Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters. No profit is made from this.
Summary: A team from Atlantis get their first sighting of a band of Wraith worshiper hunters and things go downhill very quickly. This is set sometime in the middle of season 5 and is a Ronon/Jennifer fic.
"So moving on to the new safety procedures." Woolsey said reading off his agenda. Before he could discuss the new procedures an off-world gate activation had him jumping from his seat and heading out to the control room.
"Why is that every time Mr Woolsey introduces new policy Rodney manages to miss the staff meeting?" Zelenka complained.
"You think he is hacking into Woolsey's personal files and planning missions to miss the changes?" Jennifer asked.
"He must be. There is no other way he could be this lucky." Zelenka grumbled as Woolsey re-entered the room.
"I'm afraid I will have to postpone the rest of the meeting." Woolsey said to relief of most people in the room. "Dr Keller, could you stay back please."
"Is something wrong? "Jennifer asked as the others quickly left before Woolsey had a chance to change his mind.
"Nothing major, it appears that SGA-6 has run into a spot of trouble in their negotiations and feel having a doctor there to help the leader's son recover from a bug would help the negotiations."
"Of course. I'll go."
"Or one of your staff." Woolsey suggested.
"That's ok, I can handle it."
"As can your extremely capable staff."
"Yes, but it is my turn."
"But you are in charge, which means you can delegate." Woolsey pressed.
"I can, but I won't." Jennifer replied, beginning to feel she was missing something. "It is a simple bug, I can handle it, unless there is something that you aren't telling me."
"No, not at all." Woolsey replied uncomfortably. "It's just that I would prefer the CMO to be on Atlantis. I mean I am already short the head of the military operations and his second in command as well as the head of science." He explained without making eye contact with Jennifer.
"Ok what are you hiding?" Jennifer asked, sensing the lie and becoming concerned.
"Nothing. It's just that there is concern over safety."
"In part." Woolsey said.
"Ok, I know I have had some bad luck off-world-" Jennifer started only for Woolsey to cut in.
"Some? Some does not cause repetitive stress injuries from the excess paperwork Dr Keller. But it is not you apparent bad luck that concerns me."
"It's not?" Jennifer asked. "Then what is it?"
"It is the safety of everyone else."
"What do you mean?" Jennifer pressed not knowing if she really wanted to know the answer.
"I am concerned that if you go off-world, others will pay for it."
"Others? Pay how?" Jennifer questioned, feeling confused.
"Dr Keller, in case you have been blinded from the obvious, Ronon can be somewhat...spontaneous and unrestrained at times, especially when training recruits. On the recent occasions when you have been off-world without him, the the number of injuries has tripled.
"Well he is off on a mission, so won't be here to increase infirmary admissions."
"While that is true, that is not the only problem." Woolsey said, sensing he was digging himself into a hole.
"Then what is?" Jennifer asked, beginning to grow annoyed.
"It was suggested that it would be best if you only went off-world when accompanied by a team or person from a pre-approved list." Woolsey said uncomfortably.
"Suggested by who?"
"That's not really the point."
"As CMO I may need to leave the city to attend medical emergencies."
"Dr Keller, whilst I agree that for medical emergencies you will need to have no restraints put on you, this is not an emergency and I agree with the others that as CMO you should be protected."
"Others? Just how many are in this committee of testosterone fueled relics from the eighteenth century?"
"Again, that is not really the point." Woolsey replied wincing.
"If someone wants to restrict my movements they should have the courage to tell me in person. Having some secret agreement to stop Ronon getting upset is not acceptable."
"Yes but-" Woolsey began only for Jennifer to cut in.
"Good, we are agreed. I'll get my kit." She said before leaving Woolsey's office. The bureaucrat sat at his desk shaking his head muttering.
"This will be a long week."
"Dr Keller." Captain Merton greeted as Jennifer stepped through the gate half an hour later.
"Captain." Jennifer replied. "How bad as he?"
"From what I can tell, not bad. He has a fever and is weak but is probably just a bad cold."
"Thank you doctor." Jennifer said, walking with Merton towards the village.
"Sorry Ma'am, I'll leave the diagnosing to you." The captain returned as he scanned the area.
"Captain." Jennifer said after a few moments.
"Is this area renowned for bandits?"
"Yeti like creatures?"
"No ma'am." Merton said very perplexed.
"Then why are you so tense?"
"I'm not tense ma'am? Just keeping my eyes open and being cautious."
"My bad luck is not that bad."
"No Ma'am. Your record is only slightly worse than Dr McKay's and you complain far less."
"So why are you so tense?"
"If something happens to McKay on a mission he complains more. Something happens to you and well, you know."
"No I don't know. What exactly does Ronon do?"
"Extra training." Merton said after a thoughtful pause. "Here's the village." He added with relief. "The leader's house is on the far side of the village. Should only take five minutes from here. And this," he said motioning to the man approaching, "is the village leader."
Several minutes later, after introductions, Jennifer was with the leader's son whilst Merton was ensuring that every potential threat was mitigated. Jennifer spent the next hour talking to the boy and running tests, ruling out the possibility that something serious was wrong. As she was finishing up and was beginning to relax she saw Merton hurrying towards the building.
"Doc." Merton called rushing towards Jennifer.
"What's wrong?" Jennifer asked, wondering if she really was jinxed.
"Not entirely sure. Hamilton just reported a large group coming through the gate. They are armed and have a prisoner. They are heading this way, so it could just be a local issue, but I'm thinking it is best to step aside, stay out of it and be ready to run."
"They didn't have war paint on did they?" Jennifer asked nervously.
"Relax doc, they are not Bola Kai." Merton smiled reassuringly at the doctor. Just then the volume in the village increased as strange new group neared. "Of course the Bola Kai don't have guns, which these guys do, so I am not sure that is a good thing."
As the volume continued to grow Merton shook his head and asked. "How's the kid?"
"He's fine, just needs rest and fluids." Jennifer explained.
"Good." The captain said grabbing his radio. "Giggs, Jordan get over here ASAP. We are going to clear out until what ever is going on has stopped." After getting the acknowledgments he helped Jennifer pack up her bag, all the while the noise grew in the centre of the village.
When Giggs and Jordan arrived Merton immediately asked,
"What's going on?"
"There's some type of trial going on." The Lieutenant replied.
"Try witch hunt." The youngest team member said. As he saw the raised eyebrow he said. "Where I come from dragging a girl along the floor is not a trial."
"Let's go." Merton said getting a bad feeling. The group had barely made it two metres when the leader's wife, with two of her other children in tow, neared.
"Are you leaving? Is Tomasin ok?"
"Tomasin is fine, he just requires plenty of fluids and rest." Jennifer said before Merton explained.
"We are going to head back home and let you sort out you local business." He said waving towards where all the sound was coming from. "We don't want to interfere in your local laws and justice."
"Those men who came are not from here, they are Ikiru."
"Ikiru?" Merton asked.
"They are a band of hunters. They search out Wraith worshipers and punish them. They give them a trial on Wraith free worlds so that others are deterred from becoming Wraith worshipers." The woman explained. "They will not harm you. They only go after those who are allies of the Wraith."
"That maybe, but I would feel better returning to my people until this is over." Merton said firmly.
"Of course." The woman replied, the disappointment evident in her voice. "Let me fetch my-"
"There is no need. He is going to be busy with the Ikiru. We will come back when all of this has passed." Merton interrupted, keen to get Jennifer safely back to Atlantis.
"Of course." The woman said, moving aside.
"Is there a way to get back to the gate without going through the centre of the village?" The captain asked.
"The gate?" The woman asked. "You mean the Ancestral Ring?" After Merton nodded she explained. "No, the river surrounds the edges of the village. The only exit is the way you came."
Merton muttered under his breath before signalling the others to form up round Jennifer. Looking at Jennifer he instructed. "Stay between us and keep moving. I want to get out of here with nothing going wrong." Nodding in worried agreement Jennifer moved with the group.
As they got closer to the middle of the village they could begin to make out some of the shouting. Knowing that his life would be more peaceful and last longer if they hurried through the village and ignored the shouting Merton considered blocking out the noise. However, something inside him drew his attention to the crowd and his brain began listening and the sense of dread spread. The man shouting in the, now not so distant, distance sounded almost possessed. His words were cold, but his voice passionate.
"Leaving?" A man said stepping in front of the group holding a small gun.
"This is not our world and we were due back home a while ago." Merton said, slowing his pace, but continuing to move forward.
"You have nothing to fear from us, unless you serve the Wraith." Another man said, appearing to their side. Again he was armed.
"We don't fear you." Merton replied calmly. "We don't want to get involved in your business here."
"The Wraith are everybody's business." A third man said. "We risk our lives to find those who have betrayed our kind. It is important that everyone knows what these traitors have done and what the punishment is."
"We insist you stay." A fourth man said.
Looking around Merton saw there were in fact eight men surrounding them, all armed. Knowing there was nothing he could do Merton sighed and said.
"Lead the way."
Ensuring his group walked at a pace that gave them space from the others Merton looked down at Jennifer and said. "Whatever happens stay close and don't draw attention to yourself. The second we can we will make a run for it, I have a bad feeling about these people."
Finally they made it to the middle of the village and caught sight of the Wraith worshipper, a woman in her thirties who was covered in bruises. Her expression blank and her eyes hollow. As the man standing next to her launched into another tirade he threw her down to the floor causing everyone in Merton's group to tense.
"Right now there is nothing we can do." He whispered whilst darting his eyes to all of the armed men surrounding the area. But he still removed the safety from his P90.
"Before sentence is delivered do you have anything to say?" The man at the front asked the beaten woman. "Do you wish to ask forgiveness or acknowledge your sins?"
"I serve the Wraith and I am proud to do so." The woman said loudly, drawing jeers from the crowd. "But at least I do not hide who I am." Pointing to Jennifer she added. "She is your real enemy. She helps my masters, but pretends to be one of you."
Slowly and silently every head turned to look at Jennifer. Stepping in front of the doctor Merton said.
"We do not serve the Wraith, we fight the Wraith. My people have destroyed many Hives."
"I saw her." The woman said, still pointing towards Jennifer. "She came to my Hive, she worked in the labs with my masters creating weapons."
"Do you deny this?" The man leading the trial asked signalling his men to fetch Jennifer. Immediately SGA-6 moved into protective positions round the doctor, with their P90s raised.
"We are not Wraith worshippers." Merton said.
"She does not accuse you, she accuses her." The man shouted. "If she is innocent allow her to come here and defend herself." When Merton's men refused to move the strangers opened fire. Seconds later Jennifer stood trembling, her fallen comrades by her feet. "Bring her." The man shouted moments before large hands gripped her arms and dragged her through the crowd towards the head of the strangers and the Wraith worshiper.
"Well, do you deny what she has said?" He demanded as Jennifer was thrown to her knees before them.
"I'm not a Wraith worshiper."
"You have helped my masters. Your name is Keller and you come from the Ancient city." The woman proclaimed, drawing shocked murmurs from the crowd.
"Well?" The man demanded.
"I have been on a Hive. I helped make a weapon, but it was a weapon to change the Wraith. To stop them feeding on humans." Jennifer said desperately.
"You gave the Wraith a weapon?" The man questioned, his voice betraying how furious he was. Not waiting for Jennifer to answer he unleashed a blow knocking the doctor unconscious.
A/N: Any feedback, positive or negative, will be gratefully received. Chapter two up next weekend.