Away From Atlantis
Disclaimer Don't own John or Kolya.
Chapter Nineteen Song Monster by Skillet
John woke slowly where he had slept was still pitch black, implying the ceiling in here intact. Laying there he was aware that he couldn't stay too much longer, he could gather a few more things up and then he needed to move on. But first he'd needed to get up and actually eat something, and remove that transmitter in his shoulder. Climbing to his feet he pulled the pen light from his pocket and turned it on, able to see again he looked at his safe to eat food and started in on it, he'd be hungry after cutting his arm open but with no help doing it neatly was impossible. Digging in, he wished for some clotted cream, sounded random he supposed but this bread tasted like a faintly cranberry scone. Dryer and tougher, which is why he was wishing for the clotted cream. He had fond memories of eating scones with clotted cream at his maternal grandmother's but she died just before he turned eight, she and two others died gas leak in the building she volunteered at. But he remembered a man a little younger then his father telling him she had saved his life.
Thinking about it his mother's side of the family were pretty much like that, helpers, volunteers, his cousin last he knew was a firefighter... He really took after that side of the family. He wondered if they had found his letters yet, he had sewn the thumb drive that had the truth of the matter into his golf bag, that would hide it. He wasn't sure where it would go or why he hadn't just thrown over the side or something but he supposed deep down he wanted to have proof if he was ever dragged back to the city.
His appetite suddenly was gone, he felt annoyed with himself, he had known he would run, he had planned to run, he had known in the end there would be no other choice. But here he was getting homesick like others had their first year of the academy.
So what Atlantis was the best home he ever had, so what he had more friends and more respect then he'd ever had before, he had done this for them. He had done this for them. Saying it a second time was what he needed to pull himself out of his funk. He wasn't going to let them find him and find out. John put his half finished food back on the shelf, he had feeling in few more minutes he would be much hungrier. Taking his shirt off he made a mentally note to himself to scrounge up so new duds, these would be like wearing a Matador's costume. Setting his flash light on the bed he put his back to the bed frame and then felt around trying to figure out where to cut. Finding the odd bead under his skin he mentally marked the spot and pulled his issued knife. Placing the knife tip to the skin he took a deep breath and then clenched his jaw, then he sliced quick and deep. Exhaling he took a shaper breath and swore, "Son of a bitch."
Dropping the knife, John stuck his fingers in his shoulder and dug, hissing to himself he chanted silently: Don't be a baby. Suck it up. It doesn't hurt half as much as a dozen or so things you could list. His own thoughts betrayed him. But normally I don't have to stick my fingers inside of my own flesh. I leave that to the people who have to patch me up.
Feeling the odd slickness of something that didn't give he pinched it and flung it to the ground, it clinked satisfyingly. It was out, breathing heavy he waited for the wound to close. He could feel blood slicking his fingers, and running slowly down his back and arm, thinking about it only the made the ache worse. He so hungry. Groaning to himself he curled up against the bed and focused on not hyperventilating. Slow, deep breaths. That wasn't working. Fighting with himself he used his left fist and beat it into the ground in a rhythmic manner. He needed to calm down. Arching his back he thunked his head on the bed, the softness a contrast to the floor beneath his body and fist. He was so hungry. It was all he could thinking about. Food wasn't even what he was thinking of, it was the faces of all the wraith he'd seen feeding. The relief, the pleasure, everything their faces showed. Todd's own feelings feeding not two weeks ago haunted him.
He was a monster.
John could feel his body calming, he'd faced hunger before, but this was a different kind. It was all in his head, that and the aching burn everywhere else. Letting his now sore hand rest on the floor he found himself mildly glad he had done it: gone ahead and bolted yesterday. Pretending everything was fine was beyond him any more.
He knew as he was if his friends came for him... he'd better make sure he has a cliff to run off of, other wise they'd have two starving Wraith. He wasn't good with that, not when odds were his people would swarm him before understanding what was wrong and as it was he wasn't sure he could resist if someone touched him.
Touching his shoulder with his blood encrusted hand he found while tender it was closed, he found himself wondering how long he had sat there lost in thought, lost in the hunger. Standing he ignored his shirt he needed to clean up and new clothes. And a backpack. And a water bottle. Sighing he took he little pen light and started off, it took him the better part of two hours but he found water, the glass bottle he had found the night before wouldn't do for travel. Clean clothes and that backpack, very late eighteen hundred but it would serve. Clean, dressed in more normal clothing, for Pegasus, the only thing that he couldn't find were shoes, but there was no helping that. His knives tucked away, his bag full of food and water, his penlight, pen, book of addresses, and a set of spare clothing he dialed the next gate.
He spent the night in the plains, his bedding was grasses he had pulled up and placed under the biggest tree he could find, his food was cold, frankly his moral was never lower. How long could he go on like this, starving like this, before he went insane?
Moving on from the plains planet, John found himself on a nice forested planet, it looked like so many others, moss, trees, grass, rocks, not much here. But he supposed it might be dryer then planets that hosted the Iratus bugs, meaning he might find a cave he could stay in. he was four or five miles from the gate when he could have sworn he heard people.
Pausing he then heard someone break a branch, realizing he had probably been followed from the gate, and there were few people who would be on 'uninhabited' planets. Most of them were not people he wanted to find. Bolting he ran deeper into the woods planning on looping back, instead he found himself driven into a trap, four Genii men were in front of him in the clearing. Three came from behind him, they were the ones who had driven him here.
Mentally swearing he waited from them to make the first move.
"Get down on your knees!"
Signing he complied, rough hands came from behind and ripped his bag from his shoulders, growling he let them search him, he was pleased to note they missed four knives. He was getting better, or they were sloppy, possible a mix of both. But kneeling there, letting men search him he found their heart beats excited and fast calling to him. He was so hungry.
Biting his lip he closed his eyes, looking at them full of energy made it worse, the four from in front had moved closer now, and he listened as the one who had spoken to him before used the radio. "Sir, it is him."
The voice that answered horrified him. "You are sure?"
"Positive sir, I recognized him from prison."
Clenching his jaw, John fought not to say anything. His third day on the run and Kolya of all people had found him. Of course he had to admit if he was gonna lose it and feed off of a human he could live with it being Kolya. But the odds of getting alone time with him when he had all these goons were slim to none and therefore hanging around seemed like a very bad idea. Listening to Kolya give orders to bring him back to the bunker was not making him happy, the man in charge; Spen was someone he supposed he should recognize if the man knew him, but he didn't. The man, maybe a year or two over twenty five didn't ring a bell, he supposed it had more to do with that day being about Kolya and wraith, all the other faces blurred together.
Taking some deep breaths trying to keep his cool and keep the temptation to feed on them away, he didn't look up as Spen walked towards him. The man stopped in front of him and lifted his chin so he had no choice but to look at him, as the man stared down at him, he remembered him now. One of the men in the background as Todd fed on him, he remembered the way the man had watched his pain, there had been no glee, no suppressed feelings like in Kolya's face but cool and calm the man hadn't cared what his choices did to others.
He was almost worst then Kolya, Kolya set out to do it and at least knew full well what he was doing to other human beings, the man standing in front of him would probably be labeled a sociopath on earth.
"Why did you come here John Sheppard?"
He shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea at the time."
He took the slap to the side of face without a sound but inside he felt a surge of hate, he hated being hungry and he hated how pain made him want to eat. Eating people, even ones who tortured him was wrong. If he ate them what made him different then them? Todd was honest when he said at least for a real wraith it was only food, but for him... he could eat normal food, doing this only made him less then human, it fed his ability to heal and be different then a human.
"Where is your team?"
He shrugged again. "At home in bed?"
His other cheek was hit this time. Anger burned bright, they couldn't just shoot him or just lock him up, or just take him to Kolya this bastard was questioning him. This dumb asshole thought, never mind he had survived being fed on by a wraith, that he would answer because of a few slaps.
The three men behind him, especially the one holding his shoulder were relaxing, he hadn't fought, they hadn't found a gun and they had taken a couple of knives, they thought he would give up too. He could hear their heartbeats calming; not the race they were while disarming him. He didn't want to be a monster. He couldn't go with them or at some point he would eat them. He was weak, tired, hungry. But staying with them wasn't an option, at worst he could hope in the struggle they killed him. At best he got away led them on a marry chase and got back to the gate, then he could go on to some abandoned planet and then back to plains one, boring but safe enough. Actually that wasn't true at worst he ate someone.
Spen took a few steps back and called, "Cuff him."
Feeling the calmest one behind him grab one wrist he reacted, spinning on his knees he got the mans gun drew it fired into the man stomach, turned the gun on the man next to the guy he'd just shot who was holding the cuffs, dropping him with a shot to the chest. Then he leapt to his feet and turning to the guy on Spen's left holding his backpack he shot him, in spite of having not taken any time to aim it was a shoulder wound, and the man dropped his bag. He started running taking the time to grab the bag. He'd need food. And since eating people was off the menu, the old food would have to do. A shot grazed his shoulder, the one he'd cut into the day before yesterday. A second one grazed his side.
Cursing he kept running, ignoring the urge growing in time to his heartbeat, seeming to chant: eat them, eat them, eat them. Running he ran as fast and as hard as he could, half the time he couldn't see more then a rock or a tree, or tree branch, he just forced his body to run. Soon or hours later he wasn't sure he found himself half way up a mountain, on a rocky outcropping. Realizing he was set to collapse he stopped breathing hard, he could feel his side burning with the dull ache he knew was the side effect of new skin growing he didn't have energy to feed. His grazed shoulder hurt too but it was his side he knew he should be worried over. Looking to the sky he realized he'd been running for an hour at least. Figuring he had at least a little time he took the time to take his barrings, where he was he had a good view of the valley he had been running around in. There at the end of his sight so probably five or so miles away he could see the large clearing about the gate, he had some really rough terrain to cover to get to it from here, and he was exposed this was a bad place to stop for a break.
Taking a few more breaths ignoring the now constant pressing burn for more life energy or whatever Wraith ate, he continued across the rocks. He would free climb down twenty feet when this ledge ended, that would throw whoever was on his trail off, they would look for him to go up or something. There would be men guarding the gate, but given how far into the woods they had been odds were good there would only be two or three men following him, others would go to the gate or be waiting for orders.
He had half a chance if he moved it.
Climbing over the rocky ledge he then slowly climbed down the rock face he was only eight or so feet above ground when the hand hold for his right hand slipped, all his weight swung to his left hand and his sensitive feeding slit bothered him so his grip slipped and he just let himself fall. Landing hard, John stayed there his knees bent, then the weight of his pack pulled him over even as the reverberations from the hard impact hurt his feet and legs. Groaning he let the ache from the impact fade before getting up and returning to the woods, he knew where he was going.
Jogging John found he was slowing even more, he was going to pass out if he continued to try to push himself like this. Not sure how quickly he would be followed he decided he needed some place to hold up while resting. Looking about he realized the men on his tail probably like most would not look up. So he could take shelter in a tree for now. Finding a good one he climbed it, reaching the vee of the main trunk and where it split off into the tree top he figured he was close to thirty feet up and mostly out of sight. Making himself as comfortable as possible he started to eat, putting food in his mouth he found it wasn't satisfying, the food tasted of sand or ash for all he could tell, eating as he was the ache of his wraith DNA told him it wasn't what he hungered for.
He was a freaken damn vampire he would swear it. All those books talked about the thirst and he knew that was what he was feeling. Rodney would laugh until he realized he was serious, Teyla would try to calm and tell him he was stronger then this, but sitting here, the ache only starting to die in his side he found he wasn't sure he believed her, or that he could prove to her he was.
Ronon... he wasn't sure what he'd say.
Frankly for all he told himself he knew what they'd say he wasn't sure he believed it, if they had found out, how would Teyla look at him. Would she see him, or would she see a Wraith with his face? And Rodney.. he knew once Rodney found out how it happened he would feel guilty. But how would he react knowing that as he'd told Rodney he couldn't feed Todd himself he had wondered in that deep dark place if his friend would offer to let him eat. The best he really hoped for from Ronon was that he would leave, not call him a Wraith, not asked him anything or offer to talk just leave. Otherwise he had a feeling his bother of heart as Ronon had once called him while high on pain meds would ask how he could turn against him, how could he turn into one of those things.
He had almost finished the food in his hand when he heard voices, far away but not far enough away. John got to his feet, perched on the branch. He figured the amount of effort it took told him even with a head start he wasn't going to be able to get down fast enough to run away without being seen. His only hope was they didn't realize he had climbed the tree. That or he could jump down on top of them and knock them out. That in mind he tucked the last of his food away and climbed down about ten feet so he was still hidden but he wasn't as likely to half kill himself jumping out of the tree.
His nerves growing he listened as the two men talked, he knew one of the two voices, Spen was the one in charge, he didn't know who the other was. John found himself holding his breath as he listened to the two men coming closer. He could tell from the sounds of their breathing and heart beats they had been pushing themselves to get even this close to keeping up with him. And that was what the one of the two he didn't know was worried about.
"...But it was really strange! How does a man shot twice keep running that fast?"
Spen grunted at the other seeming tired of the conversation.
"Not to mention you've said, Kolya said, and a bunch of others have said he was drained down to almost nothing! How is he still alive and young?"
John stopped in a snort, they wouldn't believe him if he told them. It happened to him and sometimes he didn't believe it. What kind of Wraith gave it back? As for how he kept running odds were good the kid wouldn't believe such a thing was possible. He hoped they miss any signs that would have told them he'd gone up the tree but it seemed from the way Spen was watching the ground his hope was for not. Readying himself carefully he watched the two men draw closer slowly. The younger one of the two falling silent for a moment.
John held his breath, nerves growing with every step the two took; he couldn't help but be amused by the next question.
"How come we stopped finding blood so fast? That second shot hit him good enough even with a bandage he should have left bloody smears on the rocks. But nothing."
Spen over to the other solider. "I have no clue how John Sheppard has survived 'til now if half the stories are true about him and his team. I don't much care either, he's human enough, his blood is red. We have our orders."
Closing his eyes in a grimace John had to admit the human enough comment stung. He wasn't really human enough. That was the whole point of being on his own. Shaking his own thoughts aside he opened his eyes in time to realize Spen had followed his tracks almost all the way to the tree. He was going to have to knock them down. Shifting carefully he readied himself. The pair slowly came closer to the tree, Spen was looking more and more confused. They stopped three and half to four feet from the trunk of the tree. It was right then Spen understood why his trail stopped.
The same split second Spen's head snapped up, John jumped. Throwing his arms wide he managed to catch both of them. Spen rolled backwards his hands fumbling for his gun. The younger one was knocked into a tree and judging by the loud thunk he wasn't going to be helping Spen any.
His legs burned and protested as he tried to throw himself after Spen and it was then the wound in his side that had closed over, but not much else, tore wide open. The pain and the surge of hunger slowed him just enough for Spen to get the gun up and start firing. The first shot took him in the high chest slightly off center to the left. Knocked back on his ass, pain sending white flashes in front of his eyes he only felt the second shot burn over his other shoulder and the next sunk into his low chest on his left side.
Anger and pain blurred together fast enough he was only aware that he wasn't going to stay down.
Rolling onto his knees the fourth shot grazed his cheek bone sending him sideways.
The impact on his wounded side tore a cry from him and he found moving beyond him for a moment. It was in that minute that Spen made his last mistake. The rapid heartbeat from above him told him exactly where Spen was, but his position took back seat to the fire burning through him. He was starving, he'd been hungry, close to loosing focus before. But now it was all that he thought about. That horrible person above him could save him from death. But he wanted to die. To get away. But this was taking too damned long.
No wonder Todd had asked in the cell if he knew what hunger was.
This wasn't hunger. This was something beyond it. This was rebellion in every fiber of your being.
"Look at this. The Great John Sheppard is dying."
He wasn't going to die here. He knew it. His body was not pushed to the point of death. This wasn't death, this was agony. His feeding hand clenched and he realized it was the only part of his body that didn't hurt.
A foot nudged his side and the sudden flare of pain washed away the last traces of reason.
The moment John understood what he was doing was the moment the body under him stopped feeding him. It took a second but he was pinning Spen, straddling him, his hand pressed into the chest of the corpse. He had fed off of a human.
Yanking his hand away he realized every injury he'd taken was gone. He didn't hurt and he was back to being aware he could feed on a person but he wasn't hungry, hungry.
Loathing mixed with the utter contentment his body was feeling. He hadn't felt this good in months. Like two or three months. The world snapped into focus. The heartbeat he'd been ignoring was pounding hard and he could smell fear. Turning back to the tree he found the younger Genii staring at him. Fear there for him to see, blood running down the boy's forehead.
For moment he wasn't sure what to do, the boy had seen him feed. The boy had seen he'd killed Spen like a Wraith would. But he had a concussion, minor but it was there. The dark voice that was always there told him he could feed off him too. Then there would be no chance anyone would find out.
But now he was almost in a right state of mind John knew if he chose to feed on him now he would have to go to Todd and volunteer to help him destroy Atlantis. He felt bad doing it when half mad with pain and hunger. If he fed now it was a choice that was the first step down the path he didn't want to tread.
It was that moment the boy seemed to realize he wasn't going to kill him. Scrambling to his feet he took off running away, almost blindly in fear.
John found himself signing, he wished he wasn't deserving of that but he was. Now to hide the body, last thing he needed was for someone to find evidence to support the boy's story. Lifting the withered husk he carried it off into the woods, finding a deep thicket he walked his way around until he could fit the body in. But he made sure to grab the gun, since he'd need it to get through the gate and off the stupid planet; as well as the knife, the radio, and since he had a set of perfectly nice boots those too. He'd be able to trade them odds were good.
Putting the boots away he started jogging for the gate, healed as he was his speed was going to beat anyone trying to follow him now. He'd only have the guys guarding the gate to look out for. Which knowing Kolya was as many guys as he could spare. He was going to get shot again. Sighing he picked up his pace, he just wanted to get away, first to the Hoffans, then the sun planet then back to the plains for the night.
It took him almost an hour to reach the gate again. It told him even if he'd been hurt, he'd been running pretty dang fast to get so far away. Peaking around the biggest tree on the hill he was mildly alarmed. Five guys in the open but unless his eyes deceived him he could pick out another two hiding in the trees just below him. Suggesting that there was another three or so hidden in the trees else where. Ten guys verse him. Hyped up Wraith-him back at almost full strength but still.
Hanging his head for a moment he found the time had come to take Davos' advice. He had fed on a human, was on the run from Atlantis, was cornered on a planet with Kolya and twenty or so Genii men but at least he wasn't on that hive with Todd.
He knew one day would be that day, but it wasn't today.
He took another deep breath, he calmed himself, getting caught here wasn't an option. Peering around the tree he took the two Genii in the trees on his side out, the first never knew he'd been shot and the second was gonna die a bit slower because he'd turned seeing his fellow fall, probably before he'd even heard the shot.
Stepping out from behind his tree he scrambled down the hill while the Genii in the open scrambled for cover, his radio crackled a panicked voice telling Kolya Sheppard was attacking the gate guards. Taking up his new position he caught a guy in the left side where he had failed to complete hide himself. Seeing a head popping around the side of a tree on the far side he took the shot. The fourth guy went down bullet between his eyes. John was surprised when a man who'd worked his way into the trees grazed his right shoulder. The slice of pain barely sunk in, he was busy trying to cover himself from three directions. Well more like two and half.
Crouching down he peered around the tree to see who had skimmed his shoulder; the man didn't see him crouched so low. Making him the fifth to fall. That was when he took the chance to rush out to one of the stones he suspected were ruins from before the Ancients left Pegasus. A man he hadn't noticed behind another fallen stone across the clearing took the chance to jump out and put a bullet in him. In his current state of having just fed the pain was startlingly, but also brief. He only had enough time to understand the man had got him just right of the heart before reflexes took the man out. Dropping him in the middle of the path out from the gate.
John glanced toward the other men he was aware of and had a mostly clear shot at the man behind the D.H.D. when he leaned out trying for his own shot. Dropping him he knew if his guess of ten was right he had three more men to find. The moment of silence ended quickly when one in the treeline started firing at him forcing him to keep his head down while one leaped from behind the large pillar rushing to find cover behind the D.H.D. Then he saw the second guy he'd spotted rushing him. He dropped him a round to the chest almost identical to the one he'd taken. Popping up to the left of where the guy still firing had last seen him; he took the guy running for the D.H.D down with three shots: One to the chin, a neck shot and then finally the chest. Dropping down quickly he was still hit with a shot to the high right shoulder. John took it as a trade. Nine lives and he'd taken three hits. Not his best take out count but considering he was on his own, almost no cover, no backup, and no body armor he was doing pretty damn good.
Taking a couple of deep breaths, he leaped clean over the rock and dashed for the hiding place of behind the D.H.D. It'd give him a good cover and a clean shot at the last guy in the tree line. It was close judging by the puffs of smoke in front of his feet but he twisted to the side and bellyflopped behind the D.H.D.
Breathing hard he noted despite having just fed the damage he'd just taken had pushed him back to the edge of hunger again. That sucked. Not to surprising considering one of those hits should have been a kill shot. Hearing bullets pound the ground and base of the D.H.D he waited till fire was concentrated on the front side before leaning around the back and catching the last Genii with his next four shots. The man slumped dead to the ground and he took the moment to look around and make sure nothing was sneaking up on him before standing to start dialing.
He started dialing keeping his ears tuned for anything coming his way. John thought he could hear the pounding of feet still a couple hundred yards off when the scrape of fabric pulled his attention away from D.H.D, he had a chance to see one last Genii standing mostly hidden behind the large pillar another had dashed out from. Then the thing that most caught his attention was the first shot hitting him just under the collar bone in his left side, jerked to the side it took him a moment to lift his gun trying to take aim. That was when the solider decided to shoot him again, this time in his arm. Grunting he got his arm up again and the third shot hit him dead center of the chest. It was distantly amusing because well he had staggered back he wasn't going down and even from so far away he could sense the fear and see the whites of the man's eyes.
A fourth shot grazed his side missing his gun arm and that was when he shot the man right between the eyes.
John was kicking himself, he thought it would be ten guys so of course there was eleven.
The fog he had just gotten rid of was back in full force and so was his desire to run. Staggering forward the few steps it took he finished dialing and moved for the gate. The noise of probably a dozen men on their way no longer was in doubt. He made it through the gate and had take his first step onto the other side when bullets impacted the ground at his feet just before the gate closed. Grunting, his chest still paining him as it wasn't healing quickly he rushed for this planet's D.H.D. before Kolya could follow, dialing he went to three different planets before going back to the plains planet. There he went back to the tree he had slept under and passed out.
John woke slowly, it took some time to remember why he felt like he'd been run over a couple of times. Rolling over onto his back he stared at the sky. He found himself considering how likely it was that he could just stay here forever, it wasn't likely, he hadn't found a source of water here. Speaking of which his mouth tasted of stale blood. Forcing himself up he found his pack dumped next to him. Not that he remembered taking it off. Pulling it into his lap he noticed the number of bloody holes in it. Of course it was shot up, he was shot up. That thought had him looking at his clothes, numerous holes flashed skin at him and the parts that didn't have holes were drenched in dried crusty blood. He couldn't stop the groan. He looked like a zombie, anyone that had lost this much blood and had this many holes in them was either a vampire or a zombie and he felt more like a zombie.
Groaning again he dumped his bag out and he found the extra clothes he'd grabbed were no longer clothing. Every single shirt had at least two holes and a patch of blood on it and his extra pair of pants happened to have a bloody hole shot through the crotch. He went on to inspect his food, his second water bottle had been shot and leaked out into most of his bread spoiling it. He had a water bottle, two loafs of bread, something like jerky, lots of that. But the rest of his food had died. And judging by the hole in one of the loafs he didn't want to recklessly bite into it lest he chip a tooth.
One of the knives he'd found and hoped to trade with was broken, a bullet had fractured it, another was dented, and his pack was torn all to hell.
He flopped back slowly chewing one of the pieces of jerky. There was always the matter of was he even safe enough to go some place to trade. Even now hunger burned deep in his body, not quite the madness it had been when he'd fed off Spen but easily what he'd been feeling while running from him. The jerky was easing the ache in his belly but did nothing for the hunger deep in his bones.
But in any case wether he went for trade or went to uninhabited planets he needed to leave for water and better shelter then under a tree.
John sighed deeply walking through the gate onto the newest planet. This going blind thing was scary as hell. Blinking he surveyed the new planet, wooded, almost rain forest, or it was rainy-winter season. He couldn't be sure, but judging by the mountains he could see this planet had lots of caves. That would be good for shelter. But could mean bugs.
He'd been through four addresses the last two days; first he left the plains going to get some more clothes from Hoff, spent the next night on a planet that got uncomfortably warm during the day so he left, not to mention the water tasted funny. Then the next one he had the luck to step through and find it inhabited so he turned around and left. The next one did have people but he didn't find that out until this morning when someone passing by found him. Since people had seen him he went ahead and walked into town to get food, he had some pushed his supplies back up enough he was set for a week maybe two but no more. Then he'd come here.
With a shrug he started into the woods left of the gate, most people went straight on from the gate so on the off chance he found a good cave, people would probably really have to be looking to find it. Rather quickly the the ground started going down hill, and soon he picked up the sound of a waterfall, it was pretty faint but he'd found a lot water judging by the sounds.
Padding through the woods he liked the bird song he could hear, not many birds, not enough to drive him mad or anything but bird song. Actually the sounds he could hear made him think of woods nature sound tracks he'd heard back on earth.
He went on walking at a normal pace for most of an hour before he reached the river he could hear. The waterfall was clearly further down stream, and all things considered this was bit narrow and shallow to really be called a river but it was a bit big to be called a stream as well. Putting that debate from his mind as Rodney wasn't there for him to argue with he decided to head on up stream. With another half an hour of walking he had realized at one time there had been a lot more water here, he had been walking along an old bank and that was where he found the cave.
After breathing deep and smelling nothing other then the normal stream smells he decided to chance a peek inside. Walking slowly in he found the entrance required him to duck but then quickly deepened. Allowing him to stand straight safely. That was when he decided to pull out the flashlight. Turning it on he found a wide room around him, and a narrow kind of door leading deeper into the cave. Following the passage he soon found a tiny crack of a room that could be used for storage, and five bigger rooms, along with a long tunnel and several more rooms that ended up dumping him out half a mile or so from the stream. Rooms he could make doors for, two entrances, water near by. The only question was what food could he find here? If he could find food he was pretty sure he had a home.
The area around the gate and the wild grasses had told him no one came often enough to call it home so why couldn't he?
Maybe it wasn't the weather no one liked, maybe it was the fauna. But it could be as simple as the fact the area around the gate was so heavily wooded and with trees remarkably like sequoias that they simply didn't care to take the time it was require to build a home here. But he'd go looking for animals first before he decided to stay. So with that intent he set off through the thick woods, he wasn't too clear about what time it had been when he'd arrived but it seemed to be getting brighter, not just because the woods were thinning but like the clouds were burning off or something.
That was when he heard a noise coming from his left. Turning he was confused because nothing was at his level but then he heard something again and looked above his head in the nearest tree. Fear jolted through him and he scrambled for his Genii gun because looking down at him was a lion. Well, color was wrong but it was looking at him like it had never seen a human. He got his gun up and fired a shot off to the right of lion trying to scare it off but it instead jumped on him.
Claws scraped skin off his chest, his gun had been knocked from his hands so he struggled with the beast, in his weakened state the weight of it on his chest kept him pinned. Getting desperate because he couldn't draw in a full breath he slammed his hands into it's chest. To his utter shock his left hand sunk in and his body was flooded with warmth, the scratches it had given him closed and the deep ache slowly seemed to sink under the cool warmth. The animal first went limp and then slowly slid sideways off him. Then the life energy flowing into him stopped and he laid there limp with relief even as his mind raced.
He'd fed off an animal, something Carson had suggested impossible or harmful to the Wraith. But he was more human in his genetic makeup than them. He probably would be fine, but more importantly he had something he could feed off of that wasn't human. He wasn't going to go mad and feed off a human village.
John sat up and looked more closely at the animal. It had a mane like a lion, defense to the Iratus bug? Or something showy for attracting females? It had been able to climb the tree like a leopard so it's body on closer inspection looked a bit different then the thicker body of a true lion, not to mention it was a soft red kind of chocolate with a darker mane. He got to his feet and then wondered why it hadn't bit him. Kneeling back down he pulled the lip up and then stared in shock, the teeth were like a horse's teeth. This lion thing was a herbivore. Which explained what it was doing in the tree. How many were there? He walked into the thinner woods and realized just from the numbers of Cat-Cows he could see he could feed off the herd every month for years without making a dent in the numbers. He just wondered what ate them.
He had to admit his day just took a huge turn for the better.