Shattered Conviction

by dossier

Notes & Warnings

Colonel Sheppard heard the noise in the bushes again.

Their mission was slated as first contact, but it had turned into a scavenger hunt the moment they had stepped through the gate. The town was a few klicks away, but the lazy column of smoke rising from the near horizon didn't give them hope of finding any one. Ronon had taken point with Teyla, McKay was futzing with a life signs detector, and Sheppard was on their six as they followed the hard packed dirt road towards the smoke.

"Colonel, I don't think we're alone. I'm picking up one life sign and it's pretty close." McKay turned towards the place in the bushes where Sheppard had heard the noise. "It's not wraith. Human, but..." He trailed off as he pushed a few more buttons.

"But what, McKay?"

"I don't want to rush into any assumptions, Carson will need to do some further verification."

Teyla dropped back to McKay's position and looked over his shoulder with interest. She glanced up at McKay, and he met her eyes. "Colonel, if there is anyone still here, we cannot leave them; they would be totally alone."

"Agreed, Teyla. They've been following us for a few hundred yards. Okay, let's just stop here, see what happens."

The team stopped walking and stared meaningfully at the bushes. "Well?"

"Perhaps they just need to know we are friends..." Teyla began as a child stepped out of the verge. "Hello. I am Teyla Emmagen, and these are my friends, Colonel Shepard, Doctor McKay and Ronon Dex." She smiled in a reassuring way.

The child was of an age where it was difficult to differentiate between boy & girl. She, or he, was thin with tangled golden hair and tanned skin and large, light colored eyes. At this distance it was hard to say if they were blue or green, though it was easy to see the expressions of mistrust and eagerness warring on the scratched, dirty face. "I am Talnith."

Sheppard took off his sunglasses and dropped to a crouch in the dust. "Is there anyone else or are you alone?"

Talnith spoke in a high, light voice. "No, I was left behind. I haven't seen anyone for three days."

McKay muttered under his breath, "I can bet the parents weren't Baptists."

Sheppard shot McKay a look of disgust. "McKay."

"I missed the rapture, I was playing in the caves when the Wraith came. I ran home as fast I could to join my family, but I was too late, they had already gone."

Ronon looked horrified at the thought that any one would willingly try to be culled. McKay snorted but didn't look up from the life sign detector. "I take that back, they *were* Baptists."

"McKay, not now. Teyla?"

"My father did not speak of this, I did not know they worshipped the Wraith as gods."

"Well, I still don't think we can leave Talnith here."

"I believe that Halling would take her in."

"Him." McKay looked up again at Talnith. "Talnith is not a girl."

Talnith rolled his eyes, universal sign language among pre-teens for 'well, duh.'

"Besides the humanitarian aspect, Talnith needs to come back with us." McKay gave Sheppard the handheld device. "He's one of the Ancients, or descended from one that didn't ascend." McKay waved his hands in a 'whatever' gesture.

"Huh. Does that sound all right with you, Talnith?"

"Where are we going?"

Teyla answered, even after two years the awe in her voice had not dissipated. "To the city of the Ancestors."

Talnith's eyes grew even wider. "Will my family be there now? The Wraith are said to take them to the home of the ancestors when they come."

It was hard to break the faith of anyone, especially childish beliefs learned at the knees of a mother and father. "I don't think so, Talnith. We haven't had any deliveries yet."

"Then maybe they will come soon."

No one said anything, but they all wore expressions that said, "Oh god, I hope not."

~fini~

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Notes

Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis

Category/Rated: Gen, E

Year/Length: 2006/ ~666 words

Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.

Author's Notes: my deepest aplogies to Garrison Keillor & The Prairie Home Companion for stealing the idea from the totally hilarious Mystery Revival Theatre. For the sga_flashfic Left Behind Challenge.

Beta: none

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