Bloodfire – Chapter 4: Primum tempus (first time)

  • Work in Progress
Content Rating:
  • NC-17
Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1


  • Character Bashing
  • Explicit Sex
  • Hate Crimes
  • Racism
  • Violence - Canon-Level
  • Action Adventure
  • Alternate Universe
  • Challenge Response
  • Drama
  • First Time
  • Pre-Relationship
  • Science Fiction
Word Count:

Author's Note:
Genres and warnings apply to the story as a whole, not this chapter in particular.

As Markham and Alvez tell their story, a disturbing picture starts unraveling.

Colonel Sheppard looked through the one-way window to the Bloodfire treatment room. On Dr. Beckett’s orders, Lania had quickly repurposed one of the treatment rooms for critical patients for their needs. The room was built to be totally aseptic, with complete air and climate control, and a decontamination energy field at the entrance.

Marcus Stackhouse was resting in one of the room’s beds, hooked up to a heart monitor in addition to the Ancient medical monitoring system and an IV drip. He seemed to be sleeping soundly and had a better color than a few hours ago, but he still looked gaunt, his cheekbones protruding visibly under the too pale, blotchy skin. Dr. McKenzie sat at his bedside, with both her hands over Stackhouse’s body and her eyes closed in concentration. John didn’t need infrared vision to know the Healer was working on their new Pridemate.

Jason Markham was lying on the bed next to his mate, with a temporary hard brace on his lower right leg. The bed had been pushed close and even in sleep, he kept a tight hold on his mate’s hand. Luke Alvez was sleeping in the bed besides him, bundled under a heavy blanket. Both looked too lean, without the usual healthy muscle tone of Bloodfires in their prime.

John heard the door of the observation room open and recognized Dr. Beckett’s personal smell, a mix of the spicy warm notes of his cologne, medical antiseptics and the distinct spicy undertone of his people. The doctor walked up to his side.

“How are they, Carson?”

“Jason ‘n’ Luke are undernourished, but nothing that some good meals won’t fix. They told me that maintaining our usual high-calorie diet would have eaten up th’ Athosians resources, so they had to compromise. Jason was limping because his ankle healed at a wrong angle. We had to break it again, but a’m certain it’s going to heal well in a few hours. Marcus however…” the doctor broke off, looking at his patient through the one-way mirror.

“The truth, Carson. How bad it is?”

“A’ve never seen or read about anythin’ like this, John,” Carson admitted, looking back at him. “It’s like his regenerative system didn’t know if it has to heal or attack him, ‘n’ is doing both by bursts, which in turn has affected his immune system ‘n’ is keeping his body under extreme stress.” The doctor sighed. “For now, we can only keep him stable if a Healer is constantly monitoring him ‘n’ blocking th’ negative reactions. We’ve set a rotation, but this is only a temporary solution.”

“Any ideas?”

“Nae yet. We’ve spend a’ night healing th’ damage ‘n’ stabilizing him. A have my people running full genetic, blood ‘n’ metabolic tests, maybe that’ll shed some light.”

John took a good look at Carson. His hair was a disheveled mess, his uniform looked rumpled like he had slept in it, and his beard was darker than his usual scruff, with more than a hint of shadows under his eyes that even his Healing couldn’t disguise. “You look like hell.” Carson snorted while he tried to pull his shirt straight. “The debrief is still four hours away. Try to rest a bit.”

“There’s still…”

“Do I need to make it an order?”


“Or maybe I should call your mate?” John smirked, his hand moving to the radio.

“No need for that, Alpha,” Kate announced behind them. She stood at the door, a very stern and determined look on her face as she scanned her mate.

“I’m leaving him in your very capable hands, Kate” John stated, moving away from the window.

“Thank you, John.”

As he walked out, he’d have sworn Carson whimpered.

The conference room was strangely somber the next morning. While Chuck was finishing setting up the recording equipment, John observed McKay, seated at his right. The man looked haggard, with bloodshot eyes peering over the extra-size coffee cup he was sipping while he rubbed his right temple in slow circles. John threw a worried look at Beckett. The doctor took up his tablet and typed up a quick message that immediately appeared in John’s screen.

Headaches getting worse. Bioscan didn’t show the cause. We’re waiting for the medical scanner.

Should he be here? John typed back.

No. And he shouldn’t be drinking coffee either. But have a go telling him that.

John grimaced. Moving a mountain might be easier.

Keep me informed, he told Beckett, who just nodded.

“The camera’s ready, Colonel” Chuck informed him.

“Thanks, Sergeant.” Chuck nodded and sat in a chair behind the camera. “Attention please, we’re starting,” John added, looking around the table. To his left, Colonel Caldwell sat straighter in his chair, with a half-written notepad before him. Beside Caldwell, Lorne finished his water bottle while Teldy tried to stretch out without being too obvious about it. Sergeant Reese, as ranking NCO, sat further down, looking mildly bored. Opposite him, Dr. Porter closed her laptop and reclined in her chair.

Markham and Alvez sat at the other end of the table. They still looked too lean to him, but their skin had a better tone and their eyes seemed brighter.

“Sergeant, start recording,” Sheppard ordered.

“Camera recording, Sir.”

“Formal debriefing of Staff Sergeant Jason Markham, USMC, and Lance Corporal Alex Alvez, USMC, regarding the First Atlantis Expedition. Present in the room are Colonel Steven Caldwell, USAF; Major Evan Lorne, USAF; Major Anne Teldy, USMC; Gunnery Sergeant Brian Reese, USMC; Sergeant Chuck Campbell, CAF; Dr. Rodney McKay, Dr. Carson Beckett, Dr. Alison Porter and myself, Colonel John Sheppard, USAF. Sergeant Markham, you may proceed.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Markham cleared his throat. “As you know, we gated to Atlantis 13 Earth-months ago…”

Atlantis Gate room, 13 months ago.

The city was dark and silent after the wormhole closed. The only ambient light was a pale bluish luminescence coming from several large windows located around the room, which made the flashlights mounted on their weapons the only viable light source, even with their limited range.

“Sergeant Markham!” Colonel Sumner barked.

“Yes, Sir?” Markham asked as he moved through the men to where Sumner stood.

“Let’s see if those senses of yours are good for something.” Markham didn’t need Sentinel senses to hear the smirk in the Colonel’s voice. “Tell me where the heck we are.”

Markham gritted his teeth and glared, happy for once that mundanes couldn’t see in the dark. “Yes, sir,” he finally answered, reigning in his temper. Walking to the front of the group, he dialed up his sight, but the moving flashlights interfered in his vision, forcing him to dial down. “Colonel, I need the flashlights to stay still.”

“Everybody, hold your weapons still!” Sumner grudgingly ordered.

“Thank you, Sir.” Markham dialed up his sight again and looked around. “Were in a circular room, with walls at our left and behind the gate, but there’s a closed door on our right,” he informed him. Behind Sumner, he saw Weir look around anxiously into the darkness. He frowned as he turned around. “In front of us, there’s a staircase. The landing branches out to the left to a circular wall. To the right, there are some structures,” he zoomed in. “I think they may be consoles, but they’re covered up.”

“Are there screens?” asked a voice behind him.

“I think so, Dr. Grodin. There are some crystal plates that resemble the outpost’s screens, but they’re difficult to see.”

“Anything else?” Colonel Sumner asked.

“To the right, I see a walkway that seems to lead to an empty crystal-walled room. And I think there are some stairs behind the consoles.”

“We need to check those consoles, Colonel,” Dr. Weir ordered. “Dr. Grodin, if you may?”

“Markham, Bates, accompany Dr. Grodin upstairs and…” Before Sumner could finish his orders, a single light switched on in front of the Stargate and a pillar rose out the floor, a metallic cylinder with a hand-shaped plate on top. It stopped at waist height, and a red light flickered on. Grodin and Zelenka approached it.

“What is it?” Weir asked her CSO, narrowing her eyes.

“The scans show nothing,” the Czech scientist answered in his accented English. “It’s not giving off any signals. I think it may be waiting for our input,” he suggested. Dr. Weir made a move to approach the plate. “Sergeant Markham is our strongest ATA carrier.”

“Yes, of course,” she agreed, crossing her arms to cover up the aborted movement.

Markham approached the pillar and placed his hand on the plate. The light flashed amber for several seconds, before switching to red again.

“Sergeant, what happened?”

“I’m not sure, Sir. I got a feeling of… disappointment?” he frowned, unsure.

“Dr. Grodin, try it,” Weir ordered.

Peter Grodin repeated Markham’s actions, and got the same result. “I’m sorry, but I’m getting the same. It feels like disillusion and… regret?” he wondered, looking at Markham.

“You’re talking like the city is alive,” Weir chastised them. Markham looked at Grodin, but neither said anything. Weir pushed Grodin aside and placed her hand on the plate, but the light didn’t switch to amber. She pressed down on the plate, her expression tightening, but the light remained stubbornly red. She took away her hand jerkily, closing it into a fist as she glared at the pillar. “Miller, Kusanagi, Alvez,” she snapped. “Try it.”

Lt. Miller made the first attempt, with the same result as Markham and Grodin. He shared a look with them, but didn’t comment. Dr. Kusanagi touched the plate hesitantly. The light seemed to flicker for a bit longer, before finally turning to red again. She looked somewhat between disappointed and relieved as she stepped away. Lance Corporal Alvez looked warily at the pillar, but placed his hand firmly. The result was the same: the light turned to red.

Dr. Weir glowered at them, her expression hard. “Abrams, Corrigan, your turn.”

Dr. Abrams put his hand down warily, nearly jumping when the scan activated, and scurried to the back of the group when he got identical results. Dr. Corrigan winced when he stopped at Weir’s side, quickly placing his hand on the plate. He flinched away from her when the light turned red once more, and the other Bloodfires in the group pulled him away to create a protective circle around the Empath.

“We don’t have any more ATA-positives,” Colonel Sumner pointed out. Weir threw him a flinty look, and turned back without answering him. As she opened her mouth, an amber laser swept through the room, causing an uncomfortable tingling sensation as it passed over them.

“What’s this?” Weir demanded.

“I think it’s scanning us,” Zelenka followed the light with his own scan. “It’s within safe parameters.”

As the laser vanished, the pillar descended to its hiding place again. In the top landing, a screen switched on to an angry red as an alarm blared into the gate room. Dr. Grodin ran up the stairs followed by Zelenka, Markham and Sumner. A message in white Ancient script appeared on the screen.

“What does it say, Dr. Burnham?”

“Rea bloodline not identified. Starting eviction protocol,” Burnham translated.

“The Stargate is dialing!” someone shouted from below.

Weir ran up the stairs, a thunderous look on her face. Zelenka moved quickly to one of the consoles, throwing the tarp away, but it remained inactive, even as Grodin and Markham touched it.

“We don’t have access!”

“Then get it!” she hollered. “Hack it if you have to, but get me control of this city!” Behind her, the Stargate flared to life.

Zelenka crouched down and pried loose a panel under the console. He pulled out an interface from his pack that they’d cobbled together at the outpost. It was a misshaped metal box with a USB port on one side and a crystal connector on the other, with a bastardized mix of Earth, Goa’uld and Ancient technology inside. Zelenka pushed the connector on an empty crystal slot and started typing quickly.

“It’s not accepting connection!”

Grodin crouched at his side, a hand on the console, willing it to activate while he read Zelenka’s screen over his shoulder. Suddenly, he jumped and pushed Zelenka away just before a surge of electricity ran through the connector and fried Zelenka’s tablet. Zelenka looked at him with wide eyes.

“I just got a feeling of… danger,” Grodin shrugged.

“Thank you, Peter,” Zelenka smiled, squeezing his friend’s hand. Grodin nodded with a smile.

A metallic screech rose from below just before an energy barrier started pressing against them. Zelenka staggered, holding on Grodin for support. Between them, they quickly recovered his equipment as the barrier keep pushing them towards the edge. They collided with Markham and Sumner, who were also being pushed out of the landing.

“What the hell is this, Doctor?” Sumner yelled.

“Force fields,” Zelenka gasped, crushed between Grodin and Sumner. On their side, Weir tried to resist, only to stumble down the steps as the implacable force field forced her out. She gasped in pain as she tried to stand, her right ankle doubling under her weight. Colonel Sumner caught her on time, carrying her down the stairs.

On the gate floor, the force field was pushing the expedition and their supplies towards the open Stargate. As the unyielding force field closed on them, they had no option but to step through the wormhole, pulling their equipment with them.

Markham was the last one to leave, pushing Zelenka through as the force field reached the gate.

Jason Markham took a gulp of icy water as the people around the table digested what they have just heard.

“Was there anyone else injured, apart from Dr. Weir?” Sheppard asked.

“A few contusions and scratches, but nothing serious, Sir. Dr. Weir’s sprained ankle was the worst of it.”

“What happened when you arrived at Athos?”

“Dr. Weir was furious.”

“She was spitting fire,” Alvez interjected.

“Yes, she was,” Markham agreed. “Zelenka and Grodin were taking a brutal dressing down when Teyla and her people appeared. They didn’t look pleased, and even less when we pointed our P90s at them.” McKay rolled his eyes, but refrained from commenting.

“Dr. Weir looked startled at first, but recovered quickly. She put on her best diplomatic mask and managed to negotiate an agreement with them in record time. The Athosians agreed to allow us to stay for the time being in exchange for medical care and help with the incoming harvest. They told us we could assemble our camp at a meadow on the other side of the grove. They only had one condition: that we didn’t set foot in their Old City. They believed that doing so will make the Wraith come.” Markham cleared his throat.

“When Teyla and her people left, Dr. Weir make it clear that she didn’t believe a word about the Wraith and used some… uncomplimentary adjectives to describe our hosts.”

“Give me an example, Sergeant,” Sheppard instructed.

“’Irrational’ and ‘primitive’ were thrown around,” Markham admitted.

Sheppard frowned at that. “Understood, Sergeant. Continue.”

“We spent the first two days setting up our camp and inventorying the supplies we had. Dr. Weir sent Dr. Cole and a nurse to the Athosian settlement as part of the deal. On the third day, Colonel Sumner sent Sergeant Stackhouse, Lance Corporal Smitty and myself on a reconnaissance mission of the Athosian settlement and the terrain around the Old City.”

“The same Old City you were asked not to enter?” Sheppard asked.

“Yes, Sir. Colonel Sumner told us that Dr. Weir wanted to check the city without the Athosians noticing. She wanted to know if there was any technology left or if it was a more suitable place to settle.”

“Even at the price of angering your hosts?” Caldwell asked. “Did Colonel Sumner agree with her?

Markham exchanged a side look with Alvez. “The Colonel… rarely disagreed with her,” he said, carefully.

“And why was that?” Sheppard asked, pinning him with a sharp look.

“Well, the first two nights on Athos we became… resoundingly aware that Dr. Weir and Colonel Sumner were… involved.”


“I don’t know if I would use that adjective to describe Dr. Weir, Sir, but it was certainly sexual.”

“She had him pussy-whipped,” Alvez blurted out. Becket choked with the coffee he was sipping, and Porter patted him on the back. Caldwell glared at him and Alvez looked down. “Pardon for the bluntness, Sirs.”

Sheppard cleared his throat. “Well, while I don’t think this is appropriate language in a debrief, it’s certainly… illustrative.” he told him, fighting a grin. At his side, McKay snorted, while Lorne and Teldy shared an amused look. “Anything to add, Sergeant Markham?”

Markham threw a baffled look at his friend before addressing Sheppard again. “Colonel Sumner was proving to be very agreeable to her suggestions, but we didn’t exactly find out how much control she had over him until later.”

“Understood, Sergeant. You can continue.” Sheppard ordered, reclining back in his chair.

“The truth is I can’t tell you much about the next few days, Sir, because that night Marcus, Sergeant Stackhouse, Fired up as my mate and we went Nesting.”

“I understand, Sergeant. Corporal Alvez?” Sheppard addressed the younger officer. “Could you tell us what happened afterwards?”

“Yes, Sir.” Alvez sat straighter in his chair, keeping his eyes focused on Sheppard to avoid Caldwell’s glare. “The next day, Dr. Weir wanted Lt. Miller, Dr. Grodin and myself to go to the Old City, and inspect it using our Gifts.” Caldwell took a quick look at his notes. “But Marcus and Jason, I mean, Sergeants Stackhouse and Markham, were Nesting, and… well, we were only a Pack of eight, Sir. If we went, only Drs. Kusanagi, Abrams and Corrigan would be left to protect them. They’re good people, but none of them is a Warrior and with more than 90 mundanes around with at least half of them armed…”

“Your protective instincts were working overdrive and didn’t allow you to leave,” Sheppard finished for him.

“Exactly, Sir. We refused, under the terms of the Covenant. Colonel Sumner backed down but Dr. Weir fli… didn’t take it well.”

“I can imagine,” Sheppard commented dryly.

“Colonel Sumner finally sent Sergeant Bates, Corporal Parker and Lance Corporal Smitty with Drs. Zelenka and Kavanagh for the mission.” Alvez explained. Sheppard saw McKay scowl when the second scientist was mentioned, and filed it for later. “About two hours after they left, the Stargate started dialing…”

Athos, 13 months ago

It was mid-afternoon when the gate activated. “We have gate activity,” Lt. Ford, who was serving on gate watch duty, reported through the radio.

Colonel Summer clicked his radio. “Take a defensive position,” he ordered. “Barroso, Walker, go to the gate! The rest of you, establish a defensive perimeter! Now!” The soldiers on camp moved quickly to follow the orders.

“Colonel, we have an inbound aircraft, and it’s fast!” Ford reported. “Two more! Three unknown aircrafts on the air, Sir! Two are en route to the Athosian settlement, but one is heading for you!”

The air was filled with a high-pitched whirring sound as the ships passed over the trees. Several Athosians came running of the forest, yelling “Wraith! They’re Wraith!” just before the ships’ white transport beams dematerialized them right in front of the soldier’s eyes.

“Fire on target!” Sumner ordered, and the air filled with the sound of about three dozen P90 firing simultaneously. Alvez and Miller joined them, but even with their enhanced Warrior hand-eye coordination, they missed. The point-nosed Wraith ship was fast, and started shooting red energy pulses at them as it flew over the camp. Their remaining Packmates were trying to move Markham and Stackhouse to a more protected position, but the Firing was making Stackhouse feverish and uncoordinated, and Markham snarled at anyone who tried to touch his Mate.

“Jordan, fetch the Stinger!” Sumner ordered.

“Yes, Sir!”

“They’re on the ground!” someone yelled. Several soldiers turned around and started shooting at the trees, targeting several nebulous white shadows that moved sluggishly between the trunks. In the air, the Wraith ship did a U-turn and flew back, sweeping its way through the camp. Two people disappeared into its beam before Lieutenant Jordan fired the Stinger and the missile took out the ship in a fiery explosion.

The reprieve didn’t last. As the remains of the ship rained over the camp, they could hear more people yelling and running through the trees, intermittently illuminated by flashes of white and red light coming from above.

“Ship inbound, Sir!”

Alvez turned around and saw another Wraith ship tracing an arc towards them. The white beam was sweeping a path that led directly to his Packmates, who had stumbled while trying to drag Markham and Stackhouse away from the white shadows. Miller’s P90 was their only protection, as they all lacked offensive Gifts.

For a moment, Alvez doubted. The white shadows were closer, but his Warrior instincts pulled him into the ship’s direction. Making a snap decision, he ran to his Packmates. Pushing Grodin back at the ground as he tried to get up, he tugged Miller down into the heap of bodies.

“Alvez, what are you…”

Miller’s question was cut off as Alvez closed his eyes and activated his Phantom Gift, extending it to pull everyone he touched out of phase with him. But he’d never tried to Phantom out seven people at once before, and he shook with the effort, his heart rate rushing up as he struggled with the extra mass. He was losing his grip on his Packmates when he felt a fresh wave of energy surging from inside him, allowing him to drag them all out of phase as the Wraith beam passed over them.

It hurt like hell. For a long moment, it was like all their now intangible nerves were on fire, scorching through them. As the beam moved away, Alvez let go, and they all became corporeal again. A loud explosion was the last thing he heard before passing out from the strain.

Alvez took a sip of water with a slightly shaking hand while Markham made a subtle sign that all Bloodfires in the room understood. Amping. Dr. Kusanagi.

“How many?” Sheppard asked, grimly.

“They took eleven of us,” Markham answered instead, “killed three more and left a dozen injured. They also captured more than two dozen Athosians, and seven more were killed.” He paused for a moment. “Of those, three fell to stray bullets from us.”

“Holy Goddess!” Becket murmured.

“Do you want to take a break, Corporal?” Sheppard asked.

“I’d prefer to finish this part first, if you don’t mind, Sir.”

“As you wish, Corporal. Please continue.”

“When I woke up, we were in the Old City. Lieutenant Miller told me that the Athosians had seen our people come running from the direction of the city, and realized we had done. They were livid and made us responsible for the culling. That’s what they call it, culling.” Markham laid a supportive hand on his younger friend’s shoulder. Alvez gave him a tight smile.

“They wanted us off their planet, but Dr. Weir refused. Miller said things went downhill fast. Some arrows flew out, and our people retaliated. He said he saw at least two Athosians fall to the bullets. Dr. Weir then ordered everyone to retreat to the city, keeping the Athosians away with our greater firepower.”

Alvez breathed deeply before continuing. “The next few days were tense. It was a stalemate. The Athosians couldn’t approach because of our weapons, but we couldn’t leave either, and they controlled the gate. We also had to leave most of our supplies behind. There was a potable water well, but food was short.”

“I never thought Sumner would be so stupid to allow a civilian to make such an awful tactical decision,” Caldwell frowned. “That’s not the man I knew.”

“You’re not the first to say that, Sir.” Markham agreed. “Sergeant Bates made a similar comment once, and he’d already served with the Colonel for three years by then.”

“What was Dr. Weir’s excuse?” Sheppard inquired.

“We don’t know, Sir,” Alvez replied. “They left Lieutenant Miller out from the meetings, and Dr. Weir wasn’t inclined to explain herself.”

“Lieutenant Miller was the highest ranked officer after Sumner,” Lorne remarked.

“Weir didn’t care and Colonel Sumner was never too keen about having a Bloodfire as XO. Lieutenant Ford took his place.”

“Ford was not even a year out of the academy!”

“But he’s mundane, Sir. Dr. Weir blamed us for failing to get control of Atlantis and for refusing to go to the Old City. She made it known that she didn’t trust us.” Sheppard clenched his teeth and exchanged an undecipherable look with Lorne.

“Sergeant Stackhouse and myself came out of Nesting two days after the Wraith attack,” Markham took over. “The next day, Teyla sent a messenger with a proposal. She offered to give us access to the gate, the address to a habitable but uninhabited planet and safe passage if we left immediately without hurting anyone else. Weir didn’t want to take it, but, for once, Colonel Sumner talked her into accepting. Weir also demanded all the supplies we had to leave behind at the camp and Teyla allowed it.” Markham sighed, slumping back on his chair. “Later, after we went to live with them, Teyla told us that she would have agreed to almost anything to get us away from her people.”

A tense silence fell over the room. Caldwell scribbled furiously onto his pad. Sheppard’s eyes looked dark, his mouth in a tight line with his extended claws grating into the tabletop. Teldy’s red Arachne eyes blazed in fury and static electricity cracked around Reese, while Lorne was using his hands to force his forearm bone spikes down. Beckett muttered under his breath, and, beside him, Porter held tightly on a slim object that had lost any previous resemblance to a pen. Even McKay looked somber, looking down pensively into his empty coffee cup.

Colonel Sheppard was the first to break the silence. “Sergeant Campbell, stop the recording. I think it would be good for everyone if we take a break now. We’ll reconvene here at 1500.”

As people filed out the room, Dr. Beckett moved to Colonel Sheppard’s side, and signaled Lorne and Teldy to stay too.

“What it is, Doctor?” Sheppard asked after everyone had left and the doors rotated closed.

“We have a problem, Alpha. A big one.”

“How big?”

Carson typed on his tablet and showed it to him. “Th’ test results came back. John, Stackhouse is a Proteus.”

John jerked back, looking at him incredulously. “A Nascent Proteus? I thought that was genetically impossible!”

“That’s th’ problem. His genetics are too clean for a Nascent. If a had seen them without knowing anythin’ about him, I would’ve pegged him as a half-blood.”

“Stackhouse was an Unfired half-blood, then?” Evan asked.

“Worse. He was a Halted half-blood. Th’ test found traces of FHI in his tissue samples. ‘n’ afore you ask,” Carson continued when he saw John open his mouth. “A’ve checked th’ database. There’s no record of a Halting.”

John looked grim. “How long ago was he dosed?”

“Aboot two years ago. A’m going to need to tak’ a look at his file after.”

“Does this have anything to do with his condition?”

“A need to do more tests, but ma instinct says aye.”

John pinned him down with a stern look. “Has any of the mundanes on your team seen these results?”

“Na, na, don’t worry about that.” Carson appeased him. “A had only our people workin’ on th’ tests ‘n’ I told them to encrypt th’ results.”

“Won’t they suspect?” Anne asked.

“Nae. Jean will upload a credibly edited version to th’ medical database tonight.”

“An unclaimed half-blood Proteus Halted without authorization,” John murmured. “Do you know the shitstorm this is going to be back on Earth? And that’s counting that the mundanes don’t get wind of it!”

Before anyone could answer him, the room’s doors swirled open, and McKay squeezed through even before they finished moving.

“Here it is!” he exclaimed, crouching down the floor and coming up with a small pill bottle clutched in his hand. As he turned around, he looked quizzically at them. “What the heck are you still doing there? They’re serving double chocolate cake today, and I don’t think anyone is going to save you a slice if you don’t hurry! I certainly won’t!” He warned them as he walked very quickly out of the room.

John shook his head in bewilderment and chuckled. “We’ll talk about this later,” he told his people, who were sporting grins themselves.

“McKay!” he yelled as he trotted after the scientist. “If you take the last slice, I swear I’ll tell Lania to make you shower with freezing water for a month!”


  1. Oh, how exciting. I’m enjoying this very much.

  2. I’m completely fascinated by this. Really great first chapters and the Bloodfires are so interesting as a concept. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m completely hooked, this is awesome!

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