Episode Two- The Fires- Chapter Two

Chapter Two

 The hut is really unremarkable.  Random bits of straw stick out of the walls here and there, telling everyone that walked in that the huts of this planet were constructed from chocolate-colored mud fortified with the strands of the local animal bedding.  And every wall has a window but no curtains or coverings of any interior sort, just the hint of exterior shutters if you peered closely enough at the edges of the window.

Plain and sparsely decorated, it is typical of a hut definitely defined as a meeting place and not someone’s abode.  There’s a single tall bookcase made of woven materials that looked like probably a surprisingly sturdy and weight-tolerant reedy grass containing no books whatsoever, just a metal pitcher and a couple of cups on one of the eye level shelves, most likely made of a lithe nickel of some sort, and a few knick knacks, again doubtlessly some baubles meant for a “he who holds the stick gets to talk” sort of a thing, against one wall.  In the middle of the room is one long, large, rectangular table made from something akin to mildly rejuvenated and polished driftwood lined on either of its two longer sides with three chairs each, likewise of driftwood.

Kenmore heaves the little girl onto the table and then sets about unwrapping the baby from the girl’s arms as Ronon, who’d closely followed her in, walks around her to the other longer side of the table.  He watches her and says something he’d never thought he’d say to Lieutenant Kenmore…

“Do you need any help?”

She looks up at him.

“You got any medical training?”

“A few things Keller’s taught me and stuff I taught myself.”

“That’s good enough for me.”

Kenmore takes the baby and, shooshing it and cradling it gently in her arms, lays the baby down on the table in front of him, beside the girl.

“Get some warm water and start cleaning the baby off.  The sooner we can get him clean, the sooner we can assess any further damage done to him.”

“How do you know it’s a ‘him’,” Ronon asks, noticing the baby was still wrapped in a somewhat charred blanket.

Kenmore falters for a moment then keeps on going, “I don’t…I have a son.”

Ronon nods, he could understand that.  He walks over to the bookcase, grabs the pitcher, and heads past Sheppard and back out of the hut.  Kenmore continues batting the girl’s cheek, stirring her to further revival, as Sheppard and Shiana look on from beside the hut’s arched doorway covered by a door that was more giant flap than actual door and made of a hefty combination of thick animal hide with woven braids of reedy grass for its trim.  The hide-and-grass door flap shifts, Teyla runs in and takes up the position Ronon just vacated.  She sets the medical kit on the table at the baby’s feet.  Her distressed maternal instincts made her feet fleeter than usual.

“What do you need,” she asks Kenmore.

“A tiny vial with the word vapors written on its label.  It’s old fashioned but it works.”

Teyla opens the black canvas kit and begins frantically searching through it for the vial.  She finds one and reads its label.  She shakes her head and puts the vial back.  She finds another vial, reads it, and puts it back.  She picks up another one and reads it.

“I found it.”

“Good.  Now open it, but be careful.  Don’t open it up too close to your face.  It’s powerful stuff,” Kenmore directs.

Teyla nods.  She holds the squat brown vial far out in front of her and twists the black cap off of it.  She looks to the Lieutenant for further instruction.

“Put the vial underneath her nose.”

Teyla stares at Kenmore.  The Lieutenant nods at her.

“It will knock you on your ass, but it won’t hurt her,” Kenmore tells her, “It’s what she needs.”

Teyla looks past the Lieutenant at Sheppard, he nods, and Teyla lowers her hand with the vial to the girl’s nostrils.  After a second, the girl suddenly gasps.  Teyla yanks her arm back as the child starts to weakly struggle against the strong odor.  Her eyes aren’t opening.  Kenmore grabs hold of the girl’s shoulders and starts to shake her, using the discomfort to rouse her further.

“Come on girl, come on.”

Sheppard continues to watch from the doorway.

“You had no right to do this,” Shiana growls at him.

Sheppard looks over at her.  Fury is burning in her narrow black eyes and her whole body is shaking with resentment.  Kenmore scoffs.  Teyla glances up at Shiana then returns her eyes to Kenmore’s work.

“You had no right to do this,” Shiana spits at him again, “You had no right.  When there were beams of light shooting down from the sky and they took the life of my children, my husband, my family, you brought those beams.  You had no right to interfere then.  You have no right to interfere now.”

Kenmore can’t take anymore.  She suddenly stops shaking the girl.

“And what right do you have taking another mother’s children away from her,” she snaps with just as much venom.

“Kenmore.”

There’s a moment of tense silence after Sheppard’s snap.  Teyla’s eyes go back and forth between Shiana and Sheppard and the Lieutenant, an argument, or more likely a fight, now would do no one good.  The girl starts to cough, drawing the Lieutenant and Teyla’s attentions back to her.

Kenmore puts her fingertips to either side of the girl’s throat and looks intently into her face.  After a moment, the girl’s eyes open up into slits to reveal a pair of bright Caribbean ocean blue eyes.

“She’s going to be fine,” Kenmore announces.

Ronon enters with the pitcher and a clean cloth, procured somewhere along the way, in his hands.  He walks over to Teyla’s side, pauses at the sight of the tension so palpable in the room, and looks to Sheppard as well.  Kenmore addresses Teyla.

“Can you take over?”

Teyla nods at her.

“Good, I’m gonna go outside and help the others.”

Kenmore heads for the doorway.  Shiana grabs her arm, she looks the Lieutenant dead in the eye…

“These people deserve a proper burial.”

“Lady, back off or I’ll bury you.”

“Kenmore,” Sheppard warns again.

Kenmore yanks her arm out of Shiana’s grasp and walks out the door.  Sheppard looks at Shiana.  The tan-skinned tribal leader fairly grins at him with contempt and her words drip with it.

“‘Innocent’?”

Sheppard holds her gaze for a moment then walks out of the hut, the mocking word echoing after him in his mind.  The flap of the door falls closed.  Shiana looks back at Teyla and Ronon.  Teyla recaps the vial and puts it down then walks around the table to where Kenmore had been and starts seeing to the little girl.  Ronon sits the pitcher on the table at the baby’s feet, dips the edge of the cloth into the fresh, crystal clear, clean water lying a few inches beneath the pitcher’s lowest rim, and starts to tenderly clean the baby’s face.

 

Kenmore walks away from the hut.  Sheppard comes out of the hut, sees her, and trots after her.  When he’s close enough to her, he grabs her upper arm and yanks her back to him.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing,” he snaps at her.

“Holding up our end of the deal, remember?  Aiding.  Protecting.  Helping.”

“You were way out of line back there.”

“Make a choice Sheppard,” Kenmore yells back at him.  “Politics or people,” she yanks her arm back and walks away from him; she doesn’t look back, “Sometimes you can’t have both.”

Sheppard watches her go.  If ever there was a time in his life where he as a grown man wanted to stomp his feet and bounce his clenched fists up and down in the air beside him, it was now.  He was trapped.  Kenmore technically hadn’t done anything wrong.  Saving people from being set on fire was never the wrong thing to do, but Shiana was the leader here and she already hadn’t wanted them here in the first place.  Now Kenmore had marched right through their funeral rites and stamped all over the woman’s toes and was brewing up a war between the two of them that Sheppard was sure was going to amount to nothing other than a living Hell.  Aw damn it.

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