last01standing: ([SGA] Sheppard)
[personal profile] last01standing
Title: (D)evolution
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: SGA
Words: 2000 words (Possible WIP? Maybe?)
Disclaimer: Not for profit
Summary: He wakes up on wraith vessel with no memory and no way out.
Author's note: The AU where the wraith invent the treatment from "Michael" rather than the Lanteans.


There are twenty of them the first day, but the number dwindles steadily as the green-skinned guardians escort them away. None of them return. The others start to whisper, terrified of their fates. Some contest that they are quarantined and the ones removed are the ones who have taken ill. Some say that they’re being tortured and flayed. It is all speculation and many of the words leave a strange taste in his mouth, the concept of consequences something not a learned truth.

He does not fight when removed from the cell. He has seen that attempted and seen it end in vibrant red blood, a blue blast of light, the person taken unconscious instead of willing. There is no point to the fight. This is his fate.

He is greeted by the hive queen, her red hair vibrant, the banquet spread in front of him. The queen says, “Eat, please. We are not without gratitude for your sacrifices.”

He looks at his hands, palms unconsciously outstretched, but the hunger is foreign, settled in his midsection. He looks to the colorful array of food. “Thanks, but I think I’ll pass.”

The voice on the air grates, the faint whine all too obvious in face of the Queen’s power.

“You are dying even now,” the Queen says. “You life decays minute by minute. Why not enjoy the few moments of pleasure you have remaining?”

She curls her hand and he finds himself seated, powerless against the compulsion. Frantic, he reaches out for something to defend himself.

His hand catches on an innocuous looking trinket, hardly enough for an improvised weapon.

It starts to glow.


The others do not talk to him. He is the only one taken and returned and this marks him as special, as someone different.

He hates it, but he sees no choice but cooperation. He is removed once daily, handed strange metal objects that sing in his palm. He dreams sometimes, of a city sinking beneath the waves and when he is awake the concepts are as foreign as the words.

The other prisoners are removed one by one. They do not return.

And after fourteen cycles of light and dark, he is the only one left.

He doesn’t know much about what’s going on, but he can put some pieces together when he gets his blood drawn twice a day and a separate injection before the end of the day cycle. The blue light puts him to sleep and he wakes up strapped to a medical device. He is handed trinkets, observed, and says nothing to betray the sudden growth of the song in his mind.

It doesn’t take a genius to find out that there’d been a medical experiment (propagation of livestock) that had an unexpected result. That he is an unexpected result. He exists because of a mistake. He’ll be dead as soon as they figure out the source of the anomaly.

This, he understands. They have not spared him the knowledge of death and resurrection, even if he has been robbed of concepts that feel like he should know.

He can’t remember.

He can’t remember anything before the moment he woke up in this room.

Wraith, he thinks as he’s lead through the halls back to the cell, the word etched somewhere in his soul, twinning with a cold anger. There is only one guard this time. They think him complacent. They’ve judged him weak, someone who is not a threat.

He thinks maybe this is something they can’t steal from him, the blood surging through his veins, the surgical precision as he wretches the gun from the wraith’s hand and sends the hateful blue sparks singing through its body. He’s going to get out.

He makes it as far as the dart bay and stands instead gaping at all the vessels. They can fly, he knows it, can almost feel the potential hanging in the air, the defiance of it, pushing metal through the empty sky.

It is the first time he realizes that there is more to the world than the ship and when he wakes up alone back in the cell, bruises blossoming over his cheekbones, he thinks it is worth it.


Cycle twenty two brings people. The first he's seen since the last of the people he woke up with were taken (eaten). They are an odd assortment dressed in different garments from the soft black leather of the wraith. He can recognize uniforms on some by the way they stand.

They don't seem to notice him, the one in uniform squabbling with a civilian, unaware of his surroundings. He sinks deeper into the shadows. The longer they're around to distract the wraith, the better chance he has at finding a way out of here.

When it escalates to shouts, he can't help but snort in derision.

Everyone in the cell turns to look at him. He lounges back against the wall. The petite one, the female, with dark skin and reddish hair is the first to step closer. "How long have you been here?"

"As long as I can remember," he says, leaning back to the warm wall of the hive. "You're not the first people who've come through."

But they are, he knows it in an intrinsic way. They're the first people. they move differently than the wraith outside the cell. Some with arrogance, some with fear, others a quiet calm. He finds himself flexing his fingers.

"What happens to the other?"

"Food," he replies, letting a smile stretch over his face at the alarm in the group.

The leader crosses his arms over his shoulder and says, "Then why are you still here?"

"My charm," he says, well aware of the scars from the wraith's needles dotting his arm. "Getting eaten might be an easier route. You know if they're kind enough to offer a choice."

"We're going to get out of here," one of the men in uniforms says, but the ones in the civilian clothing don't seem like they believe it.

He's not good at reading facial expressions in anything that's not a wraith, but he wishes he was, because by time the wraith comes to drag him to the daily medical appointment, he's gotten a lot of stares. The woman who'd first spoken to him makes a move to stop him, but falters at the sight of the wraith stunner. "I'll be fine," he says.


There is only one wraith at the examination. One of the scientists, minimally armed, disinclined to feed on him considering he is an asset to research. They do not thing he is a threat. They've never thought he was a threat.

There are syringes filled with a brown tinged liquid, the same that he has been injected with daily since the first time he woke up. He knows how the mechanism works, the delivery system, the plunger that sends a burning scorching into his skin.

It must be the new captives. He curls his hand over the syringe and thinks of the new prisoners. The ones who have seen the world outside. Who have a home outside this hive.

When the wraith turns he buries the needle into his neck and depresses the plunger. The wraith collapses, writhing on the ground and he wonders if this happened to him. If he was like this before the treatments, if he'd screamed or just suffered.

But he can't wait, has to move. He grabs the stunner and a knife from the body and traces his way back through the spiraling halls until he finds the cells. The commander is gone, but the rest of them are here, the woman in civilian garb is the first to react, taking a cautious step forward. He swallows hard. "If I get you out, do you have somewhere to go?"

"Atlantis," one of the military men says.

The name tugs at something inside him and his mouth is dry when he says, "Can I come with you?"

The woman's smile stretches her face wide and one of the military men, almost laughing in relief says, "Yes, get us out of here and we'll get you to Atlantis."


The mechanisms of the cell come back to him as soon as he starts to work on it, but the other prisoners are so relieved no one makes a comment. "You're missing someone," he says, looking for the leader.

"He was taken," the woman says, "shortly after you left us."

Leave no man behind, echoes a voice in his head. He has no idea where the sentiment is from, but it's written into his very bones. He's making an abortive move back toward the center of the hive, when there's a cry. It's one he's heard before. The one people make before the Queen feeds.

Their leader is dead already.

Someone puts a hand on his back, the touch gentle and it's all he can do to flinch away. "They would have taken him to the queen for interrogation."

"He won't talk," on of the soldiers says.

He tenses his jaw. "He doesn't need to."

Only the civilians seem to believe him because the red haired woman asks, "Do you know a way off of this ship?"

He squeezes his eyes shut, relaxes his hands out of fists. "Yes I do. Follow me."

They make it all the way to the dart bay without incident and when the group is gaping at the array, someone asks him if he can fly these things."

He's never flown anything in his life, hadn't even known the word, but the truth is fundamental to his person and when he answers, he's not lying. "I can fly anything."


Atlantis is… just like the cell. He is placed in 'quarantine' rather then a cell, but there are still blood draws, still doctors even as the city sets his skin humming, a constant strum of homehomehome.

The cycles are different than the hive's, the people too, always asking if he's all right, if he needs anything when all he wants is to feel like something other than a prisoner. When they finally send someone to talk to him, it's not the pretty brunette who's designation is Dr. Weir, leader of the expedition or even Dr. Beckett who apologized but a man who enters without knocking and throws a change of clothes in front of him. He recognizes the garb of the military in the city but does not move to take it.

"I'm Dr. Rodney McKay," he announces, the clipped tones racking against his ears. "And we don't know who you are or where you came from except you got our people out of a bad situation by flying an alien spaceship genetically keyed to another species. Add this to the fact that you have the ATA gene in spade and I keep coming to the inescapable conclusion that we need you here."

"On Atlantis."

Hands wave dismissively. "Yes, the ancient city. Please tell me you're not another one of those people with a pseudo religious view of the Ancients because from what I can tell, they all managed to die horribly at the hands of the wraith."

He blinks. "McKay, I'm not sure what you're asking me to do."

"Carson tells me you can't remember your name or where you came from, so it's not a stretch to think you have nowhere to go. So stay here."

It's a choice. It takes him a minute to recognize that for what it is and when he does, he reaches slowly for the uniform, trances his fingertips over the name. "This belonged to someone else."

"Sheppard," McKay says, nodding. "Adam or James or John or something. He backed out before the mission." He frowns. "Or maybe he was the one on the gate team who died in the last Goa'uld attack. I don't remember and it doesn't matter. His gear had already been ordered and it doesn't hurt to have a spare."

"John Sheppard," he says.

"Might be Kyle? Dave?" McKay says. "Something with four letters I think. Not that it matters. John Sheppard's better than being a John Doe. Not that the term is even remotely accurate for the Pegasus Galaxy—"

"I'll stay," he says.

McKay cuts off mid-ramble. "Yes. That's good then."

There's a smile stretching across his face, muscles pulling in the unfamiliar motion, but there's something that might be contentment settling in his gut. He can be John Sheppard. He can live in Atlantis. He can call it home.


(for now at least). This might be continued. I have a few other scenes I really want to write in this AU, but not really a coherent plot yet. We'll see.
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