Summary: Sheppard discovers Replicators on Atlantis. Can he save Elizabeth in time? If Atlantis has anything to say about it, he better! A fair bit of AU, a wee bit from the episode.
I'm just gonna post all the ones I've written, 'k?
Also posted in sheppard_hc
John Sheppard woke in the middle of the night, breathing hard, drenched in sweat. It had been a week since their encounter with the Asurans, and all he dreamed about was metallic bugs eating him alive, or feeling his body blown to shreds after the final countdown. He never really thought about the expression ‘going down with the ship’ until now. Oberon had shown him what it meant. As his heart rate slowed, he turned over to find a more comfortable position, refusing to look at the clock. Closing his eyes, he tried to think of anything but microscopic metal bugs.
Sheppard’s thoughts drifted over his daily routine, mission reports, and the faces of his team, his closest friends. The only face that lingered was Elizabeth Weir. She never really explained her ordeal with Oberon, leaving him to wonder what she wouldn’t tell him. In his mind, everyone else escaped including her. A feeling of warmth and comfort settled over him, drawing his tired body further into sleep. Knowing she was safe – that they were all safe – lulled him into a deep sleep.
Her face was relaxed and open; her green eyes sparkled with amusement. Suddenly, they became cold and hard. Vacant. In his mind’s eye, he saw his hand reach out to touch her. He felt cold, metallic skin that dissolved into tiny metal blocks. She was gone, a pile of dead nanites.
For the second time, Sheppard woke up in a cold sweat. Something was wrong. Swinging his feet over the edge of the bed, he rested them on the cool floor, trying to ground himself in more than one way. A chill traveled his spine, causing him to shudder. Even as he tried to push himself to stand, his eyes were closing again. Instead of fighting off sleep, he lay back, keeping his feet on the ground, body angled sideways on his bed.
The dream replayed itself in his head over and over, as it had for the last three nights. Same result, different scenarios. Elizabeth Weir always ended up a pile at his feet.
By the time he woke later in the morning, he was so tangled in bedding, it took him a good two minutes to free himself. Somehow, he had ended up at the wrong end of the bed, feet on pillows, head dangling off the end of the bed. He scrubbed both hands over his face as he stumbled to the bathroom. Letting the water run over his body, he willed the exhaustion to leave him, imagining it flowing down the drain with the water.
Feeling somewhat human, he dressed quickly, looking forward to hot coffee and monotonous conversation. Just before he exited his quarters, a wave of dizziness overcame him. Closing his eyes against the sudden vertigo, he placed a hand on the wall next to his door. Under his fingertips, The City greeted him with a low urgent hum. Head in hand, he slid down to the floor, waiting for it all to pass. His head was pounding, much the same way it had after his imagined escape from the Asurans.
A faint beep brought him alert, eyes opening and focusing on a spot above his bed. A HUD? How –? In the center of the display was a red dot moving slowly through the corridors of Atlantis. Wait. Red is bad right? Sheppard thought frantically as he stood, locking his knees to keep from sliding back down to the floor. Walking stiffly over to his desk, he grabbed a LSD, and made a second attempt to leave his room. He found a transporter by instinct alone, and pressed the necessary areas on the panel.
Following the readings on the LSD, Sheppard ignored the people around him and the headache that was slowly building behind his eyes. Whatever this object was, it was deadly, and Atlantis was not happy about it. The closer he got to the object, the more apprehension he felt. He was very close to the control room. And Elizabeth. Unbidden, his mind conjured up the image of her from his nightmare, dissolving into metal dust. He stumbled into warm flesh, nearly sending them both crashing to the floor.
“Sheppard! What is your problem?” Rodney McKay spat, disgusted and annoyed. “Could you at least watch– What happened to you?”
Blinking twice, Sheppard glanced at the scientist, then at the LSD, and back. “Sorry, Rodney.” He moved away to pass McKay, who stood gaping at the colonel. Sheppard stopped suddenly, turning to his friend again. “Umm...You wouldn’t happen to be carrying a questionable device, would you?”
“What? Sheppard, is there something wrong with you? You look like crap.” He snapped his fingers. “You’re not sick again, are you?”
“McKay! I just asked a question!” He looked down again at the device, watching the red dot still moving his way. Okay, if it’s not McKay, who is it? “Gotta go.”
“You can’t just run a person over and leave! What are you doing?” The colonel kept walking, obviously ignoring the only genius who could possibly help him. “Sheppard?” Curiosity piqued, McKay followed the wandering man down the corridor.
Up ahead, McKay spotted Elizabeth Weir speaking to a technician. To his left, he heard a gasp. The colonel’s face blanched as he raised his eyes from the LSD. “This is getting old, Colonel. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Something’s wrong,” was all he said as he quickened his pace towards Doctor Weir.
“I do remember saying something to that affect. Obviously something’s wrong, Sheppard,” McKay huffed.
Sheppard watched the technician leave and Elizabeth turned to face him. As he came closer, he felt a different kind of vibration, emanating from the expedition leader. How could this be? He only felt this kind of hum from Atlantis, not from a human.
“Colonel Sheppard? Are you feeling all right?” she asked, concern warring with amusement. “You don’t –” Suddenly, a sharp pain spread across her head; she would have fallen if Sheppard wasn’t there to catch her.
“Question is, are you okay?” His hand touched the bare skin of her arm, sending a jolt through his fingertips. Something definitely is not right.
“I... I...” Her eyes suddenly rolled to the back of her head, and her body went limp in his arms. This can’t be happening!
“What did you do, Sheppard?” McKay was shocked by the scene before him, kneeling down to touch Weir.
“No! Stay back!” The colonel meant it as a stern command, but it only came out as a strangled whisper. From far away, he heard his own voice call for Carson Beckett. The distant voice sounded calm, mechanical even, as it described the nature of the emergency.
“I’ll set up a quarantine area, and I’ll get there as soon –”
“No, Carson, I’m on my way to you now,” Sheppard said as he scooped the unconscious woman up in his arms. “I can’t risk anyone else exposed to her. Sheppard out.”
“Quarantine? Exposure? Just what –”
“Not now, McKay,” the colonel said, voice still distant. He was pleading with The City not to shut down any areas. This incident was contained, and he would try to keep it that way. Atlantis relented her urgent hum to let him concentrate on getting his superior to a satisfactory quarantine area.
Although Weir was not heavy, it seemed to take all his strength just to keep from dropping her. He didn’t want his dreams to come true, but through his fingertips, he felt the tiny machines multiplying, taking over. Energy was draining from his body, and he knew where it was going. He could feel some of them cease to function, dying off as he thought about their destruction. Now the nanites, or Replicators, seemed to be fleeing his touch, implanting themselves deeper into Elizabeth’s body. The longer he touched her, the more he seemed to be putting her in danger.
Finally, he gained the infirmary, Beckett directing him to the far end of the large space. A bed was prepared for her, under a scanner. Placing her on the bed, Sheppard stepped back, allowing Beckett and his team to work. He moved toward the exit to unzip the quarantine tent, but was stopped by a hand on his shoulder.
“Take the next bed, please, Colonel,” Beckett steered him to a bed on the other side of the scanner.
Sheppard shook his head once, sending spots dancing before his eyes. “I’m not infected.” Sweat had sprung up on his brow, and he wiped it hastily away with a shaky hand. “Replicators. Those nanites are affecting her, and I think I can stop them.”
Now it was Carson Beckett’s turn to shake his head. “I need ye to sit still for a moment while we get her situated. Then we’ll talk about your theory.” It wasn’t that he didn’t believe the colonel, but the man looked exhausted, and he’d rather have the colonel sitting down before he fell down.
When Sheppard finally acquiesced, Beckett moved to the large scanner. Confidence and knowledge took over as he waved a hand over the Ancient medical device. This was the only place he was comfortable using such equipment; he wouldn’t break something that he could use to help others. Firing weapons and thinking of defensive strategies was not in his area of expertise. Out of the corner of is eye, he watched the colonel, who sat shielding his eyes from the light. Headache. Turning his full attention to the device, he asked the scanner to search for nanites. If the colonel thinks it’s replicators, then that’s where we’ll start.
In a matter of seconds, the scanner display showed hundreds of tiny red dots throughout her body, most concentrated in her upper torso.
“What are those? Is she contagious? Are you going to scan me next?”
“McKay!” Sheppard jumped off the bed, ignoring all the pain, and stalked over to the clear wall of the tent. “This is not the time to indulge your acute hypochondria!” Placing his hands on his hips, he fixed the scientist with a glare. “I need you to focus on the matter at hand, and find a way to get rid of those things!”
A scowl appeared on the chief scientist’s face. If he was offended by the colonel’s outburst, he didn’t show it. “The last time it was an EM pulse, but I don’t think it will work.” McKay crossed his arms tightly across his chest in thought. “I’ll do what I can, but if you know of something that could help...”
Sheppard nodded slowly; his brief display of emotion cost him. He knew what needed to be done, but there was one obstacle.
“Colonel,” Beckett said softly. Speak of the Devil! “She’s stable for now. The scanner shows a high concentration in her upper torso, and spreading to her brain.”
The doctor shook his head firmly. “Sorry, John. You know the drill. Exam first, everything else last.”
“We don’t have time, Carson! I can help her now!”
“If you’re carrying any of those things, what good are you to her?” Reaching out, he took Sheppard’s arm, steering him toward the other bed. “The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can talk about helping Elizabeth.”
Reluctantly shedding his warm jacket, he lay back on the exam bed, keeping his thoughts internal. After a few minutes, the scan was complete.
“All right, Colonel. You’re clean.”
“That’s a relief,” McKay sighed from his perch outside the clear tent. He tapped a few areas on his tablet, frowning. “Okay. If you’re clean, it means they don’t spread by human contact.”
“Either that, or the colonel is immune somehow. They were designed by the Ancients, so it’s likely they would not attack him in this fashion.” Pausing to glance at a chart, Beckett nodded, rattling off a number of medical acronyms to a nurse. “If – and I do mean if – that is the case, you may have some control over them.”
“That’s what I think.” Sheppard sat up; his forgotten headache came back with a vengeance. “When I touched her, I could feel them. Some stopped and some apparently died when I thought about it. But the ones that got away went deeper.”
Beckett and McKay, at least, were on the same page.
“Colonel, when you say you felt them –”
“We don’t have time for this! I’ll explain later,” the colonel said, sliding once again off the bed. The doctor caught him just before he hit the floor.
“No, John. You need to rest. Your scan showed you were badly dehydrated, and I need to run an –”
“Carson. I need to do this. I’ll sit in a chair if I have to, just let me help her!”
The doctor watched the soldier’s face intently. Although the man wouldn’t say what kind of pain he was in, Beckett already knew the colonel had a hell of a headache. He had been squinting all the while he was in the infirmary. Looking back at Doctor Weir, he nodded. “Casey, get me a chair,” he said, suddenly weary himself.
As the colonel seated himself, he called McKay. “Any ideas? ‘Cause I’m not gonna be able to keep this up.”
“I have a couple – What, Carson?”
Beckett had an idea, and it was stamped all over his face.
“Come on, Carson. I know that look. I have that same look when I’ve just thought of something brilliant.”
“How do you know what you look like?” asked Sheppard, genuinely surprised.
“I just happened to be staring in a mirror at the time. What is it, Carson?”
“It may not be brilliant, but I think it’ll help. Follow me, Rodney.” Beckett spun around to his conscious patient. “You! Don’t do anything ‘til I get back. Understood?” When the colonel nodded, Beckett pointed to a nurse. “Get him started on an IV. I’ll be back shortly.”
Behind him, he heard Sheppard speaking to the unconscious woman. “You’ve got to fight this, Elizabeth.”
Slipping awkwardly out of the red suit, Beckett kicked it out of the way as he walked toward his lab. “Now, if these Replicators are the same, they were designed with one purpose in mind.”
“Right. To kill the Wraith. But what does that have–”
The door to the lab opened as Beckett thought about it. Hmmm. That’s never happened before. “Here.” Reaching into a cooler unit, he produced a canister.
The scientist studied the canister, eyes widening. “Of course. Wraith DNA.”
“It’s just tissue. We’ll inject a small amount into her body and –”
“Use the EM pulse.”
“Yes. And hopefully, we won’t need the colonel to endanger himself further.”
McKay frowned thoughtfully. “What’s wrong with him anyway? He looks like he’s gonna drop at any second.”
The doctor folded his arms, heading out of the lab. “He’s definitely dehydrated, and it seems that just being in proximity of the Replicators is havin’ an effect on his energy levels.”
“What about Atlantis?”
“Aye. I was wondering why the whole place hasnae gone into lockdown. My guess is that he stopped that from happening because the situation was contained.”
“Makes sense.” At the door of the quarantine section, they parted ways. “I’ll get the pulse generator, and meet you back here in a few.”
When Beckett finally put back on the suit, he entered the clear tent to find Sheppard pacing, dragging his IV pole with him. “Please, John, sit down.”
His head jerked up at the sound of the doctor’s voice. How long had he been standing there?
“Oh, not long. We have a plan.”
“Got it!” McKay exclaimed, huffing under the strain of carrying the generator.
Beckett brought out the canister and a needle. “We’re injecting a small amount of Wraith tissue into Elizabeth’s body.” At the look of alarm on Sheppard’s face, the doctor held up a hand. “A very safe amount, Colonel.”
“When the little bastards concentrate in that area, we’ll zap ‘em with the EM pulse.”
Sheppard thought about this for a moment. Then he shook his head, sighing. Unsure how much he could help her, he looked from medical doctor to scientist, knowing that it would probably take both actions to rid Elizabeth of the tiny machines. “Let’s do it.”
The hypothesis proved true as the nanites rushed to destroy the tissue. McKay flipped on the pulse generator for a moment. The three men gazed hopefully when the scanner display winked back to life. While the majority of the red dots were gone, many stay near her brain.
“Oh no. Now they’re immune to the pulse.”
“And they’re multiplying again.”
Sheppard moved unsteadily toward the bed. “You will not give up! You have to fight, Elizabeth!” He placed his hands on her forearm, and concentrated deeply. Closing his eyes, he wished them dead. Briefly, he saw Elizabeth running towards him. Soon, she would be free. He felt a blanket of warm darkness envelope his body, and he succumbed.
Rushing forward, Beckett caught the colonel a second time, cradling his unconscious body. “Let’s get him to bed. We’ll run another scan to be sure –”
“They’re gone, Carson. All of them. He did it!”
“I figured as much. Now he has to deal with the consequences.”
“Scrubs, Doctor Beckett?” Casey said, taking the colonel’s boots off.
“No, we’ll wait a bit,” he said as he began the scan. “He may wake in a couple hours.” The scanner display showed no signs of Replicators. Beckett breathed a sigh of relief. The colonel was right. He knew what to do, and he rid his friend of the resilient machines.
A light groan from behind startled him out of his reverie.
“Elizabeth!” Rodney wanted to enter the tent just to take her hand, reassuring her that she was safe.
But Beckett shook his head. “One more hour, Rodney. I have to be sure.” He reached down with a gloved hand, grasping hers. “How do ye feel, lass?”
Weir, blinking sleepily, gave a small smile. “I’m home,” she whispered.
“Ye never left.”
* * * * * * * * *
Sixteen hours later, John Sheppard woke from his impromptu nap. Muted sunlight streamed through the glass window high above his bed. As many times as he’d awakened here, he had never seen it at this time of day. Glancing around, he found his query. Elizabeth Weir was sleeping peacefully in the bed next to his.
Drinking in the sight of her alive and well, he closed his eyes comforted by the fact she was safe. Once again, he allowed the thought to pull him into a deep, peaceful slumber.
Even Atlantis was at peace.
Okay, there it is. I hope you liked it! Kinda got thrown together, and there was some rambling. Sorry. This coulda went farther, but I had to get some work done at some point!