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A Talk With Steve

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The room was kept dimly lit, and Sheppard was glad for the darkness when he walked in on the wraith seated in the middle of the caged interior.  Cautiously, Sheppard circled the cage, daring himself to walk just a little closer to the captured wraith.  He knew the shield would hold, for it had held quite effectively against the wraith’s initial attacks towards him.  The wraith knew, too, that Sheppard was untouchable.  He wisely stayed in the middle of the enclosure, only the opening of his eyes indicating that he knew of Sheppard’s presence.


“Hi, Steve,” Sheppard said.  “Are you comfortable in there?”


The wraith made no reply, but a low growl sounded from his throat.


Sheppard continued walking around the cage.  “I was thinking you might be hungry,” he said.  “Do you eat anything other than humans?”  He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a dark brown, squirming furry ball.  “Open it up,” he ordered one of the men standing at guard.


The man trained a stolen wraith stunner on Steve, then flicked the shield off.  Sheppard put the furry ball on the floor and shoved it through the bars.  The guard quickly flicked the shield back on.


“If you don’t eat that, I guess you’re out of luck,” Sheppard said, watching the wraith.


Steve looked in disdain at the quivering animal on the floor.  What,” he snarled, “is this?”


“I don’t really know,” Sheppard continued his walk around the cage.  “I found it on the mainland today.  Looks kind of like a small prairie dog with softer fur to me.  I don’t know what you think it looks like.  It’s pretty tame if you ask me.”


Steve turned away from the animal, which had scurried to the farthest corner away from the wraith.


“Guess there’s only one item on your menu, huh?” Sheppard said.  “Poor little groundhog . . .  Nobody wants it.”


“Your sarcasm is not amusing,” Steve growled threateningly.


“Oh, it probably isn’t to you,” Sheppard grinned, still pacing around the cage and forcing the wraith to follow him with his eyes.  “I, however, think that it’s quite funny.”  He paused for a moment and made an entire circuit around the cage before adding, “By the way, Steve, if you don’t eat, how long does it take for a wraith to starve?”  When the wraith did not answer, Sheppard stopped, walking right up to the bars.  “When you don’t feed, when you don’t satisfy your hunger, do your regenerative abilities go down?  I would think that they might.  When you can’t satisfy your hunger, what does that do to you, hm?  Can’t you just feel the strength draining from your body?  Now you must know what it’s like for your victims—except this is life draining in slow motion.  I guess it’s a little like getting stabbed in the chest.  You can die instantly if the knife goes in fast enough, or you can die slowly if the blade gets pressed in little by little, slowly spilling the blood and tearing into your heart . . . but then again, you might not even know what I’m talking about, since you usually satisfy your hunger or heal yourself by feeding whenever you need to.  Well you can’t do that now.  Now you’re stuck with whatever we give you, and I can tell you it won’t be one of us.”


Steve turned away from Sheppard, clearly angered at his words.


“You want a taste of me, don’t you?” Sheppard nodded, grinning.  “And here I am, just an arm’s length away and you can’t get me or anyone here.  You know why?”


Steve growled.


“You’re not getting anything you want until you answer my questions,” Sheppard stated.


“You offer me nothing,” the wraith snarled, motioning towards the small animal that still huddled fearfully in the corner.  “I will give you nothing in return.”


Sheppard shrugged.  “Suit yourself.  I’ve got all the time in the world.  You, however, don’t.”  He turned to leave, but Steve leapt towards the bars, stopping short of the shield.


“They will come for me,” he threatened, “And you will regret the day of my capture.”


The Major didn’t look back.  “You say that every time I come in here,” he retorted.


It was going to take longer to break this wraith than he thought.