took me a moment to fumble left-handed with the cord fastening the P90 to my vest and the voice on the radio was impatient, "All of them, Colonel Sheppard."
"Okay, okay.." I really didn't like where this was headed. I got the P90 free and tossed it over the rocks. Our attackers were there in an instant, popping up from cover and running forward to focus their weapons on us. They were a non-descript enough bunch; didn't seem to be military, wore no uniforms or anything, just a rag-tag mixture of clothing of a style similar to that worn in the village. I had no idea who these people were or what they might want with us. My concern at the moment was that, rag-tag or not, they were in possession of some fairly serious-looking projectile weapons, not too dissimilar from our own 9mm's or the Genii handguns, and it was obvious from their stance that they had been well-trained in how to use them.
One of them gestured firmly with his gun and the intent was clear - get up and move forward. Slowly and with your hands where we can see them kinda went without saying.
I couldn't help a hiss of pain as I staggered to my feet. My right arm felt numb and heavy and I was vaguely aware of a hot, sticky dampness around my shoulder and trickling down my arm. Our captors looked less than sympathetic and the quick gesture came again – get moving. Ronon stayed close beside me as we moved out from behind the rocks, a kind of controlled fury evident in his every movement. I wasn't at all surprised that our new friends stayed a good sensible distance away from us as we walked… but I suspect that was entirely due to a healthy fear of the angry Satedan rather than of a slightly wobbly, discretely bleeding, air force Colonel.
I'd been right about the mutinous look on Teyla's face. She and McKay were kneeling as we came into view, more of the mis-matched group of attackers keeping weapons trained on them from a safe distance. Teyla looked like she was trying hard to keep calm, to talk reason to these people. McKay looked plain terrified. One of the group turned to watch us approach and I saw the radio earpiece in his hand. Mr Mystery Voice.
There was nothing remarkable about him either – medium height, stocky build, clothes of decent quality but having seen long wear. His hair was dark and his eyes cold. There was something about the way he looked at Ronon and me that I really didn't like. Let's just call it… a bad feeling.
He didn't say a word as our escort gestured to us to halt, more weapons raising to train on us as we stood defenceless. I opened my mouth to speak and I saw his gaze slide past me, focusing on something behind me as he nodded. I've no idea what I was going to say to him – didn't matter anyway because, before I could turn or react, I felt a stunning blow from behind. I think I actually heard the crack as a hard object connected with the back of my skull and I slumped forwards, pain stabbing through my head.
I hit the ground hard, face down – I remember that much – but I didn't feel any pain, not even in my shoulder, because the blackness was already closing in around me.