The Trade

Title: The Trade
Author: Keira Marcos
Series title: The Sentinels of Atlantis
Series Order: 8
Fandom: Sentinel/Stargate Fusion
Rating: NC-17 (sexual content)
Pairings: Zelenka/Parrish, McKay/Sheppard, Lorne/Keller (many secondary pairings—see the series index page for a full listing)
Warnings: Slash, explicit m/m sex, filthy language

Summary: The Genii try to double cross the Lanteans and the Marines learn the hard way that Radek Zelenka needs protection from no one.

– – – –

“I do not wish to argue with you, Colonel Sheppard, but I’m not… convinced that taking my Guide off world is a good idea.” Radek Zelenka ran his fingers through his recently shorn hair.

John Sheppard eyed his fellow Sentinel with shrewd eyes. “He’s the head of Botany, Radek. He’ll be the authority on our dietary needs when it comes to food crops off world.  Teyla and Ronon are both confident that a trip to this trading world would be to our benefit. Unfortunately, the trade fair is scheduled to move within the week and it could be weeks before they are established elsewhere. We need to go there and meet with potential trade partners.”

Radek pressed his lips together. “David is… only rated for a 9mm and he is curious.” He waved one hand. “I should think to leash him before letting him through the gate.”

John grinned. “Like a kid in a shopping mall?”

“Yes.” Radek pointed at him. “Exactly that. He’ll drive me mad, Colonel.”

“I understand your concern, Radek but every single person on this expedition has a purpose—a job they must do so that we can survive. David has a very important job with the mission—food and medicinal plants. That means he’ll have to go off-world and he’ll have to explore the mainland.” John rubbed a water spot away on his glass desk and sighed. “And you can bank on the fact that I understand better than most what you’re risking when you let him out of your sight.”

“I know that,” Radek murmured. “It’s difficult, yes? Difficult when you’re very life depends on another person. I’m not sure I’d survive without him.” Radek flushed. “I’m not sure I’d want to survive if he were taken from me.”

“I understand that, too.” John glanced out into the gate room. “You have the skills and the experience to keep your Guide safe in the field. Let your instincts take care of the rest and don’t hesitate to protect him and I’ll take care of the rest.”

– – – –

“So I can’t go on the trade mission with the Genii?”

John grinned at Elizabeth. “I think you copped too much attitude with him last time.”
She grinned. “Maybe.”

“I’m sending Vala and Cameron with a team of Marines to handle the trade. Teyla gave us an abandoned world to use for the actual trade and we’re going to pass that information onto the Genii at the last minute so they don’t have time to plan anything.”

“They could still come through the gate armed to the teeth.”

“That’s why I’m sending two cloaked Jumpers ahead to get settled in and provide back up,” John admitted. “I know I can’t trust the Genii. I especially can’t trust Koyla. He’s damaged on a level that makes my skin crawl but I can’t really explain it. I’ve never encountered a dormant Sentinel before that wasn’t physically handicapped.”

“Is that because they don’t let mentally damaged dormant Sentinels out into the general public?”

“An insane Sentinel is a very dangerous thing,” John admitted. “If I had one blow on this mission I would probably put them out of their misery.”

Elizabeth blinked in surprise. “You’d kill…”

John sighed. “All of the Sentinels on this mission are bonded. If one of them went literally insane—that would likely be the result of losing their Guide. If they lose their minds to insanity, they wouldn’t have anything left. I would sincerely hope I could count on someone to take care of me if that happened. I certainly wouldn’t want to live if I managed to survive Rodney’s death.”

“But you don’t think you would.”

“No, I don’t think I would,” John admitted. “Our bond is very primal and I even seek him out mentally when we sleep.”

– – – –

Vala Mitchell leaned against the visible Jumper and inclined her head. “I can feel the other two Jumpers.”

“Me too,” Aidan Ford admitted. “I think it’s a gene thing.”

She nodded and sighed when the gate started dialing. “I don’t think this is going to go well.”

“Agreed but we have to try, right? I mean if they try to screw us we’ll know we can’t expect them to be allied with us for their own good which is good information to have,” Aidan reasoned and then turned the safety off his P-90. He only grinned when his fellow Guide lifted an eyebrow. “Trust but verify.”

“Good policy.”

“I learn all kinds of things from CSI,” Aidan said as he put on his sunglasses.

Cameron Mitchell snorted from a few feet away from them and then straightened when the wormhole burst out from the gate. He signaled the Marines they’d brought with them and everyone spread out. Teyla gave him a description on what to expect from the trade so he wasn’t surprised when men started pushing large crates through the gate.

– – – –

David added a third world to the list he was creating of potential trade partners. So far, out of the ten booths he’d visited he’d found fruits and vegetables that would serve very well to add to the diet of the expedition.

“Do we really need almost-carrots?”

David laughed at his Sentinel. “Yes, we do and if we could find something like corn or grain like the mess hall staff would build a monument in my honor.” He moved in close to Radek. “How are your levels?”

“Very good. Some of the odors are intense but nothing I can’t handle. It’s odd not having the buzz of home in the back of my mind.” He waved a hand as they moved down another aisle. “We should look at textiles and the like as well. The SGC didn’t send much in the way of replacement uniforms but I understand we have several sewing machines and people who know how to use them.”

David nodded. “It’s on the list Dr. Weir gave me but food is the priority.” He frowned when Radek moved in a different direction. “What?”

“Do you smell that?” Radek questioned. “That’s… coffee.”

They found the trader with the almost-coffee quickly enough and David was relieved the man seemed too eager to trade. His Sentinel was petting the sacks of roasted beans as if they were an over eager puppy. They secured a sample for testing and added it to the backpack of the Marine who was assigned to them. He seemed really thrilled with the discovery as well.

– – – –

“We expected to see Colonel Sheppard for the trade.”

Cameron shifted in his stance and glanced over the large crates being pushed through the gate. “We’ll test the food supplies for poisons and if we find you have traded in good faith you’ll get the ore delivery in the morning.”

Koyla glared. “And if I find that unacceptable.”

“You can take your trade goods back to your world and we’ll find another trade partner.” Cameron thumbed the safety off on his weapon. “You can’t expect us to take you at face value after you armed half your village and made moves to hold our trading party hostage.”

Koyla glanced around the clearing—taking in the single Jumper and focusing on Aidan Ford. “You were on the ship last time. We didn’t meet.”

Cadman moved closer to her Guide. “And you still haven’t met him.”

Koyla raised an eyebrow. “It’s odd seeing so many bonded pairs going off world together. Have you no children at home to worry about?”

Cadman smiled. “My mate and I have not been blessed with a child.”
Vala stretched dramatically. “I like kids at a distance.”

“Do you accept the trade or do you want to haul your goods back through the gate?” Cameron asked.

Koyla frowned at him. “Gate?”

“Ring of the Ancestors,” Vala provided with a saucy smile. She unsnapped the strap holding her 9mm in the holster.

– – – –

Radek tensed and reached out for Parrish before he even grasped intellectually that something was very wrong. The sound of alien weapons humming around them were familiar—close to the sound Ronon’s gun made when it was turned on.

Radek pulled his weapon and dragged his Guide from the stall they were in. Then he pressed David against the wall and then pressed his back against Parrish. “Do not move, Guide.”

David took a deep breath. “Yes, Sentinel.”

Radek clicked his radio twice to pick up main channel. “Sergeant Stackhouse. I’ve six very well armed men in the market. They’ve been following me and Dr. Parrish for a half hour—since we separated from Corporal Morrison.”

“Understood, Dr. Zelenka. Do they appear to be preparing to take you or Dr. Parrish?”

“I do not know but they smell… like the material that Rodney brought back from the place where Ronon was. Is bad smell.”

“Very bad smell,” Stackhouse agreed roughly.

There was a click of static and then Teyla joined the conversation. “There are those who work with our mutual enemy to avoid being taken by them.”

That was a horrible thought and it made Radek’s stomach twist in a strange knot of fury that he hadn’t experienced in years. With one hand, he reached back and touched his Guide. David slid his fingers against his and brought their hands together—palm to palm. It was enough to calm him down, to center him on the matter before him.

One of the women in a booth down the aisle screamed suddenly and shouted words that Radek had never heard before but certainly understood.

“Wraith worshipper!”

The screams and the chaos that followed would’ve been overwhelming if David hadn’t worked so hard in the weeks before to center him—to prepare him for the field. “Pull your weapon.”

Parrish pulled his gun without hesitation and sucked in a deep breath. “We are too far from the Marines.”

“I’m aware of their location,” Radek responded gently. “Just do not leave my side.”

“Never,” David promised softly.

Radek released David’s hand reluctantly and took a deep breath to calm himself down. The men had started to line people up—he couldn’t think of a reason why but he didn’t figure it was a good thing. He shifted around the corner, aware of David’s warm presence at this back.

“The Stargate has activated,” Radek murmured. “These men are communicating with…” He trailed off. “A hive ship.” He clicked his radio. “Stackhouse! These men are calling for a culling.”

“Understood, Doc. Sort back to the gate and we’ll dial out to a safe world as soon as they break the connection.”

“No time, Sergeant. They are bringing in reinforcements and one of these men has confirmed that there is clearance at the gate for darts.”

“Jesus. Fuck.” Stackhouse muttered across the open line.

“You will blow up darts, yes?” Radek responded. “I will take care of these men.” He closed the radio before the Marine could respond.

Radek took a deep breath to calm himself down, leveled his weapon, turned the corner completely and started to fire. The first three went down without even firing their weapons—surprised at armed opposition. In the background, Zelenka could hear the Marines coming his way from one direction and Ronon moving from another. His fellow Sentinel would reach him first but it would be over by then. He fired again and then again—the sixth men dropped his weapon and fell to his knees.

Radek paused just briefly before lowering his weapon. The active laser sight bounced off the man’s forehead. “You worship the Wraith? They are gods to you?”

The man’s eyes hardened. “The only gods! You will all pay for this—there is no where for you to hide.”

Radek considered this for a few seconds and nodded. “Perhaps you are right—but you will not live to know if that is so.” He pulled the trigger and holstered his weapon as the man’s body hit the ground.

He turned to his Guide as Ronon came around the corner. “You are well, David.”

“I am well,” David assured softly and moved closer to his Sentinel. He pulled out his knife and motioned towards some of the people who had been tied up. “We should cut them loose.”

Ronon jerked to a stop, weapon still drawn and surveyed the damage. “Nice.”

“Thanks,” Radek said and tilted his head. “One dart?”

“Yeah, one.” Ronon agreed. “We need to get these people moving.”

– – – –

“Target confirmed,” Markham shifted on his stomach and followed the path of the dart with a steady hand.

“Fire at will.” Stackhouse shouted.

– – – –

Radek flinched at the explosion and Ronon winced briefly before turning and leaving the small courtyard. “Get these people moving, Radek. We have no time!”

– – – –

Stackhouse moved carefully through the abandoned market towards his geeks. Sheppard was going to have his ass for letting Zelenka and Parrish wander off by themselves in a crowded market place. He didn’t have a good feeling at all so when he finally made it to the courtyard and all he found he was six dead bad guys he was a little confused.

“Zelenka!”

His radio buzzed in his ear. “Do not yell Sergeant, it is unnecessary. I hear you fine—probably over this entire market place. Please check market and make sure Ronon and I haven’t missed anyone. We are near the gate.”

– – – –

Miko Kusanagi set aside her scanner and focused on her computer. “There is a transmitter of some kind in one of the crates.”

Katie Brown nodded. “Yes, I’m getting a reading for metal in the forth one. So far no toxins or indications that the food stocks are damaged. I’ll want to do a more thorough scan on Atlantis but I think they probably didn’t taint the food. If the trade fell through they wouldn’t have had any use for the poisoned food.”

“Also we might blow them up,” Kusanagi offered and smiled shyly when one of the Marines near the gate laughed. “Corporal, I need to break this crate open and pull out the transmitter.”

He nodded. “Sure, I’ll get a crow bar out of the tool kit in the Jumper.”

– – – –

John was standing in the middle of the gate room when Radek and Parrish came through the gate. “I send you on a trade mission and you stumble into a culling?”

Radek glared at him. “I did not stumble. I smell like gun and dead Wraith worshipper. Shower now. Debrief later.”

David waved over his shoulder as he hurried after his Sentinel. “Stackhouse is on his way, sir.”

John snorted and stayed where he was while he listened to his fellow Sentinel stalk through the halls of the city until he reached the large communal shower. “Jorgensen, make sure they got undisturbed as much as possible. He’s pretty close to losing his temper.”

“Not a problem.” The Marine left the gate room at a trot.

Stackhouse and his team came through next—looking like they’d had a good time with a few surface-to-air missiles. The empty launchers and the smell of explosives told that story better than anything they could say. He could smell the adrenalin and the hormones pouring off them. He’d have to turn his hearing down to avoid hearing all of the non-regulation fucking that would be happening on this team tonight.

He glanced at Stackhouse and Markham. They had to know he knew they were in a relationship—they had this hormone exchange going on that spoke of lust, love, and deep commitment. They were also very intensely loyal to him, which he didn’t exactly understand but appreciated.

Stackhouse took a deep breath. “Sir.”

John grinned. “I told you, Stackhouse, he can take care of himself.”

“He…” He blew out a breath and then shook his head. “Six. He took out six armed mercenary/Wraith worshippers in under forty-five seconds.” Stackhouse moved in close and murmured. “One was clearly an execution, sir.”

John nodded abruptly. “Debrief in one hour. Get you team on the same page before you see me, Sergeant.”

– – – –

Jennifer sat back in her chair with her tea and surveyed the last of the DNA results for the expedition. The equipment on Atlantis had helped her learn a lot about Sentinel/Guide genes that she hadn’t had the first clue about.

“You look upset?”

She shook her head and then focused on her Sentinel who was lounging in the doorway. “No, it’s not…it’s just frustrating to have your whole world view rearranged out from underneath you. I’ve spent years studying Sentinel/Guide genomes and now in just a few weeks I’ve learned that we were all intensely wrong.”

Evan moved into the room. “How?”

“Well, first and foremost—the gene we have been associating with Sentinels for the last fifteen years is the wrong one. Well—not wrong just not right. We’ve always known that Sentinels and Guides have an extra pair of genes. The discovery was like a big bang in our research. We always associated those genes with the gifts associated with each in the pair and they do have some bearing on our physical/mental abilities. The ATA gene was artificially created and introduced into the Ancients population in order to safe guard their technology—that much we guessed.”

“So the ATA gene isn’t connected to the Sentinel/Guide genes?”

“It’s complicated. The Sentinel/Guide chromosomes accelerate the ATA gene—so those with the Sentinel/Guide gifts have very strong ATA genes as we know. People who have the ATA gene but not the Sentinel/Guide genes are direct descendents of Ancients but they don’t have Sentinel/Guide pairs in their background.”

“So… Sentinels and Guides weren’t Ancients?” Evan questioned, his eyes wide.

“No.” Jennifer pulled her legs up into her chair. “We were… they found our ancestors on Sateda. They were a tribal people—their entire culture was—they were all like us. The Ancients knew they could use us to fight the Wraith. They have all of these reports on their research and the experiments they conducted. It took me a while to dig out all of the data but once Atlantis realized what I was looking for—she dumped a hundred years of research on me.”

“So, Ronon’s people… they weren’t a colony of the Ancients?”

“The Ancients advanced his people quickly to create a powerful ally they could use in the war against the Wraith. When they escaped through the gate to Earth—they took hundreds of children from Sateda with them. They also left thousands of their own people on Sateda as a safety measure. To safeguard the population and protect their only really effective weapon against the Wraith.”

“Guides.”

“Yes.” Jennifer bit down on her lip. “I forwarded the report to John and the rest of the senior staff. It’s so… horrible.”

“Yeah.” Evan moved forward and scooped his Guide off her chair. He settled in and arranged her on his lap. “But that was thousands of years ago.”

“It feels like yesterday,” Jennifer said and settled in close to her Sentinel. “We have three latent Sentinels on the mission, Evan and ten Guides. It’s like Sheppard has this built in radar for picking them.”

“He probably does.”

– – – –

“Did you finish reading the report Jennifer sent us?” Rodney demanded.

John nodded and shifted under the shower spray. “Yeah, I don’t even know what to say about it.” He glanced over his shoulder and smiled when realized that Rodney was stripping off all of his clothes to join him. “Radek has the Marines scared.”

“He’s a warrior,” Rodney agreed dryly. “He’s so pissed that he had to do that today.”

“Oh, I know. We won’t get them off world for weeks after that clusterfuck.” John pulled his Guide under the water and then took his mouth in a hard kiss.

Rodney shifted closer and wrapped one hand around John’s cock as he settled against the wall.

Sheppard lifted his head with a laugh. “That’s what I like about you, McKay.”

Rodney smirked. “I’m goal oriented.”

“You certainly are,” John agreed with a sigh.

– – – –

Radek ran a soothing hand down the center of his Guide’s back and sighed.”I find you very attractive.”

David chuckled and rolled over on his back. He spread his legs and grinned when his Sentinel took a deep, unsteady breath. “I noticed.”

Radek sighed and ran his hands down his Guide’s thighs to spread him more. “It’s just that I don’t look at other men that way.”

“Well, I’d be pretty irritated if you did.” David lifted one foot and used his toes to rub his Sentinel’s hip. “It’s the bond, Radek. You want me because all of your senses are saturated with the input my body gives you. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or even worried about. You aren’t going to spontaneously find men sexually attractive when you never have before.”

Radek hummed softly under his breath and leaned down. He licked the head of David’s cock. “Women don’t… I’m not interested in them either. I’m just interested in you. Is that okay?”

“It’s perfect,” David whispered. “You’re all I’ve ever wanted. I’m lucky to have you this way with me.”

Radek settled his body on top of his Guide and nuzzled against his neck. “Did you find me attractive before?”

David chuckled. “Yeah. I especially like when you would get excited and yell in Czech.”

“Is that why you agreed to bond with me?”

“No. I agreed to bond with you because you were a Sentinel in need and I’ve always…” David blushed and trailed his fingers through his Sentinel’s hair. “I’ve always had this place in me for a Sentinel—a hollow, dark place that was always empty but you filled it up.”

“I’m glad,” Radek murmured. “I want to fill up all of your empty places.”

David laughed softly and wiggled under him. “That’s a filthy thing to say.”

Radek laughed and pulled the lube from under the pillow. He sat back on his heels and looked his Guide over with dark eyes. “Colonel Sheppard and Rodney are in their shower doing dirty things to each other.”

David smirked. “I just bet. I can feel it—pleasure rolls off John in waves. It’s amazing and it makes everyone in the city relax.”

“Perhaps not if they knew where it was coming from,” Radek murmured. “Not everyone on the expedition is so understanding of our relationships.” He pressed his fingers against David’s hole and shuddered when his Guide’s body relaxed against his intrusion.

David slid one hand down his chest and palmed his cock with a sigh. “Feels good.”

“Yes,” Radek agreed. “Your body is like silk—warm silk. I love to fuck you.”

David chuckled. “And you were worried about this part.”

“I was.” Radek pressed a third finger into his Guide and twisted the digits gently. “I love to push my cock into your tight ass.”

“Yeah,” David agreed. “Fuck me.”

Radek leaned down and nudged David’s hands away so he could suck his cock. Parrish lifted his hips off the bed and shivered with pleasure as Radek worked his cock with his lips and tongue. “Oh.”

Zelenka laughed softly as he pulled off. “I like that, too. I love the way you taste.”

Radek hooked his hands behind David’s knees and pushed them forward. “Just like this.”

David nodded and wrapped his hands around his knees to keep the position. “Whatever you want.”

Radek positioned himself and rubbed the plump head of his cock against his Guide’s loosened entrance a few times before he gave into the temptation and pushed in with one smooth stroke. He wrapped his hand around David’s cock and started to stroke him in the same slow rhythm of his cock.

Parrish strained off the bed and groaned softly. He rocked against the penetration wantonly and took deep breaths to calm himself down as he fought against coming too soon.

“No,” Radek whispered. “Don’t hold back. Come for me. Come for me now.”

David closed his eyes and shuddered. “I want to wait—I’m not finished being fucked.”

Radek chuckled. “Oh, love, I’m not going to stop fucking you. Come for me.”

David shivered and sighed as he surrendered to the orgasm. He went lax in his Sentinel’s hands and then pushed his legs up onto Radek’s shoulders. “Perfect.”

“Yes.” Radek agreed. “You’re perfect.” He let his fingers slide through the semen on David’s chest and stomach briefly, before he started to thrust again.

David wrapped his hands around the top of the bed and started to rock back into Radek with small, careful movements. “I can’t get hard again so soon, you know.”

“Is that what you think?” Radek asked, amused.

David groaned. “I didn’t mean that to be a challenge.”

“I take it as such,” Radek returned and gently stroked his hands down David’s legs. “I find you such a challenge. The desire to pleasure you until you can’t take anymore is always with me.” Radek cupped his Guide’s ass and pressed in deep. “I love to be in you, love to fuck you, love to know you this way. I want to be the only person that can know you this way ever again.”

“You’re my everything,” David whispered. “You’re all I want, Radek. All I need.”

Radek wrapped his hand around his Guide’s cock and started to stroke him gently. David hardened in his grip slowly, each caress making him shudder and gasp. “That’s it.”

He moved inside his Guide—slow and deep until David’s cock was leaking precum. Then he started to increase his pace—thrusting in faster and faster until they were banging the bed into wall.

Radek sucked in a deep breath and groaned loudly as he came. David followed him, his whole body arching up off the bed as he came for a second time.

– – – –

“All they do is fuck,” Rodney muttered.

John chuckled. “Well, sometimes I think we push them into it. It isn’t like they can keep us out any better than the mundanes can on the city. You wouldn’t believe the amount of fucking that goes on all over this city.”

Rodney grinned and propped his chin against John’s chest. “Probably more than regulations would allow.”

John sighed. “It isn’t like I’d ever file charges against a same-sex pairing in my command and I’d fight anyone who tried. There is a reason why the law prevents Sentinels from divulging that kind of information on demand and O’Neill would never ask it of me.”

“No, he wouldn’t but others might.” Rodney sighed. “We need to get up and go to the lab so we can take a look at that transmitter the Genii put in shipment.”

John nodded. “I thought we’d modify it and send it back to them with the ore.”

Rodney chuckled. “Let’s see what it does first.”

– – – –

“It’s Wraith.”

“What?” John demanded in a fierce whisper. “Are you sure it’s deactivated?”

Miko sent him a practiced look that bordered on disdainful. “Of course, I’m sure. I’m also quite sure of its origin. It has a similar signature to the date we recovered from Dr. McKay’s laptop on the Hive ship. It’s the same programming language.”

Rodney frowned and then turned to Ronon. “You know what it is?”

“I know it smells like blood,” Ronon returned shortly. “And Wraith.”

“Wraith blood?”

“No,” Ronon and John both answered at the same time.

Teyla moved closer to the counter and stared at the pieces of the transmitter. “When I was a child… perhaps ten years I had a cousin who was taken by the Wraith. They did not feed from him but turned him into a runner. They put a device in his back so they could hunt him throughout the galaxy. My uncle, his father, eventually located his son and they cut the transmitter out of him so that he could come home.”

“Did it look like this?” Miko asked.

“I was not allowed off world and did not see it but I saw drawings of the device later. We were all taught about the practice of runners and the device. It is a game for them.”

It sounded horrific, John thought but he wasn’t really surprised by it. The Wraith had proven repeatedly that they were the stuff of nightmares.

“How did the Genii get it, you think?” Rodney asked.

“They pulled it out of a runner?” Miko asked softly. “Maybe one of their people?”

“And they put it in the food they traded to us.” John walked to stand by the large window that dominated the lab that Miko Kusanagi had claimed for her domain. “Why?”

“Perhaps they wished to see if you were formidable enough to survive a Wraith attack on your own world,” Teyla murmured. “No matter their intention it is a depraved and disgusting act on their parts.”

“Agreed,” John murmured. “Certainly not one we can return in kind.” He looked at Miko then. “Do you have all of the information you need from it?”

“Yes.”

“Then destroy it. Make it impossible for them to put it back together to use on another of their enemies and then throw the parts in the cart with the ore we’re sending them. I want them to know we didn’t fall for their stupidity and to also know that we honor the deals we make even if they don’t.”

– – – –

John let his hands rest on the pier and leaned back. “Keller explained her research to you?”

Ronon nodded. “Yeah.”

“How do you feel about it?”

“We were always taught that the Ancestors were a great people—benefactors to our people. If my government knew what they did—they kept it a heavily guarded secret.”

“Secrets like that have the power to destroy an entire society,” John murmured and sighed. “Maybe… maybe they didn’t even know by the time you were born. The Ancients left this galaxy ten thousand years ago. Information gets lost on purpose or by accident all the time. Maybe someone took it to the grave with them. Otherwise, why would your government let your world to fall to the Wraith when you had the means to take out the ships that were there to cull your world?”

“Yeah.” Ronon sighed. “We should go there and see if we can find out. McKay can dig around in their databases if I can find them, right?”

“Yes,” John agreed. “We also think there might be an Ancient outpost there. The database listed Sateda as a colony of the Ancients—a secret colony like Earth. But the science research that Keller found indicates that your people were here before the Ancients came to Pegasus to escape the plague on Earth.”

“So they ran from Earth because of a disease and they ran from Pegasus because of the Wraith,” Ronon summed up and then glanced at Sheppard. “They were cowards.”

John couldn’t agree more. “They also basically ran from life by ascending. I don’t… I can’t imagine it ever being an option for me.”

“It can’t be all that much fun,” Ronon offered and then grinned when John glanced his way. “McKay says they’re basically energy and they can take human form but it probably isn’t real to them. Which means there are ascended people up there that haven’t taken someone to bed in thousands of years.”

“No wonder they’re assholes.” John chuckled when Ronon burst out laughing. “Do you miss… well… your first Consort was a man. Do you miss being with a man?”

“It was never so much about him being a man and I enjoyed my wife physically. She just didn’t do much for my senses. Teyla is everything I need in one person—that’s a gift in itself. What about you? I heard one of the men say you and McKay haven’t been bonded long. Do you miss women?”

“I actually prefer men,” John admitted. “Though I’m not supposed to say things like that. My military commanders would expect me to say that it’s just a by-product of my Sentinel gifts and I can’t help it. They’d like me to be ashamed of it.”

“Fuck them.”

John snorted. “I see the Marines are already teaching you the finer points of our language.”

Ronon grinned. “Yeah, I beat them up and they teach me about Earth.” He sobered. “It’s probably the closest thing I have to home now that Sateda is gone—a place where my kind are abundant and treated with respect. Do you think if we can make contact with Earth that I would be… welcome?”

“Yes, you would be welcome,” John responded without hesitation. “We’ve encountered Sentinels on many worlds in our galaxy and they’re always received very well by my people and my government. My commander sort of considers himself a protector of Sentinels. He would be thrilled to meet you.”

“He’s not a Sentinel himself?”

“No, he’s mundane but he has the ATA gene which means he descends from the Ancients.” John cleared his throat. “Just like we do—you know that. Because we have the ATA gene, the Ancients bred with our ancestors from Sateda.”

“A part of me can’t blame them for wanting to fight the Wraith—for doing whatever they could to fight the Wraith. I don’t like it but I understand it.”

John nodded. “Yeah.”

The End

Read the next episode: http://keiramarcos.com/2009/12/12/the-return/

Keira Marcos

In my spare time, I write fanfiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on the Internet. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a 40ish "domestic engineer" but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

Don't be an asshole!

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