The vast room Wraith-hybrid Michael is running through is empty. No stacks, no gangways, just aging scaffolding covering the wall he just came from indicating that the warehouse had at one point in time been worked by humans. Humans he already knew what had happened to. However…
He had no idea the Wraith were going to be here. Has his equipment been so relegated to such inadequacy that it couldn’t detect a Wraith ship nearby? He thought the news of his ‘death’ would be enough to quell their hunts for him, it had for the residents of Atlantis, but this proved him wrong. The Wraith were hungrier than ever for anything relating to him. He didn’t necessarily mind being wrong, it helped modify and correct experiments, but he hated being wrong in this instance. It proved more than dangerous to himself. They had even had time to set up traps for him, series of traps, in almost every room of the warehouse. He’d open doors and explosions or drones or other males would come out at him, or try to. So much effort for him. He wanted to allow himself a smile. The Wraith were trying to find a way to cure themselves of the Hoffan drug he had let loose in the Pegasus galaxy, thanks to the help of his clone of Doctor Beckett who had originally helped the Hoffans themselves create the disease, the first bio-weapon of the Pegasus Galaxy, before they were rendered extinct by both the Wraith cullings and vengeance and the side-effects of the virus they believed would be their salvation. There again Michael wanted to laugh, only humans would come up with a virus that automatically killed one out of every two of their own population. It was no small concession that his former species were here searching a long forgotten warehouse that even Michael had long since abandoned trying to find anything that helped them. They were desperate. He wanted to be able to stay and watch them search this entire warehouse and the one next to it for one room, one room, containing all that they thought they needed. But the computer’s database was empty and he could see it up ahead, the light of the open air and the free and clear way he had left for himself. The floor is quickly passing away underneath him. He reaches a certain point and suddenly Kenmore comes out of nowhere behind him with the barrel of her P-90 aimed at his back.
“Freeze,” she orders.
Michael stops. It was amazing how Wraith agility, diluted as it is in him, could make such a thing so abrupt. The dust that had previously crackled underneath his boots was barely disturbed.
“By the authority of the SGC, I’m placing you under arrest…Not really I just always wanted to say that,” she laughs, lowering her gun a little.
That laughter, that so very human laughter, Michael slowly turns around to face her and Lieutenant Ursula Kenmore gets her first look at Atlantis’ Lieutenant Michael Kenmore. He’s wearing a rust-colored tunic with a dark red, scaly, animal hide yoke and dark red, scaly, animal hide, perhaps the more aggressive part of whatever reptile the hide had come from, gauntlets topping the tunic with a rust-colored, leather belt closed with a gold buckle that had a carving of an ornately designed ‘G’ wrapped around his waist—what did that stand for, ‘Dear God, look what my tailor did to me?’ The pants are the same leather as the belt but the same color as the animal hide of the tunic and leather boots. Although it’s more than a bit overdramatic for her taste let alone way too matchy-matchy, she had to admit the Wraith-like outfit is a pretty nice fit on him. She couldn’t complain about the physique any. He had a man’s answer to the hour-glass figure: an upside-down triangle. And her eyes were having a tendency to stray to his biceps too, which was distracting but nothing more. His whole body looked comfortable, looked right, in the outfit.
As for his face, she could see where the disruption there was. He didn’t look like any of the photos of Wraith males she had been supplied with, although she still didn’t know what was under that skull mask but she doubted it was anything like this. No long hair the color of the heart of an ice cube. His is short and is more or less frosted with white, although on him, in the dismal light that managed to pour down on them from the windows set so close to the ceiling, it looked gray. Not exactly unattractive. She had had a thing for rock stars when she was younger, long-hair metal bands, that had since aged into more of a liking towards the mad professor or mad scientist side of the spectrum. His face is still more or less Wraith, but his skin wasn’t as deep a green as she had seen in the photos of the other Wraith males either. It looked like it was…diluted somehow and his eyes weren’t as catlike as she had expected. Oh, they were still yellow, but they seemed more…human in design…look…yes, he was definitely not like any of the other Wraith she had been given photos of. Her mind didn’t stay too long on the question of why she hadn’t been given photos of this clearly other type of Wraith, she didn’t have that sort of time right now.
“So you’re the Wraith they’re after,” Kenmore nods as she considers him, “You don’t look anything like the photos of the Wraith I’ve seen.”
“I’m not a Wraith,” Michael growls, staring at her intently the way a lion crouched in tall grass eyes an antelope in the open field.
“Then what are you?”
“I am none of your concern,” his words echo bizarrely in the room…or was that just in her head?
Kenmore’s eyes dart around the room, waiting for something to happen. Nothing does.
“I don’t know what you’re doing but it’s not working.”
Michael looks at her, curious, and whatever tactically intimidating stance he had initially taken with her, he now relinquishes.
“It has no effect on you?”
“Nope. See I can do that too. Echo!”
Her words do not echo. Kenmore looks around her. Well isn’t this awkward. She fills in for it.
“Echo, echo, echo, echo, echo,” she decrescendos.
Yeah, that wasn’t awkward. No, not at all. She smiles tryingly. Michael stares at her then takes a step towards her. Immediately Ursula reassures him of her aim by bringing the barrel of her P-90 up again.
“I don’t think so,” Kenmore’s smile becomes derisive, “Yeah, this ain’t my first rodeo.”
Michael stares at her. She may be a curious specimen of the human race, especially for the Lantean variety, but that smile, that human smile that reminded him of every fake smile every shown to his face or he sensed behind his back from those that had used, abused, and betrayed him, brought back all the hatred he had ever had for the city of Atlantis and her denizens. His eyes don’t have to narrow, the chill that he had gazed down at a pregnant Teyla with as he experimented on the fetus inside of her fills them. Atlantis had brought him to this point. Humans had brought him to this point. That smile had brought him to this point. And he was going to repay the visitation in kind. Michael feels all the muscles he needs to take another step tense beneath his skin.
Suddenly they hear roars coming from the sole entry into this room behind her. The three drones that Kenmore had not known had pursued her have finally caught up with her. Not good. They’re close, too close. Kenmore, despite the imminent threat in front of her, instinctively turns, kneels, and opens fire into the entryway, mowing down two drones trying to charge while they were still deep in the hallway. They hadn’t fired any weapons at her. Why? They must have found the bodies she scavenged from. And now they were angry…but they were still armed. Why not use their weapons?
Michael takes the opportunity to turn and run; he may have wanted to annihilate the woman, but he was not stupid enough to stick around when Wraith were descending upon the place in numbers he had no accurate count on but, once being a Wraith himself, he had a fairly good guess at how many numbers were going to be used and they were not in his favor. Kenmore looks back at him.
Suddenly she hears rustling from the scaffolding and looks back up at it only to see the third drone in mid-leap from the scaffolding covering what appears to be another entry into the room two levels up. Yeah, really angry. So angry weapons were no object anymore. And something else…He’s coming down way too fast. She doesn’t have time to shoot. Kenmore has no choice left but to take the card she’s been dealt. She turns her head down and away. She doesn’t want to see the end coming like this. She didn’t even have time to try and pull her own trigger.
Without warning a massive burst of bright, white light explodes from her towards the drone like a massive web of searing white electricity with just as dangerous sounding a crackle as the web is beautiful. Michael stops and tries to look back, but all he can do is block the blinding light with his hands from his squinting eyes. The drone screams as the web of light engulfs him and incinerates him in mid-air a few feet above Kenmore’s head.
The brightness dims and Kenmore, slack-jawed, scared, and confused, opens her eyes wide and sees Michael, shocked and staring right back at her. As the web of energy dies away around her, some of that strange, powerful light absorbs back down into Kenmore’s pupils…and Michael’s as they stare at each other. Then it fades from there as well like dying liquid gold.
They hold each other’s stare for a long moment. Kenmore’s trembling, she knows she’s trembling. She can’t stop herself from trembling. She can feel her teeth rattling inside her skull and her breathing shake. What the hell was that? What the hell was that?
Then she hears it: a few small things fall behind her. How many more of these guys are there? Kenmore looks back as Michael starts to run away again and sees the whole wall of scaffolding start to tilt forward. It’s not more Wraith. Oh God. What was that blast? What did it do? The left behind things on the scaffolding start slipping off. Heavy paint cans whose contents have long since dried into bricks pound into the concrete near her. Breaking concrete floor in circles of impact craters. A tool, perhaps an awl she couldn’t really tell, but it was still pretty damn sharp looking, stabbed into the floor next to her. Splinters of broken concrete flare up at her face. Hammers break up even more chunks of flooring. A screwdriver-type tool stabs down into the floor and stays there like a sword in stone. Kenmore looks from side to side, trying to shield her eyes and face from all the sharp fragments flying up at her, but she can’t keep up and she sure as hell isn’t going to let go of her gun, she knows better than that with an enemy still somewhere in the room. Some of the scaffolding’s more aged parts start to rain down on her. She feels rusty bolts and flakes of old wall start to pelt the top of her head. And creaking. She can hear the creaking now. Kenmore rolls to her side, lands on her back, and looks up and again has no hope and no time but to start to cover her face as the whole thing finally crashes down on her. She tries to throw up an arm over her face. The other clinging tightly to her gun. Through the roar of crumbling scaffolding and debris there comes a single yell…
The “–eal” of Kenmore’s scream echoes quickly and bizarrely. Unlike anything he’s every heard before, Michael stops at his name and looks back. He was already breathing hard from the shock of what he’d just seen. What was that light? Dust and debris cover everything. What new weapon had Atlantis managed to create while he was forced to go underground? What experiments had they done to their own? He takes one last look at the scene, the soldier is gone, then he continues to run out of the building to the still clear light of a pristine day through the open door he had left for himself and the modified Wraith scoutship he knew he had left landed on the concrete loading dock just twenty yards beyond.
* * *
Doctor Jennifer Keller gets a good grip under his armpits and lifts, helping the little boy up onto the examination table. He was heavy, much heavier than she had been expecting. Of course there was quite an age gap between Torren, Teyla’s son, who was barely two years old, and Michael Kenmore here, who was five, and, of course, that meant that there was quite a weight difference. Keller supposed she would have to get used to having an older child around to take care of on a regular basis even if it is only temporary, or at least the boy’s mother hoped it was going to be temporary. Well—after all Torren was going to get older, might as well use the practice while Michael was still here.
She smiles at the little boy then turns around to get his file from her desk. Michael Kenmore…junior. Keller opens the file. How could she have missed that? The boy was barely, and she meant that, barely mentioned in his mother’s file as well as the child’s father. Even here, the father was only mentioned in required areas like on the boy’s birth certificate:
Father’s Name Michael Kenmore
or on his transfer papers:
Father’s Current Status Deceased
Keller couldn’t imagine that. The only things you were allowed to officially know about your father was you inherited his name and he was dead.
Jennifer turns back around to face the little boy and fixes him with another smile although he’s not looking at her. He’s too busy being a child in a new place. He’s looking everywhere, the ceiling, the walls, the rest of the room behind him. He is completely fascinated by everything here. Jennifer’s grin deepens enough that she can feel her dimples set firmly in her cheeks. It was nice to see someone else just as in love with this place on first sight as she had been and still was… a nervous first day on the job, soul-sucking aliens, catastrophic explosions, and world-destroying plagues aside of course. The little boy looks like, yes, he’s staying where he is. He’s just vibrating with the urge to run around and touch everything or point at it and ask a million questions a million miles a second.
Keller’s eyes duck back down to the paper’s of his file for cover. Rodney gets the same look when he sees some new Ancient technology or item they hadn’t dealt with before. A boy and his candy shop. Scientists. Little boys.
Jennifer looks back up at Michael. She wondered if he had inherited his father’s looks let alone his scientific curiosity. He didn’t look tremendously alot like his mother. She had dark hair and dark skin. Michael had blonde hair that wasn’t his mother’s color or texture and fair skin, but he did have his mother’s rich, lustrous mahogany brown eyes. Jennifer clears her throat. Michael looks back at her.
“Well, according to your file, you did very well back at the SGC, but I’m sorry I have to tell you that I will have to take some more of your blood for our blood and DNA database here. Now that might sting a little.”
“That’s okay,” he answers nicely, “I’m a fast healer.”
Just like his mother.
Jennifer turns around and goes back to her desk to put his file back and fetch her supplies. Michael goes back to looking around. He was finding the massively high ceilings just fascinating. How did they make them so high?
His head immediately snaps back to the rest of the room.
His sudden intake of breath sounds like a death rattle to Jennifer and she’s heard plenty of those before. She immediately looks back at him. He isn’t a happy child anymore. He’s a scared child. Keller looks at the rest of the room. There’s nothing unusual there. Nothing she can see anyway. She’s rushes over to him.
“Michael,” she grabs his upper arms, “Michael, what is it?”
“Mommy. She screamed my name.” His voice sounds so…
“She isn’t here Michael.”
And that sets him off…
“Mommy,” he screams and tries to make a run for it. Keller grabs him, he fights her, “Mommy! She’s calling for me. She’s hurt. Mommy! Mommy!”
Quickly three other nurses run over to help Jennifer restrain the deranged child and they’re all barely enough to do the job as he keeps screaming for his mother. Now this, this was what Jennifer expected of her days in Atlantis especially in her ward. This, she dodged a tiny reaching, clawing hand that managed to squirm free, a nurse wrangled it back under control as they continued to hold in its owner, was normal.