Gen. Landry stopped cold in the middle of the hall. "You want permission to take a Wraith off-base?" he asked incredulously.
"Gen. Hogan wants to meet him," Sheppard explained, gesturing toward Todd, who had been sent in by Atlantis the day before and was going over flight data with McKay and Zelenka in the lab Landry and Sheppard had just passed. At Landry's skeptical look, Sheppard added, "I offered to bring the general here, but he said he's laid up with gout or something. I know it's a risk, but...."
Landry sighed. As a career Air Force man, he knew better than to refuse Gen. Hogan. "Keep your guns on him at all times."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir," Sheppard replied and went to find Ronon and Teyla.
Half an hour later, the three Lanteans greeted McKay and a heavily disguised Todd outside the elevator on the ground floor of the SGC. "Looks good on you," Sheppard deadpanned, taking in Todd's black hooded sweatshirt and mirrored sunglasses that hid his white hair, pale green skin, and reptilian eyes.
"I still do not understand where we are going," the Wraith stated, refusing to snark back.
"Friend of ours wants to meet you. Turns out we have a mutual acquaintance who's a lot like you, only Hogan couldn't quite picture what we were trying to describe."
"Ah." Todd inclined his head, and his flanged voice sounded almost happy as he continued, "For my part, I am most curious to see more of your planet than I have previously been allowed."
"Thought you got to see the Bay when we were here last," Ronon frowned.
"I saw only the Golden Gate Bridge, and only from a great distance," Todd reminded him. "That was scarcely more than I ever see of New Lantea. A visit on the mainland, however brief, will give me great pleasure."
"We're not doing this for you," Sheppard stated.
Todd shrugged and said nothing.
"Actually, I'm kinda glad we're doing this now," McKay said as they headed toward the front gate. "Lee gets back from Area 51 this afternoon, and I want to be there when Zelenka tells him what happened. Oh, hey, you know those guards who were supposed to go to Norway? Turns out their train was bombed outside Mnster. Grimsel and Wolfschmidt made it out of the train alive, but then their boat was sunk halfway across the North Sea. No survivors."
"Good," said Ronon.
"How did you learn this?" Teyla wondered.
McKay looked a bit sheepish. "I looked them up on one of those genealogical research websites."
"Find out what happened to Pungenhorst?" Sheppard asked.
"Yeah. Apparently either Carson or an influx of casualties managed to confuse the doctors at the rest camp, or else they were just plain incompetent. Pungenhorst was diagnosed with double pneumonia, but not until two days later--which, as it happens, was Simchat Torah. Lingered until December 11, which in 1944 was the first day of Hanukkah. Died precisely at sunset. The story goes that he was delirious at the end and screamed something about the Jews coming to take his soul." McKay smirked. "Zelenka practically crowed when he found out."
Sheppard laughed. "Poetic justice!"
Teyla frowned. "Did they not have antibiotics?"
"Only penicillin." McKay's smirk grew into a devious grin. "And that doesn't kill the bacteria that would be likely to have caused his pneumonia, and it wouldn't do anything at all if the infection were viral, which Carson said it probably was."
"Excellent," Ronon stated with a satisfied smile.
Todd didn't even try to suppress a chuckle.
After another half hour, a black Crown Victoria pulled up outside a modest house in a Colorado Springs suburb favored by retirees, and Sheppard, his team, and their 'guest' piled out. Teyla and McKay flanked Todd, while Sheppard led the way to the front door and Ronon covered their rear. Todd, for his part, seemed to be quietly enjoying himself, though his almost inscrutable face was rendered completely inscrutable by his shades.
Sheppard rang the doorbell and turned back to Todd. "Remember, don't speak unless spoken to, and if you try anything...."
Todd nodded once in silent understanding.
The unease Sheppard usually felt around Todd suddenly trebled. He locked eyes with Teyla, but before he could voice his question, the door opened behind him. A wave of Chanel No. 5 hit his nose at the same time a delighted gasp reached his ears:
"Sheppard, darling! How marvelous to see you, all of you! It has been too many years!"
Ignoring Todd's sharp-toothed grin at his discomfort, Sheppard took a deep breath and pasted on a smile as he turned around. "Hello, Marya."
A/N: Thanks to all who've read and reviewed! Sorry it's taken me so long to get these last chapters posted.