Disclaimer - I do not own SGA or its' characters, nor am I making a profit from this.

Rating - T for violence.

Tag Line - An off world mission goes wrong for Sheppard and his team forcing Atlantis to turn to an old ally possibly with deadly results.

A/N - A huge thank you to bailey1ak who as always is a wonderful beta and great friend. Thank you to Imbx for your support, sorry the idea didn't work, next time maybe? Hifield, thanks for your constant support also. Buzz, you always make me smile, Tink and Tess, you can stop nagging now.

This is my first real attempt at an action /adventure story. I hope you'll like it and leave lots of reviews!

The cell was reasonably large its walls were made of brick. It had one small barred window above the height of any man to look out from. The floor of stone was covered in a straw like substance which was scattered about to collect its guests blood. Heavily secured into the walls were weighty metal chains ending with wide cuffs to clasp its occupants firmly in place.

At one end of the cell was a substantial wooden door, its metal bars fastening it shut. Other than the small barred window the only light seeping in was from the top of the door. The bars allowed its guests to be viewed by their hosts. The cell was able to house up to twelve people, albeit snugly.

The four people currently occupying the cell were a mixture of determined strength, pure animal aggression, fearful caution and noble gentleness.

Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard groaned through the pain the movement of his head created. His view was obscured by the blurring of his eyes. His head warned him he was going to pass out, which would be for the best, as his stomach warned him it was going to rebel against the treatment their hosts had shown it.

"John, can you hear me? We know you are in pain, we will get through this," Teyla Emmagan spoke softly wincing as her split lips objected to being used.

"It's no use Teyla; he's probably got a concussion on top of the beating they gave him," Dr. Rodney McKay babbled at Teyla, who was chained to the wall next to him.

Rodney sported bruises and raw wrists but was otherwise unhurt, he hadn't fought back the way the others had. Not because he was a coward but he was the brains, they protected him and he got them home. He looked to his colleagues and saw the welts and bruises caused by the men outside the cell. A little shame filled the man, he wanted to just once help his friends when the fighting started but it wasn't in his nature. He understood they didn't expect it of him or hate him for not throwing himself into hand to hand combat. They couldn't do what he could either.

Chains began clinking, thrashed and demanded to be freed from their securing in the wall followed by growling and the creaking of leather. Teyla lifted her eyes at the sounds taking in the sight of the behemoth body of Ronon Dex attached to the opposing wall. His face held a wild feral look that warned others unless they were friendly they'd better leave him chained, for their own sakes.

"Ronon?" Teyla called out, relieved to see he'd finally woken again, worried his agitated state would bring their hosts back in.

"Ronon, calm down, please," Teyla implored the man across from her, relaxing a little as he quietened.

Ronon looked about his team mates gauging their various states of injuries. McKay was fine, for that he was glad, the man was a genius and would no doubt be needed later, when they got out. He looked at Teyla, she'd been hit he could see from the bruising and cuts to her mouth. No doubt a back handed slap or two. He turned his head finally to Sheppard, his team leader. He looked bad, his face bruised about his jaw, he'd been punched. His left eye was swollen and red, the cut above his eye had bled. Ronon could hear the moaning coming from the man, he was conscious but barely. He'd probably sustained a concussion and possibily broken ribs.

That's when he checked his own injuries. Raw wrists, he assumed everyone had those. His body felt bruised. He'd suffered broken ribs in the past and knew instantly they were fine, just sore. His face was tender no doubt bruised from the punches he'd received. He was sure those were his only injuries but he couldn't remember much they'd used a stunner on him.

The four captives were roused from their pain and worry induced silence by the sounds of the scuffling of feet coming closer to their cell door. The cries of a man and woman filtered into the cell followed by muffled conversations until they heard the sliding of bolts and clicking of a key being turned. The door crashed open smacking the wall behind solidly.

The sight that greeted their eyes caused any lingering hope they had to die.

Twenty Four Hours Earlier

Sheppard, Teyla and Ronon stood impatiently waiting for Rodney to enter the Gate room so they could leave for their mission to M3-P557.

The tardy man entered the Gate room adjusting his TAC Vest muttering as he approached the glaring trio.

"Good of you to join us, McKay," Sheppard grouched as he turned to face the control room. "Dial the gate, Chuck."

"I don't see what's the problem," McKay complained, "it's not like we're gonna be late or anything. Why are we going so early anyway?"

As the final chevron locked into place the Stargate's wormhole burst into life. The team stepped forward and crossed its threshold.

The team stepped on to M3-P557. It looked like many of the worlds they'd traveled. They were surrounded by trees and fields; the only sound of life was the cry of a passing bird. The dirt path leading from the Stargate was well worn. The directions they'd been given called for the team to follow the dirt path for a few miles until they reached the large town of Mena. They'd arranged to meet the contact in the tavern by a building called 'The Mill'.

Sheppard stepped forward on point as usual with Ronon falling back watching their six.

"Sheppard," Rodney hissed coming to walk alongside the Colonel. "Why are we here so early? I had to leave Radek and Orla running a host of diagnostics that need my attention, if they go wrong or have to be started again..." McKay rattled on.

"Rodney, enough already! I get it – you're busy, we're all busy. We're early because I promised Teyla and Ronon they could... go... trading," Sheppard thoughtfully remarked.

"We're on some godforsaken outback world so those two can go shopping!" McKay sputtered.

"Technically... yes," Sheppard winced, waiting for the physicist to enter into a full blown McKay tantrum.

"Of all the..." McKay started.

"Rodney, please," Teyla interrupted, "Mena is supposed to have one of the best markets for cloth and jewelry. I was hoping to see for myself. I wish to make myself some new clothes and as such I need cloth, I asked John if I could browse the market before our meeting," she explained patiently.

"Huh, what about you, Ronon, I'm presuming you're not making new clothes?" McKay sarcastically snipped at the ex-Runner.

"Keep it up, McKay," Ronon casually bit back, tapping his blaster as he did.

Rodney instantly shut up, angry but not stupid. He knew how far he could push Ronon before he found himself on the receiving end of the Satedan's temper.

"Why are we walking and not taking a jumper? Its miles to Mena," Rodney continued to whine.

"Because Rodney it's a beautiful day and you need the exercise," Sheppard chuckled at the indignant look upon his friends face.

"Ronon, how is Orla's birthday gift coming along? I did not want to ask on Atlantis," Teyla inquired quietly.

"Good. Sheppard emailed Colonel Carter about the bracelet. She sent one to Sheppard in the last Daedalus drop. Just need those last few beads. Gonna look at the market, they might have some of the glass ones she likes," Ronon explained in hushed tones.

"I do not understand, Laura said Orla liked those glass beads from PY- 446, they sound like normal beads yet Orla calls them troll beads. What is a troll?" Teyla asked her face etched in confusion.

"Dunno, Sheppard said something about watching a movie about some guy who has a ring everyone wants. Guess another Earth thing, only I can't ask Orla, it'd ruin the surprise," Ronon grumbled.

"Did you not ask Laura or Jennifer?" Teyla inquired.

"Nope, tell Jennifer and she'd tell McKay and he'd let slip to Orla. Laura, she gets so excited the less she knows the better, she's the one who told me about the beads in the first place," Ronon chuckled, watching Teyla join in smirking at her fellow Amigos.

The team walked on for another half hour before coming to the entrance of a large town, Mena they presumed.

The town was surrounded by a large stone wall, the entrance guarded by two huge wooden doors, encompassing the town from the world outside.

The team entered Mena, the sights and smells similar to other towns they ventured into. People rushed about their daily business back and forth, the smell of cooking food mixing with the smells of animals kept as livestock and eventually as food on offer.

As they walked the narrow lanes which were in turn bisected by other narrow alleys, it became evident life passed at a hectic rate and if you weren't part of it then you were ignored.

The team weaved their way through alleys until they finally reached the large square housing the market with brightly colored cloth and trinkets on offer. Ronon nodded to Sheppard indicating they'd reached their intended destination.

"Okay folks, we need to meet up with our contact in 45 minutes, should give you enough time to find what you've got in mind and take a good look about the place. Apparently the tavern is by The Mill, as this mill isn't of the flour variety I'm thinking wool. Keep an eye out guys we need to make this contact," Sheppard said reminding everyone of the real reason for their visit.

"Come on, McKay; let's go see if we can find this mill. Oh and Ronon, be nice to the sellers," Sheppard snickered as he walked away from the scowling ex-Runner.

"I am going to see what the traders expect for their wares," Teyla smiled, walking toward a brightly colored stall exhibiting cloth of every variety.

Sheppard and McKay walked about the open market, the Colonel watched as Rodney sneered at the goods on sale irking him somewhat.

"You know McKay; you mock Ronon and Teyla for trading and buying off world. What do you plan on giving Jennifer for her birthday... it's in a few months right?" Sheppard teased as he watched the comprehension dawn on Rodney's face.

"Oh my god, its Jennifer's birthday soon! I'll have to get something delivered," McKay muttered as his face showed the truth - he'd forgotten.

"It's not like ordering a pizza out here, McKay, you're gonna have to think about what she likes. Maybe even go off world for it," Sheppard hesitantly added.

"I seriously doubt that," McKay blustered, his head snapping back and forth to take in all the market images before him.

"You do know what she likes right?" Sheppard pushed, just a little amused at the scientist's panic.

"Of course I do, she is my girlfriend," Rodney declared just a little too earnestly.

Ronon finally found a stall selling the glass beads Orla admired so much, he looked over the beads, instantly seeing the ones she'd like. The pale one with flowers painted in swirls; and one pale turquoise.

"What'll you trade for these two?" Ronon casually asked the short woman obviously running the stall.

"What do you have to offer, my large friend?" the woman asked.

Ronon pulled at two slim knives he'd kept in his dreadlocks. "I've these; their weight is good, balance correct. Why don't you choose which one you want, you could always melt the blade down if you wanted," he offered.

Ronon placed them in her outstretched hand as a tall man appeared. "Mother, let me see those knives. You know nothing about weapons." The woman passed the knives to her son watching as he weighed them in his hands.

"These are excellent knives. You're willing to part with one for those two beads?" the man asked a little taken aback.

"My woman is worth it," Ronon answered simply.

The man nodded in understanding, choosing a knife he handed the other to Ronon. As he did he reached for a bead which shimmered as though made from mother of pearl.

"For your honesty friend take this extra bead and we have a deal," the man smiled offering his hand to the Satedan.

"Seen anything McKay?" Sheppard casually inquired.

"No, I'm not likely to either. God knows what infections are lurking on the goods they sell, not like they're bouncing with health these people," McKay commented.

"There's nothing wrong with these people, Rodney, you have some strange ideas," Sheppard griped as he poked at the contents of a nearby stall.

"Sheppard, there look..." McKay uttered pointing to Sheppard's left.

"Rodney...," he started.

"Sheppard, 'The Mill' look, there's a tavern next to it too," the scientist declared excitedly.

Sheppard turned to see a small shop with a sign hanging outside, freely swinging back and forth. The sign distinctly said 'The Mill'. Sheppard scanned either side of the shop front spotting the tavern to its right.

"Ronon, Teyla come in," Sheppard spoke as he activated his radio comm.

"This is Teyla," the Athosian answered.

"Sheppard," the Satedan grunted.

"Found The Mill at the end of the market. We have to meet our contact in fifteen minutes guys, so hurry up. We'll meet you out front," Sheppard instructed his team.

TBC ... Please review