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Link To Me
by KJC

10 July 2007



"This is just a normal ride out over the ocean," Rodney sniped. "Normal, you say? When are our lives ever normal?"

"Yeah, but the fact that a Wraith dart is transmitting something is what has me concerned," Ronan added.

The team had taken a jumper from Atlantis out over the oceanic world soon after receiving the energy signal from what appeared to be a Wraith dart. It was a search and retrieve mission if the dart was whole, but it would be a search and destroy mission if it was still operational and had a live pilot.

"We're getting closer," Sheppard said, looking at the screen in front of him.

A red blip floated across the screen and Teyla pointed. "There."

Sheppard pulled the jumper to a halt and they looked down at the smooth waves of the ocean beneath them. A Wraith dart floated in the dark waters, its hull scorched black from weapon's fire.

"Looks like it's dead in the water," Rodney said. He turned from his post and grinned. "Like that? I made a joke!"

Sheppard, Teyla, and Ronan collectively rolled their eyes.

"The ship is non-operational," Rodney continued, hurt by his team's response. "Looks like it lost weapons and engines and everything else. It's just a shell floating in the water."

"Run a scan," Sheppard ordered.

Teyla swung around to the control panel and punched in the proper commands. An alarm beeped from the console and she looked at Sheppard wide eyed. "There is a Wraith inside."

Sheppard immediately pulled up the jumper's shields and then swung around to Teyla's console, studying the controls. "It isn't alive," he breathed after a moment. "Just a corpse."

"A dead Wraith in a dead dart?" Ronan asked. "How can you be sure it's dead?"

"Easy," Sheppard swung back around to his control panel. "We set down and take a look."

"You're going to land on the water?" Ronan asked.

"Yup."

"This is a spaceship, not a boat!" Rodney protested.

"Rodney, it's waterproof," Sheppard said. "You of all people should know that."

"Yeah, but it isn't waterproof forever!"

"We're just going to take a look. It will only take a few minutes. I'm going to extend the shield over us and the dart to keep it from floating away."

Sheppard gingerly set the puddle jumper down in the water in front of the Wraith dart and grabbed his P-90. The waves were choppy, and the jumper bucked, forcing the crew to keep their hands on the sides for balance.

Once everyone was sufficiently armed, Sheppard opened the rear hatch to reveal the Wraith dart floating next to the jumper in the water. Sheppard jumped the small gap that separated the two ships, landing on the hull of the dart and followed closely by Ronan. Teyla stood guard on the ramp of the jumper with Rodney hovering in the background.

Feeling around for the magic spot to open the hatch, Sheppard nodded at Ronan who held his weapon ready, then touched the control. The canopy dissolved to reveal a slumped figure - a Wraith who looked as though he had been dead for some time. His skin was wrinkled and dry and his long hair was matted and brittle yellow.

"You know, these things are pretty hardy," Sheppard said, his voice low as he stared at the Wraith. "How are we gonna know he's not faking it?"

Ronan raised his weapon. "We can just shoot him first."

Sheppard paused, then tilted his head, looking at the Wraith, on the verge of agreeing with Ronan when the Wraith moved.

The movement was faster than Sheppard and Ronan could follow and before either could respond with weapon’s fire, the Wraith was out of his seat and had grabbed Ronan, tearing the gun out of Ronan's hands.

Sheppard opened fire, hitting the Wraith before he locked arms with Ronan. "Rodney, get the jumper off the water!" Sheppard yelled.

McKay scrambled for the jumper's controls while Sheppard ditched his P-90 and grabbed the knife at his belt. The Wraith and Ronan were locked together, with Ronan too close to the Wraith for either Teyla or Sheppard to make a good shot. Sheppard reached around the Wraith and stabbed him in the chest repeatedly, giving Ronan enough room to scramble backwards and jump across to the jumper. The Wraith screamed in pain and rage, staggering backwards. Sheppard took the opportunity to jump the gap between the two ships as McKay revved the engines and started to lift off into the air.

The Wraith was not finished, however. With a desperate lunge, he jumped up towards the jumper, grabbing onto the edge of the ramp as it began to lift up. Teyla gave a warning shout, but Sheppard, the closest to the edge, was the first the Wraith latched onto, and with a mighty heave, the Wraith took Sheppard's legs out from under him with one sweep of his arm, and the two toppled backwards into the waves below the ship, disappearing in the choppy water with a giant splash.

"Rodney, stop!" Teyla screamed.

"What? What happened?" McKay yelled back from the captain's chair.

"Stop the ship!" Ronan ordered.

By now they were too far up for anyone to make a dive towards Sheppard and the Wraith.

"Rodney, take us back down," Teyla commanded. "The Wraith grabbed Colonel Sheppard. They are both in the water."

Quickly, McKay maneuvered the ship down over the waters.

Ronan and Teyla surveyed the waves beneath them, but all signs of the Colonel and the Wraith's entry into the water had vanished in the choppy water.

"Scan for their lifesigns!" Teyla ordered. "I cannot see where they are."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Beneath the waves a silent, desperate struggle was going on. Sheppard and the Wraith sunk deeper and deeper into the waters, fighting over the P-90 attached to Sheppard's vest. Sheppard had managed to loosen the gun from his vest and was trying to aim it towards the Wraith, praying that it would work in the frigid waters. His breath was nearly gone, and his lungs were screaming for air. His fingers were numb from the cold and all dexterity was gone as he fumbled for the trigger. The Wraith was tearing at his vest, trying to get it opened for better access to his chest where he could go in for a killing blow.

Sheppard was kicking and struggling against the Wraith, trying to turn the P-90 towards the alien and get a good bearing. He barely registered the four giant shapes floating around them, monstrous shadows in the darkening waters. His first thought was of the whale that Rodney had talked about after his jumper incident in the waters of the planet, but he was desperately fighting for his life – and no thought of trepidation about the creatures of the deep entered his mind.

Sheppard managed to unclip the P-90 and was turning it up towards the Wraith when the alien grabbed the end of the gun and gave a mighty pull. Sheppard's waning strength was no match for the Wraith's, and the gun was pulled from his hands. With a mighty swing, the Wraith cut a giant swath through the water with the gun, connecting with the side of Sheppard's head with a crack. Sheppard instantly went limp, limbs outspread in the water. The Wraith had been propelled backwards with the force of the blow, but as he swam forwards towards the unconscious human, one of the shadows that had been floating around them detached itself from the group and loomed closer. Sensing a presence behind him, the Wraith turned to encounter a gaping maw heading towards him. Backpedaling in the water, the Wraith was not fast enough. With a crunch, the whale’s jaws closed on the alien's body, and he was gone.

Sheppard floated, still and silent in the water. One of the whales passed beneath him, turning an inquisitive eye towards his unconscious figure.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I'm picking up Sheppard's tracker," Rodney said. "Underwater . . . whoa!"

"What is it?" Ronan demanded.

"He's - he's moving."

"So?" Ronan raised an eyebrow.

"So he's moving way too fast!" McKay scanned his sensors again. "No, no, no. This can't be right."

"How fast?" Teyla asked.

"This can't be right." McKay shook his head and looked up at his comrades. "According to this, he's moving at 50 clicks towards the mainland."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

His vision was slow in coming, but Sheppard was aware of a blue sky flying above him, and a warm breeze blowing over his wet skin. A constant spray of seawater covered him in a fine mist, and he was aware of a warm, smooth wet surface that he was lying on. His head throbbed and the edges of his vision blackened into night.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"He's on the mainland," McKay said.

They had followed Sheppard's signal until they hit the mainland with still no sign of the Colonel or his mysterious mode of transportation.

"There is no way he could have traveled so far so fast," Teyla said. "The dart was exactly where we left it."

"Yes, but remember I picked up four other lifesigns around the Colonel and the Wraith before we lost contact," McKay replied.

"It wasn't another jumper," Ronan said. "Nobody else is out."

"Could it have been the Athosians on the mainland?" Rodney asked as he began his final approach to the shore.

"The Athosians do not trust the water as much as you do," Teyla said. "I highly doubt that they were out this far from the mainland."

"Colonel Sheppard's signal is getting stronger," Rodney said, taking another look at his readouts.

Teyla and Ronan peered out the window, looking at the beach below them.

"There," Teyla exclaimed, pointing excitedly. "I see him!"

Rodney set the jumper down on the sandy beach seconds later, and Ronan and Teyla took off running down the beach as soon as the jumper door opened. Sheppard was lying facedown, unconscious on the sand, his clothes already drying in the sun.

Ronan flipped him over onto his back, and Teyla felt for a pulse, she looked up at Ronan, relieved. "His pulse is strong," she said.

"Looks like he got hit in the head," Ronan observed. The gash on Sheppard's head was blackening from the dried blood.

"We need to get him back to Atlantis right away," Teyla responded.

Without further ado the pair lifted Sheppard to Ronan's back and carried him to the jumper.

"Is he okay?" McKay demanded. "Where's the Wraith?"

"We saw no one else," Teyla answered. "We need to get back to Atlantis now."

"Wha - but how'd he get here?" McKay sputtered. "There's no way he swam all that way!"

"I do not know," Teyla replied, "but we need to get him back right away."

Ronan pushed past McKay to the consoles and started pushing random buttons.

"Hey!" McKay protested, shoving the bigger man out of the way as he sank into the pilot's seat. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Just trying to get you moving," Ronan said with a grin.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back on Atlantis it did not take long for Sheppard to regain consciousness. He was met with the sight of his teammates and Dr. Carson Beckett staring down at him with worried eyes.

"Wassgoinon?" he slurred.

"How are ye feelin', Colonel?" Beckett asked.

"Head hurts." He squinted at the people around his bed. "Why are you all looking at me like that?"

"Do you remember what happened yesterday?" Teyla asked.

"Yesterday?"

"We were looking at that Wraith dart out in the ocean . . ." Ronan prompted.

"And it was alive," Sheppard said.

"Yes, and then you had to be stupid and think that you could go kill the thing," McKay said impatiently.

"Hey!" Sheppard glared at him. "How else were we supposed to figure out if it was alive or not?" When Rodney opened his mouth to reply, Sheppard cut him off. "Never mind. It's over. We're fine. Everybody's fine. Right?"

Everyone shuffled their feet nervously.

"What?" Sheppard looked around at his teammates. "What happened? Am I missing something here?"

"Do you remember what happened after you fell in the water?" McKay asked.

Sheppard paused for a moment, thinking. "I was fighting with the Wraith. I was trying to get my P-90 off the strap and he pulled it away from me. Then . . . then he must have hit me in the head or something because I can't remember what happened."

"Nothing? Nothing at all between then and waking up here?" McKay pressed.

Sheppard tipped his head. "Well, I did have this dream that I was staring at the sky and I was really wet . . . and I was thinking about whales."

"Whales?" Carson looked very confused.

"I knew it!" McKay shouted. "I told you it was the whales!"

"Hey! What are you talking about?" Sheppard demanded. "All I said was that I was thinking about them."

"After you fell in the water, we tracked you moving towards the mainland at 50 clicks," Teyla explained. "We could think of no explanation other than Rodney's."

"Which was?" Sheppard pressed.

"Which was the plain and simple fact that you were rescued by whales," McKay explained proudly.

Sheppard stared at him.

"You're all nuts."