[identity profile] gateruner.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] beckett_cadman
Title: Hunger Strike, (Part 9/?)
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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

special note: Internal dialog is in italics. Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wive for her beta help!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8



Hunger Strike
Part 9


Laura could sense the tension in Carson as they sat at the briefing room table. The rest of the primary team had joined them, along with Dr. Weir, Zelenka, and Colonel Caldwell. Carson sat across from her, his eyes watching closely, and his face was stone cold. She couldn’t read him at all on the surface, but she could sense the underlying anger and frustration. She knew they were going to have a talk when this was over. One of those talks, the kind she hated. Both of them knew their jobs, and they knew the stakes, neither of them ever denied it. Even though he knew it was her job, deep down, Carson was a stubborn man. And while he’d never tell her outright not to do something, she could see the disapproval in his eyes.

“And you are sure you know the codes to bypass the security?” Col. Sheppard’s voice flowed next to her.

Laura nodded, her eyes still fixed on Carson, “Absolutely, sir.” She finally looked away, pointing at the makeshift map that she had helped draw. Laura was always bad at art, and she was frustrated that she couldn’t render the drawing like she saw it in her mind. “If we enter through this juncture, then we can move to the lab through this hallway.”

“How many unfriendlies can we expect?”

“In that corridor, not many. It’s not a main hallway, as best I could tell. I can also interface with the alarm system as well.” She picked up another sheet of paper and placed it on top of the other drawings, “Here is a secondary console system I found. It will be my first stop, once we get inside. We should be able to bypass their shield using this frequency modulation on the cloaked jumper. From the dart bay, the corridor is no more than 10 meters or so. If they are not culling, then the bay should be relatively empty.”

“And if they are?”

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.” Everyone stared at her, she blinked, “Look, according to the gate address, we’ve surveyed this planet before. No indigenous life forms. What is there to cull?”

“Then what do the Wraith want with it?” Dr. Weir asked.

“I don’t know,” Laura had to admit it had stumped her as well. She was sure there was a purpose, she just hadn’t figured it out yet.

Col. Caldwell sat back in his chair, staring down the long table, “You’re making an awful lot of assumptions, Lieutenant. And for all we know, you could be leading everyone right into a trap.” And I’m not so sure you are in any state of mind to be going on a mission and leading our best people into a suicide mission.

Laura stared back down the table towards the colonel. She felt her anger flare. Did she just hear his thoughts, and was he suggesting that she was somehow a traitor in all this? A chill went down her spine and her head began to ache. She needed focus, something to draw her attention away, she blinked once, twice, trying to find something. Her vision started to blur.

“Lieutenant?” the colonel called. We don’t have time for this right now. If she loses it I’m calling off this whole mission.

She cleared her throat, her vision still playing games with her, “With all do respect, sir, I can’t give you anymore than my word.” You bastard!

“You’re asking for an awful lot of these people for nothing more than your word. Are you willing to risk the lives of your fellow crewmates on this?” She looks really bad. I know Sheppard trusts her judgment, but I think she’s got both him and Dr. Beckett snowballed.

Red-hot anger churned in her gut, crawling up her spine like spiders along her back. Coldness and heat, together, climbing ever slowly towards her mind as her heart began to race. He’s my superior, get a grip! Laura noticed the water pitcher sitting on the tray at one end of the table, next to Rodney. She homed in on the glass, watching the beads of water slide down the slick surface. One, two, three….. “Yes sir,” She breathed heavily, “I would never risk their lives if I wasn’t sure.” I’m a goddamn U.S. fucking Marine Officer you moron! Of course I’m not going to risk their lives on some half-assed idea!

Dr. Weir leaned forward, “I’m allowing this mission only because everyone is on board with the plan. However, if at any time Colonel Sheppard feels that the team is compromised in any way, he has orders to scrub the mission and return to Atlantis. Is that understood?” I sure as hell hope John listens to me, as well as Carson.

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

The puddlejumper cleared the Stargate, sailing over the treeline, as Col. Sheppard brought up the lifesigns display. “Nothing on the scans so far. Looks like we beat the Wraith.”

“They should be here soon though,” Cadman added.

Colonel Sheppard circled the area and finally landed the jumper in a clearing to the right of the gate. The position would allow them to see anyone coming to or from the gate. They all checked their weapons, making sure everything was in order.

Carson moved to sit next to Laura as she packed her gear in her backpack. He took in the pale parlor of her skin, her usually shiny hair looked dull and flat in the light of the jumper and there were strands slipping out of the usually up kept bun. Reaching out to brush a few errant strands of that hair, Carson noticed that Laura’s skin was dry and cold. Laura averted his gaze and continued to work on her pack. Carson moved his hand once again and brushed at the fallen strands of hair. Her once silky and beautiful hair was dry and coarse under his fingers and beginning to turn a flat shade of grey. He choked back a small sob.

“I’ll be fine Carson, I promise.” She had been trying hard to block out people’s thoughts since the briefing, especially Carson’s. Honestly, she was afraid to know what Carson was truly thinking inside. Laura didn’t dare tell anyone what was happening. It would just be another reason to keep her confined to Atlantis and she needed to do this.

“Aye,” it was all he knew to say, or do. But part of him was screaming out that he was closer to losing her with every passing second.

“There it is!” Rodney jumped out of the co-pilot chair and pointed towards the display. “A hive ship. It just came out of hyperspace. Looks like it’s alone.”

“Alright, let’s do this.” Sheppard flew the cloaked jumper out of the atmosphere and veered towards the hive ship. “You sure you got the frequency loaded, Rodney?”

“Yes, I’ve put the modulation into the shield. If Cadman is right, we should slip right in.”

John nodded and they proceeded towards the open dart bay. Sure enough they watched the shield flicker briefly, but passed through without any trouble. He found an alcove to one side of the bay and landed the jumper.

Once they disembarked, Laura moved quickly down the first corridor and found the alarm system panel. It lit up for her and she gave a series of commands that disabled the console and made it go dark. “Okay, we’re clear.”

They moved into another hallway, with no sign of any Wraith whatsoever. Sheppard started to feel nervous. It was easy, almost too easy. Cadman led them down the hallway and stopped at one of the junctures. She looked back towards everyone, and then nodded before she proceeded down the dark corridor.

Laura walked up to the door panel, with her flashlight in hand and watched the tendrils slowly slide back. Now that she could see it better, she realized it hadn’t been a solid door as she first thought, but organic just like the other parts of the ship. Only this one was more dense and compact.

Laura silently motioned the others behind her as she crouched down against the wall. Slowly the team made its way along the inner wall of the lab, keeping low to the ground, and out of sight. Once they had a visual on the number of Wraith, she looked to Col. Sheppard as he signaled the others to take out the Wraith.

She watched him hold out his hand and silently count down: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Gunfire erupted all around as Laura jumped up, taking out two Wraith instantly from her position. The other Wraith fell quickly, leaving only the humans standing.

Laura scanned the room, her eyes homing in on the pregnant woman she saw earlier. She took off across the room and approached the table cautiously. The woman appeared to be unconscious, but very much alive. Her ankles and wrists were bound to the table and a series of strange electrode looking wires were running from her head and chest. She seemed peaceful, like she was dreaming and not at all aware of what was going on around her.

“Who’s this?”

Laura shook her head as Col. Sheppard’s voice approached, along with the rest of the team, “I’m not sure.” She swallowed hard, “But I….” Laura lifted her hand, hesitating before placing it on the woman’s swollen belly. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, “Oh God.”

“Laura?” Carson clutched her other arm.

“It’s my baby. I can sense it.” Her voice sounded shaky, almost tiny compared to the impact of the words she spoke.

“Laura, love, it’s not possible. This woman looks to be almost full term. There’s no way.” Carson reasoned. He looked between Laura and the woman on the table, trying to understand why Laura could even suggest such a cruel thing.

“I know you don’t understand, but I’m telling you it is!” Cadman breathed deeply, trying to control her emotions. She avoided Carson’s gaze, focusing on Col. Sheppard, “We need her. She has to come back with us.”

“Look Lieutenant, I….” He was shaking his head, unsure of how to reply. It would be cruel to say no if it really was her baby, but how could she know? She seemed sincere, but this was so far beyond fucked up, he wasn’t sure they’d even get out as it stood with just them, let alone carrying a pregnant woman. “Look, this isn’t a rescue mission. We aren’t here to save anyone but ourselves. Get in and get out, remember?”

“But this is my child. I know it’s hard to understand, but it’s the truth, I swear it. Michael has figured out a way to genetically alter the growth rate of human embryos using some sort of nanite technology….”

“What? Laura, how do you know this? Listen to what you’re saying.” Carson rang out.

“It is possible! I don’t know how, but it is,” Laura felt all her anger begin to flow forth, “Dammit Carson, I’m asking for you to believe me just this once!”

Laura watched as something flashed in across his eyes, briefly, before it was gone again and his face went blank.

“Fine,” His accent was thick, and his tone was curt, sending out all sorts of signals Laura didn’t want to home in on.

“Colonel?” Laura looked to her C.O. for final approval.

Sheppard hesitated before he finally nodded, “Alright, we bring her, but only if we can make it out. If she becomes a liability…” He held his hands out.

“I understand, sir.” Laura simply wanted a chance.

Laura began to remove the restraints and monitors from the woman’s body. The woman began to stir as the electrodes were removed from her chest, “What are you doing?” She looked across the table at everyone, “You are here to take me!”

“You are not safe, you need to come with us, we can protect you.” Laura reasoned.

“I need no protection from anyone,” the woman looked around again, “except from you.”

“Of course this couldn’t be easy.” Col. Sheppard raised his P-90 as the woman sat up.

The woman looked back at Laura, ignoring the gun and the colonel, “You are the one I spoke to before. You must know the Wraith will not allow this. Leave now and he may spare your life. Stay and your friends will die.”

“Look lady, we really don’t have time for the whole, ‘you’re going to die’ routine, so could we just hurry this up, please?” Col. Sheppard motioned with his gun for the lady to get up from the table, but she simply sat and stared at him.

“As I said before, the Wraith will not allow you to take me from this ship. It is a futile effort to try.”

“Okay, that’s enough.” Ronon placed his phaser-gun in the holster and moved towards the table. The woman slid back towards the wall as he approached, “Come on lady, it’s time to roll.” Without much resistance, other than a few kicks, he hoisted her form off the table with little effort. She kicked and squirmed in his arms, but remained quiet. “Alright, let’s go.”

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

The team managed to make it back to the primary corridor with the lady in Ronon’s arms. Laura stopped along the hallway, listening for any Wraith that might be in the vicinity. It was quiet, almost too quiet which bothered her. She gripped her P-90 as they crept closer towards the dart bay.

At the juncture of the hallway, leading into the bay, she spotted the darkened corner that she had visited before in her mind. She shined her light into the darkness and noticed that the membranes of the wall had been severed. Laura leaned down and slipped her hand into the slimy sheets, retrieving the small bottle she’d hidden there. She stood up and passed the bottle over to Carson, “Here, I think you need this.”

Carson took the bottle, shining his light on the label. He looked back at Laura, his eyes going wide, “Where did you get this?”

“Never mind that now, just tell me, is it what you need to fix me?”

“Yes, I think so!” Carson felt the first ray of hope since the entire ordeal had begun. He quickly took a bag out of his tac vest and wrapped the bottle up securely before storing it.

“Alright, let’s move,” Col. Sheppard lead the team into the dart bay.

It was too easy; Laura started thinking to herself as she followed the Colonel. They had met next to no resistance since they got onboard the ship and not one hunt team had come for them.

They approached the area where the cloaked jumper sat and Laura watched as it rematerialized before them, as Sheppard placed the remote back into his pocket. He and Teyla took point around the jumper as Carson opened the back jumper door.

Ronon watched impatiently as the woman continued to squirm in his arms. The door finally reached the floor and he moved forward but stopped suddenly as a figure emerged from the front cockpit of the jumper.

“Welcome.”

Everyone froze and Laura stepped forward, “Michael.”

“It took you longer than I expected. But I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me Laura.” Michael chuckled then waved his hand, “Seize them.”

Wraith emerged from out of nowhere and surrounded the team. Laura stepped forward, “You were using me.” It was a statement, not a question.

Michael smiled and then gave a slight nod, “You were expecting different? Please tell me you didn’t honestly think I’d let you wonder around the ship undetected. Or that I’d be so careless as to let you find this.” Michael produced another vial, identical to the one that Carson now had in his backpack. Laura felt her heart plummet. She’d been played all along.

“Take them!” Michael jerked his head towards the Wraith, “Make sure they are unharmed and prepare them to meet the Queen.” He watched the Wraith secure the rest of the team and then stepped forward, “Except for this one.” He walked closer to Laura, “We have unfinished business, don’t we Lieutenant?”

“Laura!” Carson cried out as the Wraith dragged them down the hallway and away from the jumper.

“Let them go and I might let you live.” Laura stood her ground, trying not to let her nervousness show.

“Big words, for such a small lady.”

“We’ll see.” Laura closed her eyes and took deep cleansing breaths. Heat and cold traveled up her spine again, crawling faster than before. She let it go this time, allowing her anger to flow around her. It would feed her, give her the energy she needed. Images began to flash through her consciousness. Atlantis, her friends and teammates, Major Lorne, Col. Sheppard, McKay, Ronon, Teyla, Dr. Weir, Katie Brown, and Carson.

Carson. More images came now, faster, more intense; His smile, his laughter, the gentle touch of his hands, the smell and taste of him as they made love. The butterflies in her stomach as he spun her around in the hallway. Sitting in his lap watching movies, his lips on her head and hair, arms wrapped tight and secure around her, as she laughed. Memories raced all around her. She couldn’t control the flow or the content. Laura realized it was Michael in her mind, trying to use her emotions against her.

Laura mentally turned away from the onslaught of emotions, instead focusing on one. Her anger grew, a knot slowly forming deep in her belly and spreading outward. Her arms and legs tingled, her breathing slowed.

“Why must you resist what I am offering you? Why are you unable to embrace your new gift and see it for what it is?”

“Oh I see it, Michael. I see it all too well.” Laura flashed back to the briefing before the mission, how her anger had washed over her all too quickly, and how she focused on the water pitcher. As they left the briefing, she remembered hearing McKay rambling from behind her about water almost shorting out his laptop. Then she heard Zelenka’s voice and something about there being a fault in the water pitcher. That’s when she realized that the pitcher had cracked and water had seeped onto the table.

Now it was suddenly clear what had happened. She had been responsible for that; she had caused it to crack with her mind. Taking another deep breath she felt her arms and legs tingling again, her hair began to feel like it was crawling along her scalp. Laura opened her eyes and focused on Michael again. Something had changed in his demeanor. He seemed leery of her now, almost frightened and Laura grinned.

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

The Queen entered the chamber and surveyed the group of humans. All of them had been placed in a semi-circle around the center of the room, their arms bound behind their backs as they knelt on the floor. They still looked defiant and ready to fight to the end. Oh yes, she was going to savor this feeding. “You think you can enter my ship, kill my fellow brothers, and kidnap one of our disciples without retribution?”

Everyone looked towards Sheppard as he cleared his throat, “Um, well, that was the plan.”

The Queen approached him, her long black gown flowing along the floor behind her. She reached out and ran a finger along John’s jaw, “Such defiance.” She continued her exploration of the colonel’s body by sliding her hands under his jacket and forcing it off his shoulders.

“You know, I never got your name.” It felt like déjà vu all over again. But John didn’t falter, keeping his gaze focused at some distant point on one of the slimy walls. If he was about to have the life sucked out him, he’d just as soon not let her know how nervous he was. In his peripheral vision, he could see her clawed hand begin to rise and he braced himself for what he sensed was coming. He closed his eyes and scrunched up his face, his body tensing.

“Yes, I shall enjoy this…” The Queen pulled her arm back and began to lunge forward but stopped abruptly and hissed. She turned around and looked towards the doorway.

The sound of Wraith stunners erupted from outside the room and then there was silence. The Queen began to walk towards the door when Laura emerged in the entryway. The Wraith guards in the room moved towards her instantly, but she simply waved her hands and they catapulted across the room, slamming into the walls and knocking them unconscious.

Laura sauntered into the room and crossed her arms. Her jacket and tac vest were gone, and her arms and clothes were streaked with blood. Carson caught her eye as she surveyed her teammates. Something was different, there was a coldness to her features that made his heart sink. Her eyes seemed darker, skin even paler than before, and her hair was almost completely white. It seemed like she’d aged years in only a matter of minutes. Carson realized she must have seen the horror in his eyes because she broke eye contact quickly, making sure everyone was still alive and unharmed. Satisfied that they were, she looked the Queen in the eye and smirked, “Alright bitch. This is between me and you!”

The Queen looked closely before stepping towards Laura, her eyes never breaking contact with the human woman. They walked circles around each other, not speaking, assessing each others strengths and weaknesses. The Queen tilted her head back and closed her eyes, letting out a small growling sound. Laura stumbled backwards, and then caught her footing, taking deep breaths. It was obvious to everyone in the room that the Queen was attacking her mentally, but Laura stood her ground. She took a few deep breaths and clutched her fists, mentally fighting back. The Queen faltered and stumbled back one step as well.

“I don’t believe it!” Rodney blurted, “She’s got like Jedi Mind Powers or something!”

“Shut up McKay,” Sheppard whispered. If Cadman was capable of defeating the Queen, then he wasn’t going to do anything to distract her.

Laura stepped closer to the Queen. A feral grin crept across her features that caused Carson to shiver in repulsion. There was something unnatural about it, something that made his stomach revolt.

In a move that seemed more graceful than even Teyla could have managed, Laura darted to the side of the Queen and gripped her tightly around the neck. The Queen hissed and cried as Laura reached into the waistband of her fatigues and produced a bloody knife. Before anyone else could react, Laura had lifted the sharp blade and pierced the Queen’s abdomen. There was one last wretched howl from the Wraith Queen before Laura twisted the blade in her gut then reached up and snapped her head to the side. It was quick and effective, a loud pop echoing through the room before the Queen went slack in Laura’s arms.

Laura dumped the body on the floor, then collapsed next to Colonel Sheppard. Her body was trembling visibly now and John could tell she was on the verge of a breakdown, probably running on pure adrenalin at this point. “So, Lieutenant, what do you say we get the hell out of here?” John tried to remain lighthearted, not mentioning what just transpired. Although he sure had some questions about it all, it could wait.

Laura put her elbows on her knees and held her head, “Michael took the jumper.”

“What?” Sheppard was sure he didn’t hear that right.

“Michael didn’t have the gene, how could he fly it?” Carson asked. They were all still sitting on the floor as they waited for Laura to cut the restraints.

Suddenly aware that everyone was tied up, she jumped up and went over to the Queen’s body. “He’s managed to inoculate himself with the ATA gene.” Laura kicked the body over and grasped the handle of the knife. Once she got it free, she wiped the blade on her pants leg before cutting everyone loose.

“So how the hell are we going to get out of here?!” McKay squeaked.

“Don’t worry McKay, I’ve got a plan.” Laura assured him as she cut his restraints free, “Let’s just hope the rematerialization process works better this time.”

Rodney looked up at Laura, as realization hit, “No! Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I am NOT getting scooped up by a dart. Are you kidding me?!”

Laura simply rolled her eyes. It was a gesture that seemed more Laura-like than anything Carson had seen since they’d arrived, he felt his stomach settle down a bit.

Colonel Sheppard jumped up and brushed his pants off, “C’mon Rodney, it’s not that bad. Besides, we need to get out of here before more Wraith show up.” He didn’t know how many Cadman had taken out, but he knew it couldn’t have been the entire ship. “Alright, it’s time to go home.”

End Part 9.

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SGA's Carson Beckett/Laura Cadman

August 2009

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