FIRE MAIDENS FROM OUTER SPACE
It was the walls that had made Kisri realise where they were.
As the ring of symbols lit up like a circle of stars, she watched the hidden compartments reveal themselves, and knew she had to act. She only had seconds before the exit revealed itself, to her and to the Lanteans.
She was going to say something to Teyla – maybe 'goodbye', 'thanks for the help', 'sorry about this'… she wasn't too sure. That would have given it away, though, so she just caught Teyla's attention, and that of Doctor McKay, too. While they followed one of her hands to look at Daras, they missed the other one, twisting the top off the gas canister.
Kish'Kirin had sworn that this was the fastest acting sleeping gas known to Wraith kind. It took less than a second to fill the chamber, less than five to send Teyla, Ronon, Sheppard and McKay crashing to the ground.
Kisri watched Daras spin around in confusion for a few moments, and pushed herself to her feet, grunting. The bullet had been stopped by the body-armour under her coat, but it had really bruised her.
"Daras," she said, for the second time in five minutes.
He spun to face her; she drew the stunner hidden in her boot and shot him. He looked up at her, eyes wide, as he sank to the ground. She watched him lapse into unconsciousness and smiled.
The Ancients weren't the only ones who had worked out that worshippers were affected by some gases more than ordinary humans. The flip side of that was, of course, that they were immune to some. Kisri took a deep breath, half-expecting to collapse. Nothing happened.
Fastest gas known to Wraith kind. It really was.
As the roof separated, opening to the sky like a lily, the compartments were revealed. Stacks of Ancient crates, containing Kisri knew not what, sat there stolidly, covered in a thick coating of dust. Kisri hadn't bothered to ask what they contained – not that Kish'Kirin would tell her – her job had just been to find them.
Now came the mildly unpleasant part. She pulled a knife, gritted her teeth, and began digging in her arm. After thirty agonising seconds, she found the device and popped it out with the point of the knife.
The tiny cylinder was dead. The machine-zapping tunnel hadn't reacted to it because in terms of electricity, there was nothing to react to. Kisri didn't have the gene to activate it. Luckily, she was in a room with two people who did. Blood streaming down her arm and spattering to the ground, she picked up the cylinder, gave it a quick wipe, and placed it in the hand of Doctor Rodney McKay.
It lit up with that familiar turquoise light. Somewhere, Kish'Kirin's screens had developed an insistent little icon, signifying that the Ancient distress beacon had been activated. Kisri sat down, leaned against the wall wearily, and waited.
A dart flew overhead two minutes later, and a culling beam deposited a group of drones with a scientist to oversee them. The drones ignored Kisri and the Lanteans completely, moving immediately to the walls of the cavern and beginning to stack the boxes in the middle of the room.
"The Commander wants to speak to you," the scientist told Kisri disdainfully.
"Shiska for delivering the message," Kisri said in much the same tone, dragging Daras with her as she stepped into the culling beam. The scientist snarled at her, but it was too late; she was already aboard the dart and heading home.
Kish'Kirin was waiting for her in the control room. Kisri paused in the doorway, located him, and made her way over, nimbly sidestepping the other Wraith.
"Well done, Kisri," Kish'Kirin said approvingly. "We have all we came for."
"Good," Kisri agreed. They stood together in silence for a moment, looking at a screen depicting the cavern below. Kisri could feel the forced emotion draining from her, returning her to her usual numb state, and was glad. Faking enough emotion to blend in with the rest of humanity was hard. "The Lanteans?" Kisri said finally. "What's to happen to them?"
"Do you care?" Kish'Kirin sounded mildly surprised.
Kisri shrugged. "Do you?" She was useful enough to get away with saying things like that, and secretly she thought that Kish'Kirin was sometimes amused when she did. Otherwise she'd have been killed long ago.
She also thought that he might like the man Sheppard. This she would never dare say aloud, but Sheppard and Kish'Kirin were a lot more alike than they realised.
"They are more useful to me alive," Kish'Kirin said finally. "Do they realise you betrayed them?"
Kisri shrugged again. "I'm not the one who can read thoughts." His words irked her, for no reason she could think of: she had betrayed the Lanteans. Pretending otherwise wouldn't change anything.
Why was that making her angry?
"We shall see," Kish'Kirin said. "It may be that you will have to disappear for a while."
"Daras won't be there when they wake up," Kisri said impatiently. "He can kidnap me and the queen of his hive can trade me back to you." The idea of not seeing the Lanteans again was making her angrier still.
Kish'Kirin turned to look at her curiously. "You are sorrowful," he observed.
The words, "What would you know about feelings?" hovered on her tongue, a death sentence no matter how she phrased them. "I'm tired," she announced instead. "I need to sleep. Karo."
Kish'Kirin dismissed her with a nod. Despite her own words, as Kisri lay in her dim quarters that night, the fact that a monster understood emotion better than she did made it impossible for her to sleep.
Sheppard groaned and sat up. "What just happened?" he said out loud.
"This is the second time I've passed out today," Ronon grumbled.
Rodney was cradling his head. "Oh my god. This is like my worst migraine ever. Stunners hurt less than this."
"Where is Kisri?" Teyla interrupted.
"That psycho with a knife is gone too," Sheppard observed.
Ronon was on his feet with a gun in hand by this point, regardless of his throbbing head. "There's blood here," he called.
"That's where Kisri was lying," Rodney said in a scared tone.
"Alright, let's not get too worried," Sheppard cautioned. "Now, something happened when I stepped here…" he stepped into the circle of symbols. They lit up, the roof opened, the walls slid upwards.
"This is the way out of the maze," Teyla observed.
"That's the symbol in Ancient for 'storage'," McKay observed. "What the hell is going on here?'
Sheppard looked around the room, at the empty compartments, and almost screamed in frustration. "Whatever it is," he said darkly, "I doubt it has to do with Wraith-killing rocks."
"You mean… Todd lied to us."
"We really shouldn't be so surprised," Rodney said. "Todd does that a lot."
"So that's probably not Kisri's blood." Ronon sounded almost cheerful.
"I doubt it. At least we can get out of here." Sheppard glanced down at his injured arm and reconsidered. "On second thoughts… Ronon, you think you can climb out?"
Sheppard pulled a rope from his tactical vest and tossed it to him. "Get going. I want a proper breakfast."
A day later, Sheppard was in the mess hall, enjoying a breakfast with Teyla, Torren and Ronon when Rodney arrived.
"Hey, so I talked to Jennifer about that blood sample we gave her," he began, interrupting Teyla telling off Ronon for giving Torren syrup. "She said that it was full of Wraith enzyme–"
"Huge surprise there," Sheppard commented.
"And that it was female."
"You mean that that was Kisri's blood?" Teyla clarified, tightening her grip on a wriggling, squirming Torren.
"Yeah. Whatever happened while we were passed out with her and Daras, I don't think Kisri came out of it well." Ronon helped himself to some of John's bacon and eyed Ronon's speculatively. "Guys, maybe Kisri didn't play us."
"Maybe," Sheppard agreed doubtfully. "I mean, it's possible, I guess..."
"Touch my bacon and you're a dead man," Ronon said to McKay in a tone that was serious.
"Ok, relax! Hey, what happened to him?" Rodney pointed at Torren, who looked like he was about to explode.
"Do not ask," Teyla said, giving Ronon a death glare. "He will be a handful all day now."
"I'll take care of him," Ronon said airily.
"Fine. Here." Teyla dumped an armful of sticky, squealing, flailing toddler into Ronon's lap. Ronon grabbed Torren before he could fall off and shot Sheppard a horrified look.
"I'm not telling her to take him back. Why'd you volunteer?" Sheppard asked reasonably.
"I didn't think she would say yes." Ronon growled as Torren grabbed a dreadlock and yanked it with a shriek of glee.
"It was a lovely offer," Teyla said with a smirk, finally able to eat her breakfast.
"Can I teach him to shoot?" Ronon asked.
Ronon looked down at Torren. "What am I meant to do with him?"
"I do not know," Teyla said, rising. "He is your problem for the day."
"I have to go talk to Woolsey," Sheppard said quickly.
"I have to go calculate something," Rodney added, nearly fleeing the table.
"Traitors," Ronon said to Torren.
The toddler laughed.
"Traitors," Ronon repeated softly with a sigh, offering Torren another spoonful of syrup. It hadn't done him any harm when he was little. "Traitor."
"S'up!" Torren cried, reaching out his hands pleadingly. Ronon considered for a moment, then put the syrup bottle aside.
"Sorry," he said to Torren. "Some things... aren't... good for you. No matter how much you want them."
He sighed again, picked Torren up, and left the room, leaving the shattered remains of breakfast behind him.
It's finished. I'm thinking sequel, if only so Kisri and Ronon can hook up. Let me know what you guys think!