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Fic: An Old Enemy (Gen, PG-13)

Title: An Old Enemy
Author: curia_regis
Recipient: zafra
Summary: The team comes upon a planet where the women are sterile. While there, they discover an old enemy has now appeared in the Pegasus Galaxy.
Pairing: Mostly gen, but McShep if you squint. About as much as the episodes though, albeit recently that's quite a lot! *g*
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~5500
Spoilers: No major ones for the recent episodes, I don't think, but at least to the first half of the fifth season.
Author Notes: I hope you like this! This fic diverges from canon on a few of the smaller aspects that have appeared in more recent episodes. It also has an enemy from SG-1, which also seems to be happening a lot in canon recently. There is absolutely no need to know SG-1 canon to read this fic though. Thank you to lyndasty for betaing!

-

Seven Years Ago
Milky Way Galaxy
Volian Planet


With a woosh, the gate connected. Borren's face was impassive as he watched the momentous occasion. Finally, the galaxy was going to meet the Aschen Federation.

"Sir?" a technician said. There was the slightest note of fear in the voice. "There seems to be a problem."

Borren allowed a fleeting frown to pass his features. "What is it?"

"We seem to be connected to a black hole."

There was a pause before Borren ordered, "Recall all Aschen personnel. We will leave this planet." He looked at the list of coordinates the human Carter had given him. Obviously these humans were more intelligent than they had anticipated. He dropped the list into a rubbish bin. The rest of the coordinates were undoubtedly equally unpleasant.

"What are we going to do about the gate?" the technician asked.

"Nothing," Borren said. "Let the Volians deal with it. We have an entire galaxy - an entire universe - to explore."

An hour later, as their ship took off, Borren looked out of the window lost in thought. If those humans could discover the secrets behind the gate system that led them to millions of worlds, then surely the Aschen could.

-

Present time,
Pegasus Galaxy
Atlantis


"They would appreciate you coming along and taking a look," Woolsey was explaining.

Rodney rolled his eyes. Typical. Not only were they the military might behind an entire galaxy, they now had to go to some planet on the outskirts of the galaxy and solve some stupid problem that was better left to Keller. He said as much.

"We need good will among these people," Woolsey said with a sigh. "Keller will be coming along with you, but it's time we lived up to our promise of taking a more active role in the Pegasus Galaxy's affairs."

-


So, before Rodney knew it, he was walking through the gate yet another time, to another unknown world - M9R-928 - to solve all of their problems. Least this time, he admitted, it was different from the usual Wraith attacks, Wraith cullings and Wraith threats. Not that he didn't find some of the Wraith interesting at times. Well, not some of the Wraith. More specifically one wraith. Todd was rather amusing at times.

The village was a far trek from the gate and it was a pretty steep uphill climb. Behind Rodney, Keller was panting slightly under the weight of her medical kit. It suddenly occurred to Rodney that he ought to offer to help.

As he was just about to, Ronon came up behind them, looking like he was just out for a casual stroll. "Here, let me help you," Ronon offered. Keller gave him a grateful smile as he slung her huge medical kit over his shoulder.

Rodney scowled.

"So no children have been born in the village at all for the past two years?" Keller asked, as she hurried up to catch up with Sheppard and Rodney, no longer weighed down by her huge medical kit.

"Yep," Sheppard said, with a disarming smile. Rodney had the image of him offering to solve that problem himself, single-handedly.

"Well it would be best if I could take several villagers back with me to Atlantis, but I'll do the best with my extended field kit," Keller said. "How long left to the village?"

"Shouldn't be too long," Ronon said gruffly.

Rodney couldn't help but feel a tiny sense of relief. He was trying to hard to stop himself from panting like Keller, but he still found the uphill journey very difficult. "Oh good," he managed to get out.

It was still a good ten minutes before Sheppard pointed ahead to what seemed like a fairly large village through the trees. The land had flattened out somewhat and the trees had thinned as they walked towards the buildings.

As they entered the village, Rodney looked around in puzzlement. There were bright lights coming from the houses. Far brighter lights than what was normal. Plus, it was daylight and there would normally be enough natural light to light up the houses. Yet it seemed that the villagers had some form of artificial lighting indoors. Perhaps it was some Ancient technology that they found, he thought.

A short, plump woman hurried towards them. "You must be from Atlantis," she said, with a smile. "My name is Kirra. I am pleased to meet you. Please follow me."

As they followed her, Rodney frowned. She didn't call it the City of the Ancestors. The request for their help had come through one of their off-world contacts, so it made sense that they would have been introduced as being from Atlantis. But still. Even some of the Athosians still called it the City of the Ancestors. It seemed to be indelible habit.

"So where are we going?" Sheppard asked. Rodney could see the displeased expression on his face.

The woman stopped before an elaborately carved door. "Our village leader works here during the day. He would like to see you." She reached forward, twisted the doorknob and opened the door.

They all stepped inside. Rodney blinked and coughed. "You don't think you could air out the place once in a while?" he complained as he felt his sinuses clogging up. As his eyes adjusted from the bright sunlight outside, he realised the room was actually fairly well lit. He looked around, and to his surprise, saw what seemed like light bulbs - circa Earth 1930 - jutting out of the walls. "You have electricity!" he exclaimed.

The rest of the team looked equally surprised.

Kirra looked unflustered. "Yes," she said simply. "Now I must be going. Torran will explain the situation."

A man was standing up from behind a desk in the corner. "Welcome to our village of Perra," he said formally. "My name is Torran, leader of these people. I will explain our problems to you."

-


Keller had brought with her the Ancient equivalent of a portable MRI as well as doing a score of other things. "This won't hurt a bit," she assured the woman as held the scanner above her stomach.

"I know," the woman said.

Keller was a little surprised at the comment. "So how long have you and your husband been trying to have children?" she asked.

"Over three years now," the woman said. "Our ... doctors have said that there are no problems and we just need to keep on trying." She hesitated slightly before continuing. "But there have been no children born for at least two years in our village."

"A second opinion is always worthwhile," Keller reassured her as she fiddled with the scanner. "I'm sure it's nothing."

"Thank you," the woman said.

Keller looked at the readings on the scanner, blinked, and then looked back at the readings. This couldn't be right! "I'll be right back," she said hastily, and went outside to find the rest of the team.

-


Rodney looked up in surprised as Keller came bursting into the room.

"I checked three women before I came to find you guys," Keller said. "It's unmistakable. They are all completely incapable of having children. Their uteruses are all heavily scarred." There was a slight pause. "The funny thing is that the scarring all looks very similar and is in the exact same place in each woman."

They all stared at her.

"That's seems rather unusual," Ronon finally said.

"It is very unlikely," Keller said. "All three women I checked were young, healthy and of child-bearing age. I asked them and all said that this was a new development. A few years ago, very few women in the village of them had trouble bearing children."

Rodney frowned. "Did anything happen to them in the past few years?" he asked.

"You mean, did the Genii come by with their nuclear weapons?" Sheppard muttered, eliciting a brief laugh from Ronon.

Keller tilted her head to one side, looking thoughtful. "Come to think about it," she began, "none of them were chatty. None of them volunteered any extra information than what was strictly necessary. They also seemed unsurprised by my technology."

"They are hiding something," Teyla said immediately. "We should see their village leader again."

-


Torran looked highly insulted. He glared at them through narrowed eyes. "We come to you for help, for a second opinion, and then you accuse us of hiding information? We would never hide information that we thought would be relevant to the condition of our people."

"Second opinion?" Rodney asked, raising an eyebrow.

Torran looked slightly flustered. "Yes, our own doctors were unable to diagnose the condition. They thought the women were fine and just needed more time."

Rodney snorted. He somehow doubted the doctors in a village such as this could have diagnosed something like scarring on the uterus. Most likely they poked around the outside and then pretended everything was fine.

Teyla glared at him. "We do not want to anger these people more," she whispered.

Rodney sighed. "The women are infertile," he snapped.

Torran stared at him, open-mouthed. "Infertile?" he repeated, sounding incredulous.

"Yes," Rodney snapped. "Infertile. Incapable of bearing children. As in no more little brats running around the village."

Sheppard put a calming hand on his shoulder. "Just stop there," he said.

Rodney glared at him, but stopped himself mid-rant. He knew he was insulting the villagers needlessly, but god, they seemed to be really dense! And definitely hiding something. Torran's eyes were definitely shifty looking.

"But that's impossible!" Torran looked really worried. "Our doctors couldn't find anything wrong."

"No offence," Rodney said, not being able to help himself. "But our doctors are undoubtedly, infinitely better than whatever doctors you have here. I mean, face it, you're not exactly advanced here."

"Rodney!" Sheppard exclaimed.

Curiously enough, Torran didn't look that offended which just cemented his guilt in Rodney's mind. Anybody who could look that smug obviously had to be hiding something massive. "There might have been a slight deception," Torran began, looking slightly apologetic.

"Ah ha!" Rodney said, albeit quietly. Sheppard glared at him.

"When I mentioned doctors, I was not referring to the doctors from this particular village." Torran paused slightly. "We have had other visitors in the past. We are currently part of a larger Federation of planets. Some of our partners have more advanced technology. When we heard of you, we decided that you might want to join our alliance. Our medical problem was purely incidental, although now it seems that this visit will be very worthwhile for our people. We thank you for that."

"So this is another one of those times where we're dragged to a planet under false pretences," Rodney muttered. He looked around, half expecting Wraith to jump out at them, feeding hands upraised.

This time it was Teyla who glared at him. She turned to the leader of the village and smiled politely. "We would like to meet your alliance of planets. However, we must first go back and discuss it with our leader."

"Certainly," Torran said.

Keller cleared her throat and looked slightly embarrassed. "I would like to bring one of the women I examined back to Atlantis with me. I would like to run further tests."

Torran nodded. "This is acceptable."

-


"They are part of an alliance of planets. They called it a Federation," Sheppard explained.

Woolsey frowned and looked worried. "The last alliance we tried to join turned out to be a trap," he said.

Sheppard nodded. "However, apparently this alliance has technology." He shrugged and lifted up his scotch and sipped. "It's worth checking out. Even if they're not exactly friendly."

Woolsey nodded. "But take Lorne's team with you. You should have backup." He lifted up his scotch glass and scrutinised it. "We're running out again."

Sheppard made a face. "We still have plenty of the bourbon stuff Lorne likes."

-


Keller examined the readout on the Ancient machine in the med lab. "It looks permanent," she said quietly, out of earshot of the woman in the scanner. "The poor woman."

Rodney frowned. "Do you think it's the same for the other two women?"

"It might be the same for all the women in the village," Keller said, as she looked over at the woman. "I'll have to tell her that she can't have children any more." She bit her lip. She really wasn't going to enjoy that conversation. She didn't want children in the near future, and possibly would never want them, but she still wanted to keep the option open. She had no clue what she'd say if she was told she could never have children again. "The poor woman," she said softly.

-


With Woolsey's permission and Lorne's team following them, they went back to the planet. To their surprise Torran was already at the gate, waiting, looking stiff and formal in his robes. "We contacted our allies immediately," Torran explained. "They are expected here any minute."

"We'll wait around," Sheppard said. Lorne and his team fanned out and made a rough perimeter, while still trying to look reasonably non-threatening.

Rodney couldn't help but think that somehow Lorne's team never looked non-threatening. It was the weapons, he decided. That and the hard military looks on their faces. He was starting to become bored, and wondered how long it would take for these mysterious allies to show up, when the gate activated again.

Out of the gate walked two very serious looking men, dressed in grey. Rodney noticed their impassive expressions.

"Welcome again!" Torran exclaimed as soon as they were within earshot. "These are the people from Atlantis we told you about."

Rodney noticed Sheppard's frown. Obviously he also disliked the notion of Torran telling strangers about Atlantis.

"You shouldn't have told them about us," Sheppard said quietly. "How do you know they can be trusted?

"They are perfectly trustworthy," Torran said, sounding shocked. "They have helped my people a lot over the past few years."

Sheppard shrugged.

One of the men nodded gravely at Torran and walked over towards them. "My name is Borren, of the Aschen," he said, his voice stiff. "We understand your misgivings. We too are distrustful of strangers. However, we have heard much about you, people of Atlantis. We believe that you would be a powerful ally in the fight against the Wraith. As such, we would like to offer you membership in the Aschen federation."

Rodney frowned and wracked his brains. Somehow the name Aschen sounded really familiar. He could have sworn he had heard of it before.

Sheppard looked a little startled as did the rest of them. Teyla managed to regain her composure first.

"Thank you for your kind offer," she said, with a smile. Borren didn't return it and her smile faltered slightly. "We would like time to consider it and discuss it with our people"

Borren nodded. "We understand. I would like to converse with your leader at the earliest possible convenience to present what we have to offer. We believe we have a way of eliminating the Wraith."

Rodney's mouth fell open as did everybody else's. This certainly was a surprising twist. He hoped that it wouldn't be another failed drug like that of the Hoffans. Even Torran looked surprised. "You did not share this information with us," he said.

"We have been perfecting our solution," Borren said coldly. "It has been a lengthy process especially without a live Wraith subject. We believe we have come up with a suitable solution. We believe the people from Atlantis may be able to help us with the distribution."

Sheppard raised an eyebrow. "This may be very interesting. Of course our doctors must have access to a sample of the virus."

"The possibility of that can be raised in negotiations," Borren said impassively.

-


"They have a way of defeating the Wraith?" Woolsey said, looking excited.

Rodney nodded. He had chosen to come back with Keller who had collected several most women from the village so she could scan them as well. "He wants to come and negotiate with you."

"Assuming the virus works, this may be too good to be true," Woolsey said. His eyes gleamed.

Rodney frowned. He honestly didn't feel that excited by it. "We've been working for years on a way to revert the Wraith back into humans. Helping them. But now we're going back to the idea of just killing them," he protested.

"The IOA is going to see this as a good solution," Woolsey said.

"A final solution," Rodney muttered. "What about Todd?"

Woolsey had the grace to look slightly sheepish. "There are losses in every war."

Rodney shook his head. He knew that this seemed like a miracle had been dropped into their laps. But over the past five years, actually, ever since he was sent to Siberia, he had been cautious of things that looked like miracles. More often than not, they tended to turn sour.

"What were they called?" Woolsey said. Rodney could tell that the other man was composing his message to Earth already. "You never mentioned."

"The name sounded a bit familiar," Rodney said. "They called themselves the Aschen."

As he watched, he saw Woolsey's face fall. "The Aschen?" he repeated, sounding incredulous.

"Yes," Rodney said, frowning. He was still trying to remember where he had heard the name before. He wasn't used to his memory not telling him what he wanted to know, but then again, he had always been better with numbers than names and events. "Do you know them?"

"I know of them," Woolsey said quietly. There was a dark note in his voice. "Before I came here, I familiarised myself with SG-1 mission reports as well. I felt that given that the Goa'uld had already tired to infiltrate Atlantis that other enemies of Earth might try as well. While I was doing so, I came across a mission report detailing an encounter with a group of humans calling themselves the Aschen." He paused.

"Yes?" Rodney prompted. It made sense. He had spent quite a while at the SGC and probably heard of these Aschen then.

"The Aschen apparently sterilised an entire planet. The Volians, I believe. And then took over their planet as farm land." Woolsey was beginning to look rather depressed. "We cannot ally ourselves with them."

Rodney gaped. He suddenly remembered where he'd heard of the Aschen before. Back when he was stationed at the SGC, he had heard O'Neill and Carter discussing the various groups they had come across before and the Aschen were mentioned. He remembered O'Neill saying that the Aschen were weirdly unemotional and that there was some guy called Boring. "Oh shit!" he suddenly said. "Borren!"

Woolsey just looked at him.

"I think one of the guys on M9R-928... well I think SG-1 met him on the Volian planet," Rodney burst out.

Woolsey was beginning to look incredibly worried. "We need to call back the team."

Rodney held up a hand. More details of his memory were coming back. "I don't believe they are a threat right now," he said slowly. "It is worth still listening to what they have to say about the Wraith virus."

"What about the women on the planet?" Woolsey pointed out. "It's likely they're trying the same sterilisation idea here."

"According to Keller, they're already sterile, right? We can't really help them," Rodney said. He didn't think Keller would be pleased with the idea of associating with the aliens who had sterilised an entire village without their consent, but he knew that they couldn't pass up the opportunity on a Wraith-killing virus, regardless of his own personal feelings on it.

Woolsey raised an eyebrow. "You were the one arguing so ardently that we shouldn't be killing off the Wraith."

"I think we should keep our options open," Rodney said stubbornly. He really didn't want to be responsible for killing an entire alien race, but the Wraith still posed a huge threat. Perhaps they could re-engineer the virus to sterilise the Wraith, he thought.

-


"You're telling me that it is deliberate?" Teyla was appalled. She had one hand on her stomach, obviously thinking of her baby. "They deliberately stopped those women from having babies?"

"I'm not that surprised," Keller said quietly. "The scarring was too uniform. It was in the same place on every woman." She looked a little pale and a little sick.

"So, the question is, what do we do?" Sheppard was leaning back on his chair. "I'd like to see if their Wraith virus thing works or not."

"These people are dangerous," Woolsey warned. "I dialled Earth and got them to send the mission reports over. They're slow, methodical and patient. Last time SG-1 met them, they didn't know about the entire Stargate network. Obviously they've learned since then and have discovered the Pegasus Galaxy."

"They might turn the entire Pegasus Galaxy into farming land," Rodney said bluntly. He was beginning to remember more and more of what Carter and O'Neill said. The idea of all the planets in the Pegasus galaxy being turned into neat little plots of land scared him. He wouldn't wish that on his worst enemy. Well, he amended, maybe some of the Genii, but they deserved it.

The entire table was quiet. Ronon looked appalled. Teyla and Keller still looked a little sick at the deliberate sterilisation of the village's women.

"We should see if their virus works," Rodney spoke again, after a short silence. "We don't want them as enemies right now. They obviously don't know we come from Earth. We should wait and see."

Sheppard looked surprised. "What is this?" he teased. "Rodney McKay advocating tact and restraint?"

Rodney glared at him.

-


"I'm sorry," Keller said quietly, looking down at her hands. "It seems that I can't do anything for them. The scarring is thick and permanent. They can never bear children."

Torran looked as appalled as she felt. "That's most of our women," he said. "How did the Aschen doctors not see this?"

Keller fidgeted slightly. She crossed and re-crossed her legs. It had been decided that they shouldn't tell the villagers anything for the time being. She was finding it a bit difficult to obey that order though. "I don't know," she said awkwardly.

-


In another room in the village, Richard Woolsey said opposite Borren. Several samples of the virus, which Borren had brought to show Woolsey, were sitting on the table between them.

"I am to understand you would like to offer us the Wraith virus in return for us establishing a way to distribute it for you," he said bluntly, getting straight to the point.

Borren blinked; his face was still impassive. Richard had the strong urge to slap him just to see if he would develop a facial expression. "Yes," Borren said, in a monotone. "We have never had the need for inter-galactic hyperdrives. We would not be able to distribute this virus as effectively as you."

Richard nodded. It made sense now why they wanted to ally themselves with Atlantis. He suspected that the Aschen had no idea that they were originally from the same planet as SG-1. He had no plans to tell them. "May we have a sample of the virus to test?"

Borren's facial expression didn't change. "That is not possible at the moment," he said.

"Then," Richard pointed out practically, "how do we know it works?"

"It works," Borren stated calmly. "We are positive."

Richard had no doubt that he was serious. The mission report had said that the Aschen were avid virus creators. Doubtlessly even without a live Wraith, they had managed to somehow create a working virus. Still, he didn't trust them at all. He needed his people to first take a look at the virus. "I will discuss this with my people first," he said calmly.

"We are a patient people." Borren's face cracked into what would have been a smile on most other people. "We will wait."

Richard knew that the Aschen were patient. It was what scared him the most.

-


"Let me get this straight," Sheppard said, "you want us to get a copy of this virus and bring it back to Atlantis?"

Woolsey nodded. "I believe you can do it."

Rodney raised an eyebrow. "What happened to following the rules?" he asked. He was beginning to think Woolsey wasn't the same man who had first come to Atlantis. These days, Woolsey seemed more eager to break the rules than Sheppard.

Woolsey looked mildly abashed. "This is necessary," he said. "I'm sure the IOA would understand."

"Of course," Rodney said sarcastically. "Because they've been so terribly understanding in other times."

"I want to see the viability of this virus," Woolsey said, undeterred. He folded his hands on the table and pursed his lips.

"And then what?" Rodney pointed out. "We can't ally ourselves with them. Not knowing what they're going to do eventually. We need to tell the villagers the whole truth eventually."

"We'll decide that when the time comes."

-


It was surprisingly easy for them to sneak into Borren's temporary quarters in the village and steal a sample of the virus. There were no guards on the quarters and a very simple lock on the case that Sheppard was able to pick in seconds. It seemed that the Aschen were not as good with security as they were with biological weapons. The virus seemed to be neatly packaged up in strange spherical objects that seemed safe to transport.

Rodney stuck a few of the spherical objects in a hazmat box. Better safe than sorry. He still ended up washing his hands twenty times when he got back to Atlantis. Even though he knew it was a Wraith virus and that he had no Wraith DNA, he still felt like he was getting a cold. Who knows? Maybe the Wraith virus was mutating.

Sheppard just told him that he was being silly, but Rodney was undeterred. He felt like he was infected.

After sneezing three times in a row, Rodney decided to go to Keller's office to ask if he possibly could have antibiotics and antivirals. She just shooed him away and went back to working on the virus.

With a sigh, Rodney went back his quarters and had a long shower with antibiotic soap.

-


Keller burst into the meeting looking harried. Her hair was sticking up in various directions and she was holding a piece of paper in a hand.

"Doctor Keller," Woolsey said, after the initial surprise. "I take it you have news for us."

She nodded. "I was running tests on the sample you brought back. Well, the good news is that it works." Her mouth was set in a grim hard line. "The bad news, however, is that it works by targeting iratus bug DNA."

Teyla frowned. "So do you mean that it will turn the Wraith into humans?"

Keller shook her head. Rodney was beginning to get a sinking feeling in his stomach. He thought he knew where she was leading with this. "That's what I thought at first, but then I ran more tests. It will definitely kill the Wraith. It attacks the iratus bug DNA, completely shredding it. That DNA plays an integral part of the Wraith's immune system and without it, the Wraith basically succumb to any basic virus or bacteria. A cold would kill them."

Ronon looked confused. "So isn't this a good thing?" he asked.

"No," Keller said. She looked at Teyla who was beginning to look like she understood. "Teyla has a tiny bit of Wraith DNA. It'll affect her too. Perhaps not as much, but her immune system will certainly be compromised. As will any human across Pegasus who has any Wraith DNA."

"We can't let them go ahead with this," Rodney said decisively. Everybody else around the table nodded as well.

"My fear," Woolsey said slowly, "is that they'll go ahead with it, regardless of our participation or not."

-


He was right. When Richard argued, yet again, that Atlantis could not participate in this experiment without knowing the composition of the virus and its side-effects, Borren simply shrugged.

"We will go ahead with or without the support of the people of Atlantis. The virus has recently been aerosolised and we will be able to infect several hive ships. Many have been spotted within distances our ships can easily travel."

-


"You know," Rodney said, thoughtfully as they were all walking back towards the gate. "I'm surprised that the Wraith haven't found them yet."

"Probably because they've been keeping a low profile," Sheppard pointed out. "They haven't been doing what we've been doing which is the equivalent of jumping out in front of them, waving a red flag."

"Well," Rodney said slowly. "What's to say that's going to stay the case?"

Teyla frowned, but Woolsey looked excited. Or at least, Rodney thought, as excited as Woolsey could look. "That could work," he said slowly

Rodney smirked. "Of course it will," he said. "Don't I always come up with the plans that save the day?"

Sheppard rolled his eyes and hit him on the arm.

-


On their screen, Todd made a growling noise at the back of his throat and glared at them. "You mean to say that you have helped yet another group of humans devise a way to kill Wraith and now you come to us again for help?" he snarled.

Rodney couldn't help but think that Todd looked less threatening each time they saw him. It was like the Wraith was going through the motions of seeming angry at them. Of course, it wouldn't be right for Todd to seem happy to see them.

"Oh no!" Sheppard said quickly. Rodney hid a smirk behind his hand. He always found the bond between Todd and Sheppard rather amusing. It was quite cute actually. "We didn't help them create this. We're coming to you for help because it'll end up killing many people in the Pegasus galaxy."

Todd made a snorting noise. "Typical humans."

"So?" Sheppard said, an edge of annoyance entering his voice. "Will you help?"

"My hive will be orbiting Atlantis within the next day."

The connection cut off.

"Well," Sheppard said brightly. "I take that to mean that he'll help us."

-


All guns in the Jumper Bay room were pointed at Todd as he walked out of his dart. "I thank you for your warm reception," he said dryly.

Rodney hid a smile. He really did find Todd quite amusing.

When they were all sitting in the meeting room, Woolsey explained their problem with the Aschen in more detail to Todd. "We would like your help," he said finally. "We know the address of the Aschen homeworld."

Todd raised an eyebrow. "And then what?"

"We'll lead you there. What you do with the Aschen homeworld is completely up to you."

"Ah," Todd said. "So you don't wish to dirty your hands?"

"We wish that the virus is not distributed in the Pegasus galaxy. You also have similar wishes. The virus is reasonably delicate and if an orbital strike of their planet were to occur, then it would be completely destroyed," Woolsey said, folding his hands in front of him. Rodney wondered if it was a nervous habit of his. "Of course we would never consider such a thing."

"No, of course you wouldn't," Todd said.

Rodney could swear the Wraith was about to crack up laughing.

-


It was a rather long trip to the edge of the Pegasus Galaxy. Woolsey had decided that they needed to accompany the Wraith ship to the planet. "To ensure the job gets done correctly," he said.

Rodney realised that they were getting better at justifying these things to themselves.

"We're going to leave now," Sheppard said after they had arrived and rendezvoused with the Wraith ship. "You know the plan."

On the screen, Todd nodded. "You wouldn't want to be involved with anything like this, would you?" he said sarcastically.

"Good luck," Sheppard said and switched off the communications channel. "Let's go." They all sat back in their seats as the Daedalus sped off.

No hyperspace window opened up in front of them. Rodney resisted the urge to pull up the rear view of the planet behind them. He really didn't want to see what was about to happen.

Then suddenly, behind them, they heard and felt the shockwave of a huge explosion. Obviously the Wraith had fulfilled their end of the deal.

There was a long silence. The technicians all seemed very busy while Teyla and Ronon both walked off, looking grave. Sheppard just sat there.

"So," Rodney said when he couldn't stand the silence any more. "How about another go with the toy cars when we get back?"

Sheppard grinned.

-fin
Tags: genre: general
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