Title: Threshold For Pain
Disclaimers: Not Mine.
"Take it easy, Colonel Sheppard. As long as you relax, you won't feel a thing."
John did not like the sound of that and despite the pain coursing through his veins, he squirmed in their grasp. It was like a thousand shards of glass were digging into him. He screamed loudly and was every grateful for the lost of consciousness.
"He lasted much longer than predicted," the man said as he removed the syringe from the arm of his latest experiment. "I wonder how many of his species has such tolerance to pain."
The blond woman next to him nodded as she took down notes of the experiment. "He is quite resilient Dr. Denauex. How did you find him?"
Denauex allowed his staff to move John to a secure room before he spoke up. "Colonel Sheppard was actually recommended by a good friend of mine from the Genii. He said he would be the perfect candidate for researching pain threshold."
"Ah, Commander Kolya, Doctor?"
"That's right, Mylissa." Denauex glanced at his watch. "We'll check on the Colonel's condition in an hour. Why don't you take a break until then?"
"I will, thank you," she replied with a smile.
John stirred when he felt a hand on his forehead. He could hear a soothing voice speaking to him. The voice sounded so familiar and he hadn't heard it in a long time. John wanted to open his eyes to see the face that went with that voice, but he was afraid it would go away the minute he did.
"Be strong, John," the voice was saying. "They'll be here to save you just as you have been there to save them."
John couldn't stand it anymore. He had to see her! Opening his eyes, John looked around the room, but she wasn't there. It was just as he feared. She was gone.
"Talking to yourself, Colonel Sheppard? That is not something one should be doing while surrounded by doctors in a hospital. Who knows what ideas they could come up with to try to help you?"
John was about to leap at the man, but realized for the first time that he was strapped to the bed. "Who the hell are you?"
"My name is Dr. Denauex and you, my dear Colonel, are my greatest discovery. It's been a week and I am beginning to see valuable results in regards to your pain threshold."
"My what?" John asked in disbelief. "And what do you mean it's been a week? You just captured me a few hours ago."
Dr. Denauex merely shook his head. "Memory loss. Most likely from the drugs we've been giving you. Your memories should come back in time. Now, Colonel, please tell me who this Elizabeth is you were speaking of?"
"That's not anything you need to worry about," John replied, face turning red. He tried to hide the anger in his voice, but he doubted very much that he was doing a good job of it.
"Colonel, not only can I give you drugs that will hurt physically, I can give you drugs that will force the truth and hurt you emotionally as well."
"Why are you doing this?"
Dr. Denauex did not reply. If the Colonel was not going to volunteer the information about this Elizabeth, he would just have to take it from him. "Very well, Colonel. My staff will be in shortly to bring you to the testing center."
Look, her heart was weak; her nervous system was fried ...
What did you do?
I reactivated the nanites.
Look, you were busy! It was life or death! If I didn't act ...
Yes, she would have died, I know!
OK, I know what you're thinking, but helping Elizabeth is not putting us at risk.
You just reactivated the Replicator nanites.
They're harmless! Look, I am a hundred percent certain they're not gonna try to take her over or contact the others.
No, no, you can't know that for sure.
Yes. Yes I can.
Shut it down.
But ... that would kill her.
What do you think Elizabeth would want? Do you think she'd want ...
Yes, she would! She'd sure as hell do the same for you.
Well, you obviously didn't know her very well.
Oh, maybe not, but do you know what? Give it some time, you can ask her yourself.
NO! It's too dangerous. Shut it down. Right now.
Get to the Jumper.
You're coming with us.
I can't keep them frozen much longer!
We're not leaving you behind!
If you don't leave right now, none of us will get out of here, so go. THAT'S AN ORDER!
Denauex grinned as John screamed. This was going to be much more exciting than he imagined. Kolya was going to enjoy every minute when he watched the recording. He glanced behind at Mylissa. She seemed nervous.
"Are you all right, my dear?"
"Doctor, are you sure about this?" When he didn't reply, she realized why and it scared her more than anything. "Oh my God, you're not doing this as an experiment, are you?"
He shook his head. "No, of course not. I'm doing this as a favor to a friend. Are you going to back out on me now?"
Mylissa wasn't sure what to do. On one hand, if she left not only would the man be killed, she could pretty much guarantee she'd never make it home either. However, if she remained, there was a possibility she could save the Colonel and maybe even her soul.
"I would never back out, Doctor. How can we learn about ourselves if we don't study the human body," she replied, inwardly shuddering at her own words. "However, I would ask a compromise."
Denauex eyed her curiously. "What is that?"
"Leave his mind alone. You're already torturing him enough. Whoever that Elizabeth was to him, it doesn't need to be brought up again."
He looked thoughtful for a few minutes before finally conceding. "Very well, Mylissa."
John woke up again to that soothing voice and the same restraints. This time when he opened his eyes, he actually saw her. "Elizabeth?"
"Hello, John," she replied with a smile. "I'm glad you're awake."
"I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything, but how did you get here? The last time I saw you..."
Elizabeth nodded. "I was about to be taken over by the Replicators and I ordered you to leave. However, I don't have any recollection as to how I came to be here. That seems to be the last thing I remember."
"Don't suppose you could help me get these off?" He asked. "We can get out of here and head back to the 'Gate."
She stood up, shaking her head. "I can't, John."
"What? Elizabeth, do you even know what they're doing to me?"
Tears pooled in her eyes. "Of course I do, John, but I'm not really here. I'm just a figment of your imagination."
"No," John replied. "You just told me that you escaped, you didn't know how you got here."
Elizabeth turned to face the wall. "I was trying to keep us alive. I'm you. Don't you remember Rodney talking about his hallucination in the Jumper?"
"God, so I'm just hallucinating?" John cried. "One of my best friends is standing in front of me and it's my imagination! Do you know how much I hate myself right now?"
Elizabeth merely stood there and John shut his eyes as he attempted to hold in his tears. He wasn't sure how long he lay there like that but he suddenly felt the restraints being removed and brought back to Dr. Evil.
Once he arrived in the 'testing center', John noticed that only the doctor's assistant was in there. She told his guards to leave as soon as he was secure. She moved closer to him, glancing around the room as if in fear.
"Colonel Sheppard, my name is Mylissa. I am deeply sorry for what is being done to you. I have sent a message to your friends and they should be here soon. It seems that Commander Kolya was blocking any attempts for them to find you."
John stared at this woman in disbelief. Mostly because the man she was talking about was supposed to be dead. "Not that I want to be pessimistic, but what the hell is going on? Kolya was dead last time I saw him and I don't know if I can trust you. You've been working with that damn doctor since I came here..."
"A week ago, yes," Mylissa replied, "and I know that the gods will punish me, but I am trying to make amends for it, Colonel."
Before John could respond, a weapon discharged and Mylissa was falling to the ground in a crumbled heap. He looked up helplessly as Dr. Evil came into the room. "I knew she was planning something. Tell me what Colonel and we'll skip this afternoon's session."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Suit yourself," Denauex replied, walking over to get the syringes ready.
John closed his eyes again as he waited for the pain. He had been all ready to give up, but Mylissa gave him hope again. His friends were coming and he hoped to hell they found Kolya and beat the crap out of him.
As much as John tried to hold it in, he screamed loudly when the syringe was dispensed into his veins. This was 100 times worse than the last time. Unbelievable pain coursed through his body and all he could do was lie there and let it happen.
"Whoa, big guy, we can't just go running in there."
Ronon glared at Lorne. "Don't you hear him? We gotta go now!"
Lorne's heart thundered in his chest. He hadn't felt that worried about someone in a long time and he knew Ronon was right. "On three," he told the Satedan. "Teyla, McKay, be ready to bring the Doc in once we're clear."
"We will be ready."
"Just hurry," Rodney said nervously.
The only thing heard was the sound of John's screams cutting off and the whine of Ronon's weapon. Lorne was calling for all clear and although Rodney was wondering where everyone else was at, he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
He ran in after Teyla and Jennifer, who were already at John's side. By the time Rodney arrived, his friend was barely conscious, breathing heavily, tears streaming down his face. Jennifer looked over at him and Teyla.
"I need you to find out what that 'doctor' did to him." The pair nodded as Jennifer gently removed the restraints from John's wrists and ankles. "Colonel, can you hear me?"
"Doc?" John asked, opening his eyes in slits.
"Yes, Colonel. Can you tell me what you're feeling?"
John took a deep breath. "Pain."
"Scale of 1 to 10?" Jennifer asked, being careful not to touch the inflamed syringe site on John's left arm.
"10 squared, Doc" he gasped out.
Jennifer realized that John's entire body was on fire from whatever he had to endure. "I'm sorry, John," she said. "Just relax, we'll get you out of here and back to Atlantis."
Rodney came back after talking to the doctor. "He won't say much. He just handed me this drug and said you should figure it out. He didn't really know what it was. And apparently he was doing a favor for a friend."
"Rodney?" Jennifer asked when his friend paused.
"But I thought he was dead."
Rodney shook his head with a sigh. "I guess not."
"Hurts," John said suddenly. "Doc!"
Jennifer placed a hand on John's head. "We'll get you back home soon." She looked up at Rodney. "Help me with him?"
Teyla was checking on the young woman who they found lying unconscious on the floor. Ronon placed a hand on her shoulder. "Is she all right? She was like that when we got in here."
The young woman began to stir and Teyla nodded. "I believe she is."
"Who are you?" Mylissa asked worriedly, sitting up. "Is Colonel Sheppard all right?"
"He is fine. We are friends of Colonel Sheppard's. My name is Teyla and this is Ronon." Teyla looked up as Jennifer and Rodney helped John to his feet. "Is there somewhere we can take you? I do not think it would be wise to leave you here."
Mylissa nodded. "If you could bring me and the doctor to the Magistrate's office, I would speak to him about what has happened here. I am sorry it did happen. Dr Denauex said that he was doing an experiment on pain threshold but that Colonel Sheppard was a willing participant. It was only recently, when I contacted you, that I learned he was only doing this as a favor to Commander Kolya."
"He's been here for nearly three weeks being tortured and you just figured out what was going on!" Ronon growled.
"You don't understand," Mylissa said fearfully. "Dr. Denauex has been a friend of my family for years! I used to trust him with my life. I still can't believe he would do something this... evil."
Teyla glared at Ronon. She then turned to the girl. "You have nothing to worry about, Mylissa. You will be fine. We will explain to the Magistrate everything that happened."
John's nerve endings were on fire by the time they arrived back in Atlantis. Rodney watched in horror as his friend screamed and writhed in pain. He had never seen anything like and hoped to God he never would again.
"Jennifer, do something!" he exclaimed, even knowing she was doing everything in her power to save him.
"Rodney, relax. Why don't you come with me and tell me what happened? He's in good hands." Rodney followed her as if on autopilot. Sam had him sit on one of the empty infirmary beds. She looked over at Teyla and Ronon who were also cringing at John's cries of pain. "Rodney?"
Rodney's expression was one of pure terror and his face was as white as the sheet he was sitting on. "Sam, I can't... I can't listen to him. I... is that bad?"
"No, Rodney," she replied. "We can leave if you want."
His heart thundered in his chest. Sam was giving him the opportunity to leave, but he decided not to take it. If Ronon and Teyla can be silent support for John, so could he.
"I'm fine, but I don't really want to talk about it right now. I▓m just gonna lie down if that's all right."
"It is, Rodney."
As if on cue, John's cries stopped. Rodney prayed that it was because Keller found the right amount of morphine to give his friend. Sam saw the scared look in Rodney's eyes. She told him to relax and that she would check in with Dr. Keller.
Sam headed towards the curtain, waiting for Jennifer to emerge. As she waited, she thought back to the first time she met Rodney. He was so arrogant and he had changed quite a lot since then. Or, maybe there was something that she didn't see in the man. Maybe he had been like that all this time and she had been the arrogant one.
"Colonel." Sam nodded at Jennifer. "He's stable for now. We've given him some morphine to combat the pain. Whatever this drug is, it seems to cause severe pain and hallucinations."
"He kept asking me to find Dr. Weir."
Sam took a breath. "Wonderful. I suppose you won't have a definitive answer until after you've been able to test the drug."
"Right. We're working on that right now."
"Good, thank you Jennifer. I'll tell Rodney and the others but something tells me you're going to have three people hovering around here," Sam told her.
Jennifer nodded. "I wouldn't have it any other way and neither would Colonel Sheppard."
When John finally woke up, his team was around him. Ronon was sleeping to his left, Teyla was meditating on the bed across from him, and Rodney was tapping away at his keyboard.
The scientist looked up when he sensed movement. "Well, look who finally decides to grace us with his presence."
"Seriously, though," Rodney said. "You scared the crap out of us."
Instead of replying, John closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He was suddenly back on that planet and the doctor was coming at him. "Take it easy, Sheppard!" he said, grabbing John's arms.
"Get off me!" John exclaimed, shoving the man away. He tried to get up from the bed, but something was pulling at his forearm. John yanked his arm and jumped onto the cold floor. As he did, a wave of dizziness assailed him.
"Colonel! Take it easy!" A soft but firm voice said.
He knew that voice. It sounded so much like her, but he knew it wasn't Elizabeth. John suddenly realized what he had done for the second time. He blinked, looking up at Keller.
"What... Oh God... I did it again."
She nodded. "It's all right, Colonel. Lets get you up off the floor, though," she said, not understanding what he meant. "Rodney?"
Rodney came up to the other side of John, taking his arm. "I left her behind."
"Who?" Rodney asked. "Oh, you mean that girl who was helping you. No, you didn't. We took her back to her family. She's safe."
"Not her, Rodney," John replied lying down.
As Jennifer fixed his IV while adding a sedative, she asked, "If not her, Colonel, then who?"
Rodney quickly glanced at Jennifer then back at John. He was going to ask his friend what he was talking about but John was out. "Hallucinations, huh?"
"Yeah." Jennifer sighed, picking up John's chart and jotting down the drugs she had given to her patient. "Getting him through this may be harder than we thought."
"Rodney said he must have been hallucinating Elizabeth while under the influence of those drugs he was given," Teyla told Ronon as she ducked the Bantos rod he swung at her.
Ronon grunted and moved away. He was going to have to quit soon or not talk about what that crazy doctor did to Sheppard because he didn't want to take it out on Teyla.
"Gotta stop or I'll knock your head off."
Teyla nodded in understanding, getting her things together. "I know exactly how you feel, Ronon."
"I'm guessing Carter isn't going to let us go back to the planet and beat the crap out of that doctor."
"The former yes," Teyla replied. "Latter, no."
Ronon eyed her curiously. "We're going back?"
"Apparently there is to be a trial for the 'doctor' who did this to Colonel Sheppard. We are being asked to accompany him so he may testify."
The pair was heading down the corridor when Rodney contacted them. It seemed they were going to the planet in the morning. He thought maybe they should help prepare their friend.
Teyla responded, "We will be there shortly, Rodney."
"Doc, it's not necessary for you to come," John said.
Jennifer shrugged, adjusting her pack. "Maybe not but I'm going to come anyway, Colonel. You've been through a serious trauma and they're going to ask you questions about it and I can hazard a guess it won't be very fun for you."
"I suppose not," John replied, feeling his heart skip a beat.
He didn't even think about the types of questions he was going to be asked. The only thing he was concerned with was getting Dr. Evil locked up so he couldn't do this to anyone else.
He blinked. "Sorry, Doc. I'm just starting to get a bit nervous is all. I'll be fine."
"You will be, John," Teyla said joining them in front of the 'gate. Ronon and Rodney were behind her. "We will all be there to help you through this."
John smiled as the wormhole connected. "Thanks, guys."
Sheppard and his team were greeted immediately after the stepped out of the 'gate. "Colonel," Magistrate Bane said. "We are thrilled to see you alive and well. The moment Specialist Dex and Ms. Emmagen brought Mylissa to us and I heard what had happened, I was stunned to say the least.
"Our people have not had dealings with the Genii for quite sometime. In fact, it is illegal to even speak of them. This trial is just a formality really. We have plenty of evidence to convict him. Everyone one in this country has a right to trial."
John nodded. "We have a similar law, Magistrate."
Bane then noticed Jennifer with them. "Ah, I do not believe we've met, my dear."
"Dr. Jennifer Keller," she replied. "I am Colonel Sheppard's physician. Just here in case he needs anything."
"Good. Good. It is getting late, though; we should head to the Hall of Justice."
Rodney and John glanced at each other, eyes wide. They were both thinking of the Superfriends cartoon. The only thing that would make it complete was to find Batman and Superman waiting for them.
Upon arrival at the Hall of Justice (which happened to actually look like the hall from the cartoon), John took a deep breath. He hated reliving horrible things that happened to him from the past, but if this kept that crazy Dr. Evil away from others, then it was going to be worth it.
"Colonel, I'm afraid witnesses are not allowed the view the proceedings," Bane explained. "You will remain out here until you're called. I will have one of my personal guards with you at all times so you have nothing to fear."
John nodded but before he could speak up, Ronon did. "If it's all right, Magistrate, the Doc and I will wait out here too."
"If that is what you wish. Ms. Emmagan, Dr. McKay, please come with me. The trial will be starting shortly."
As John sank into one of the benches, leaning his head against the wall, he heard a small voice say his name. "Mylissa," he said, standing.
"Colonel," Mylissa replied with a smile. "I am so happy you're alive. If you hadn't survived... I don't..."
John gave the young girl a hug. "Hey, the point is I did, right? I have you to thank for that. I don't blame you for anything that happened."
"Of course, the point is that you did."
"Colonel Sheppard, Sir." John looked up at the Magistrate's personal guard. "They're ready for you."
John nodded and stood. "Mylissa, I appreciate everything you've done for me. Now it's my turn to help you."
"Thank you, Colonel."
She glanced over at Ronon as John disappeared into the room. He moved over to sit next to her. "You're pretty brave. How old are you?"
"I have been alive for 18 cycles of the sun," Mylissa replied.
"And your family. What do they think of all this?"
"They were upset with me for going along with Dr. Denauex, but he was an old family friend and we all trusted him implicitly. I should have realized from the start that no sane person would volunteer to become a lab rat."
Ronon placed a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, as Sheppard said, the point is he survived. Well, so did you. We owe you a lot, Mylissa. You saved our friend."
Meanwhile, in the court room, John was nervously recounting what happened to him at the hands of Dr. Denauex. Apparently the man was allowed to be in the room and John could almost feel the piece of work smirking at him.
Judge Wayne (it was just a coincidence) must have noticed his discomfort and decided to put a stop to it. "Thank you, Colonel Sheppard," she said. "We'll have a short recess while the jury deliberates."
John was grateful for that. "Thanks," he sighed in relief.
She smiled. "You have nothing to worry about, Colonel. We have everything we need to convict Dr. Denauex."
"Lifetime in prison," Rodney said ten minutes later. "Glad to hear he won't be bothering us anytime soon."
John nodded. "Or anyone else for that matter. Doc, I'm all right."
"Let me be the judge of that, Colonel," Jennifer replied, checking his blood pressure. "You emotionally went through that torture again and until your vitals are back to normal, we won't be heading back to the 'gate."
Teyla, who had been conversing with Magistrate Bane, returned. "Colonel, the Magistrate has asked us to join them for the Moon Feast."
"Moon Feast?" Rodney asked.
"Yes. According to tradition when one has shown honor in the face of adversity, they hold a Moon Feast."
John grinned. "Moon Feast it is," he replied. "Better let Carter know. In fact, maybe we should invite her out here. I'm sure she misses going off world and what better way for her to than to have a feast and discuss trade relations."
"So who are we honoring here?" Rodney wanted to know. "That Mylissa girl?"
Teyla shook her head. "No, according to the Magistrate, we are honoring John Sheppard."
"Really?" John asked.
"There will be no living with him after this," Rodney muttered.