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Evolution, CH III

<<< Back to Evolution, CH II

 

Being around artillery long enough, one got used to the sounds and sensations of different kinds of impacts. 

So when an explosion rattled the walls around them, the ground beneath them shaking even this high up, John was pretty sure what had hit them was a ground shell from an attack and not a natural tremor. 

His suspicions were confirmed by the sudden and very well prepared actions taken by the workers escorting them around. Everyone froze, though no one was surprised, and gathering where the explosion had come from, half their party took off down one of the large halls leading south of their location. 

John wasted no time following. 

He thought he heard the voice of the male commander begging them to stop, but Teyla and Ronon had already fallen in step with him, breezing through the hallways like any old day in a Wraith Hive. Whatever their tour guides were trying to convince them to do, it fell on deaf—or rather ignoring—ears. 

The hallway ended in a broad atrium; the workers turned, heading east, and John followed suit, P-90 still clipped to his vest and now feeling cool and solid in his hands. He was glad the Queen had allowed them to keep their weapons. 

The tunnel they were in seemed to dip a little, travelling below the earth. He leapt a few roots, trying to keep pace with the creatures ahead, though it was difficult. They were swift, he’d give them that. 

Rounding a corner that was barely lit, he immediately drew to a halt as a group of the workers had gathered, whispering to each other. Smoke was filling the corridor ahead. 

John shoved through them, muscling his way past a dozen or so of the community, none of whom made an effort to stop them. 

“Colonel.” The voice of the male who’d been their guide sounded distant, somewhere to the back of his team. “Colonel, please.” 

“That wasn’t just an accident,” he said, more to himself, Teyla and Ronon than in explanation. “Who’s attacking you?” 

They pulled up where the hallway before them bent, smoke now billowing voluminously from a door about halfway down the tunnel. He didn’t bother to wait for an answer to his question, just pressed forward, inching along the wall. 

The male had caught up with him, edging between him and Teyla. “Colonel Sheppard, this is dangerous. Allow us to inform our Queen…” 

“Wait? Inform the Queen? Something just blew up inside your Hive. Or blew up a part of your Hive. Though given the reaction of your comrades over here, I’d say this kind of attack isn’t exactly unusual.” 

“Colonel, believe me, we are very capable of handling this…” 

“Look, my people are in here too. If there’s a threat to them, I need to know about it.” 

Ronon grunted and shoved past him, towards the hole. He peered in, his eyes squinting a little at the brightness of the daylight pouring into the room, and turned back to them. 

“Wraith,” he said. 

“Having a family reunion?” John snapped at the male, as the others glanced at one another in surprise. “Why does this somehow not surprise me?” 

“It is not what you think.” 

“Yeah, we’ll see about that.” 

 

--/--

 

Jennifer tried to keep her breathing steady as the Wraith in front of her stashed more of the laboratory samples into a rough cloth bag. 

She and the other pseudo-Wraith scientists had been herded into a corner. They were unharmed and, other than the first she had encountered, the Wraith had barely paid attention to her being a human, which was odd. She’d generally been expecting to be a snack by now. 

“This cannot be all there is,” said the Wraith who’d harassed them earlier, glancing at the scientist next to Jennifer. “This will not last more than a week.” 

“Our supplies are running low,” she replied calmly. “This is all we have.” 

He narrowed his eyes. “You’re lying.” 

“I have no reason to and you know this, so don’t display your arrogant anger in front of me. The Queen will have much to say of this.” 

“The Queen is no concern of mine,” he growled, scooping a few more vials into the bag. “You may go bow down to her if you wish, but I owe her nothing.” 

“You owe her life, same as I, brother,” said the female. 

“Do not call me that!” he snapped, standing upright. 

“Where your loyalties lie is no concern of mine,” the female replied. “But you cannot deny your origins, and you shall not to me. Especially when you abuse the privileges given you by our Mother.” 

“Privileges! She makes you weak. She would see you deny what you are, the powerful creatures we all are.” He turned to Jennifer, reaching out to her face, running cold fingers down her cheek. “The strength we are able to wield.” 

“Power? The ability to feed is no power. Your strength, as you call it, is your greatest weakness.” The healer stepped forward, shoving his hand from Jennifer’s face. “It makes you no better than a lowly bug.” 

An explosion of pops burst through the doorway that led into the Hive hallway, startling the group. A few of the workers dove for the floor, and the Wraith themselves pressed back towards the hole leading outside. 

Jennifer shrank down low, trying to avoid the gunfire, which she knew well enough to recognize as a P-90. A moment later Colonel Sheppard slunk into the room, seeking cover beneath one of the Wraith lab tables, followed by Ronon. 

The Satedan took out two of the ‘Wraith’ with his stun weapon, whirling to survey the rest of the room. When he caught sight of Jennifer he froze, eyes widening. 

The Wraith beside her caught the glance between them and immediately seized her, nearly choking her with the tightness of his elbow around her throat. 

Sheppard rose up over the lab table, P-90 pointed at her captor. “Let her go.” 

The Wraith smiled, edging his way towards the makeshift door. A few of his group were pulling some of the scientists from the Hive towards the exit, leaving the Wraith holding her as the last of their party. 

He smiled coyly at Colonel Sheppard. “So she has invited humans to visit her. How intriguing.” 

“I’m not gonna tell you again…let her go.” 

“I don’t think so. You see, we have as much need of visiting humans as the Queen does. Ask her, if you’d like to know why. In the meanwhile,” he said, shifting his grip and dragging Jennifer backwards, towards the door, “tell our Mother we say ‘hello’.” 

The Wraith yanked her through the doorway as Rodney, following Teyla, entered through the opposite door. His eyes widened as he caught sight of the Wraith and Jennifer, bolting past Ronon and Colonel Sheppard, both of whom called out to him to stop. 

Something whizzed past her as the Wraith dragged her out into the daylight, pulling her clear of the debris and shoving her towards the other captives. Smoke and Rodney’s face drawing closer were all she saw before the world shook and disappeared into a flash of bright light. 

“RODNEY!” The scream escaped from her lips before she even fully processed what had happened, her ears ringing with the force of the explosion that had crumbled the walls of the Hive, collapsing the hole right above where Rodney had been standing. 

“MOVE!” cried the Wraith, grasping her arm and yanking her towards the forest. She managed to stumble a few feet, her head swimming, tears streaming down her face, before the world around her went dark. 

 

--/--

 

The top of the Hive infirmary spiralled skyward above them like something from the fantastical stories Teyla had been told as a child.  Despite all that was occurring, she was still astonished by the beautiful architecture that had been constructed by their hosts. 

She turned to where Rodney rested in one of the infirmary beds, cradled in a soft webbed material. Though she was not entirely familiar with the machines that were now monitoring him, a few were similar to those Michael had used during her captivity. 

The creature attending him bent down, observing his slow but steady breathing. The explosion had thankfully not impacted him very severely, but he had suffered a concussion and perhaps some broken ribs, based upon the musings of the healers. 

They had all been lucky. Rodney had been closest to the explosion, but his injuries had been much less severe than they had originally feared. The remainder of them had only minor cuts and bruises, and Ronon had a burn along the side of one arm. But this stroke of luck had not lessened the significance of what had caused the injuries, and the mood of her party as they stood around Rodney’s bed, awaiting the final reports of the Queen’s scouts, was quite dark. 

Colonel Sheppard especially appeared grave, his brow drawn into a tight furrow. She knew him to be much closer to Rodney than either of them would admit, but the kidnapping of Doctor Keller, which would be much more painful for Rodney than anything physical he suffered, had torn right at the heart of everything John held dear. Especially because she knew how strongly he valued his people, and seeing one caused more injury by his failure to protect another was a quite personal defeat. 

The Queen’s response had been immediate and somewhat gratifying, sending scouts to determine from which direction the captors had come and where they might have gone. The chaos of the explosion, which had rendered them all momentarily incapable of pursuing the kidnappers, had also given those who had taken Jennifer a vital head start. 

But despite the cooperation of the Queen and her Hive, Teyla remained unnerved by what the Wraith who’d spoken had said. It was only a matter of time before those words would have to be addressed and explained by their hosts. 

To her left, a group of males entered the chamber and immediately sought audience with the Queen, who met them at the far side of the room. Mr. Woolsey stood with her, listening to the report, his expression changing from placid to worried. 

The Queen started walking over as soon as she dismissed them. Richard engaged her with a question, which she was still answering as she drew near. 

“…not completely unexpected.” 

“What’s not completely unexpected?” asked Colonel Sheppard, turning from Rodney’s bed towards her. “This attack?” 

The Queen did not answer him. 

“One of my people is seriously injured, another’s been kidnapped and we could have all been killed,” the colonel said. “I need to know what the hell is going on here.” 

“Colonel…” 

“Was it the Wraith?” asked Ronon. 

“They are not what they appear.” 

“Nobody is around this place,” John snapped. “Listen, Lady, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but…” 

“Colonel Sheppard,” Woolsey interrupted, as the Queen’s face drew into a frown. 

“I mentioned once to you, Colonel, we do not play games. We have not deceived you about the Wraith. And we are not hiding anything from you.” 

“Doesn’t seem like it to me,” Ronon replied casually. “Seems like you’ve got a lot to hide.” 

“Not helping, Ronon.” Woolsey said. 

“No, I think Ronon’s onto something,” John said. “You’ve done nothing but try your best to prove how ‘not Wraith’ you are, yet when push comes to shove you’re hiding and squirming as much as they would. You want to be not like the Wraith? Start by telling us the truth, for once.” 

“You have no right to say such things,” said one of the commanders standing near the Queen. 

The Queen studied the group for a moment, her eyes meeting John’s. There was a pleading look in them, the type that gave Teyla a sinking feeling within her chest. “The Colonel is right,” she said finally. “We have not been wholly truthful. Though please know that as far as my Hive is concerned, what you have seen is the truth. We are not what you want to believe we are.” 

“We’ll be the judge of that,” John said. “Now talk.” 

“We evolved in the manner which I told you of earlier. But not all of my people were in complete agreement over the evolution of our species. It was only a few disagreements here and there over thousands of our years, until just a short while ago, when the urge to retrace our heritage somehow became overpowering for some within my Hive. Just a few years past, a group of them revolted and split from us, intent on redeveloping their Wraith abilities.” 

“How would they do that?” Woolsey asked. 

“My scientists’ studies on the genetics of the Wraith have been extensive.” 

“Lemme guess,” John interjected. “They found some way to reawaken their best Wraith qualities with the supplies they were stealing.” 

“The process is painful and requires a great deal of it. But, yes, it does return many of the Wraith abilities back to those who use it.” 

“Including feeding?” asked Woolsey quietly. 

The Queen’s demur expression answered his question. 

A pitiful, quiet cry arose from behind them. Rodney was awake, staring at the ceiling above him with an anguished expression. “Jennifer.”

 

--/--

 

Brightness stung her eyes, accompanied by a terrible pounding in her head. 

Jennifer blinked once, gazing at the blurry canopy overhead, trying to gather her thoughts. Her ears were ringing. 

The world came into better focus, as did her memories. Memories of a Hive, of a Wraith-like people who no longer fed, and then of true Wraith appearing and seizing her. 

There’d been an explosion. 

Rodney’s face flashed across her mind and she suddenly felt sick. 

A whimper escaped her lips, signaling the Wraith beside her to her state of awareness. He immediately yanked on her arm, pulling her to her feet and drawing her forward. The world swam around her and she pursed her lips to keep from retching. 

“We move,” he said to the remainder of his party. 

She resisted slightly, her mind a crazy, depressed blur of images, thoughts and feelings. She didn’t feel much fear, despite who held her. It didn’t seem to matter. 

The Wraith pulled her to him as she wobbled in his grasp, his face sneering. “Weak.” 

She said nothing, just drew her arms in closer to her chest and tried to steady the ground beneath her. “W-where are you taking me?” 

“You’ll find out soon enough,” said the Wraith, yanking on her arms and pulling her forward. 

 

--/--

 

“You said there were how many?” 

John folded his arms across his chest, looking down at the Queen, who sat elegantly upon her throne. She hadn’t said much as they awaited reinforcements from Atlantis, which she had readily agreed to allow in her Hive in defense of her own people’s actions. 

A few of her commanders or seconds or whatever they were called were relaying intel to Lorne and a team of Marines about possible locations of the enemy Hive and the paths to get there. Some of the scientists were working with Carson Beckett, who’d finally made it to the planet, to analyze the scant remainders of the Wraith ‘serum’ which the rebels had stolen from the lab at the time Keller was taken. 

“There could not be more than fifty or sixty at the most,” she replied, breaking into his thoughts. “Initially there were only a handful who had been spurred to such measures, but there came a point when a great many felt called to the rebel cause.” 

“About how long ago was that?” Woolsey asked, his expression curious. 

The Queen shook her head, her long hair waving softly behind her. “Around the time of the last Rejuvenation.” 

“Rejuvenation?” 

“Every so often a Queen will be called to rejuvenate the Hive—to resupply workers when they are needed. It is…instinctual, I suppose you would say.” 

Richard folded his hands together. “And when was your last Rejuvenation?” 

“It was six of our years ago,” she said. “Nearly one-hundred new Workers were birthed.” 

“Six years?” asked John, more to Woolsey than the Queen. “If their seasons are anything like ours, that was the time of...” 

“The Wraith awakening.” Richard met his gaze with a flat, irritated look. “Of course.” 

“Awakening?” 

“Yeah, the Wraith apparently went into some sort of mass hibernation years or so ago. Six years ago, they sort of accidentally woke up earlier than they were supposed to,” John hedged. “’S completely unexpected.” 

No need to go into further detail with that. 

The Queen watched him for a moment, then rose. “This would explain the sudden urge of my people to go back to the old ways. We must have sensed something was different.” 

“Like a psychic sense?” Richard asked. “We know the Wraith have a psychic link…” 

“Psychic?” 

“Mental—a sixth sense. An ability to communicate without speaking, er, so to speak.” 

“You mean the Piping.” 

“Piping?” John sputtered. 

The Queen narrowed her eyes. “We sense each other and are able to know what occurs within our Hive through the Piping.” 

“This ‘piping’ allows you to communicate non-verbally?” Woolsey, all business, didn’t even bother with a chastising look. “You are aware of the movements of everyone?” 

“Mostly. To know the thoughts of all would be difficult, but there is a general sense of how the Hive is behaving, what my people are doing at any given moment. I believe my sense of it is strongest.” 

“And these rebels—they don’t share in this ‘piping’ with you?” 

“Their enhancements have made their connection to us…different. We cannot sense it as clearly as with one of our own.” 

“Maybe explains why Teyla could sense something sorta Wraith but not quite,” John said to the expedition head. “She said she sensed it was different. A weaker signal.” 

“The point being, though,” said Richard, “that you can’t sense what these rebels are doing now.” 

“No. I am sorry, but there is no way for me to be able to know what their next movements will be.” 

“These guys came from your Hive, right? So why was it they were dissatisfied with their roles? It’s not like they had humans to dominate or feed on. Why the rebellion?” John crossed his arms as the Queen paused in her slow circuit around the room. 

“I wish I knew. Once, they were all my children. Perhaps it was this ‘Wraith awakening’ you speak of that called out to them. I felt it myself—it was a powerful feeling, a desire to be back out amongst the stars. But my own will was to maintain the peace we have cultivated on our homeworld, so I ignored it.  Others were not so content. 

“I had a commander—my closest ally for many years. But he grew discontent with what he considered to be a mundane life. Encountering the humans we sporadically met angered him, knowing we once dominated such races. He broke away from me—and more recently, during one of his group’s raids, took something infinitely precious from me.” 

“What was that?” Woolsey asked. 

She turned back to them, her arms dropping limply to her side. “My daughter.” 

John threw a quick glance Woolsey’s way, who shook his head in surprise. “Your daughter?” 

“Two rejuvenations ago I birthed the workers that were needed—and, because I was growing older, it was decided it was time to birth a new Queen. 

“It is a difficult process, engendering a Queen. But it was done and the child was born nearly twelve years ago.” She walked towards them, dropping gracefully back into her throne and rested her forehead on delicate fingers. “When he broke from my Hive, he attempted to lead the rebels himself, but it soon became apparent that he could not succeed. Whether it is due to our abilities, or our connection with our people, or simply because our people have known only one way to live, only a Queen can rule a Hive. We are different, even from the females who comprise our populace. The future of my people depends on the queen—the true Queen—who continues to lead them. 

“When he realized this, he changed his method of attack. His people began to slowly infiltrate my Hive, convince members of my people to go with them. Their greatest target were those close to the young queen. Two moons ago, he managed to persuade one of her attendants to lure her out of my Hive, without any of us aware that he had done such a thing. I have not seen her since.” 

“I take it he’s not exactly going to be teaching her the pacifist’s guide to Hive leadership.” 

“There is no telling what he might convince her of. If he has been giving her the drug—and it is possible those around her had been giving it to her for some time before her capture—it is possible she is becoming more like a true Wraith. Based on what my people have seen, the transformation into a more Wraith-like entity does not take long.” 

“Yeah, we’ve seen something like this at work,” John said. “I take it you can’t…engender…another Queen?” 

“I am beyond those years,” she said. “Attempts would not be successful.” 

“So basically the future of your race depends upon a twelve-year-old who’s being doped up on Wraith serums and why-humans-make-good-meals talk?” 

“Possibly.” Her face crinkled into a saddened expression. “She was a kind child. Intelligent. And a good daughter. She would have been a great Queen for my people. Now…I do not know what she will become.” 

“You never tried to get her back?” said Woolsey. 

“We are a peaceful race now, Mr. Woolsey,” she replied. “My people are workers and scientists, not warriors. We can defend ourselves to an extent, but we do not know how to engage anyone in combat anymore. Most of us no longer have a wish to. So far, we have been able to keep the rebels from attacking us beyond measures such as the one they used this morning, but I fear for my Hive. Those who have split with us grow more aggressive as time passes.” 

“Really? I don’t know why you’d think that,” John muttered as Woolsey threw him a dirty look. 

“We can’t just sit back and let this group take one of our own,” Woolsey said in a soft tone. “Perhaps you do not wish to fight, but we…we will do whatever is necessary to get our people back to safety.” 

She looked up at him. “You mean you will engage them in attack?” 

“We will do what is necessary,” Woolsey repeated. 

“Then I wish you luck.” She sighed, straightening. “For I believe you may need it.” 

 

--/--

 

Rodney’s fingers tapped hurriedly across the surface of his datapad, eyes drawn and focused upon the screen. Every once in a while he would wince in pain as his hunched over position affected his ribs, but he refused to stop his work no matter the discomfort. 

Teyla sighed and touched his hand lightly. “You must maintain calm, Rodney.” 

“Calm?” He glanced at her sharply, eyes wide, pausing for a moment. “Considering the circumstances, coupled with the sad fact that this place is equipped with nothing remotely resembling wireless and I’m having to patch into Jumper communication signals to get in touch with anything beyond this bed, I believe I am the epitome of calm.” 

His fingers resumed their thrumming. Along with his foot, which now beat in nervous time to the motions of his hands, vibrating through the thin structure of the infirmary bed and affecting the objects around him. 

Having been deemed not well enough to leave his bed and too difficult to be in company with anyone for very long, Rodney’s last recourse had been to ask for a datapad and life signs detector. Being one of the few who was willing to face him at this particular moment, she had brought him what he requested and remained behind to keep him company, attempting to enjoy one of the small MREs she had placed in her pack. 

As the utensils upon the bedside table began to rattle, she sighed, lowering her spoon. 

“Rodney.” 

He fixed his wandering gaze upon her again, to which she lifted her utensil and gestured towards the rattling table. He took the hint, glancing down at his feet and stopping the trembling, pausing for a moment from his work. 

“Thank you.” She watched him as she resumed eating, studying his face, which looked drawn and tired, and not from his injuries. She certainly understood his feelings. 

“There is no evidence that anything has happened to Jennifer. You must be hopeful.” 

He grimaced, not meeting her eyes. “Yeah. Crazy, rebellious almost-Wraith, who haven’t seen a human in years but who love the idea of feeding on one, have my girlfriend. Easy to think positively.” He took up the datapad again. 

“It is not so difficult as you think,” she said quietly. “To maintain hope where there appears to be none.” 

He glanced back over at her, his eyes skimming across her face. Recognition seemed to light his features. “I…” 

“Our circumstances are different, I know. I had many reasons to hope, but there were moments when it appeared that my worst fears would come to pass. The only thing that sustained me was that hope. And you helped fulfill it. Where both Kanaan and Torren were concerned, you, Colonel Sheppard, Ronon—you all were there for me. We shall be there for you, and everything will be done to prevent anything happening to Jennifer.” 

She leaned forward a little, offering a small smile. “You must not lose hope so quickly.” 

The creases in his forehead smoothed out and he slumped a little. “I can’t help it. I’m not built for…faith…in things. I want the logical scenario. And the most logical thing happening here…it’s just…not good.” 

“I would not call it faith, so much as realizing there are many alternatives to the most logical solution. I believe we all are evidence that the most logical solutions do not always come to pass.” 

“I guess you could say that.” His eyes dropped to the datapad slowly, then drew back to her. “And for Jennifer’s sake, I hope you’re right.” 

He took in a breath, closing his eyes, and attempted to settle into the soft comfort of the infirmary bed, lifting the datapad again. 

“I hope I am correct as well,” she murmured softly.

 

--/--

 

The remainder of their travels through the dark and forested landscape was a blur to Jennifer. Amidst the tears, the sweat and the burning limbs she caught glimpses of debris-covered hills, gnarled trees and small streams, none of which gave her any indication of the direction they were travelling or how far they had come. 

Her captors seemed engendered with superhuman—or rather Wraith-like—energy, never needing to stop their relentless pace. At one point she was lifted from her feet, which was a welcome break, until she realized how close she was to the Wraith’s feeding hand. 

They’d set her down in front of a dark patch of forest, the tree trunks growing so close together it seemed to form a wall in front of her. Their tangled tops extended high up into the sky, so tall she could barely see where the foliage began. 

One of the Wraith grasped her arm, yanking her forward. She tried to resist a little, but it seemed not to even impact the creature, which pulled her into the dark shelter of the trunks. 

Her fellow captives were drawn to the side and led down what appeared to be a hallway. Though the facility appeared from the outside to be composed of trees, inside it was a unique hybrid of Hive and natural materials, with translucent walls connecting empty spaces and giving the area a beautiful and eerie quality. 

They marched into a clearing, the walls spiraling upwards towards the lit ceiling like a great web. In the center, atop a grassy floor, stood a Queen’s throne similar to the one in the other Hive, only this one was makeshift, and currently unoccupied. 

The Wraith holding her arms released her, and she pulled them towards her, tucking her bound wrists into her chest. Her heart was pounding, the steady thrum ringing in her ears, and she tried to focus on that, to remind herself that it was still beating. However long it had left, it was beating now. 

Rodney’s face flashed through her mind, from the last time they’d had dinner together, and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to stop the tears that suddenly pricked her eyelids. 

“Did you get it?” 

The voice was new, not someone she recognized, and she tried to pull herself straighter, though she couldn’t stop the trembling that ran through her body at the sound. He was definitely Wraith. 

“Yes, Commander. Though they did not have the supply of last time.” 

She opened her eyes, staring, as a large Wraith made his way into the center, towards the throne. “Why not?” 

“We do not know. We have brought with us a few of their scientists, to see if they could develop more.” 

“They have not been able to do so before when brought here. Why should this change now?” 

“We believed we had incentive.” 

The new Wraith’s attention was directed towards Jennifer, who cast a wary glance from her captor to the commander. The larger Wraith moved forward, a curious look playing across his face. “Human?” 

“She had invited a host of them to the Hive.” 

“Interesting.” He turned back to her captor. “And how was the Queen?” 

“I did not see her. We had just enough time to withdraw the supplies when we were attacked by a strange sort of firepower. Presumably, the other humans within the Hive.” 

“Any lost?” 

“There were two,” the smaller Wraith said. “The weapons were quite powerful.” 

“Then it is only a matter of time,” the commander replied, looking displeased. 

“Time?” 

“Before they come for her, you fool. If they possess superior firepower, they will attempt to rescue their own.” 

The other Wraith bowed an acknowledgment. “Then we must be prepared for them.” 

“Yes.” The Wraith commander studied her curiously. “Perhaps this provides an opportunity for us in any case.” 

“What opportunity?” Said a small voice. 

The group turned towards the throne, which was now occupied by a slender figure. Jennifer studied her for a moment in surprise. The girl’s face was one of Wraith features, but less harsh and more delicate, almost like a pale, sickly human child. Her long blonde hair hung down her back in loose curls, and her eyes were wide and blue. 

“What opportunity, Commander?” She inquired again. 

“To speak with the Queen, my lady,” he replied, smoothly bowing before the young woman. “Perhaps find a way to work with her people.” 

“For what purpose?” 

“We have need of her help, my Queen. We are lacking in supplies.” 

“I am not your Queen.” The girl raised her chin, her expression darkening. “Do you believe she would be willing to support us? Considering her feelings?” 

The smooth look had faded from the commander’s face at her chilled tone. “Perhaps. In this circumstance, perhaps she would be willing to make an exception.” 

The girl said nothing more, but slid from her throne, walking gracefully towards Jennifer. She was nearly as tall, though her age appeared relatively young—just an adolescent, if that. 

The blue eyes searched Jennifer’s face. “Who is this human creature?” 

The commander shifted uncomfortably. “One of a group. The Queen has welcomed a number into her Hive. This one…threatened…us as we visited. We had no choice but to seize her, for our own safety.” 

Jennifer tried to keep her lips from trembling as the girl raised a thin hand to her face. Instinctively she shied away from the fingers, breathing heavily, unable to control the tremors that shook through her. 

“She does not seem threatening.” 

“Humans are not to be trusted, my lady. She is a threat.” 

“Hmmm. We shall see.” The hand dropped and the pretty blue eyes narrowed. “Take her to my chambers.” 

“My Queen, I do not believe that is wise…” 

“I can take care of myself. Now take her to MY chambers,” she replied, her tone brooking no opposition. The Wraith commander frowned, but nodded towards two of the other drones. They grasped Jennifer’s arms, lifting her from the floor. She cried out softly, her toes kicking up the soft dirt of the throne room, as they dragged her away from the light. 

 

>>> On to Evolution, CH IV

 

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