Title: The Pi Covenent
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: Ronon/Lorne, Sheppard, McKay
Rating: PG (for now)
Summary: A comrade recovered, but how much of him remains? Weir mentioned the existence of advanced civilisations but did not elaborate on their intentions - The Pi Covenent could be their doom, or their salvation.
The room was brightly lit, which was just as well since the visual protocols of his ocular implants had failed – leaving nothing but organic sight.
The fact almost made him grimace in disgust, but that too would be a human reaction and he was not human… not any more.
The integration was not responding. That was impossible, even if all other protocols failed he would still have integration. In the event of catastrophic system failure he should still have integration – it was the core of him.
Without it he was,
It was unthinkable but the thought could not be stopped,
He was alone.
"He looks scared," muttered Ronon. His comment brought a sneer from McKay and a nod from Sheppard.
On the monitor the prisoner walked the room, trying various wall panels and testing the door.
"Rodney?" hissed Sheppard impatiently.
"Yes Colonel," he answered in the same tone, tapping off instructions on his tablet. "Okay, as far as I can tell there are no sub-space transmissions and he should be incapable of activating any implants."
"Right." Adjusting his uniform Sheppard took a breath and walked to the door, he gave a quick side-ways glance at Ronon. "You agreed – no barging in no matter what happens."
Ronon grunted a yes but his stance and crossed arms spoke volumes about how much he agreed with that decision.
Sheppard seemed to reconsider. "Well maybe if he looks like ripping my head off you can come in."
"You know I would anyway."
Sheppard narrowed his eyes but knew it was a lost battle. "Just… try and be objective until we know more 'kay?"
Another grunt answered him, affirmative or negative Sheppard had no idea.
He entered the room.
The prisoner looked Sheppard up and down but made no immediate move. So far, so good, thought Sheppard.
"You are Colonel John Sheppard," the voice that spoke sent chills up John's spine. So like his friend but with a deep echo that removed all humanity from it – this was not the man he was talking to – that he had to remember.
"I am, but you can call me Colonel, or how about John?"
The prisoner stepped forward and cocked its head, peering at John with those familiar eyes. "You seek to build a connection with me, make us 'friends' – standard interrogation technique for a culture as weak as yours."
"Our weak culture trapped you didn't we?"
The prisoner smiled, coldly and without any true feeling.
"And what about you," prompted Sheppard. "What can I call you?"
Again that smile. "I know what you'd like to call me… the name of this body that even now causes you so much pain, so much loss."
Sheppard forced his face to maintain an emotionless façade and closed the distance, forcing the prisoner to hesitate, ever so slightly but the Colonel noticed.
"You're not him," said Sheppard quietly.
Waiting five breaths the prisoner finally responded. "No – but I have his memories, I know all that he was," he raised a hand and put it to Sheppard's face, the Colonel only slightly flinched even though it was obvious pressure was being applied.
"I know," he whispered, his voice losing its echo when this low, "How much you want to save him; I know you want to undo the damage and be the hero riding in to save the day…but just like all the others he is lost to you forever."
The prisoner stepped away and turned his back. "You should know that he felt nothing for you but contempt; you are a weak and ineffectual leader." He turned, enough so Sheppard could see his profile and the sneer that crossed his lips. "Your lack of direction and inability to act will bring about the destruction of your people, I pity you, the pain you feel now is but a prelude to the agony that waits."
Sheppard maintained his mask until exiting the chamber; only once the door closed did he slam a fist into the wall.
"Sheppard," rumbled Ronon. "Its not him, it can't be – he would never-."
Sheppard held up a hand and surprisingly Ronon fell quiet.
"That's the problem Ronon," he said tightly, his anger barely contained and fighting with remorse. "You know him better than anyone – that was more than stolen memories… he would know exactly how to hurt me, and he did."
They both looked at the monitor where the person who had once been their trusted friend and comrade and so much more stood impassively staring back. The face and the body were the same yet changed. He wore only black mesh pants, tight without being revealing – he was bare otherwise. They had removed the armour that covered his upper torso but there had been no clothing underneath it.
His physique was thinner, more athletic and less muscular – the implants gave him the strength he needed. Spread across his chest and upper arms were circular latticed tattoos, feint but visibly metallic; copper and silver, one was even a blue-gold. McKay had surmised that they interfaced with the armour and provided extra-sensory functions. A tattoo also existed across his cheek and back to behind his ear. It was invisible now but their scans had located it.
"Its why you can't go in there," continued Sheppard. "He wants us to hurt him, kill him – on some level Evan Lorne is still in there and if he can hurt me that easily… he could provoke you so much quicker."
The anger on Ronon's face fell away and he allowed his pain to show, here in front of the two men he trusted most. Sheppard and McKay said nothing, not even when the big man traced a finger along Evan's face on the screen.
"Then there's hope," whispered Ronon, his voice almost breaking. "I will not let him go a second time."