She watched impassively as the Replicators ( as she later discovered advanced towards their cell, their faces unreadable as always. As if by some unspoken agreement Colonel Sheppard and Ronon advanced to the front of the group, as if to shield those behind them with their bodies if it came down to that.
The heavy doors rumbled open as soon as the shield was lowered, giving the Lanteans a chance to make their escape. However, just as John and Ronon were gathering themselves for the fray, the unyielding force of a hand imbedded within their foreheads ended any hope they had summonsed for escape.
" Stop! Please! They were only following my orders" Elizabeth shouted, unable to contain her anger at seeing anyone hurt unnecessarily, if they really were Ancients, then they would hopefully not be harmed, she had however seen that method of information extraction once before whilst reading the mission reports from SG1, her guts twisted as she put the two together. The Replicators paused for a moment, not stopping their mind probe but inclining a head towards her direction. It was as though they were conjuring up some kind of evil plan amongst themselves and she shuddered at the thought of what it might be.
The remaining Replicators advanced on the rest of the team, singling out each of them. Teyla's attack was cut off the same way John and Ronon's had been, and she slipped unbidden to her knees, an expression of horror and agony clear on her face. Elizabeth resisted the urge to back away from the monster advancing towards her, instead standing her ground and nailing Oberoth with a glare worthy of any Gould System Lord.
" You wish to defy us?" Oberoth intoned, rising an eyebrow in a very human expression.
" I wish to save my people" Elizabeth replied, her head held high and her gaze level.
" You defiance is useless, Atlantis will be destroyed" The Replicator raised his hand, smiling a little in victory as Elizabeth couldn't resist the flinch that caused her body to step backward incrementally.
She could barely hear her own scream as the hand was pushed into her forehead, her mind violated in so many ways it couldn't even begin to process what was happening. The ground rushed up to greet her but she knew not of the impact as the crashed to the floor, the Replicator still probing her mind in the most direct and efficient way possible.
The next thing she knew she was once again standing in the cell, the Replicators advancing this time in single file rather than several abreast.
" You are the leader of these people?" The lead one asked Elizabeth, glaring at her as though she were simply a piece of merchandise.
Elizabeth raised her head defiantly, her green eyes flashing in both anger and foreboding.
" I am" She replied back evenly, stepping around John's protection to the front of the group. She held her hands in a non-threatening manner, still trying to vainly find some way of establishing a non-violent resolution to their current problem.
" Give us the access code to the Atlantis Stargate Shield" Oberoth intoned, ignoring her placating gestures.
" Why?" Elizabeth asked, her ire rising at the same rate as her guts were twisting.
" Access to the control room were result in a more efficient and complete destruction of Atlantis " He said, the monotone continuing.
" I won't help you to hurt my people" Elizabeth replied savagely, her tone low and dangerous as a lioness defending her cubs.
" Give us the code, or we will execute each member of your team until you do so" The Replicator threatened, advancing on the controls of the cell and lowering the shield, the gate sliding open.
Elizabeth froze, her mind recoiling at the thought of having to witness each human before her being executing, or forfeiting the lives of each and every person back in the city she loved. Somewhere deep down in her gut she knew that she had to sacrifice the few to save the many, but the thought of being the one responsible for their deaths nearly brought her to the point of being physically ill.
" Give us the code, or Dr McKay will be the first one to meet his demise by your hand" The threat was specifically aimed at Rodney, who now stood gibbering in a corner of the cell.
" Elizabeth…" He started, the color draining from his face and making his fresh seem unnaturally dark.
" I'm sorry, I can't" Her head dropped, her chin resting on her chest as Rodney was hauled to the front of the group and executed in front of her.
Bile rose with the anger that surged within her and she forced the physical reaction down, forcing her anger to be channel into words laced with venom.
" Kill all of them if you have to, I still won't give you the code." She spat defiantly, raising her head again to glare at Oberoth. To her dismay they left Rodney's body on the floor, a start reminder of the death she had caused as surely as putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger herself.
" If that is your wish" Was the only reply she got, and she was forced to watch the execution of each and every human in the cell bar herself. It was agonizing, gut wrenching and utterly barbaric, leaving her a shattered shell of herself by the time they were finished. Still somehow she gathered her courage and determination around her like a physical blanket and glared with utter hatred as the body of John Sheppard was tossed to her feet like a broken ragdoll.
" Give us the code"
"Or What? You'll kill me too?" Elizabeth retorted angrily, nearly shaking with emotion. She refused to look at the bodies on the floor, keeping her gaze firmly planted on those that were causing such pain and aguish.
" If you give us the code, then your people on Atlantis will meet a quick and most likely painless death. If you do not however, we will be forced to destroy your city from the sky, and as you would well know, cause much pain and suffering to your people before we achieve our goal"
The words had the desired effect on Elizabeth and the blanched at the concept displayed before her. The desire to save her people was pointless and had already cost her the lives of the people dearest to her apart from her direct family. Something however still prevented her from giving them what they wanted. A glimmer of hope and pride that maybe, just maybe her people back in the city would be able to mount a defense against such an attack and might just be victorious, even if the Replicator ship and herself were destroyed in the process. Her life was a small price to pay amidst the grand scheme of things in her own mind.
" Never" Came her answer, and to her surprise the Replicators turned and left, securing the door and shield as they went, leaving her along with the corpses of her team. She shrank back as far away from the fallen as she could, as though sheer distance would undo the horrors that she had witnessed.
How long she cowered in the corner she didn't know, until the unbidden urge to do something for her comrades started to gnaw within her. One at a time she dragged then away from the door, closing their eyes and covering their faces with their jackets to stop the slack faces from being in her field of vision.
That grisly task done she settled back in her corner, more despondent and vulnerable than she had ever felt before. Numbness was starting to settle in and she welcomed it, allowing her mind to drift to a place far from Replicators and the horrors they had just committed.
It wasn't until the shuddering of the ship brought her back to the stark reality of her city being bombed from the sky, a few seriously jolts raising a smirk out of her features. They were fighting, fighting with everything they had to protect the city. Maybe her choices hadn't been in vain. Maybe, just maybe the greater good would survive. The jolts however faded after a while, the incessant shuddering however continued as the Replicator ship bombarded her city with weapons fire.
Even in the cell she heard the explosion that signified her city exploding, and she could almost see the orange eruption engulfing the place she now called home before the shattered remnants sank to a deep watering grave.
It was over – she had gambled with the lives of everyone she knew, and lost.