Title: Mind Control
Disclaimers: All characters are property of people who aren't me. Note from the author: I promise I am working on my other fanfic, but this plot bunny wouldn't stop bouncing around in my head so I had to calm it down. I hope you enjoy it!
"Couldn't we have stayed for the evening meal?"
"Rodney, quit your whining," John Sheppard replied. "We just made friends with an amazing group of people, who are on our level of development, by the way. They don't have an overabundance of food right now so I didn't feel right imposing on that."
Teyla nodded. "The Colonel is correct, Dr. McKay. Once we are able to come here to teach them how to appropriately use this land; we will be able to partake in their meal. The town Elders are very appreciative of this."
"But..." Rodney sputtered.
"McKay, just drop it. Besides, they were nice enough to offer us medicines to help with the Pegasus Galaxy's versions of your sicknesses."
The three looked over at their newest team member. That had to be the first time Ronon Dex said more than two words at a time. John grinned. "He's right, Rodney. Now dial it up."
Just as Rodney punched in his IDC, one of the Elders walked up to them. "Colonel Sheppard, may I have a word with you before you leave?"
John nodded. Turning to the others he said, "I'll follow you in a minute. Get those supplies to Carson, I'm sure he'll want to have a look at them as soon as possible."
"Need me to wait?" Ronon asked.
"Nah, I'm good." He waited until the three had gone to turn back to Melba? Meba? John couldn't remember the guy's name. "What can I do for you?"
"Colonel, something has been bothering me since your arrival in our council chamber but I couldn't discuss it with you until we were alone."
John eyed the man warily, who seemed to have something in his hands and was nervously rubbing it. "What's that?" he asked.
His Mother would have told him that curiosity killed the cat, but at that moment, he couldn't help but feel curious. The last thing he saw was a bright flash of light that preceded just before a sharp pain in his head.
Elizabeth smiled when Atlantis' flagship team arrived through the 'Gate. Ronon handed the medical supplies to one of the nurses just as she joined them. "Where's Colonel Sheppard?"
"One of the Elders wished to speak with him before he departed," Teyla responded. "He said he wouldn't be long."
"Very well. We'll debrief after you visit the infirmary."
They were about to head down when John flew out of the event horizon, sliding on the floor and stopping a few feet from Elizabeth. "Medical team to the Gateroom!" she exclaimed, kneeling next to his unconscious form. "John?"
He opened his eyes slowly and Elizabeth saw that they were glazed and unfocused. She repeated his name and sighed in relief when he answered her. "What happened?" he asked.
"That's a good question, John. I was hoping you'd be able to tell us."
John looked up to see that everyone's eyes were on him. Before he could say anything, though Carson arrived. "Colonel, look at me," he said. He noticed two things: John's pupils were dilated and he was not having an easy time of following the physician's finger.
"Let's get him onto a gurney, people!"
"I think I'm gonna take a nap," John whispered drowsily.
"No!" Everyone chorused.
His eyes snapped open. "Damn it, you don't all have to yell!"
"Sorry, John," Elizabeth responded, moving away to give the medical team room. "Just relax; Carson will take good care of you."
"Ah, Elizabeth, I was just about to call you," the doctor replied, walking over to her.
"How's our patient?"
Carson glanced back at John's still form. "He's unconscious right now. I really didn't expect to stay awake despite our best efforts to keep him so. His blood pressure is slightly elevated, but nothing to be worried about."
"Will he be all right?" Rodney asked as he, Teyla, and Ronon joined them.
"As far as I can tell he will be," Carson said. "We still can't tell what was done to him, though. There are no external injuries as far as we can see. We're just waiting on the results from his blood work and MRI."
"May we see him?" Teyla asked.
"We've been unable to contact the Danariens," Elizabeth said. "For some reason we can't establish a connection with their planet."
Teyla seemed confused. "I do not understand why this has happened, Dr. Weir. We were shown no disrespect by the Danariens and we, in turn, did not disrespect them."
"I guess that means we wait until Sheppard wakes up," Ronon replied.
Carson walked over to join them surprised someone was missing. "Where's Rodney?"
"He's still trying to establish communications with the planet," Elizabeth told him. "Have you learned anything else, Carson?"
He sighed. "I'm afraid not. The blood work shows no indication of any toxins. If I had to hazard a guess; I'd say it was some sort of alien technology that did this to him. Are we still not able to connect to that planet?"
"Not at all," Rodney said, entering the infirmary. "We're going to have to wait until the Daedalus arrives."
As they continued to speculate on what went wrong, John blinked in confusion. Where was he and what happened? The last thing he remembered was telling Rodney to dial the Gate.
"Colonel?" Teyla said.
John had been so out if it that he didn't notice his team and Elizabeth were there. "Um, hi guys," he replied.
"How are you feeling, son?" Carson asked.
"Like someone used my head as a football."
They all exchanged glances with one another. "John, what's the last thing you remember?"
He stared at Elizabeth for a few minutes, trying to sort out the puzzle pieces that were floating around in his mind. "I keep asking myself that same question and the only thing I can remember was asking Rodney to dial the Gate."
"Colonel," Teyla said, "as far as we know, the last thing you did was tell us to return through the Stargate because one of the Elders wanted to speak with you in private."
Ronon nodded. "I was going to stay with you, but you said you'd be all right. Now we can't get through to their coordinates."
John stared at them all, dumbfounded. "I don't remember any of that. What the hell did the Elder do to me? Or, maybe I did something to him? Damn, this is annoying."
"Unfortunately we won't be able to answer any of your questions until the Daedalus arrives in four days," Elizabeth replied. "I'm sorry, John."
"Come on, Carson! I've been here for two days already. Can't I at least go to my quarters?"
Carson sighed, not really certain if he should let John go. True, there wasn't anything physically wrong with him. There never was, but something was making the physician nervous.
What was he thinking? John Sheppard always made him nervous when it came to his health!
"Very well," he replied, finally giving in. "I expect you to report back here the minute you start feeling dizziness or a headache coming on."
"I promise, Doc!"
Carson went to fill out any remaining paperwork, sending a nurse over with John's clothing. He sighed as he sat at his desk. "I'm getting soft in my old age," he muttered.
"Talking to yourself, Carson? That can't be a good sign."
"Elizabeth," he said with a smile.
He shook his head. "That man must have really run out of here. I discharged him with the usual warning to come to me if he has any more problems."
Elizabeth shook her and eyed him skeptically. "And which alternate version of John Sheppard is that?"
"Aye," Carson said with a laugh, "point taken. I'll call Rodney and charge him with keeping an eye on our wayward Colonel."
Rodney looked up from his laptop when he felt eyes staring at him. "Why did Carson give you to me to watch, I'm not a baby-sitter."
"That's good because I can tell that you wouldn't be a fun sitter," John replied, eying some random equations on the desk. He idly began figuring them out in his head. "Did you know that this…" He trailed off, not sure what the Ancient object in his hand was, "thing is only 20 percent efficient?"
"What are you talking about? Oh God, its brain damage, isn't it?"
"Shut up," John said, setting the glowing object down. He still had no idea of its use.
"Seriously, how did you figure that out? It took Kavanagh over a day to calculate that!"
John shrugged. "I'm good with numbers."
"You took it, right? What did you score?"
"I don't remember." John walked over to get some coffee, but then stopped when he suddenly felt like he needed to go to the balcony. Any balcony. "Be back in a minute."
Rodney stared after his friend in silence. Something wasn't right so he decided following him would be a good idea. "Sheppard," he called, but there was no response.
"Chuck, its Rodney." At the tech's response, Rodney told him to look for John's life sign near the east pier and follow him.
"He's out on the balcony, Dr. McKay."
"Got it. Thanks. Oh, and get Weir and Beckett down here!"
What Rodney saw when he opened the doors made him weak in the knees. John was half way over the side of the balcony! He didn't want to scare his friend so he carefully approached him.
"Sheppard," he nearly whispered.
John looked at him with wild eyes. "Rodney, I know I shouldn't be doing this, but something is controlling me. I can't... I can't fight it!"
"Yes you can, John! I know you can!" Rodney cried. He reached to grab John's arm, but he couldn't stop him, watching in horror as John fell into the waters of Atlantis.
Rodney couldn't believe what just happened. The only thing he was thankful for was that the drop was only a few feet. He blinked when he realized John was probably still dazed, and before he could think, he was jumping in after him.
Elizabeth and Carson had just arrived to see Rodney practically leaping over the railing. "Rodney!" they exclaimed.
"Major Lorne, I need a team outside in section five. We have two men in the water," Elizabeth said.
"On our way, Ma'am!"
John Sheppard rarely admitted he was scared, but right now he was terrified. What was pushing him down into the water and why couldn't he stop? He knew he still had some control because he was still holding his breath, but he could almost hear a whisper in his mind telling him to let go.
He vaguely felt someone grabbing his arm and pulling him to the surface. That's when he lost all control...
Rodney came up sputtering and holding tightly onto John. "Dr. McKay, over here!" Lorne called out. He followed the sound of the major's voice and was relieved when he felt the edge of the pier.
"I've got him," he said, pulling John to safety. He left his CO in the hands of Carson and reached out to help Rodney. "Nice job, Doc."
Coughing, Rodney nodded. "We'll see."
Carson was issuing orders right and left to his team. "He's not breathing, let's go people!"
Elizabeth walked over to Rodney, who had a blanket thrown over his shoulder. She placed a hand on his shoulder as they watched Carson and his team work. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," he replied.
"I don't really know," he told her. "One minute he was pouring himself coffee and the next he was... God, Elizabeth, I don't think I have ever seen him so scared. He said that he didn't feel in control of his body."
The pair was so lost in their thoughts they didn't realize John was being taken away on a gurney. Lorne walked over to them. "The Colonel's stabilized for now," he said, noticing that they both seemed out of it.
"Thank you, Major."
Carson took a deep breath and walked over to Elizabeth and the others. "Colonel Sheppard's resting comfortably right now. He awoke for a bit but became agitated so I had to sedate him."
"I'd like to put him on a suicide watch."
Everyone turned to see Kate Heightmeyer. Rodney noticed that she seemed to be closer to Carson than the rest of them. Not that he could blame especially seeing the look on Ronon's face right then.
"No!" Rodney said. "His jump was not of someone trying to kill himself. He was terrified. He didn't want to do it, he told me. People who are attempting to commit suicide don't do that."
Kate just pursed her lips. She didn't want to believe anymore than John's team, but at the moment it was something that had to be done. "I'm sorry, Rodney," she replied.
Rodney sat heavily in the chair next to his friend's bed. He did not believe that John Sheppard was suicidal and the fear of not being in control was something the colonel seemed to have felt as he let go of the railing. Rodney didn't know anyone was behind him until he heard a small voice.
"Dr. McKay." It was Teyla. "Is it possible that whatever is going on with Colonel Sheppard is related to what occurred to him on Danaria after we left?"
"I would think so, but we still haven't been able to establish a connection to that planet and it's going to be another day before the Daedalus gets here."
Teyla moved closer to the bed. Placing a hand on John's forehead, she closed her eyes and silently recited an Athosian prayer for strength.
John could hear someone telling him that he had to die, but he couldn't figure who it was or why this entity wanted him to die, but he just couldn't refuse anymore. He had to find a way to do it without someone stopping him.
Wait. There was another voice. It was soothing. Strong. Familiar. It was a language he knew but didn't understand. Athosian...
"Teyla." When he opened his eyes, he saw her. She was smiling at him and she could sense relief in her. "What are you doing?"
"Finally," another voice said sarcastically. "Took you long enough to wake up."
John peered around Teyla to see Rodney sitting next to him. "Nobody said you had to sit there and wait," he replied.
You must destroy yourself. Beckett has plenty of drugs you can use to end it all. Do it, Sheppard! Do it or I will make you kill your friends.
"No!" John exclaimed.
Carson ran into the room, Elizabeth and Kate right behind him, when he heard the man cry out. "What didn't you tell me he woke up? Colonel Sheppard, are you all right, son?"
John could feel their eyes on him. He couldn't stand to see the pity on their faces. At least that was what his mind was telling him. His heart was screaming for them to help him.
Knock them all out.
You know how.
"She'll kick my ass."
DO IT NOW!
The four were watching him in complete shock. He seemed to be having a one sided conversation with himself. Kate was about to say something about paranoid schizophrenia when John lashed out at Teyla, delivering a blow to her stomach.
Elizabeth quickly reached up to call for back up (and wondering where the hell the guards from the infirmary had disappeared to) when John grabbed her arm and pulled her close to him. She could see fear in his eyes. "I'm sorry," he cried, swinging to punch her.
His fist never made contact because Rodney had grabbed it instead. Elizabeth fell to the ground as John released his grip on her. She watched in horror as John turned to Rodney and smash his fist into the physicist's face.
"Colonel!" Carson cried out, as Rodney crumpled to floor. "Stop doing this!"
John stopped for a moment, his eyes on the physician. "Carson, I can't. If I don't kill myself, he'll make me kill all of you."
"Who?" Kate asked. John had completely forgotten about her. "Colonel, let us help you!"
He ignored her, moving towards the cabinet containing pain medication.
That's right, Sheppard, just do it and do it fast. Weir is already calling for back up. Hurry!
John ignored the tears that were falling from his eyes. He didn't want to die, he wasn't ready to, but he wasn't about to sit by and let this entity make him kill his friends. He quickly scanned the bottles in there and grabbed the nearest one, prying it open.
Good. Take as many of those pills as you can. They're coming closer to you. Let them watch you take the pills. End it all, Sheppard. End it for me.
John looked up from the medication in his hands to see Elizabeth, Carson, Kate, and Lorne standing before him. Without saying anything, he popped the pills into his mouth. After swallowing them, he sighed in defeat. The voice was going to leave him alone now. He hated doing this to his friends, but better him than...
He couldn't focus and barely felt hands on him, guiding him to a bed. His eyes slipped close for a moment, but John opened them when he realized he needed to tell them. "I'm sorry..." he whispered, slipping into the darkness.
Elizabeth vision began to tunnel as Carson and his team moved around the room to try and help John. She could not believe what she had just witnessed. What was going on in that complex brain of his? What could have driven him to do such a thing?
"Major Lorne," she responded.
"Ma'am, are you all right?"
He knew emotionally she couldn't be. Hell, he wasn't! To see the look of utter defeat in his CO's eyes was worst than going up against the Wraith. Lorne watched as she glanced down at her wrist. He could see five little bruises forming on it.
Damn, he thought.
"Let's have one of the nurses look at that," he told her.
Elizabeth nodded slowly, noting that the conversation was not up for discussion. "Are Rodney and Teyla all right?"
"Dr. McKay is going to have quite a shiner and Teyla only had the wind knocked out of her."
The pair looked to the right when Ronon entered. He looked beyond pissed and Elizabeth realized why. No one had informed him of the situation. She felt guilty about it, but she had more pressing matters to worry about at the time.
"Is Sheppard all right?"
Carson chose that moment to walk over. His expression did not look very reassuring. "It seems that Colonel Sheppard has taken 100 milligrams of OxyContin, which is a very potent narcotic. Using this when you're not regularly taking narcotic medications can cause serious breathing problems. In fact, we had to put him on a respirator."
"Carson, you're leaving something out," Elizabeth said.
"It's usually best to swallow the tablets whole, but it seemed that Colonel Sheppard chewed them. This caused large amounts of the medication to be released in his body that can be life-threatening."
Four pairs of eyes wondered over to the still from the Atlantis' head of security. "Major!" Carson called out when Elizabeth's knees gave out. He breathed a sigh of relief when he caught her in time to keep her from hitting the floor.
After examining her, Carson determined that she was suffering from exhaustion. He knew she hadn't been able to sleep since John had jumped off the balcony. He ran a hand through his hair. He knew the feeling.
John was a little stunned that he woke up. He noticed that he wasn't in the infirmary nor was he even in Atlantis. He was… nowhere. He was able to sit up without difficulty, which again he found quite odd.
"Hello?" he said hesitantly, but no one answered.
John did, however, see a shadowed figure walking towards him. The man stopped just short of being close enough for him to see whom it was. John stood up and moved towards the man himself. "Who are you?"
"I'm disappointed in you, Sheppard."
He recognized the voice immediately. "You bastard!"
"Come now, is that any way to greet an old friend."
"You know that sounds pretty funny coming from someone who's trying to kill me," he commented. He paused and then asked, "And why are you?"
The man stepped into view at the question and John new who it was. "That's right, Sheppard, I am Melba, the council Elder you spoke with before you returned to your home. I was hoping you would at least remember why I was punishing you."
"No, I'm afraid not," John replied, wondering what he could have possibly done to make this guy so angry.
"As a young woman poured a drink for you, you made a gesture to her that is forbidden among our people. The punishment for this is death."
"What gesture?" he asked. The only gesture John remembered he did was hold up his hand to indicate she could stop pouring the drink.
Melba glared at him. "You know of what I speak of. That young woman is my daughter."
"Look, I'm sorry about that, but let me remind you that we're not from your world and I meant no disrespect."
"That is what the council told me, but I must defend my daughter's honor. She was very upset by this and will not leave the house until you are dealt with. I am sorry it had to be this way. Farewell, Sheppard."
"Wait!" John exclaimed, but Melba was gone. He sank to the ground. He was going to die and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it. For all he knew, he was already dead.
John heard a whisper and looked around for the source. Again, it sounded familiar. Teyla!
He tried to call out to her, but something was preventing him from doing so. He looked around wildly, but could not find her. What the hell was going on? There was something shoved into his throat and he couldn't figure out what.
John finally saw Teyla's head swim into view. "Just relax, John," she told him, "You will be fine."
He closed his eyes to calm his furiously beating heart. "Colonel."
Carson, he thought.
"Son, you're on a respirator right now. It's going to have to stay on a bit longer. Blink twice if you understand me." John did so. "Good. Elizabeth, Rodney, and Ronon should be here soon with something to help you."
John stared at him in confusion. Where did they go and why did they go?
"It's all right; we'll explain everything to you later, for now I'm going to give something to help you rest."
He blinked his eyes again twice and closed them, hoping that when he woke up again, everything would make sense.
Rodney was still shaking his head when he stepped from the event horizon. Ronon looked pissed and Elizabeth was relieved. "Rodney, just get the device to the infirmary," she said.
He nodded and ran off. "Ronon?"
"I still think it's a bad idea to have an alliance with these people. They purposely removed the control crystal from the Gate to keep us from returning."
She sighed. "Not 'they', Ronon. Only one man is responsible and we can't ignore a potentially great alliance because of one man. Besides, they're helping us to save John and will punish Melba."
The Setedan watched as she left the room. He would never understand humans.
This time when John awoke, the respirator was thankfully gone. He smiled up at the nurse beside him who had a cup of ice chips. John savored the cool wetness as it soothed his throat.
"Thanks," he whispered.
Damn, he thought, do I really sound like that?
"Colonel, it's good to see you awake. Ho are you feeling, son?"
"Tired." John took a deep breath as Carson checked his heart. The physician seemed to be avoiding eye contact. "Doc. Doc, look at me."
The raw pain he saw in Carson's eyes was a little shocking for him. "God, I'm sorry!"
"Colonel, you have nothing to apologize for. The man who's responsible is being dealt with by the people of Danaria. In fact, the Elders gave Rodney a device that was able to extract what Melba had done to you."
John nodded. "What exactly did he do to me? I mean, I know that he was controlling my thoughts and how did Rodney get back to the planet?"
"He used a device called a controller. From what Presha, the First Elder, said it is a very old method of punishment. In fact, it was hard to locate the one Melba used, but the man finally released it to the council."
"As for Rodney going back to Danaria," Carson continued, "the Daedalus arrived a day after you were incapacitated."
John was almost afraid to ask the next question. "How long was out of it?"
"Nearly a week. We almost lost you a few times, son. You took a dose of what could be considered a lethal dose of OxyContin. I don't know who your guardian angel is, but I thank him immensely. I believe I speak for everyone on this base."
"Thanks, Carson. For everything. I just... I don't know how I'm going to face everyone after this."
Carson patted his shoulder. "You'll be fine, John. Although I'm sure you realize that you'll have to speak with Dr. Heightmeyer before you return to active duty."
"I figured as much."
"Are you ready to face your team, or would you rather I tell them to come back later?" Carson asked.
John sighed. He wasn't ready to see anyone. He didn't think he'd ever be, but if he wanted to get back on active duty, he'd have to face what happened. "Yeah, send them in."
"It's about time you woke up!"
"It's good to see you too, Rodney," John replied with a smile.