Food Chain by Daryl Ann

Chapter 5: Familiar

A/N: Poor Ronon, poisoned for a whole year! Thought it was time to resolve this story and move on to another. Many thanks, and humble apologies to anyone who was at the edge of their seat waiting for updates. I hope to post complete fics only from now on... oh, and also I don't own any of these characters,etc..,etc... Time to get them out of limbo so I can borrow them again!

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By some bizarre twist the lingering wraith componant of Teyla's genetic makeup plus the fact that she had absorbed the poison indirectly as opposed to being 'stung' by a thorn seemed to have contributed to her sysems'abilities to recover quite nicely.

While Teyla had made steady progress, Carson worked feverishly toward isolating the unique protein which seemed to attack and break down the structure of the poison, allowing the harmless broken down componants to be flushed from the body naturally, or in Ronon's case by dialysis.

Carson scrubbed his left hand over his face then lifted yet another steaming cup to his lips. He worried a bit longer over the computer monitor which displayed results of the first and unfortunately only trial they would be able to conduct. This was so far from proper research and medical practice. He was playing roulette with a friend's life... Dammit! What he needed now was more time...more tests, ...more...

"Doctor Beckett! Come quickly! Mr. Dex's readings have become even more erratic and dangerously low!"

The night nurse hurried past Teyla's bedside as she made the doctor aware of Ronon's worsening conditon. The rapidly recovering Athosian was on her feet albeit unsteadily and at Ronon's bedside in mere seconds.

Beckett gently wedged himself between Teyla and the failing warrior. He kept one arm around Teyla as he divided his attention between keeping her from falling and attempting to assess Ronon's condition.

"Ye really need ta be back in bed, Teyla!"

The nurse swiftly arrived to assist, and after stubbornly taking several unsteady steps on her own, Teyla reluctantly acquiesced. She would return to her bedside leaning into the support it provided only momentarily to regain what little strength she was able.

The information streaming from the monitors was absorbed and quickly registered by Doctor Beckett who frantically tapped his earpiece. "Colonel Sheppard! Rodney!"

He expertly adjusted the flow of the IV drip and administered a slightly amber fluid into the port.

"Carson!" Both parties responded nearly simultaneously.

Carson answered as he hovered over Ronon almost protectively. "I know I chased you both out for your own good, but I'm afraid I need ya ta get here quickly. Beckett out."

In mere seconds John Sheppard and Rodney McKay arrived at the infirmary, their faces masks of dread and concern.

Teyla stood somewhat ubsteadily at the periphery, giving the medical staff their necessary space in which to work. She tore her gaze from Ronon's prone form and addressed her team mates.

"There has been a change in Ronon's condition."

Both turned toward Carson who was not at all surprised at their near instantaneous arrival. He cocked his head in the direction of the big man in the center bed.

"I knew the lot 'a you wouldna gone far...I'm afraid it's now or never. I'da liked more time."

"It's ready, then?" Rodney ventured hopefully.

Sheppard could not take his eyes from Ronon as he lowered his voice. "You don't sound so sure, Doc."

"That's just it, I'm not! Teyla's condition has improved dramatically which would support what I think we're about ta do here, but I can't say for sure at this point."

"We will all stand behind your decision, Carson. You said yourself, it is now or never.Ronon will surely die if nothing is done quickly. I believe I speak for us all when I say this is Ronon's only hope for survival."

Teyla looked to each of her team mates who nodded solemnly.

Carson's unease was nearly palpable as all eyes locked onto his, each holding a shimmer of hope for their most powerful teammate. The decision to use an unproven substance, and on a friend... so much hope...

...There had been hope as well on Hoff... The mere thought of how badly that had ended nearly left him breathless. What kind of a Doctor have I become?

Carson averted his eyes as he paled considerably.

Her realization of the physician's internal struggle dawned suddenly, then Teyla spoke quietly yet with a conviction that belied her slightly weakened state. " It is not the same, Carson. You know that if Ronon could speak, he would demand that you take action."

"She's right, Doc." John gently rested one hand on the Satedan's blanketed form. "It's not at all like Hoff. He's gonna die if we don't try this."

John's use of 'we' didn't go unnoticed. Rodney simply nodded in agreement. His uncharacteristic lack of words a testament to the gravity of the situation.

"I almost hate what I've become in this God forsaken galaxy! Bloody Dr. Moreau." Carson exhaled the weight of the world as he began a new IV containing the potentially life saving solution.

"Now, if his body doesn't reject it, the kidney dialysis should be able to filter the by-products from his system. Unfortunately it may take some time. I need to infuse it slowly thereby decreasing the risk of shock or allergic reaction."

"I'm painfully aware of that kind of danger Carson, but what about ..."

"Right, Rodney. Even with meds to manage a reaction, it could kill him in the state he's in, so I'd rather be a little cautious. Time is runnin' out, and although I can't take the time I ought ta with this, I'll speed things up if it looks like he's handling the dosage."

"What can we do, Carson?" Teyla's voice nearly a whisper as it wavered ever so slightly.

"Stay with him, lass. We don't know what he can or can't hear or feel."

Teyla had already begun to nudge Rodney toward a bedside chair. She was herself feeling exhausted beyond that which she had ever felt. Another chair suddenly appeared and John's hand applied firm yet gentle pressure to her shoulder as he guided her to be seated.

He curtailed the urge to pace the floor as he turned toward the equally worried and frustrated physician. "What do we do now, Doc.? "

"All we can do now is wait."...

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"No offense, but should you even be here? I mean, it's been like what, a week? Are you even up to this?"

McKay's annoyance-laced query wasn't fooling anyone on the team, Ronon included.

The robust Satedan's power of recovery had amazed even the medical staff once the infusion had begun. From the first nervously monitored driplets through the IV line, to the more aggressive administration of the life saving treatment, Ronon's life signs had shown steady improvement. He awoke three hours later with a startled gasp and had nearly taken a swing at Sheppard who was leaning too closely over him calling his name... Ronon had winced in response to a throbbing residual headache , his squinted and slightly unfocused eyes roamed from one side of the bed to the other. A heavy sigh and slightly perplexed "What the Hell?" had been met by the joyous sounds of his team welcoming him back to the land of the living.

Rodney's thinly veiled concern resurfaced in the form of complaints as they made their way through the dense overgrowth of flowering plants.

"Hey, don't think I'm carrying your stuff if you're still sick. I mean, the knives alone... and then if we have to slow down we'll be here all day, and I was hoping to get back in time for the cook's newest recipe...Anyway, what I mean is, if you need to stop or anything..."

"Doc says I'm good," Ronon grunted, as he picked up the pace just enough to make it uncomfortable for Rodney to keep up.

"Well kids,...Let's see what the nice planet has to offer!"

Sheppard took the lead as the troublesome dense foliage slowed their progress. Ronon resumed his familiar position bringing up the rear.

"Is it just me, or does this place remind you guys of..."

"NO!, no way! I mean, ...not exactly. 'Thorns-of Death' planet had, um...well, ok, so pretty similar..right down to some not-so-lovely suspicious looking yellow flowers.

"Let's just get back to work,. Seriously,what are the chances?"

Teyla smiled. Her team was whole again. Just hearing the conversation of the three men who accompanied her was music to her ears. As quickly as the playful expression had graced her features, however, it was replaced with one of caution and uncertainty.

As if on cue, the group came to a sudden halt. The occasional dainty yellow florals dotting the landscape here and there had become so numerous that it was impossible to avoid contact with them if they were to continue.

Teyla and John shared a look which said, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

"COME ON! Not Again! I cannot believe this is happening again, we are so screwed...does anyone even remember the EXACT steps we took? Because I sure don't ...and another thing...since our last ill-fated outting on the planet of lethal surprises, I really think it would be prudent if we wore the haz-mats for first contact. You know, for just in case of..,"

Taking their cue from Ronon who was behind Rodney, and grinning widely as he held one finger to his lips in a 'shush-ing' gesture, Teyla and John relaxed their pensive alert as they realized what was about to happen.

Ronon had recognized the subtly different flower as one popular on Sateda as a natural insect repellant. He had plucked and gathered a rather impressive assortment of the beneficial brightly hued flora after he'd resumed his usual position while the others had proceeded ahead of him through the denser growth.

They couldn't help but smile at the somewhat rediculous image of their larger, more rugged teammate approaching Dr. Rodney McKay with a veritable bouquet of delicate flowers.

"Oh, sure, let's all mock the genius' idea. It's all fun and games until someone gets a poison thorn in the..."

And at that moment Ronon chose to tap McKay on the shoulder with what was instantaneously, and loudly referred to as 'that goddamned bouqet of death' by Rodney as he stumbled and swatted at the petaled 'threat' reflexively, as one would at a kamikazi buzzing insect.

"Are you INSANE?" Have you lost you mind? That could be, could be...um... WHAAAT is everyone smiling about?"

"No thorns McKay."

" We used these on Sateda to keep the bugs away. I know how much you hate bugs."

"Oh, hah,hah...I think I'll take my chances with the bugs, flower child. You can keep your flower power to yourself!"

"Well, if you two are finished playing 'loves-me,loves-me-not', we can get going."

Sheppard grinned and Teyla rolled her smiling eyes as they continued once more as a team into the unknown.

THE END

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A/N: Whew! It's done! :o)