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Return to Pegasus, Part II, CH V

<<< Back to Return to Pegasus, Part II, CH IV

 

“Shields down to fifty-one percent!”

“Marks, get us the hell out of here!” Caldwell ordered.

“Yes, sir!”

As the Daedalus began maneuvering away in preparation to jump to hyperspace, the ship was violently rocked as the Wraith fired twice more in rapid succession. An alarm started beeping, and more sparks flew from a couple of panels along the walls. Then there was a huge shower of sparks and smoke as a panel at the station next to Major Marks blew up, throwing the officer sitting there to the deck. John grabbed a fire extinguisher and started spraying the panels to put out the fire as Mayel and another crewman tried to help the downed officer.

Once the vapor from the extinguisher cleared, John peered critically at the damage, then tentatively poked at the controls to see if anything worked, but he could get no response from the systems. “This station is fried, Sir.”

Mayel looked up from where she was kneeling beside the fallen officer and shook her head at John and Caldwell. It didn’t look good. John noted the man’s name as a med team swept in to take the man to sickbay. Henderson. He clenched his jaw and glanced at Caldwell. The Daedalus’s commander was clearly frustrated at the deteriorating situation, but trying to hold it in.

“Damnit.” Caldwell turned to Marks. “Shields?”

“At thirty-two percent. Sir, that last hit also took out our hyperdrive. We still have sublights, but only at partial power. Asgard plasma beams are down.”

“Put everything you can into the sublights and keep us moving. Engineering, we need that hyperdrive back online, or we’re all dead!”

Mayel got up and quickly headed back to the comm station, quietly and rapidly speaking into her earpiece. “I have Captain Larrin and the other commanders bringing in their ships to protect the Daedalus. But Colonel, with the damage they have taken themselves, they will not be able to last much longer. Larrin says they can probably give us five minutes.”

“Understood.” Caldwell looked very grim, and John’s mood wasn’t any better.

The Daedalus continued to pull further away from the bulk of the Wraith armada, but four hive ships emerged to pursue the Daedalus and the remaining Coalition ships. The Wraith began firing, and the Daedalus and Coalition ships returned fire. The exchange was fierce, but John already knew how this was going to end.

Another alarm sounded, this time from the sensors. Without any warning, several hyperspace windows opened up around the battling ships.

“Oh, great,” John muttered. “More good news.”

“What have we got, Sheppard?”

A dozen ships shot out of hyperspace and rapidly began moving toward the two fleets. John read the sensor readout over Marks’s shoulder. Then he read it a second time to be sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him.

“It’s not the Wraith, Colonel.”

“What? Then who is it?”

Before John could answer, the new arrivals began shooting at the Wraith with powerful energy weapons that seemed to resemble the Asgard plasma beam weapons that the Daedalus had been outfitted with.

“Colonel, remember those renegade Asgard we ran into a few months before Atlantis returned to Earth?” John asked.

“It’s them?”

“Looks like it. And they’re tearing the Wraith to shreds.”

Sure enough, the ships were pounding the Wraith so heavily that the Wraith had been forced to redirect their attention on the intruders. In moments, the four hive ships that had been pursuing the Daedalus had been ripped apart. Then the newcomers moved away from the Daedalus and the remaining Coalition ships to focus their attention on the rest of the Wraith armada. At first, the Wraith put up very strong resistance, hammering the smaller ships with everything from the massive energy pulses from the hive ships to the darts using the same kamikaze-like tactic that they had used on Atlantis during the siege.

However, the shields on the renegade Asgard ships held firm, and soon three more hive ships had been destroyed. Then two more. The remaining Wraith ships abruptly stopped firing and started turning away quickly. Hyperspace windows started to form, and the Wraith ships at the far end of the armada began jumping away, clearly not liking how the odds had swung out of their favor. The renegade Asgard did not stop firing, and they managed to cleave yet another hive ship in half, the ensuing explosion taking out still more of the Wraith support ships.

The rest of the Wraith fled, the rout complete. John and everyone else on the bridge of the Daedalus stared out the forward windows, awed at what they saw before them. The battlefield was strewn with wreckage that still smoldered. While quite a few ships had managed to escape, the Wraith armada had been thoroughly decimated, and John suspected it would be some time before they were ready or willing to attempt another galaxy-wide purge. The sight was vaguely reminiscent of the graveyard of Wraith ships that had surrounded Doranda, home planet of the ill-fated Project Arcturus, and John found it hard to repress a shudder at the memories those names invoked.

The renegade Asgard ships turned away from the wreckage of the Wraith armada and back toward the small cluster of Traveler ships that surrounded the Daedalus.

John exchanged a look with Caldwell. “Think we should hail them? You know, to say thanks and all that.”

Caldwell flashed a wry grin. “If they even care about thanks.”

“There is that.”

“Actually,” Mayel announced, “they are hailing us.”

Both John and Caldwell raised their eyebrows. “Put it on, Commander,” Caldwell said. She nodded and tapped a control at the comm panel. The forward windows shimmered, bringing up the Daedalus’s heads-up display in communications mode.

A small, slender, gray-skinned being with a large head and flat black eyes that for some reason reminded John of a shark appeared on the screen.

“We of the Vanir have been monitoring the efforts of your ‘Coalition of Worlds’ to rid this galaxy of the Wraith. In this, our goals are the same. For that reason, we have chosen to aid you this one time.” The little gray-skinned being’s voice oozed contempt. “Do not expect such aid again.” The screen went dark, signaling that the conversation, such as it was, was over.

Mayel had been about to say something, perhaps to open a dialogue on behalf of the Coalition, but the Vanir’s final statement and the ending of the transmission had stopped her short. Once again, she looked disappointed. John shrugged at her, but privately he wondered if it was just as well, considering what had happened when the Vanir had first revealed their presence in the Pegasus Galaxy.

As one, the Vanir ships turned to the left, passing by the tattered remnants of the Coalition fleet and jumped into hyperspace.

Everyone seemed to let out the breath they’d all been holding all at once.

“Well, that was impressive,” Caldwell remarked.

“And a little disturbing,” John added. “Sure, these guys hate the Wraith too, but they’ve never cared if we got stepped on before. Why bother now?”

Caldwell frowned. “Not the most comforting of thoughts.”

Mayel still looked discomfited about the encounter. “They would be a very important ally, if we could convince them to join forces with us.” That confirmed what John had suspected, at least. It was evident to him, however, that she would be setting herself up for disappointment if she tried to pursue this further.

She raised her fingers to her headset, and John absently mused that she had become accustomed to the Earth way of doing things rather quickly. “Captain Larrin is hailing us.”

“Put her on,” Caldwell said.

“So,” Larrin said without preamble, “I take it they were the ones responsible for blowing up all those Stargates and our new colony?”

“Yep, that’s them,” John told her.

“And now they’ve decided to come out and play with the rest of us. Great. Somebody else we have to start watching out for.” John felt a little mollified that she seemed to agree with his assessment of the Vanir. “I don’t think the Wraith are going to be coming back here any time soon, but even so, I don’t fancy the idea of sticking around here too long. At least this gives us a chance to catch our breaths.”

“Agreed,” Caldwell replied. “We’ve got some damage to the hyperdrive and other systems, and we’re still waiting for an assessment from the damage control teams on how long it’ll take to get it fixed.”

“We’ll stay put and watch your backs, then.”

“We’d appreciate that, Captain.”

The transmission ended, and Caldwell looked around at the rest of the crew. John caught his eye and gave him a sardonic grin, which Caldwell returned. They’d managed to cheat death and survive again. John only hoped that, at the end of the day, it would all be worth it.

 

--/--

 

It had been a long time since Teyla had allowed herself to truly cry. It had not been pride or vanity, but simply the sense that as a leader, as someone who was constantly looked to by both her own people and those she dealt with on behalf of her people, she had to show her strength for the sake of doing what she felt was best for her people. Even when the Athosians had been taken by Michael, leaving her to believe that she and her unborn child were the last of their people, she had not cried except when she was alone. Nonetheless, it had felt good to fully give vent to her feelings now. It was cleansing in a way that had left her mind better able to face what lay ahead, even if her soul was still deeply troubled. Of course, Ronon’s steadfast loyalty, now as it had been then, combined with Kanaan’s unconditional love and support had made it a little easier this time around.

However, it seemed to be a universal truth that waiting was always the most difficult part of the process. She and Kanaan sat together on a bench set along one wall of the cavern that they were now waiting in, and it was only Kanaan’s hand resting atop hers that kept her from leaping up and pacing. Ronon leaned against the wall next to the opening into the tunnel that led to the outside. His arms were folded and he seemed to be lost in thought, but Teyla knew from experience that the air of distraction was a pose, hiding the fact that Ronon was keenly observing everything going on around him. His position near the cave entrance would allow him to monitor sounds and other clues that would indicate the presence of anyone approaching the caves. The thought struck her that Ronon had now been with the Lanteans for almost as long as he had been a Runner. The years of freedom had subtly changed the wild man that she and Colonel Sheppard had found five years ago, just as her years living among the Lanteans had changed her.

It was that final thought that brought her right back to the current impasse. Had she lived among the Lanteans for so long that her own people no longer thought of her as Athosian? Could they be right? She pushed the thought away angrily. What nonsense! She was Athosian in her blood, heart and soul, and everything she had done, including living among the Lanteans as their guide in this galaxy, was for the ultimate benefit of the Athosian people, to bring them and all those who lived here one step closer to being rid of the scourge of the Wraith so that they could all live their lives in peace.

She could barely resist the urge to look at her watch and see how much time had passed since the last time she had looked. She took a deep breath, held it, then breathed out slowly, hoping the meditative technique would help to bring calm to her mind and heart. It did not work so well.

The candles in the lanterns, which had been freshly lit when they had arrived, had burned halfway down when the soft sound of shuffling feet could be heard. It whispered down the passage that led to the cavern where the rest of the Athosians had retired to discuss what they were to do with her.

Teyla rose from the bench and walked to the center of the chamber, Kanaan at her side. Ronon pulled away from his position near the passage to the forest outside and stood behind them. Her eyes were riveted on the passage where even now the flicker of an approaching lantern could be seen against the walls.

One by one, they stepped into the chamber, their eyes avoiding her searching ones. She took another quiet, cleansing breath. It meant nothing.

Tarsin stepped forward when the others formed a semi-circle around Teyla. Average height and build, with a shock of light brown hair and green eyes, Tarsin was Teyla’s junior by four years, with a merry soul and a smile for anyone, as well as a sensible head on his shoulders. Teyla hoped that the choice of him as speaker was a good sign.

“We have made our decision,” he stated simply.

“And am I no longer of the people of Athos?” Teyla’s voice sounded breathless to her ears.

Some of those before her shifted uncomfortably on their feet, though whether that was an indication of their feelings on the matter, she could not be certain.

“You are born of the people of Athos,” Tarsin said after a slight hesitation, his answer not truly answering the question. “However, we think it best that you go back to Atlantis. Your return has reopened wounds that had only just begun to heal. There is too much disquiet over all that has occurred. You must understand... You were gone for nearly a full turn of the seasons. We had no idea what had happened to Atlantis or to any of you. The culling happened so soon after you left, and there was no time for us to wait for you to return or even to wonder if you would ever return.”

“But I am here now,” Teyla protested. “I have returned, and Atlantis has returned with me.”

“And that may yet be a good thing for us all,” Tarsin agreed, with nods to Kanaan and Ronon. “The joining of your path with that of Atlantis has been a boon to our people on occasion. It is important to all in this galaxy, for it is through Atlantis that we will one day be free to live our lives without fear of the Wraith. However, it is also true that the joining of your path with the Lanteans has caused much suffering for us, and it has taken you too far from our tents for too long. The people of Athos need someone who will be here when we have need, who can be fully committed to our people first. It is clear to us all that you can no longer be that person.”

Stunned, Teyla actually took an involuntary step back.

“This is our judgment. You are still of the people of Athos, Teyla, daughter of Tagan. But you no longer walk among us, and you no longer speak for us. Jinto, son of Halling, speaks for the people of Athos now.”

Teyla found it hard to breathe. “What of Kanaan? And our son? Are they to be shunned as well?”

“No,” Tarsin said quickly, which told Teyla that the subject had evidently been discussed. “Torren is but a child. We would not deny him the chance to know his people.” Tarsin stepped back.

“What will you do now? Will you return to New Athos?” Kanaan asked quietly.

“We can never again set foot on New Athos,” Jinto declared, stepping forward. His voice was subdued, but his eyes still glittered with resentment and perhaps a little fear. “That we have twice been attacked there has shown us that we were unworthy of the Ancestors’ gift to us. I remember my father telling me about how he prayed to the Ancestors for my safe return when I was lost on Atlantis, just days after we arrived. He feared that our presence had desecrated the sanctity of the Ancestors’ city. We were only there because of the Lanteans. We stayed there longer than we should have because of you, Teyla. Perhaps that is why when the Ancestors returned, that they were cold with us, why they sent us away to New Athos. They sensed that we were not worthy and that we had to prove ourselves. And then they died because you and the Lanteans had set free the horror that was the Asurans, who in their own turn tainted Atlantis even further. Perhaps Atlantis is now as cursed as Athos and New Athos both are. Only time will tell if that is true, and I pray that one day our children will be found worthy enough to go back, if we are not. All this came to pass with you as leader. A price must be paid for that.” He sighed. “For the sake of the friendship between you and my father, I am sorry it has come to this.” He looked to his right. “Getan and Soren will see you back to the Ring of the Ancestors.”

Jinto turned, and walked out of the chamber, back into the deeper recesses of the caverns. One by one, the others followed him without a word. A few snuck brief glances back at Teyla, regret, resentment and pity in their eyes. Getan and Soren remained, watching intently.

For a long moment, Teyla stared at the opening through which the rest had all passed, a strange roaring sound filling her ears. Finally, the sound faded away, and she turned toward the passage leading out to the forest. Her eyes fell on Kanaan and Ronon, and she slowly looked from one to the other. Then she walked forward, down the passage, and out into the forest.

 

--/--

 

Repairs to the most critical systems aboard the Daedalus took a couple of hours. Luckily, the Asgard transporter beam was still operational, so medical teams from the Daedalus were able to assist with injuries on the other ships as repairs continued. John himself had been quite busy helping the repair teams wherever he could, while Mayel continued to relay messages between the Coalition ships. To their consternation, long range communications were intermittent, so they would have to wait until they returned to Atlantis to give more of a report than a mere ‘all is well.’ Even with the decisive blow dealt to the Wraith by the Vanir, everyone on the Daedalus and the other Coalition ships couldn’t help but keep looking over their shoulders, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Fortunately, it never did. After a somber congratulations to their allies on a battle well fought, Larrin and the rest of the Travelers departed to meet up with the rest of their people, while the Daedalus limped back to Atlantis.

The Daedalus landed in its usual spot on the east pier, where Richard Woolsey, along with McKay, Zelenka, and engineering teams from Atlantis to assist with additional repairs, were waiting. The worst injuries had already been beamed to the Atlantis infirmary and were being taken care of by Keller and Beckett.

John absently noted the expressions of concern from Rodney and Radek as they hurried by with their teams to board the Daedalus, meet with Caldwell and get to work, but mostly, he was just tired. It had been one hell of a day. Woolsey stepped forward as John and Mayel approached.

“I’d ask how it went out there, but judging from your expressions...”

“It went better than it could have,” John said. “We actually did quite a bit of damage, but considering how outnumbered we were, that’s not saying much. Then the Wraith started doing a pretty good job of putting the dead and us into Daedalus before the Vanir showed up and pulled our asses out of the fire.”

“The Vanir?”

“Those renegade Asgard who popped up here in Pegasus about a year and a half ago,” John clarified. “They finally decided to tell us what they call themselves. Jumped in without any warning and sliced at least a third of the Wraith armada to ribbons before the rest ran for the hills. And then they turned around and told us, if you please, that they only did it because we both hate the Wraith, don’t expect us to save your sorry human butts again, etcetera.”

Woolsey visibly winced. A chilly breeze blew across the pier, and out of the corner of his eye, John noticed Mayel shiver. Woolsey must have noticed it as well, as he gestured to the building behind him. Together, the three started walking to the nearest doorway into the interior.

“Commander Serrana, I’m sure you’d like to check in with General Radim and let the news be spread among the Coalition about the defeat of the Wraith armada.”

“Thank you. General Radim requested that I report in person when I returned, so I would like to use the Stargate to go back to my homeworld as soon as possible.”

“Easily done,” Woolsey assured her. They walked into the building, then across a short hall to the transporter. The three of them stepped into the transporter, and John touched the interactive screen on the back wall to send them to their destination. The doors closed, there was that familiar flash of light, and when the doors opened, they walked out into the hallway outside the gateroom. “I do hope this won’t be the last time we’ll see you,” Woolsey continued, and John found himself trying to understand the rush of interest he felt at the prospect of Mayel returning to Atlantis.

“Oh no, I expect this will be only the first of many visits to come.” Mayel smiled at both men as they entered the gateroom.

“That’s... that’s good,” John said quickly. “We’ll miss having you around all the time.”

Woolsey threw John an amused look, then turned toward the control room. “Amelia,” he called, “dial the Genii homeworld, please.”

“Right away, Mister Woolsey,” Amelia answered. In moments, the chiming tones that heralded a dialing Stargate began to ring in the gateroom, and shortly thereafter, the familiar ‘kawoosh’ of the opening wormhole shot out into the open space in front of the gate, settling into a calm puddle of blue light.

“Well,” Woolsey said as he turned back to Mayel, “Commander Serrana, it has been a pleasure and an honor to meet you and work with you and the Coalition.”

“Thank you, Mister Woolsey. I hope this will be the beginning of a new relationship of trust and cooperation between our peoples.” Woolsey nodded, and Mayel turned her attention to John.

“Commander Kolya once called you an extraordinary soldier, Colonel Sheppard,” she began. “I must now admit that I agree with him.”

Sensing there was more to it than that, John arched an eyebrow. “But?”

Her mouth quirked. “But... whether it is for good or for ill, I cannot yet say. Though I do think it will be interesting to find out.” With that, she turned and briskly strode through the wormhole to the Genii homeworld without a backward glance.

Unsure of just what to make of that comment, John stared at the wormhole until it disengaged, then turned away to find Woolsey regarding him with a thoughtful expression.

“You must have made quite an impression, Colonel.”

John rolled his eyes. “I’ll try not to let it go to my head. So,” he continued, trying to change the subject, “how’s the store holding up?”

Woolsey grinned a little. “Same as always. Everyone’s gotten settled in… I think people seem relieved to be back.”

“Even with the life-sucking monsters lurking outside the door? Who’d have thought?”

Woolsey chuckled, then casually remarked, “I did check in with Earth while the Daedalus was away, and I ran into Nancy at Homeworld Command. She wanted to send her best wishes.”

“Ah. Yes.” John shifted uncomfortably. Was it his imagination, or did Woolsey look amused? So much for changing the subject. He looked around the gateroom, finally recognizing what was making him feel ‘off.’

“Any word from Teyla?”

“Not since the last check-in. Ronon did say they might be a little late with the next one.” Woolsey hesitated. “They’re an hour overdue now. We dialed in a few minutes before the Daedalus returned, but there was no answer to our hails. So, either they found something—”

“Or something found them,” John finished grimly.

“I’ve already asked Major Lorne to have a team standing by.”

“I’ll be leading that team.”

Woolsey nodded. “I figured you might.”

John looked at the silent gate, letting a familiar bleakness settle over him.

 

--/--

 

The sun was just beginning to touch the horizon as they emerged from the caverns, which to Ronon’s mind had seemed to fit the somber mood of their small group. The walk back to the Stargate was made in utter silence. Their descent out of the hills was swifter than the ascent had been, owing to the approaching night and the loss of good light to see one’s footing by. The sun had fully set by the time they had reached the grasslands where the Stargate stood, the twilight sky filled with vibrant purples and blues. It was a beautiful sight, but it filled Ronon’s heart with only sorrow for his friends.

Teyla had seemed to turn in on herself, her back stiff, her lips set in a tight line, and her eyes carefully blank. Kanaan looked like he was ready to crawl out of his own skin and lash out at something in order to break the frightening quiet. Getan and Soren followed behind the three of them, silent guards making sure that the visitors returned from whence they came. From the look in their eyes, however, Ronon could see that they were no happier about the way things had turned out.

With a worried glance at Teyla, Kanaan stepped up to the DHD and pressed the sequence of symbols that would connect the gate to Atlantis. In moments, the gate had dialed in. Kanaan looked back at Ronon, who nodded. He pulled out the GDO—‘garage door opener’ still sounded like a silly name after all these years—and punched in the code that would let Atlantis know not only that it was him, but also that he was safe and not transmitting under duress. A moment passed, then the GDO beeped to signal that the code had been received, and they were cleared to come through the gate.

Ronon looked up at Kanaan again, and Kanaan nodded. Kanaan stepped over to Teyla and held out his hand to her. She looked blankly at him for a moment, then took his hand. Together, they walked through the open gate. Ronon shoved the GDO back in his coat pocket, then glanced over at Getan and Soren before striding up to the gate and into the wormhole.

The familiar rush of light and sound washed over him in a flash before he stepped out into the Atlantis gateroom. Sheppard and Richard Woolsey were there, along with Lorne and a security team, all their expressions a mixture of relief that they were back mingled with worry about Teyla, who clearly did not want to talk to any of them.

Ronon shook his head at them as Kanaan led Teyla away, to go down to the infirmary for the standard post-mission check up. When the pair was out of sight, Sheppard and Woolsey approached.

“What the hell happened?” Sheppard’s face was intent.

Ronon looked around. “Not here.”

“My office,” Woolsey offered, and Ronon nodded in assent. They quickly walked up to Woolsey’s office, just off the control room. Sheppard keyed the door closed to keep the conversation mostly private.

This was a strange feeling. He ruefully remembered the time when Woolsey had insisted that Ronon start filing proper post-mission reports. Ronon was always the member of Sheppard’s team who spoke the least, not because he didn’t like speaking, or because of some trauma of his hard life prior to joining the Lanteans, but because he simply did not see the need for elaborate discussion that most of the Lanteans seemed to favor. Now, he had to speak more elaborately as he was the only one who was currently in a position to fill in the details that Sheppard and Woolsey needed.

“We found them.”

“And?” They chorused. A distant part of Ronon’s mind observed that the way Sheppard and Woolsey were hanging onto his every word might actually be rather funny if the situation hadn’t been so serious.

“Teyla’s been outcast.”

“What?!” Sheppard’s face was like a thundercloud, and Woolsey looked like someone had just smacked him in the head with an axe.

“They blame Teyla for the Wraith coming after them. They think the Wraith tried to wipe them all out because Teyla was working so closely with you.”

“Damnit,” Sheppard spat.

“How many are left?” Woolsey asked after a long moment.

“Two dozen. The only reason they escaped was because they were out hunting when the Wraith came.”

“That’s it? Two dozen survivors?”

“The Genii must have been overly optimistic in their estimate.”

Sheppard seemed to bristle a little, leading Ronon to wonder what Sheppard might have been up to while Ronon had been away. “Mayel said herself that the Genii weren’t sure just how many had escaped the culling.”

“True. With that few, they must have been very frightened of letting anyone know just how badly off they are.”

“Ronon, is there anything we can do?”

“They won’t want any of us to come talk to them, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

Sheppard’s grimaced. “I was thinking of for Teyla.”

Ronon shrugged. “I don’t know.”

 

--/--

 

When Teyla and Kanaan had arrived at the infirmary, both Carson and Jennifer had seemed to sense that something was very wrong, though they hadn’t pressed for information except to confirm that they were not physically injured. Nonetheless, both had hugged her and told her and Kanaan to let them know if they needed anything, they had only but to ask. Teyla had found it hard to hold back her tears at the simple reminder of why she had allied herself with the Lanteans. No matter what happened, no matter how difficult things got, they always tried to stand by their friends. Even if it was not always so evident at the time.

Their check up done, passing in a haze of numb grief, Jennifer had brought out Torren, who happily giggled at the sight of his parents, blissfully unaware of what had happened. The comfortable weight of Torren in her arms, softly saying ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ over and over again, had nearly brought Teyla to tears again. She choked them back, knowing it would only confuse and frighten him.

They took the long way back to their quarters, but Teyla still felt restless. At least the motion had lulled Torren to sleep, and she had managed to dredge up a smile to share with Kanaan as they laid their son down for a nap.

“At least one of us can still walk among our people.” Teyla’s voice cracked.

Kanaan clasped her shoulder with one hand and brushed Torren’s hair back with the other. “They are still grieving, Teyla. But with time... who knows what may come? They may yet change their hearts.”

“I wish it could be so. But I do not see how.”

Teyla found herself remembering a moment three years earlier, just before they had lost Elizabeth Weir. Her friend had confided in Teyla her fears that her superiors on Earth were trying to force her out of her position as leader in Atlantis. In a way, they had succeeded. For it had been their approval of the plan to launch a surprise attack on the Asuran Replicators that had precipitated the Asurans’ own counterattack on Atlantis and led to Elizabeth’s grave injuries and the reactivation of the Asuran nanites in her brain, which in turn had led to Elizabeth’s capture by the Asurans.

Now it was Teyla who had been forced out of her position as leader of her people. The parallel was not lost on her. She desperately wished that Elizabeth or perhaps Kate Heightmeyer was there for her to talk to, but both of her dear friends were gone. However, Kanaan was there, and he had quietly filled a place in her heart that she prayed now would never be empty again. As long as they were together, as long as they had their son, she could endure this. She would have to, now. She had lived with being a galaxy away from her people for a year, believing in her heart that one day she would be reunited with them.

Instead, the Wraith had shattered her people, leaving behind only pieces that had cut so deeply the pain had burned when she had tried to pick them up. Teyla mulled over that thought. Perhaps... Perhaps it was time, as the Earth saying went, to fight fire with fire.

Their son sleeping peacefully in his crib behind them and Kanaan at her side, Teyla looked out across the mostly unlit city and the dark ocean beyond, wondering what shadows were yet to emerge from the future.

 

--FINIS RETURN TO PEGASUS--

>>> Turn the page to continue on to Episode 3: Trust

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