[identity profile] gateruner.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] beckett_cadman
Title: Hunger Strike, (Part 7/?)
Author: Shelby (gateruner)
E-mail: gateruner2000 at yahoo.com
Feedback: yes, please!
Archive: LJ, my website. Any place else, just ask.
Category: Beckett/Cadman, Angst, Drama, WIP
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Up to the ending of S3, EXCEPT that “Sunday” didn’t happen! No, no way, no how.
Summary: Laura Cadman is abducted off-world and rescued, but her nightmare has only begun as she starts to remember exactly what happened to her and what evil plans the Wraith have in store for humanity.
Warnings: This is darkfic people. Beware! If you don’t want the angst, don’t read on.
Disclaimer: They aren’t mine, I don’t own them, don’t make any money from them, just playing, honest.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Author's notes: Sorry for any mistakes on the medical jargon, etc. I tried to research as best I could, but I'm not doc. So if you see something that needs to be corrected, please feel free to speak up.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6



Hunger Strike
Part 7



“What?” Carson whispered. He couldn’t have heard correctly, could he? There was no way that was right.

Laura nodded, affirming her answer. She stiffened her posture, ready to defend any attacks, but no were coming. Instead, she faced a sea of confused faces, all looking at her in disbelief and doubt.

Michael’s laughter filled the room, “The more I get to know humans, the more pathetic they are. Please, don’t tell me you mourn the loss of something you knew nothing about mere seconds ago.”

Laura turned back towards the microphone, “What have you done with my baby?”

“Please, Lt. Cadman, don’t concern yourself with such matters. The baby is safe, and has been transplanted into a female servant for gestation until it is mature. I assure you no harm will come to it. In fact, I plan to care for this child as if it were my own.”

Laura looked at Carson as his eyes grew wide with horror.

There was a rustling of noise in the background of the speakers, “I am afraid I must go. I have important matters to attend to.”

“Tell me where the baby is!” Laura screamed.

“Dear Lieutenant, as I said before, the child is now mine. Don’t make this harder than it already is. When the time is right, you may meet up with your child once again.”

The wormhole collapsed, plunging the control room into silence. Laura stared at the empty ring, trying to avoid the stares she was certain were present. She clutched the back of her gown tighter, “I didn’t know Carson, I swear I didn’t know.”

Dr. Weir cleared her throat, “Why don’t you return to the infirmary, Lieutenant? We’ll sort all this out later.”

-----------------

Laura lay curled up on the infirmary bed, alone. She’d asked to be alone, despite Carson’s reluctance to leave her side. She couldn’t face him right then. The hurt on his face was too apparent and she wasn’t ready for the emotional confrontation that was sure to come.

She looked at the back of her left hand, noticing the dried blood that had caked on her skin. Still red, still human. Things could be a lot worse, she reminded herself as she began to flick the dried out pieces of blood off her skin.

Laura hadn’t known she was pregnant when she went off-world. She didn’t know until Michael had told her, and the smug arrogance with which he informed her made her seethe with anger. She hadn’t wanted to believe him at first, but when the truth came into light it frightened her more than she could have imagined; Frightened that she could have harmed their child in some way with Gate travel, frightened that she was pregnant and in another galaxy, far away from home. And even more frightened of what it could mean for her and Carson.

But as those fears subsided, a new fear took hold - The realization that Michael wanted her baby, hers and Carson’s. It wasn’t enough to take her eggs, but the embryo held so much more possibility. He knew of the ATA Gene and that Carson was a carrier. That meant there was a probability of their child carrying the gene as well. And that idea made Michael extremely happy.

Laura slumped back into the bed, listening to the whispered voices just outside the curtain area. Did they think she couldn’t hear them? All of them talking about her, questioning her judgement. Could she be trusted anymore? Was she still one of them?

She strained her ears to listen:

“I thought this sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen,” Col. Sheppard began.

“It’s not.” Carson interjected, “But I can’t give bloody pregnancy tests every time a female steps through Gate. Do you realize how much lab work we’d be in for? Look, we run a serum hCG in their blood work every 90-days during routine physicals.”

“And Cadman checked out?” Sheppard crossed his arms.

Was the Colonel trying to accuse him of something? “Of course she did! But nothing is a hundred percent, colonel. Nothing, except for abstinence.” Carson looked from face to face, all of them waiting for him to deny something, anything. “Look, I’m just as surprised about this as the rest of you!”

“Okay, enough.” Dr. Weir piped up, “What’s done is done. We have to figure out what to do from here.” She turned to Carson, “Can you tell us anything more about Lt. Cadman’s condition?”

Carson shook his head, “Not really, other than what we’ve already noticed. Her wounds have healed at a remarkable rate, and she’s regained most of her strength.”

“Yeah, enough to take out Dr. Keller and a nurse,” Ronon brought up.

Elizabeth nodded, “Fortunately, they are both going to be fine. It doesn’t appear that the Lieutenant’s intention was to harm them.”

“Still, the fact remains, she did attack two people. That has to be considered,” the Colonel added.

“I don’t sense any sort of hostility in her,” Teyla spoke up. “If her intention had been harm, then she certainly could have. No, I sense she just wanted to confront Michael and knew she had no other options.”

Dr. Weir nodded, “Carson is there any way to undo the retrovirus?”

“I don’t know. It’s going to take some time, but now that I know what to look for it should be a bit easier.” Carson’s mind had already been racing through the possible solutions. Unfortunately, all of them included using Wraith DNA.

----------------

Laura opened her eyes slowly, blinking as everything came into focus. A familiar sound had woken her up and she smiled as she spotted it. Carson was asleep in the chair next to her bed, his head was back, mouth partly open. The faint whistling of his breathing could be heard. It was a sound unlike anything she’d ever heard. She even teased Carson about it one morning, when she told him he snored. He mocked outrage and told her in no certain terms that he did not snore. So they settled on the fact that he was a ‘deep breather’ in his sleep.

That moment seemed long ago, and Laura began to realize just how close she’d grown to Carson. She wormed her way over to the edge of the bed, reaching one of her arms out between the bedrails. She placed her hand on his knee and closed her eyes again. He was real, and so was she. They were home, back safe in Atlantis, and for the first time since her return, she began to relax. Laura squeezed her eyes tight as she felt the moisture begin to run down her cheeks.

The breathing sounds ceased and Laura felt a hand clasp her own, giving her a gentle squeeze. Before she knew it, she felt her hand being pushed back through the bedrail and the pop of the metal bar as the rail swung down.

“Laura, love?” Carson was right by her side as he reached for her hand again. “What is it? Are you in pain?” Concern flooded his voice.

She opened her eyes, blinking away the tears as they rolled down her cheeks. She shook her head and smiled as Carson reached out to caress her cheek. Laura closed her eyes again and nuzzled against his hand, her emotions beginning to surface. A few days ago she had given up hope of ever seeing Carson again, or feeling his touch. Now, here she was and she started to feel the sadness begin to well up inside her – all the anger, the hurt, and the sorrow for what she lost.

Another sound caught her attention, forcing her eyes open again. Carson was crying. And when Laura looked into his face and saw the sadness, all the pain reflected back, the dam burst and she began to sob. Laura practically jumped up in the bed, wrapping her arms around Carson and holding on as tightly as she could.

“Laura, I’m so sorry… so very sorry.” Carson’s body shook against her as he tried to control his own crying.

Laura opened her mouth to speak, but couldn’t find the words. She shook her head, clinging to Carson. She tried to clear her mind, to find the focus she needed to explain what had happened. Her gut clenched and her stomach began to churn. Something was happening.

She pulled back quickly, looking Carson in the eye, “You need to leave.”

“Why?” Carson studied her face, brushing her hair back. She looked flushed, and her eyes had become glossy. He felt her forehead, “You’re burning up.” Carson laid her back on the bed, pulling the sheets up around her. He quickly looked around the room, in search of the thermometer.

Laura lay silent, watching him move around her. He wiped his eyes on the sleeve of his labcoat, and she watched his demeanor change into full doctor mode. She liked watching him when he became focused, determined. Her mind wondered back to all the times she’d stuck around the infirmary, watching him work late into the night. The times she’d brought him food when he wouldn’t leave his lab until he achieved some sort of result.

They had reached an agreement early in their relationship. They would never change one another; never question each other’s loyalties. He was a doctor and she was a soldier, and they were both passionate about their work. Everyone was when it came to Atlantis, that’s why they were all there.

“Got it.” He moved back towards the bed and stuck the probe in Laura’s right ear. The machine beeped and he pulled it back, “Crap.” He looked back and Laura then to the machine, “You’ve got a hell of a fever, lass.”

Carson called out to one of the nurses, running off a series of orders, including ice packs. The nurses took off in different directions, gathering what they needed to complete their tasks. “Laura, are you hurting?”

Laura nodded, “I don’t know what it is, Carson. Something’s not right.”

“I know, I know. We’ll figure it out, I promise.”

Laura opened her mouth to speak, but found she couldn’t. Her entire body ached, and she felt like her mind was in a fog. She took a deep breath, trying to gather herself, but found that was an extreme effort. She coughed and gasped.

“Laura, Laura?”

Those were the last words she remembered hearing, Carson’s concerned face hovering overhead, and then darkness. Everything went black, and Laura felt herself slipping away.

Carson watched as her eyes fluttered shut, her body going limp against the bed, “Laura, Laura? Sweetheart, come on, wake up for me.” Carson pressed against her neck, looking for a pulse, “She’s crashing! I need the defibrillator!”

The nurse arrived with the cart and Carson grabbed the Ambu bag and began artificial resuscitation, “Charge to 60.”

The nurse placed the leads on Laura’s chest and prepped the paddles with gel, “She’s tachycardic.”

Carson yelled out clear as he shocked Laura’s chest, her body jerked against the bed, but there was no change in her rhythm. He continued to alternate between the breathing and the shocks until he finally saw a steady rhythm appear on the monitor, “Normal sinus rhythm.”

“Her pulse is steady,” Nurse Lisa added.

“I want her on a full cardiac monitor, and we need to check her vitals every 15 minutes.” Carson pulled his pen light out, and opened her eyes enough to check her pupils. Satisfied that they were reactive and there appeared to be no damage, he let out a small sigh of relief. “Alright, let’s figure what the hell is going on.”


“Her body is rejecting the retrovirus,” Carson began. “It’s begun to treat it like an infection and that is what’s causing the fever and elevated white count. And I’m certain it’s what caused the tachycardia.”

“But that’s a good thing, right? That her body has begun to fight the virus.” Dr. Weir asked.

“I don’t know. Possibly. But, there’s no way to be certain. It depends on a number of factors.” He remembered all too well what happened to Ellia and to Colonel Sheppard with the first unsuccessful retrovirus. For a brief moment he found himself hoping that Michael had perfected or surpassed his own failures with the virus research.

“What can we do to help?”

“I just need some time to see if I can undo what’s already been done. It would help if I had a sample of the virus and knew what sort of work Michael had done. But since I don’t, I’m just going to have to work with what I can ascertain from Laura’s condition. I’ve already got some of the other doctors in the lab now. I’m about to go see if we can run some simulations on some of the sequencing. Hopefully we can find a way to reverse what’s been done.”

“Do what you can, and keep us posted.”

“Aye.”

-------------------

It was cold again, very cold. Laura reached down to pull the sheets up around her when she realized she wasn’t in the infirmary any longer. She sat up quickly, looking around the room. The familiar walls of the Wraith cruiser stared back at her and she patted herself down to find her uniform, without any weapons.

She rubbed her head and laid back. What happened? She had just been back in Atlantis, with Carson, holding him in her arms and then… what? Laura remembered a strange feeling coming over her and it became difficult to breathe. It felt like she had slipped into a deep sleep before waking up here.

The web-like door opened before her and two Wraith guards approached her. One grunted towards her, pointing his weapon and gesturing out the door. Laura rose up, dusting off her pants as the two cleared the path for her to exit.

She walked ahead of the guards, noticing the other Wraith passing by. None of them seemed interested in her, or even aware of her presence. She passed a series of cocoons, all of them encasing humans; many of them seemed to be in Atlantis uniforms. Laura tried to search their faces, scanning to see if she recognized any of them. Most of them seemed like a blur, until she came to the end of the hallway.

There was Colonel Sheppard, Dr. Weir, Teyla, Ronon, Rodney, and Carson. All of them perfectly preserved for feeding, unconscious and peaceful. Laura brought her hands to her mouth to keep from crying out. She turned around, expecting to see the guards, but they were gone.

Quickly, she rushed forward, trying to release Carson from the sticky cocoon. Desperately, she tore at the tendrils that were wrapped around his hands and arms. Laura stopped when she heard a sound coming from her right side. At first she wasn’t sure she heard anything at all, so she stopped her actions and listened. It was silent at first, then she heard it again. It was distant and muffled. She walked backwards, towards the sound, unable to take her eyes off her friends until she backed into a door.

When she turned around, she felt along the smooth edges of the walls, looking for a release. Her mind barely registered that it was Lantean design, not Wraith. Laura found the release and watched the doors retract. The inside of the room was identical to the interior of a puddlejumper.

She walked through the back bay towards the cockpit area, listening carefully for the sound she’d heard before. It came again, louder and more distinct, along with a rapping noise.

Laura walked into the cockpit area, but didn’t see anything at first. Then there was movement in the captain’s chair, a tiny arm flailed into sight and then disappeared again. The sound, which Laura quickly realized was the gurgling and cooing of a small child, filled the room again.

Trembling, she took a step forward, stopping when she reached the arm of the chair. Laura was shocked as she looked down into the face of a baby girl. She was no more than a year or so old, barely sitting up. She had dark hair, almost black, with short curls along her neckline, and sparkling blue eyes.

The baby cooed as she looked at Laura and squealed in delight, clapping her hands, “Momma!” before reaching towards the controls. As her hands landed on the control panel, the ship lit up around them, the back door closing.

Laura gasped and then turned towards the back door, but couldn’t reach it in time before it closed shut. She turned back around to find the toddler now crawling on the floor towards her. Laura watched, mesmerized by the sight of her child on the floor. She watched intently as the young girl tried her best to get up and walk, but would fall back down again. Another movement caught her eye and Laura looked just beyond the girl’s chubby little legs to notice Michael step out behind her.

Laura ran forward and scooped the child up off the floor, holding her close to her chest as she watched Michael circle around her.

“See Lieutenant, I said you would see your child again, did I not? I always make good on my word, of that you can be assured.”

“What’s going on?” Laura heard her voice tremble, despite her best effort to remain calm and strong.

“You need time to embrace your new abilities, to see the potential in yourself. Unfortunately, the good Dr. Beckett has other plans. But we mustn’t let that interfere with your evolution. You see, tampering with the virus I’ve given you would prove to be fatal in your case.”

“You’re full of shit!” Laura spat back. “Carson will find a way to undo what you’ve done to me, I know he will.”

“Hope.” Michael chuckled, “Yes, I remember what that emotion was like. Hope that I’d remember my life, hope that I would fit in among your kind. Let me tell you something dear Laura, hope is an illusion. But if it makes you stronger, and gives you meaning, then feed on it,” Michael paused briefly, “… however futile the effort.”

Laura looked down at the small girl and she grinned, reaching out to play with the strands of her hair, “This isn’t real.”

“Of course it is,” Michael started. “But if you don’t stop Dr. Beckett from experimenting on you, treating you like some sort of laboratory rat, then this child will be motherless.”

“He’s not experimenting on me, he’s trying to find a way to undo what you’ve done to me!”

“And what about what he’s done to me?! Do you think you are any different than me? Do you feel that your circumstances are any different than my own? Captured, experimented on, and left to fend for yourself. Tell me, Lt. Cadman, how is this any different?”

“Because I’m a human being, and my child is human,” Laura lifted the girl to her shoulder rubbing her back as she began to cry. “And you are a pathetic excuse for a Wraith.”

Michael stepped forward, his breathing increasing as his anger rose. He stood face to face with Laura, ready to lash out.

Laura stood her ground, her arms trembling as she held the crying girl. She was determined not to back down against him. Just as she thought he was about to strike her, he looked around as though he heard something, then snarled before walking away.

Laura turned around to see if she could locate the source of his discontent, but when she turned back he was gone. Quickly she ran for the door once again, fumbling with the child in one arm and the release mechanism in the other. As the door began to slide open, she darted into the hallway, intent on freeing all of her friends and co-workers. But her mouth dropped and she let out a strangled cry as she looked down the hallway. The cocoons were still in place but all her friends were dead. Their bodies already drained of life, nothing but withered husks left in their uniforms.

------------------

“Come on love, wake up.” Carson rubbed his forehead and eyes, before reaching for Laura’s hand once more. He squeezed it gently, shaking her arm, “Please lass, open your eyes for me. Show me what a fighter I know ye are.”

There was no response, only the steady beeping of the monitors reassured him that she was still alive. She looked pale, despite the flushness from the fever and her lips were parched. Carson reached out and brushed his finger along her cheek, her skin dry and hot, “Come on now, enough of this, it’s time to wake up and give me a what for. Tell me to quit pestering you, to tell me just bugger off even.” Carson gave a small chuckle as he wiped his cheeks, “You are good at that aren’t ya lass.”

“Yeah, she’s really got a way of getting under people’s skin,” Rodney stepped up along side Carson. “Literally,” he mumbled. He patted his friend on the back, “Just checking to see how you were doing.”

Carson nodded, “There’s no change.” He looked back down at Laura, as he brought her hand to his face, kissing the back of her knuckles.

Rodney watched the small gesture and found himself taken back by the display of affection. He knew they had grown close as a couple, but it hadn’t hit home how close Carson had become to Laura until then. In all the time he’d known the two of them as a couple, he’d never actually witnessed any sort of physical displays of affection between them. Probably because Laura was always too busy picking on him to have time for it. Rodney did remember all the times Carson sat by, watching her, laughing along with her, a silly grin on his face that reminded him of a boy with a high school crush.

“So, uh, you want me to grab you something to eat?” Rodney wasn’t sure what else to say.

“No, I’m good.” Carson turned to face him, Laura’s hand still clasped in his own, “Thank you though.”

Carson felt a squeeze in his hand and then the bed began to shake. He spun around quickly to find Laura’s body jerking uncontrollably, the monitors beeping wildly. He jumped out of his chair, “She’s seizing!” Quickly, he turned Laura onto her side, “Rodney, help me.”

Rodney moved beside his friend, “Wha-what can I do?” He watched Laura’s body spasm and jerk against the mattress.

“Hold her legs so she doesn’t hurt herself,” Carson turned his head, yelling over his shoulder for one of the nurses to come in. “Get me 10 cc’s of diazepam, stat.” he ordered to the nurse as she burst through the curtains.

Carson reached out for the syringe and uncapped the needle as Laura’s body began to still, the spasms started to subside and her muscles relaxed. He held the cap of the syringe in his mouth, watching her closely. Once he was satisfied that the seizure had passed, he recapped the needle and passed it back to the nurse. With Rodney’s help, he rolled Laura onto her back, and then grabbed the stethoscope from around his neck.

Once he checked her breathing, he began to rub her chest, just below her trachea. “Laura, can you hear me?” He reached out and grasped her hand, “Squeeze my hand if you can hear me.” Carson watched her hand intently, holding his breath as he waited for a response. Nothing.

Rodney stood back, not sure of what to say or do at first. Then, “Hey, Cadman! Come on and wake up. I have a date with Katie next week. So, uh, you know, I uh, well I could use your help, maybe.”

Carson looked over at Rodney as gave a small smile and nodded, “Aye.” He felt another gentle squeeze to his hand again, only this time there was no seizure. “Laura?” Slowly she began to stir, her eyes trying to focus against the harsh light around her. She closed her eyes and Carson ordered the lights be lowered. “You gave me quite a scare,” Carson reached out again and brushed her hair back from her face. He felt himself grinning, just happy that she was awake again.

Laura held her gaze at the ceiling, blinking a few times before adjusting to the light of the room. Then she turned to face Carson, and his happiness faded. Her eyes were distant, glossy and glazed over, her facial features grew slack and he watched as the spit slid down her cheek onto the pillow.

“Laura?” Carson squeezed her hand again and watched for a response. It came again, but it was almost imperceptible.

“Laura, can you move your other arm for me.”

No response.

“How about your legs?” Carson pulled the sheets back, noticing that her gown was soaked in urine.

No response.

Carson shook his head, trying to keep his focus, trying to remain calm. “Nurse!” Nurse Lisa appeared back at his side. “Please get her cleaned up. I also need more blood drawn and prep her for an MRI.”

“Right away, Dr. Beckett,” The nurse moved to get clean bed linens and a gown.

Carson walked past Rodney as his friend grabbed his arm, “Rodney, I don’t have time for this.”

“What’s going on?” Rodney knew Carson well enough to know it had to be bad for him to be this upset.

“Her body is rejecting the retrovirus. And now, I think it’s rejecting the treatment. If I don’t find a cure soon…” He shook his head. He had to find a cure. He had to.

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SGA's Carson Beckett/Laura Cadman

August 2009

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