Title: Integrity of the Mind
Disclaimers: Unfortunately none of these awesome characters belong to me.
Notes: And I don't know why I keep writing mind fics, but I hope everyone enjoys this anyway and possibly leaves a review or two. Thanks for reading!
"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Elizabeth and John were heading back to the Gate after negotiations with the government on the planet they were visiting fell through. The people of this world wanted nothing to do with anyone and merely wished to be left alone.
Rodney, Teyla, and Ronon had been checking out energy readings that had been detected by the MALP, but they called and said they were coming back empty handed. Rodney was disappointed to say the least and no doubt voicing his disappointment to Ronon and Teyla.
John glanced over at Elizabeth. She was really quiet and he could have sworn he saw twinge in pain. "You okay?" he asked when she didn't acknowledge his stare.
Elizabeth paused, reaching up to touch her hand to her forehead. "Something's wrong," she replied.
"What do you mean?" Instead of replying, Elizabeth let out a blood-curdling scream and fell to her knees. John immediately rushed to her side. "Elizabeth!"
She clutched her head as pain she never experienced before pulsed through it. "John!" she gasped out.
"Sheppard, what's going on?" he heard Rodney cry out over the radio.
John could tell he was running because the scientist was out of breath. "I don't know, Rodney. Just give me a minute."
The pain started decreasing somewhat so Elizabeth took that moment to look up at John. "I feel as though someone is going through my mind," she said, almost out of breath. "It's like they're looking for something and..."
"Elizabeth!" John exclaimed again, but she lost consciousness. He looked up at his team who had arrived in time to see Elizabeth collapse in John's arms. "Get back to the 'Gate and tell them to have a med team standing by. I'll be right behind you."
Ronon nodded, pulling Rodney along with him and Teyla followed after.
But John barely had time to lift her off the ground. Weapons fire erupted all around him and he flung himself over Elizabeth's body to protect her. Someone grabbed him from behind and tossed him into the air like a rag doll.
John slammed into a tree and the last thing he saw was Elizabeth being taken away.
The rest of John's team came running back towards their friends when the first gunshot was heard. Looking around, they saw no sign of them or the shooters. "What's that?" Rodney asked, pointing at a black object on the ground.
Moving closer, they found it to be Elizabeth's backpack. "We must return to Atlantis for back up."
"And Carson," Rodney added.
"You guys go ahead, I'll start tracking them."
"Um, are you sure that's wise?"
"Do you have a better plan, McKay?"
Rodney shook his head as Teyla took his arm. "We should go now!"
Ronon headed in the opposite direction. He heard the roar of the Gate springing to life and close a few minutes later, then silence. There were no animals moving or making any kind of noise at all.
The silence was broken by more gunfire and a familiar cry. Ronon recognized it immediately as John's voice and rushed in the direction of it. He ducked behind some bushes so he wouldn't be seen and was shocked by what he was witnessing.
Elizabeth was pointing a gun at John, who was clutching his stomach in pain. Ronon could tell that whatever bullets were in that weapon had caused some serious damage because blood was seeping quickly through his fingers into a puddle on the ground.
"Elizabeth!" John said weakly. "Snap out of it! It's John!"
She cocked her head to the side as if contemplating his words. Elizabeth dropped the weapon and moved closer to him. John searched her eyes for any sign of his friend, but they were cold and distant. "You will be punished," she said in an unlike Elizabeth voice.
"Who is doing this?" John exclaimed, eyes darting back and forth. "Stop it! Leave her alone!"
With a smirk, Elizabeth yanked John's hand from his wound and slammed her fist into his stomach. John doubled over and fell to the ground. Ronon had enough of this and darted out from his cover. He set his weapon to stun and it struck Elizabeth in the back.
Ronon was surprised, to say the least that no one came after him.
"Ronon, this is Teyla, please respond."
"Yeah. Head down the path two clicks and make sure Doc's with ya."
"I'm here," Carson replied. "Is anyone injured?"
"Sheppard's bleeding out from a gunshot wound and Weir's unconscious," he replied, kneeling next to John.
They must have double-timed it because not even five minutes later, they were heading over to Ronon. "Bloody hell," Carson exclaimed, kneeling next to John. "What happened here?"
"Not sure. I mean, I saw what happened but I don't think I could I really explain why. I got here just after Weir shot Sheppard with that weapon over there. She didn't sound like herself at all. Then she punched him hard in the stomach."
At Ronon's description of what happened, Lorne and his team spread out to make certain no one else was coming at them. The Satedan decided to join them in keeping the area secure since there wasn't much he could do for his friends at the moment.
"Carson?" Rodney asked, paling at blood pouring quickly from John's stomach. He glanced at Teyla and one of the medics who were checking on Elizabeth. "Will Sheppard be all right?"
"He's lost way to much blood. Come here and give me a hand Rodney."
Rodney just continued to stare at all the blood. There was a lot and it was still coming out. He knew that wasn't a good thing. "He's going to die," Rodney whispered, swallowing around the lump in his throat.
"Rodney!" Carson said again. "I need you to focus and help me slow the bleeding. I have to stabilize him before we get back to Atlantis."
He blinked, kneeling next to Carson, and reached out to stem the flow of blood with the gauze that had been applied. "Sheppard, don't do anything stupid like dying," Rodney muttered.
Elizabeth woke up to the familiar sights and sounds of the infirmary. She attempted to bring a hand to her forehead when she realized she had been restrained. Unfortunately no one seemed to be around to tell her why she was restrained.
She could see a flurry of activity on the other side of the room, behind a privacy curtain but still no one noticed she was awake. Elizabeth took a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to remember what happened.
The last thing she remembered was leaving a planet with John and a sudden, but sharp pain in her head. However, she was no longer on the planet and John was not with her either. Elizabeth was extremely worried about her friend and hoped that the reason he wasn't there was that he was busy running things for her.
"No, stay away, John! I don't know what's wrong with me."
"It's all right, Elizabeth. I'm trying to help you."
Tears coursed down her cheeks. "I know you are, but whatever is controlling me wants me to kill you, John. I... I can't fight it."
"Yes you can! Look at me. You trust me, don't you?"
"I do," Elizabeth replied with a nod as John inched closer. "I trust you."
The moment John was five feet in front of her Elizabeth fired the weapon.
Elizabeth saw a nurse finally rushing towards her. "Dr. Weir, relax," she said.
"Where's John? Is he all right?"
The nurse tried her best not to make eye contact with Elizabeth. She was told not to say anything about John's condition until Carson could come see her. Although currently that didn't look like it was going to be anytime soon.
She looked up to feel a hand on her shoulder. Nodding at Teyla, she turned back to Elizabeth. "I'm going to get you a light sedative, Dr. Weir. You're going to be fine."
Once the young nurse was gone, Elizabeth broke down. "I killed him, didn't I, Teyla?"
"No, Elizabeth," Teyla replied, stepping closer to the bed. "John is very much alive. He's just..."
Elizabeth could not read the expression on Teyla's face. "He's just, what?"
"He is in an extreme amount of pain from the weapon used. It has gotten so bad that Carson cannot seem to control it with any of his medicines. He had to give John sedatives so he can rest."
She could not believe what she was hearing. The flashback was true she shot John! Elizabeth glanced at her hands. That explained the restraints. "What happened to me, Teyla?" she asked.
"We do not know. Major Lorne and his team returned to the planet in hope that they will learn something of these people. Elizabeth, you cannot blame yourself for this!"
"I can't help it, Teyla," she replied. "I remember everything that happened. I remember John telling me to fight it. I couldn't, I was too weak. My weakness nearly killed him and now he's suffering because of it."
Teyla did not know how to help her friend understand it was not her fault because truth be told, she would feel the same way. She sighed in relief when the nurse arrived with a needle. Teyla placed a hand on her forehead as the medicine was injected into Elizabeth's IV.
"Just rest now, Elizabeth. Everything will be all right."
As she drifted off to sleep, Elizabeth wanted so much to believe that were true.
Carson watched as all the color drained from Rodney's face. The scientist was trying to stay strong for John as his hand was being squeezed from the intense pain he was feeling. Carson then glanced over at Ronon, who looked ready to beat someone to a pulp.
Carson sighed. He had given John so much pain medication already that he didn't know what else to do seeing as his friend was still in a tremendous amount of pain. The bullet seemed to be serrated, causing massive bleeding and it seemed to have been fused into the lining of his stomach. Carson couldn't even begin to explain what was going on or what something like that could even do to a person.
"Yes, Joy," he replied, turning to face one of his nurses.
"Dr. Weir is awake and was asking about Colonel Sheppard. Teyla is with her now. I was going to see if it would be all right to give her a light sedative to help her relax."
Carson nodded. "Aye, Love, that'd be fine. I'll be over shortly because I've done all I can for him right now."
"He's strong, Doctor," Joy told him.
"Aye, that he is," Carson replied, glancing back at his patient.
After making certain John was as comfortable as possible and someone was sitting with him, Carson headed over to check on Elizabeth. "How did she take the news?" he asked Teyla.
"Not well. Elizabeth is finding it hard not to blame herself. Also, I feel that we should remove the restraints as it will only cause her further distress."
"That was what I was thinking as well," Carson replied, reaching to remove them.
"No, Carson!" Elizabeth said. "Leave them on, please."
Carson shook his head. "Nonsense, Elizabeth! You're fine."
"You can't know that for certain. I shot him and I knew what I was doing! I couldn't put the weapon down. I... I killed him."
"You didn't kill him, Elizabeth," Carson said, but she was avoiding his eyes. He reached over and took her face in his hands, forcing her to looking at him. "John is still alive and he isn't going to blame you for what happened. As soon as Major Lorne gets back we can find out what happened, until then you're going to rest and try not to think about it."
Elizabeth nodded, tears falling from her eyes. "Easier said then done, Carson, but I'll try."
"That's the Elizabeth I know," he replied, removing the restraints.
"Stop it now! Teyla will be sitting with you."
At this, Teyla nodded. "You will be fine, Elizabeth, I will make sure of that!"
Elizabeth looked up at the two of them and nodded slowly. "Okay," she acquiesced.
Carson met up with Major Lorne as the man came into the infirmary. "Hey Doc, how's Colonel Sheppard?"
"He's exhausted but every time he falls asleep, more pain erupts. Not even morphine isn't helping to combat it."
"Damn," Lorne muttered. "Maybe this will help."
"What is it?" Carson asked as he accepted the vial.
"Even though they weren't interested in direct trade, their government was shocked and sadden by what happened. Not only did they provide that, which is a pain medicine that will numb the area until the bullet dissolves..."
Carson blinked. "Wait a minute. It dissolves?"
"Yeah. Not sure how, I didn't really let them get into it. All I know is that they want to re-negotiate with Dr. Weir."
"Hold that thought for now, Major. Dr. Weir is still feeling responsible for what happened to Colonel Sheppard. We'll discuss what's going to happen next later. Right now I want to give this to my patient. Good work."
Lorne nodded. "Sure thing, Doc."
John Sheppard had experienced many painful things in his life, but this had to top it all. He had tried everything he could think of to stem the pain, but it wasn't working. Unfortunately he couldn't even pass out because of it.
He glanced over at Rodney, who had fallen asleep. John had since let go of his friend's hand because it seemed he had squeezed so hard that Rodney's fingers were bruised. Ronon was silently sitting in the corner and that was fine with John. Silent support was what he needed. It was like Ronon could actually do anything... unless.
"Hey, Ronon," John gasped out, wincing from the pain of moving to fast. "Why don't ya hit me with your stunner?"
Ronon was about to reply with a resounding, 'Hell, no!' When Carson came over saying those exact words. "Besides, Major Lorne brought something that just may help. Although I should probably test it first."
"Doc, I don't know how... much longer I can... can last like this. Just give it to me."
Carson sighed, but he understood completely. His friend was in a terrible amount of pain and just wanted it to be gone already. The only thing Carson was worried about were the substance's side effects, which they probably wouldn't know until an hour or so after John was given it.
"All right, Colonel. I'm going for the more direct approach, though. According to the Major, this will quickly dissolve that bullet. I'm going to cut you open again."
John nodded. "Do what you have to do, Carson."
Elizabeth had heard the conversation between Lorne and Carson regarding his trip to the planet. Although the Major didn't mention anything about what happened to her. However, that was what she needed to know.
What did those people do to her to make her want to kill John? Most importantly why? They had wanted nothing to do with her team yet she and John were unwilling pulled into some sort of plot.
Elizabeth wanted to know what game these people were playing and she was going to out now! She kicked off her blankets and was stopped by Teyla. "Elizabeth?"
"I'm fine, Teyla. I just need to find out what's going on and to do that, I have to go back to M1X523."
Teyla shook her head. "Not right now," she replied. "At least wait until Carson clears you to leave."
"No, Teyla. I am going now! You can come with me if you'd like, or not. I'd prefer you come, though."
Teyla sighed. "Very well. I will speak to one of the nurses and meet you in the Gateroom. May I suggest we bring Major Lorne and his team for back up?"
"Of course," Elizabeth replied with a nod, and then quickly ran out of the infirmary.
"Teyla." She turned to face Rodney. "Where's Elizabeth?"
"Tell Carson she would not stay. We are going back to the planet so Elizabeth can get answers."
Rodney's eyes widened. "What? Teyla, that's insane! It could very well happen again!"
"That I know, but until she learns the truth, the memory of what happened on that planet will haunt her."
He nodded slowly in understanding. "Right, then let her know that the stuff Lorne brought back seems to be working. Sheppard's finally sleeping comfortably and Carson's happy juices are kicking in. And the bullet is starting to dissolve."
Teyla smiled. "That is great news, Rodney. I will tell her. Let Colonel Sheppard know we are thinking of him."
"I will," Rodney replied with a sigh. "Now the next time he wakes up, I'm going to have to lie about where Elizabeth is which means I'm going to end up telling him because he'll know I'm lying."
Once Elizabeth and her team had been invited to the council hall where they first met, the Chancellor greeted them. "Dr. Weir, Ms. Emmagan. I am truly sorry for what has transpired on our world."
"How did something like this happen?" Elizabeth asked. She was still feeling guilty, but extremely happy that John was out of the woods and on his way to recovery. "My mind was taken over. I was helpless to stop myself from firing a weapon on Colonel Sheppard!"
The Chancellor nodded, regret pouring from his words. "I understand how you must feel, Doctor, and I only hope there is some way we can make it up to you. Some of our people have telepathic abilities. Few are even able to control the minds of others, mostly those who are not of our race.
"There were visitors here just before you. The Genii. They found one of our rogue telepath groups and kept telling them horror stories of what you had done to them. We have since punished those responsible, who realized all too late that they were being lied to."
Elizabeth took a deep breath, somehow knowing the answer to the question before asking it. "Who was the one who came here?"
"I believe he goes by the name of Acastus Kolya."
Lorne muttered a few choice words under his breath. "I couldn't agree more, Major," Elizabeth replied.
"I can see you know of him," the Chancellor stated. He could tell by the way the three before him were scowling. "We understand if you do not wish to trade with us, or even align yourselves with us to fight the Wraith."
Elizabeth held up her hand. "It's not that we wouldn't be interested in trade with you, Chancellor, but there are many factors why we shouldn't. At first your people wanted nothing to do with us. Now you're ready to be best friends. How can we be allies with people can control minds whether all of you can do it or not? I really want to believe that this can work out, but it may take some time to build that trust.
"However, we have a common goal here and that is the defeat of the Wraith. Since, as you said, the mind control is only in a handful of your people, we will consider reopening negotiations after I speak with my superiors."
John was very happy to be out of the infirmary. The past week and half had been agonizing and he only hoped that he would never feel that much pain again. Rodney told him of Elizabeth's desire to open trade with these people and it seemed that the IOA agreed with her (of course, they're never directly in the line of fire).
He was surprised that she had still yet to see him since that day. John believed he knew why, though. He definitely didn't have the monopoly on guilt but he knew what if felt like.
John found her in her office, staring blankly at the laptop in front of her. He didn't want to startle her, so he moved to sit down. She finally looked up after a few minutes, trying to hide a wince when she saw it was John.
"Hey, I'm not that bad looking, am I?"
Elizabeth chuckled, shaking her head. "No, John. I've been avoiding you, haven't I?"
He nodded. "Yeah, but it's all right. I understand."
"Yeah," Elizabeth replied distractedly, leaning back in her chair.
Even though the IOA had approved of becoming allies with those people, Elizabeth was having second thoughts. What if they used their telepathic abilities on her again? What if she was forced to do more than attempt to kill John... something she was still having trouble getting over.
Elizabeth was startled from her thoughts when she felt a hand on her shoulder. "Are you all right?" John was asking, concern on his face.
"John, I have to admit that I was foolish in thinking we should be allies with these people," she told him. "What if they take one of us over? What if they try to get us to destroy Atlantis. They have to know it exists by now. Whether Kolya told them or I gave it away when they..."
"Elizabeth, stop beating yourself up over this. First off, I'm fine. Secondly, as much as I'm a little leary about working with those guys, you were right. We need to trust someone because we're alone out here. Yeah, we have some allies here and there but we seem to make more enemies than allies and we're just going to have to trust that what happened will never happen again!"
"You're right, John." Elizabeth paused. "I know I was being controlled, but I just wanted to say how sorry I am that this happened."
John shrugged, then smiled. "Don't worry about it, Elizabeth. We've all done things we shouldn't have, even know we shouldn't have. We'll get through this like we get through everything."