The wraith cruiser closely followed the Daedalus, but the latter succeeded in slowly gaining more distance.

"Just a few more seconds and we'll be at a safe distance to destroy them without being caught in their explosion, sir." The pilot announced.

Caldwell simply nodded. Then, after frozen instants, his subordinate exclaimed:


"Open fire!" The Colonel ordered.

A plasma ray ran from the Daedalus to the enemy cruiser, rapidly followed by a second one. Within a heartbeat, the wraith ship exploded and soon nothing was left but fragments.

Caldwell let his breath out.

"Good job, everyone." He said; then he muttered to nobody in particular: "Now, Sheppard'd better come back soon before the other cruiser brings reinforcements."

Slumped in a pool of blood, Todd laid pierced with several large sharp-looking fragments. His hair and face at least were partially burnt.

"He looks bad." Ronon observed with detachment.

"Is he sill alive?" Lorne asked, somewhat more sympathetically.

"According to this," Rodney waved the handheld detector, "barely."

"What happened to him?" John wondered. "Do you think the energy blast did that?"

His scientist friend looked around.

"No, at least not directly. Seems they were experimenting on interfacing their own tech with an ancient shield of sorts, but apparently, it didn't work that well and the device exploded."

Meanwhile, Lorne had begun searching the room. He found an organic-looking case; when he opened it, he discovered two carefully packed ZPMs and an empty slot.

"Colonel, I have the ZPMs."

Ronon grinned and looked at Todd:

"Then we can just leave this place quickly."

"We can't abandon him!" Rodney protested.

"What, you would miss him?"

"No, of course not. ... Well, yes, I would! I mean, he's studied ZPMs manufacturing for months. Even I would benefit his knowledge, if we want to ever understand the process."

John shrugged:

"We need him anyway to lead us through all these freaking wraith hideouts, remember?" He pointed at something that looked like a table on wheels. "Clear that and put him on it."

The Satedan swallowed his disagreement and with the help of the marines, the wounded wraith was soon relatively carefully laid on the flat surface. Except for an indistinct moan, Todd could have as well been already dead.

Their exit run was quick despite the makeshift gurney, as they only met some more dead wraith. On their way out, Sheppard tipped his ear radio:

"This is Sheppard to the jumper, do you read?"

"Lieutenant Bergens here. We were beginning to worry, Colonel." A disembodied voice replied.

"Meet us at the main entrance. And tell the Daedalus we'll gate to Atlantis to save time. They can leave now."

"Copy that, sir. We're on our way!"

Just as the Daedalus was gaining speed, several hyperspace windows opened nearby. The incoming ships, five cruisers and a hive, fired at their foe straight away, piercing the already weakened shield and causing explosions on the hull.

The Daedalus didn't stop. In an instant, it accelerated and vanished into hyperspace.

The wraith were alone in the sky.

Once in the jumper, Sheppard ran to the pilot and pushed him away.

"I'll fly."

The little ship raced above the surface. Approaching the gate, John launched drones at the wraith guarding it, yelled at Atlantis to ready a medical team, and dived into the puddle.

The jumper came to a halt in the control room. Samantha climbed down the stairs and asked worriedly:

"Who's hurt?"

Her eyes widened when John answered "Todd", but she nodded to Jennifer to cheer her on. Rodney almost hit the young doctor when he exited the jumper like a bullet with the two ZPMs, and he soon disappeared away; straight afterwards, Sheppard paused just long enough to add with a large smile:

"Ready for a flight? Won't the wraith be surprised!"

Moment later, the city of Atlantis escaped gravity and dashed into hyperspace, leaving only a helpless hive behind.

Aboard his ship, a wraith hissed at the wall screen — a tall, sleek, proud wraith commander, sporting a large S-shaped tattoo curved around his left eye and cheek. His voice wrapped the deaf screen in silky icy anger:

"You believe you escaped me, humans, but you merely delayed your impending doom. We fought the Lanteans and we won. You cannot escape me forever. Sooner or later, I shall find you..." He grinned nastily. "... and when that day comes, nothing will prevent me to claim your world."

[Final note: The main bad guy is supposed to look and sound somewhat similar to Steve: Delicate and dangerous at the same time. He has a plait in his hair like the second hunter in Sateda, but his hair are smooth. His beard is one long tuft, and is plaited too (think the new bald commander from The Queen ).]