Please see first chapter for disclaimer, rating, warnings, pairings, etc.
"Give me your radio," Kyana said as she held her hand out.
Jake handed it to her. "What are you doing?" he asked.
Kyana smiled, trust me written in her eyes. She put on the headset and activated it. "Uncle John, we need orders. Who's next?" she asked, trying not to let her exhaustion seep through into her voice.
John immediately answered. "Tell Jake to meet Teyla outside room four. Kyana, just stand by. You'll be next with your dad in five when the guy wakes up."
"Wakes up? It's been almost a day. Does dad's weapon work that well?" Kyana asked. She'd only used the thing once, but it had been on the kill setting. Other than that, she didn't know that much about her dad's blaster – nor did she care to.
"No, he woke up a long time ago, got tired, and went back to sleep," John told her, laughter vibrating across the radio waves to her.
Kyana chuckled in response. "Thank you. See you later," she said. She terminated the connection and gave Jake his headset back. "Let's go to room four, you'll be with my mom," Kyana told Jake, trying to muster up the energy to stand up.
"If you're not going in, why don't you go to sleep?" he asked as he helped her up.
Kyana blinked a little and tried to look awake and alert. "No, I want to stay with you," she said. She stuck out her lower lip in a pout and gave him the eyes that her mom always used on her dad – and which usually worked.
Jake obviously wasn't as susceptible. "No, Kya. Get some sleep – I'm serious. I'll send someone to wake you when it's your turn," he insisted.
Kyana decided not to tell him that she was going to be meeting her dad in less than five minutes for her next questioning session. "Okay," she said in a falsely resigned tone. She had no intent of actually going to bed, but if it made him happy to think that she was sleeping, then she'd let him think that.
Jake shot her an I'm serious, Kya! look, then draped an arm over her shoulder as they walked to his interrogation room together. When they got there, Teyla was already in the room, standing in the corner eyeing the suspect. He was standing at the table, looking back just as intently.
"So, this is it," she said. She leaned up to give Jake a kiss on the cheek and then turned to go. "Kya," he said, stopping her with a hand on her shoulder.
"Yeah?" she asked, feeling a flutter in her stomach at the look in his eyes.
"I had a lot of fun in there," he told her as he took a step closer to her.
"Me too," she said as she leaned forward and kissed him again, this time on the lips. She turned to leave again, knowing she shouldn't be late to meet her father.
"Kya!" Jake yelled after her.
"What?" she asked, walking backwards down the hall.
"Go to sleep."
They went their separate ways.
It was more like half an hour later when Ronon and Kyana entered the interrogation room, he slightly ahead of her.
Kyana yawned. Maybe I should've listened to Jake and gotten some sleep. Even twenty minutes would be better than none. She shook that thought away and turned to watch her dad start the interrogation.
"What's your name?" her father asked. There was a definite growl in his voice.
"Um, Martin, my last name is Martin. I'm a maintenance guy here. I work for them, but just to pay the bills back home. Sorry, but this place is big on minimum wage," he said as he looked at Kyana. It was obviously that he was hoping that if he didn't look at Ronon, he would leave.
Kyana glanced up at the one-way window so see a profile. She kind of waved at it while Martin was looking at Ronon. The profile waved back, and Kyana smiled as she turned her attention back to the interrogation.
This was going to be a long night.
Jake leaned back against the wall as he left his and Teyla's interrogation. "That was far too easy, but right now I'm so tired it felt like we were in there for an hour."
Teyla smiled thinly. Exhaustion had painted dark circles beneath her eyes, and she looked ashen-faced. "I believe we all need some sleep." She swallowed hard and turned two shades paler. "Will you please excuse me? I am – not feeling well." She barely waited for Jake's nod before fleeing down the hall, one hand over her mouth. She looked sick – really sick.
Jake gazed worriedly after her. He knew that the stomach flu had been going around Atlantis on and off over the past few weeks, but he had assumed that the Dex family would be impervious. Apparently not. Then again, they were all tired – it may just be exhaustion.
He walked down the hall to Kyana and Ronon's interrogation room and keyed his headset. "I'm here," Jake said to John on the radio.
"Good. I just got a call from Teyla; she told me she'd brief me later." Sheppard sounded distracted. "How are Ronon and Kyana doin'?"
"I don't know, sir. It's too soon to say," he said as he watched Kyana and Ronon take turns interrogating Martin. He could hear their dialogue over the intercom system in the hall.
"Who's leading it?" John asked.
"Ronon. He's doing the classic 'If you don't' give me answers, I'll tear you limb-from-limb' act," Jake said. He'd been on the receiving end of that look more times than he cared to count – a price he was willing to pay for loving the man's beautiful, smart, and strong daughter.
"What's this guy's name?" John asked. Now he just sounded tired.
"Martin, sir. I feel sorry for him. Ronon doesn't even know that I'm here, and he's scaring me," Jake said genuinely. Kyana, however, did. She waved at him, and Jake quickly reciprocated.
John chuckled. "I'll tell you when Teyla starts feeling better, then you two can brief me on your interrogation. Sheppard out."
Jake turned his entire focus on the action.
"What are you hiding?" Ronon asked. His patience had already worn thin; it was now nearly at the breaking point.
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend," Martin responded coyly, looking at Kyana.
Kyana sighed and leaned toward her father. "Um, Dad—" she tried to suggest something, but her voice was so low the mic didn't catch it.
Ronon could very clearly be heard. "No, Kyana, this kid knows something." Ronon looked at Martin and saw that the guy obviously felt bad for Kyana.
Jake almost grinned.
"I guess you could take over for a minute," Ronon said as he walked over to the corner, his hands up in an I give up expression.
"I'm sorry about him. What does the enemy thing mean?" Kyana asked Martin, all innocence.
"Whatever you want it to." The way Martin worded it made it seem that he had all the answers.
"So you said they paid you? I thought that it was a morals thing," Kyana said.
Jake narrowed his eyes. It was the first time he'd noticed that Martin was slightly better dresses then most of the Atlantis personnel.
"Well, your morals are easily swayed when someone offers you three times your salary," Martin said as he leaned back, almost proud of himself.
"How do they make that kind of money to pay you?" Kyana asked.
"Why should the cat make the bread when the little red hen will do it?" was Martin's smooth response.
Kyana sent a started look in her father's direction. "What?" She turned back to Martin and leaned forward, once more going for subtle intimidation.
"When you have a man in every department, things tend to get lost. Accidentally, of course." He said as he leaned forward.
Kyana automatically leaned back in response and stood up. That had been a little too close for comfort.
Jake scowled. "Sir, I think we're getting somewhere," he said into his radio he turned to the hallway. He didn't like how they were getting there, but at least the guy was talking.
"Good, come up to Elizabeth's office. Teyla isn't feeling any better, so she said to go on without her." There was a pause, then, "No, belay that. I'm hungry. Meet me in the commissary."
Jake chuckled. "Five minutes, sir." He took off running.
Jake walked in to see John with two plates of food, one of which was half devoured.
"Thanks for waiting for me, sir," O'Neill said sarcastically as he sat down.
Sheppard looked up and smiled a little. "What? I said I was hungry. Plus, you said five minutes; it's been ten. I didn't start eating until you were late," John said as he took a bite of mashed potatoes.
"I had to make a pit stop," Jake said as he grabbed the other plate and dug in. He hadn't realized before, but he was hungry, too.
The two men ate in silence before John finally asked Jake what he and Teyla had found out.
Jake took a quick sip of water before responding. "Pretty much, we learned that this guy, Murphy, is pretty high up on the chain of command with OE. The thing that's strange is – as far as Atlantis goes – he's a handyman, and a bad one at that. He's been known to tear more things up than fix them." Jake spoke between bites.
"That is weird," John agreed. He looked worried.
"Not really, sir. I mean, the main goal is to mess with anything that they disagree with. That's why this guy is up on the OE ladder, he is the spine that holds it together. He knows what he's doing. He's walking a very fine line, but he's doing it marvelously," Jake explained, and ate his corn.
Sheppard narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. "I see. What else did you find out?" the Colonel had now made it all the way to his pie.
"Nothing much, just little things here and there that he's done. He was very selective about what he told us. I think he figures the stuff he told won't do anything to hurt OE in the long run." A thought struck. "Oh! One interesting fact: you know how last month, you bet that powering up the alien device would blow the lights and Doctor McKay said it wouldn't?" Jake asked around a mouthful of food.
"Yeah, I won a week's pay," John said proudly.
Jake made an apologetic face. "Actually, sir, no you didn't. Murphy doesn't like McKay so, when Rodney wasn't looking, he cranked up the power supply for just long enough to blow a fuse," Jake said as he took a drink of water.
John was silent, trying to figure out what to do with this information. "Don't tell Rodney," was all that he could come up with.
Jake grinned briefly. "Deal. Now, this Martin guy said they're paying people off to help them. Martin's in maintenance and wasn't getting enough money." Jake finished his meal and stood up. "I'm getting pudding, do you want any?" Jake asked John.
"No, but I got you some Jell-o, eat it." Sheppard motioned to Jake's tray.
"I hate Jell-o." Jake made a face and dropped off his tray, returning a moment later with his chocolate pudding.
"So, is that it?" John asked, finished with his meal. He was now well into a cup of coffee.
"No, he said a couple weird things, but it was all gibberish. I think he's trying to throw us off. With your permission, sir, I'd like to get back there," Jake said as he finished the pudding and reached for Sheppard's tray. He'd drop it off on his way out.
"Go ahead – and thanks, Lieutenant." John motioned toward the door.
Jake nodded and went in the opposite direction, grabbed two more trays, and headed back to the interrogation room. He knew Ronon and Kyana would probably be hungry when they finished up with Martin.
When Jake got back to the interrogation room, he pulled up a chair to watch.
Things had switched while he was gone. Now Kyana was in the corner and Ronon was stalking back and forth in front of Martin.
Martin was visibly shaking, obviously intimidated by Ronon's mere presence.
"I'm going to ask you this one more time: Who are the people that you work for?" Dex asked as he put his hands on the table in leaned in close to Martin. His eyes were narrow and dangerous.
"It's moments like these that makes me glad that I'm on his good side – most of the time," Jake muttered to himself.
"Okay!" Martin cowered backwards. "They're separatists, like the NID's Trust operation. They're working for the IOA. It doesn't go all the way up, there aren't enough a lot of people in the IOA organization that know about us. If you ask me, it's a freak accident that you caught us. The guys that I'm working for are usually really sharp. If we had stuck to our first method, we could've gone unnoticed indefinitely." Martin said this with a strange ease, like it was good to get it off his chest.
He didn't really mind spilling his guts, Jake thought with a little amusement. I guess the knowing that if he didn't spill his guts, Ronon would do it for him helped.
"Oh, what do you think their biggest downfall was?" Kyana asked as she stepped forward and entered back into the interrogation.
Martin quite gladly switched his focus back to Kyana. "Honestly, I don't think they have the big picture. They're so focused on making sure that Atlantis stays secure against themselves, they don't even know who the bad guys are. Their minds have been corrupt to the point that they can't even understand. Trust me, I've tried all that I can without getting killed."
That got attention.
"Killed? Why not just fired?" Ronon asked. This revelation opened a new door, with rather disturbing truths behind it. Jake had known that these IOA rebels were ruthless, but he'd just thought that they were after the Dexes.
My gosh, this is much bigger than we could have ever imagined. Suddenly, they were no longer in control. In hindsight, Jake realized that from the beginning, they never really had been.
Well, that's an extremely disconcerting truth. Jake shook of a sudden unconscious chill.
"Once OE, always OE," Martin was saying when O'Neill tuned back in to the conversation. "One of the good things about being with them is that there are no secrets; the bad thing is that everyone knows too much. It's different with them, a lot different. If you ask me, it's good to be out of it." The man certainly didn't look like he was lying.
"I think that we have all that we need." Ronon nodded to the two SFs at the back of the room, and they came forward and escorted Martin out.
Once he was gone, Jake entered with the food. "You guys did great! I think you found more out from him than everyone else put together. You make a great team. Here, I brought you food," Jake said as he sat the trays on the table.
"Is Teyla any better?" Ronon ignored the compliments altogether. He looked calm, but an undercurrent of concern lingered in his voice and eyes.
"No, last I heard, she was still vomiting." Jake tried not to sound too worried. As if they didn't already have enough problems – the last thing they needed was someone getting sick.
"I'm going to check on her. Thanks." Ronon picked up his sandwich and ate it as he walked.
Once he had left, Kyana and Jake sat at the table together and they talked while Kyana ate.
Just as she was finishing, they heard over the intercom: "OE investigation team, we need you in Elizabeth's office. That means everyone."
Jake and Kyana stood up, and he grabbed her tray for her as they went through the door and down the hall. They were turning a corner when they heard Sheppard's afterthought: "with the exception of Teyla, of course."
They both chuckled, though it was obvious they were concerned about Teyla. After a quick tray drop-off, they headed to Doctor Weir's office.
They walked in to see that everyone else, including Teyla and Ronon, were waiting on them. John, Elizabeth, Ronon, Teyla, Jake, Kyana, and even Rodney crowded into the room. It was a claustrophobic's worst nightmare.
John didn't seem to be bothered as he offered a general smile to the room. "Good job, folks, we've done it. We have our answers, and we have a list. We're assembling a team right now to apprehend our buddies. You've all done a good job. Now, let's get some rest," John said to everyone from the center of the room.
He turned to face Ronon and Teyla, the latter of whom still looked tired and too pale. "I'm glad you're better, Teyla. We were starting to get worried," John said to her.
"Thank you, but I think it was just exhaustion, I had not had any food or water in almost a day. I suppose I deserved it," she said honestly, laughing very carefully.
Jake saw Kyana bite her lip. He glanced back and noticed how Teyla was leaning into her husband's side, looking grateful for the arm he had around her.
From the expression on Sheppard's face, he noticed it too. "Get some rest," he repeated.
Kyana shook her head and turned to Jake. "What time is it?" she asked.
"Noon," he said, frustrated. "We're going to be jet lagged for a long time," he said, laughing weakly as he sagged bonelessly into a chair.
"What's jet lag?" Kyana asked curiously.
Jake didn't want to answer so he ignored the question and let Doctor Weir answer for him.
Jake closed his eyes for a moment and drew the vestiges of his strength to himself. He needed to do this. "Requesting permission to lead the team to apprehend the OE, sir?" Jake said as he looked at John.
Sheppard regarded the look in his eye and hesitantly said: "Permission granted on one condition. If you fall asleep, you'll be taken off duty for two days. Is that understood?" His tone brooked no arguments.
"Yes sir," Jake said as he headed out. Kyana followed him and had almost caught up with him when she opened her mouth to ask a question.
"Yes, Kya, you can come. Let's go."
She smiled at him.
Jake smiled back. Please let nothing get between us again.
Later that evening, John walked out onto his and Elizabeth's balcony to see her leaning against the railing, gazing over the ocean with a little smile on her face.
She turned to look at him as he leaned next to her. "What's going on?"
"Jadin's got his brace on and he's already walking around. Kyana and Jake are playing Monopoly with all three kids to stay awake until nighttime. So far, everyone is happy and safe. We've officially gotten rid of all the men on the list. We replaced the current IOA leader with a new one that we can trust, and things are up and running again," he said proudly.
"Do you really think that's it? Problem's solved?" Elizabeth asked honestly, her intense gaze drilling into him.
John hesitated, then sighed heavily. How much he wished he could believe that. . . "No. But, on the bright side, at least it's safe to resume regular activities." He avoided his wife's gaze, choosing to entrance himself with the waves lapping at the outer pier.
"And you did it all by yourself." There was a teasing lilt in Elizabeth's voice. As she spoke, she slid an arm around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder.
"I just did what you would do," he said as he hugged her tightly to his side.
"Look, the sun's almost setting. It's hard to think that all of this has happened in just over 48 hours. It's been rough," Elizabeth said, looking up at him with tired but content green eyes.
"Yeah, let's hope that tomorrow is better." And that's all they said. They stayed and watched the sunset, then went inside to get some much-needed rest.
Teyla bit her lip and glanced over her shoulder. Kyana and Jadin were both safely tucked in bed, and Ronon had been so exhausted he hadn't realized she'd gotten back up. For now, she didn't want them to know she had sneaked out of their quarters to come to the infirmary.
She had tried to glaze over how horrible she was feeling so Kyana and Jadin wouldn't know. However, there was no way she could hide it from her husband. He knew her much better than that, and she could see how worried he was.
It didn't help her feel any better about what could possibly be going on with her.
The infirmary lights were dimmed to nightly levels when she came in, but she knew the place so well she didn't stumble over anything on her way to Carson's office.
Beckett looked up tiredly from paperwork when she appeared in the doorway. He looked shocked to see her. "Lass! Ye look awful. Come in, come in, and sit down before ye fall down."
Thank you for the vote of confidence, Teyla thought tiredly as she sank into the proffered chair. "I came here to talk to you so no one else would know."
Carson looked concerned. "Doctor/patient confidentiality, love. Just between you and me. What?"
Teyla closed her eyes and bit her lip again. Saying it would make it real, make it possible. But she had to get it out, just in case.
"Doctor Beckett, I-I think there is something terribly wrong with me."
The next fic in the series, "A Runner's Love," will be up soon! It will be written by fyd818. I promise it will answer all the questions the end of this fic just raised. I hope you enjoyed "Love's Enduring Struggle," thanks for reading!