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