Sheppard keeps up his walking, bouncing from recovering villager to recovering villager along the village’s main avenue. He occasionally stopped to talk with the patient’s friends or family or friends and family if they so happened to be visiting when he stopped by. He felt a smile threaten to creep back in on his face and he indulged in the idea behind the good mood it might be bringing with it. It was so nice not to have Kenmore wreaking havoc or Shiana screaming bloody murder all over the place, let alone revolution. It was nice for once—in a long time—just to walk a village hustling and bustling with life…Thank God life.
He heard Teyla walk up and fall in step beside him. She was still silent, cautious feeling around him. He could hear it in the way she was walking, she was carrying herself stiffly. But he was much calmer now.
“So how’s everybody doing,” he asked, back to his old self.
“Jennifer says they are much improved. Major Lorne and Rodney are just finishing delivering further supplies to her,” she answered evenly, measuring his temperament.
John nodded, a smile back on his face. And with that, the tense muscles in Teyla’s shoulders released. She seemed to be relieved that he had lost his anger, although he would have defined it as rage, from a couple of hours ago—two did seem to be his lucky number with the ‘walking it off” thing. And he was relieved she was staying clear of the subject of Lieutenant Kenmore period.
He looked up ahead and as usual Teyla was right. There was Rodney and Lorne coming around the corner from the rest of the village, they looked happy enough. Then twenty yards or so passed and he saw her coming: Shiana the leader of one of the Tribes of Santhal. His stomach dropped. She looked determined, not necessarily on a warpath, but not exactly like a leader just casually strolling among her people dispensing comfort and assurance either.
John stops in his tracks. His smile gone. Oh this can’t be good. When Lorne and Rodney stop in front of him, they look up, see John’s face, and look behind themselves. Thankfully both men fall away to take up position on John’s free side. It takes a moment, but sure enough Shiana stops right in front of John before she finally looks up from the ground and stares him down with fierce anarchist eyes. Oh yeah this was not going to be good.
“More,” she was livid with him, “You have brought more weapons to poison my people with.”
Okay so same song, new lyrics. Beside Sheppard, Rodney rolled his eyes in exasperation. Great that was all John needed, Rodney to lose his temper too. Please don’t piss her off even more, John silently prayed to whatever deity might be listening.
“For the last time,” the scientist started in, “they are not weapons, they are medical equipment. And it is not poison, it is medicine.”
“So say you,” she reprimanded.
“So says doctors,” he countered, “You do know what doctors—“
“The equipment and medicines are simply things that help us help your people,” Sheppard interrupts, jumping in before Rodney could help the irate tribal leader take things out of hand in front of her people again, “Isn’t that a good thing?”
“Good for you maybe to see us all die,” she condemned, “and how fittingly at your hands.” She finished off daintily.
Ding, ding, ding. Round I’ve lost count. John takes a deep breath then starts back in. Now his neck muscles were tensed up.
* * *
Kenmore sits up at the sight of Shiana in her binoculars. She’d been watching Sheppard bounce dutifully from hut to hut at the front of the village for an hour before he started bouncing from carried-out patient to carried-out patient lying along the main avenue again for another hour after that, desperately trying not to report in like she knew he was supposed to, just like she’d hoped he’d do, and equally trying not to run back into the crazy leader chick, again just like Kenmore’d hoped he’d do. And again, just like Kenmore hoped, Shiana hadn’t waited for Sheppard to come to her, she’d come after him. At the soonest possible excuse, like Lorne and McKay lugging medical supplies to Doc Keller, Kenmore’d seen them of course. And, of course, the pissy leader followed Lorie and the scientist right to Sheppard to pick another fight and dredge up another rousing chorus of her own personal rendition of Les Marseilles. Jesus, some people…
Keeping the binoculars to her eyes, Kenmore balances herself carefully as she reaches behind her with her free hand and slips it underneath the bottom of her tactical vest. She carefully fumbles her fingertips around underneath her waistband until they touch on the Wraith pistol. She wriggles her fingers in further behind her waistband to wrap around the bone handle. She gingerly slips the weapon out from its safe keeping place and slowly holds it out in front of her. In her binoculars’ line of vision, she can just barely see the fuzzy horizon of the top of the pistol in her hand. She pulls her face away from the binoculars for a moment to make sure of what exactly she was looking at on the pistol and its angle. Okay good. She puts her eyes back to the binoculars.
Shiana’s laying in to Sheppard again. Arms flailing in great big grand gestures, that even to the un-cinematically trained eye, were overdramatic; purely for show. Jaw dropping in what was obviously a belting out of whatever it was she was claiming at the top of her voice, again for the whole village to hear whether or not there was a chance in Hell they weren’t in earshot; again purely for show. Silently, Kenmore pulls back the trigger and holds it. She hears the weapon start to rev up and waits…
A half-dozen feet from him, Shiana throws up her hands in what Sheppard has come to expect as her traditional soap box I’m-defending-my-people-and-I-want-them-all-to-know-it flail and of course roaring so loud no one was going to miss it either…
“You have not brought help to my people,” she screams at the top of her lungs, “You have rained down death and destruction on them again!”
And the green blast shot out of the forest, high and from one of the hills. It flew straight on a smooth, slightly descending angle towards Shiana and erupted against the side of her skull. She went down and out cold. Then came the scream…
Sheppard, Lorne, Rodney, and Teyla immediately drop to their individual defensive stances and get to cover after the middle-aged woman’s thoroughly unneeded announcement. Sheppard and Lorne hide behind a pair of fat barrels full of God knows what. Aim their P-90s towards the hill and start returning fire. Teyla and Rodney sticking close to each other’s back, having long ago abandoned their weapons in order to better provide medical attention to the wounded and recovering, hide nearby under the cover of the low overhanging thatch of a hut. Teyla keeps her keen eyes on the hill and all the ground in between. Peering, straining to see if drones were marching through the forest. Rodney pulls out his detector and starts scanning. Every single one of the villagers immediately starts screaming and running for cover as more green Wraith blasts blow plods of the dirt road up into the air like geysers or splintering the corners of random huts in their general vicinity the way funnel clouds touching down tore paths through cornfields in Oklahoma. Lorne gets on his radio.
“Ramses, Ramirez, get to the gate! We’ve got Wraith!”
Sheppard and Lorne watch as multiple blasts come from different start points in the same general area of the hill.
“There’s more than one of them,” Sheppard announces over the raucous, “Damn it, how could they have sneaked up on us? Teyla, didn’t you sense them?”
“I do not sense them now,” she tells him.
The men look at her.
“Don’t tell me the Wraith have actually managed to figure out a way around your ability to sense them coming? Please don’t,” Rodney begs, his slackened lower lip quivering.
John looks just as scared by the prospect too.
Kenmore lowers both her weapon and binoculars and dusts splintered wood fragments off of herself…Well not all their shots had gone wide. She can still hear the villagers’ screaming from here and sees little blurs scattering like crazy. Then she quietly turns her head and looks over at the Stargate…and the jumper.
Okay, according to Doctor McKay’s report and Sheppard’s from one of their first mission reports in Atlantis called Reliquary. All she had to do was think at it. She hoped this concept had a long range on it. If not, she was crap up a creek—well, tree…Kenmore stares at the jumper and thought of it coming on. Suddenly its ramp started to lower. Wait, no, no, not that. Suddenly the ramp immediately starts back up again. Okay it worked, but she didn’t have a lot of time left for this.
Kenmore closes her eyes…focused on the jumper, pictured it in her mind…the olive drab coloring of its flattened cylindrical body, raised geometric shapes, angled front and back…went inside, gray vinyl covered benches, racks made out of black webbing, gray armored briefcases, black plastic containers…pictured the front compartment…painful looking chairs she’d never sat in, light panels of intricate designs that meant nothing, indicated nothing to her, panels…the command console…the DHD. Then she hears it, clunk, even from here, clunk, the sounds of the gate locking chevrons into place, clunk clunk clunk clunk clunk. Kenmore opens her eyes as the gate flushes to life.
Suddenly men’s shouts come from the forest below her, far off still, obviously on the villager’s path, but still close enough to draw her attention. She shrinks back against the trunk and remains still, watching the gate area and thinking the jumper should shut the gate down now and turn itself off. Thankfully, it does. The gate shuts down and the jumper goes dark and quiet.
Suddenly two SGC personnel with weapons raised enter the gate area. They charge the Stargate. But they’re too late in more ways than just one way. They look around, spreading out…sort of. There’s only two of them. Can’t really spread out with just two. Obviously Sheppard wanted the others to guard the villagers in case things got really nasty. Kenmore watches one of the soldiers stand in front of the gate and make a gesture. She smiles. It was funny how you could tell what finger was being raised from a person’s fist even from here.