A prisoner sat shivering in the corner, curled around his bruised abdomen. A small chain was clutched tightly in his palm. The chain held his identity, it shared with the whole world who he was. He was a soldier, trained to withstand the pain and humiliation of capture. Trained to withhold the critical information and stomach the harshest treatment. He hadn't released his grip on the small chain through everything his captors had thrown at him. Through the beatings and the lashes. Through the burning and the drowning, even when they had flooded his veins with drugs causing him to lose control of his muscles and igniting flames in his bones. Clutching the dog tags as if he let go he would lose himself as well. A lone tear tracked down his dirt covered cheek, but he quickly wiped it away. Soldiers didn't cry. It showed weakness. His arm throbbed in time with his heart, the burn encompassing it a angry brick red, the skin at the edges a charred black. The skin weeped a clear liquid as if to mock his tears. The lacerations on his back burned, the scabs pulling against his skin as he pulled against his restraints everyday. Shame twisted his gut. He tried so hard to keep his composure, to remain strong, but they had made his scream today. He hadn't begged but the pain had become too much for him and had fought for release. Soldier's didn't scream. They silently withstood the pain, never crying, never screaming. He should have been able to stomach the pain, silently bearing his discomfort, but he had screamed. A deep agonizing scream that had ripped from his soul and clawed it's way from his throat. Guilt settled deep in his gut. A pain he considered worse then the pain of broken bones and torn skin. He had let them down, He had let his team down. His friends, family. The soldier had broken, he had shown weakness and now his captor's would be even harsher than before. They would push harder than before, knowing they had broken through the shield once and increase their efforts to do it once again. They would resort to more imaginative methods, bringing him to the brink of death only to pull him back again. Relief would only come once he had succumbed to the dark oblivion but they would start again once he awoke, maybe giving him a small break in between but most likely not. Soldiers would be able to hold their pain, withhold evidence of their pain from the world but he could no longer. His duration of his imprisonment nearing two weeks now. He didn't know where his team was. He told himself they had escaped, needing to believe they were out they searching for him but he knew he was grasping at straws. The 'gate had been to far and even if they had reached it, there wasn't enough time to dial. A small sliver of hope still hung at his heart, stubbornly refusing to give into the fate he faced. His people would search. They wouldn't give up, but they had been moved to another planet and then another, hiding their tracks until it became a trail that would grow to faint to follow. Even with all the logic the soldier's mind threw at him that small bit of hope still remained. His people were out there waiting for him. They may not be able to get to him but he knew they still thought of him and would follow any leads they got. He hung onto this hope like he hung to the dog tags in his fist. Hope was the only thing he had left. He was too weak to manage to escape from the dungeon, the pain, hunger, and fever smothering any thoughts to attempt. He was going to die, never seeing his friends again. Never going to see the sky again or feel the sun on his skin. He knew he was going to die but the hope would still not leave him. He would live as long as he did and if rescue came in time he would be over joyed but he did not expect it. They would have come by the end of two weeks. If he had just been faster. Faster in noticing the trap, faster getting his team to the 'gate but soldiers did not focus on the what-ifs or on the should-haves. They were trained not to, focusing only on the next minute, the next hour, the next day. Just another way he failed as a soldier. Doubts flooded his mind. The fear of disappointing his team and the people he cared about. Soldiers did not have fear but he did. He began to shake as the cell door banged open. The next round. Footsteps echoed around him as the being approached, the soldier not moving, simply laying there and letting what may come to come. The steps stopped and he braced for the kick but he was surprised when instead of pain a hand was gently laid on his shoulder. With more effort than would have normally been needed, he pulled his gaze upwards to come face to face with a person he had never expected to see again. Carson Beckett hovered above him. He spoke but the soldier could not understand him through the ringing in his ears. Slowly, he succumbed to the darkness closing over his vision. When he woke, he would be in Atlantis once again, safe and free. He would wake having a deeper understanding that there was more to a soldier than a dog tag and combat training. Soldiers felt pain and had fears as any other person, they simply had more to fear and a better understanding of the courage and bravery a person could find within themselves. As he sunk into the peace of oblivion his fist slowly loosened around the dog tags revealing the name John Sheppard, Lt. Col. Air Force of the United States. I.D. Number 439582.