Cassie has to make a deal with Kolya to get John released after he is taken captive.
It was more than 24 hours later that the infection finally left her system and Cassie awoke the following morning to an empty infirmary feeling grumpy, hungry and in withdrawl for caffeine. Pulling on the sweatpants and tanktop that had been folded neatly on the chair beside her bed by a thoughful person, she cautiously checked to see if the hallway was clear and decided to go and find some food and company. Passing Elizabeth's office, she heard raised angry voices, John and Elizabeth's, and paused outside the room when she heard her name mentioned.
“I don't trust him Elizabeth. A week? With only two marines for escort? Does he really think we would allow that?”
“I know John, that this puts us in the position of having to trust him, especially since that trust has yet to be earned. But we need those nuclear weapons and we need to convince him that the approaching hive ship is the perfect practice target for those weapons. He has guaranteed Cassie's safety and that is the only trade he will agree to. I suggest we take him up on his offer to have you and Rodney go to inspect the weapons to see if they are worth us considering the trade further.”
Curious as to what she would be required to do for 'a week', Cassie tapped at Elizabeth's door before entering, bringing a surprised look from Elizabeth and an angry glare from John.
“And just what the hell are you doing out of the infirmary?” Before she could answer, his comm activated, causing his scowl to darken further. “Yes Carson, she IS, right here. Remove her bodily, did you say? Use of any force necessary? Uh huh...I'm sure I can comply. Sheppard out!” He pointed a stern finger toward the door. “You! Infirmary... now!” She started backing up toward the door, a little disconcerted by his scowling face and raised her hands in defence. “I just wanted food... and caffeine, and company... and caffeine... did I mention caffeine?” Not giving John time to answer, she slid out of the door and made a hasty exit towards the cafeteria. She made it only it as far as the cafeteria door before strong hands clamped around her waist and she was hauled against the hard body of Colonel John Sheppard. “Damn fool woman!” he growled “You're just getting over a severe infection, hell Cassie, Carson said you could have died! You need to get back into bed now and stop disobeying orders. Is that clear?” He didn't give her time to answer, simply turned her so that her startled gaze flashed across his face and she then was slung over his shoulder fireman style, amongst applaud from the handful of people in the cafeteria. He did however, pause to snag a cup of coffee and with Cassie protesting very loudly all the way, marched down to the infirmary.
As he righted her, Cassie noticed that Carson looked no less forgiving than John and his finger pointed straight at the bed she had so recently vacated. “You are driving me crazy lass! I turn my back for five minutes and you escape. Colonel Sheppard has more important things to do than go running around looking for you!”
“He's made all that perfectly clear” Cassie sparked, then just as suddenly her posture drooped and she said the next words in a small voice. “I'm sorry Carson, I just wanted something to eat and I needed a coffee really badly... and I was feeling kinda lonely.” John and Carson looked at each other,their matching scowls disappearing, and John lifted the coffee he held in his hand and quirked an eyebrow at the doctor who gave a weary nod, knowing it was a lost battle. “Fine, one coffee!”.
Her posture straightened and the ensuing smile was instantaneous as though the sun had come out again. She slid off the bed and hugged Carson. “You are just a teddy bear, really, aren't you? A lovely soft big hearted teddy bear.” Carson shook his head embarassed, catching John's amused eye over the top of her head and gently pushed her away and back to her bed. “And you my dear, have the innate skill to wind all men around your little finger!”
“What about me? I've got the coffee. That has to be worth...something?” John held it out invitingly but withdrew it when she replied. “You? You lost serious points when you threw me over your shoulder like some sort of caveman throwback!” She dodged around him to reach the coffee he held behind his back. “Come on John, give it up, never get between a woman and her caffeine... that is just... wrong!
Seeing the teasing light in her green eyes, he did concede the coffee and she turned those laughing green eyes on his as she took that first sip, closing them in appreciation. He took the cup from her while she settled herself back onto the bed and leaning comfortably back against the pillows, she patted the covers beside her. “Can you say a while and keep me company... and tell me what you and Elizabeth were arguing about... hmmm...” She sipped her coffee, and widened those green eyes innocently at John. John exchanged a look with Carson and murmered. “Atlantis' secret weapon... we can put her in a room with our enemies and she'll extract every secret within minutes, and all with a look...”
Carson chuckled and chose wisely not to disagree. He doubted that many men would be immune to the force that was Cassanda Devon.
John replied to Cassie in defeat. “I can't give you 'a while' honey, but I can give you a few minutes, then I've got work to do.” He settled comfortably onto the bed and told her about the proposed trade that had been discussed during the video communication between Commander Kolya and Elizabeth two nights ago. Kolya had offered several nuclear weapons in return for Cassie giving a series of performances over the space of one week in order to impress some visiting military leaders. John had insisted that if it was military then he needed to be there also, but Kolya wanted to cultivate the relationship first, before bringing the earth military to the table. Cassie had finished her coffee while she listened, and John took the empty cup and placed it on the shelf behind her, picking up her hand and absently stroking it, not even aware he was doing so.
Cassie gave an involuntary shiver. “I don't like him John, I don't sense anything 'good' in him, he keeps things tightly in check, but he is wound too tightly and someone like that eventually snaps. But after you interupted us the other night, he backed off, and he's not stupid enough to ruin his chance at making a serious alliance with us, is he?” His thumb continued to stroke a caress across the back of her hand calming her and she settled back against the pillows, still feeling the after affects from the infection her body had battled.
“Rodney and I will go this afternoon and we'll see if the trade from their end is a viable one, before agreeing to any trade from our end. He has not permitted me to escort you and I will not allow anyone else to be in charge of your security for the week, so we will need to negotiate something else.” John noticed that her eyes had drifted closed and carefully rose from the bed, turning to see Carson smiling at him.
“Well Colonel, whatever you've got I'd like to bottle it up and dispense it as medicine. I'd make a bloody fortune. She's highly strung and you manage to settle her down in five minutes. It's a bloody miracle!” John smiled back and gave Carson an affectionate clap on the shoulder, sparing one last glance at Cassie. He felt his axis tilt slightly again.
John and Rodney left that afternoon, John continuing to harbour an uncomfortable feeling about the whole proposal. Upon their arrival on the Genii home planet, they were met what appeared to be farmers and agricultural workers and were to be escorted to Kolya. The pathway from the stargate went through lust farmlands and it was obvious from the healthy crops and farm stock that they were a successful farming culture. They stopped at a grain silo and one of the 'farmers' lifted the cuff of this peasant shirt to reveal a communication device. He keyed this to activate it and his simple peasant persona was dropped and he was suddenly all military. Impressed in spite of himself, John followed the Genii and Rodney down through the silo and into a subterannean maze of developed tunnels.
“Welcome to the war room Colonel Sheppard and Doctor McKay.” Commander Kolya stood before a large screen that monitored all movement on the surface and in the air. “I trust you had a pleasant journey through our farmlands?” Koyla's smile was not quite sincere and did not meet his cold watchful eyes. His military staff who stood around the large room, were weapon ready John noted, while he felt at a distinct disadvantage after having to relinquish theirs upon arrival in the subterranean chambers.
“So, Commander Kolya. Those nuclear weapons. We are anxious to see them.” John did not wish to waste time with pleasantries. “Of course. Layton, he is my head scientist. He will escort Doctor McKay to the laboratories, while you and I have a little chat.”
Rodney followed Layton to his laboratory and examined the nuclear weapon that was in the final stages of completion. It appeared, to Rodney's expert eye, that they were still missing a final ingredient to make the weapon 100% ready for testing, but Rodney, after a long and rewarding consultation with Layton, assured him that he would be able to complete it through to the final phase of testing. “I have to admit Layton, I am impressed with what you have achieved here. Your technology is to scale with what earth was over 60 years ago and you have done remarkably well to get this far with the knowledge and technology you have.” Layton flushed with pleasure at Rodney's praise, acknowledging that Rodney was indeed a superior mind. “You have built nuclear weapons before Doctor McKay?”
“High school science my friend... some of us were more intelligent than our professors.”
Happy that Rodney could indeed recommend that his trade go ahead as planned, they made their way back to the war room, intent on passing on his recommendation to John. Rodney stopped in surprise upon entering the war room. John was seated on a chair in the middle of the room, ankles and wrists bound and a semi circle of Genii standing with weapons at the ready, trained on John.
“Colonel Sheppard! Commander Kolya! Just what the hell is going on?” Alarmed, Rodney turned to Layton who had been following him. “I am sorry Doctor McKay. I too, am only following orders.”
“Doctor McKay?” Rodney looked at Kolya as he strode briskly to stand in front of John. “Colonel Sheppard will not agree to my demand. That is quite unfortunate. I want the girl. Here. Initially I requested her here to perform for my guests for one week, but I am a greedy man and as I told Colonel Sheppard the other night, I am used to taking what I want. And I want her. She is particularly fetching, is she not Colonel Sheppard?” John growled ominously at Kolya, not trusting himself to speak. “If you want Colonel Sheppard to live, you will go back to Atlantis and pass my message on to Dr Weir. I will open a communication channel in two hours to hear her decision. If the girl is not sent here, I will shoot Colonel Sheppard in the leg and we will continue negotiations from there.”
John twisted and pulled against his restraints, hatred burning in his eyes. “You will never have her Kolya. It is the policy of my country never to give in to terrorists. Your demands will be ignored.”
“Oh, I don't think so Colonel Sheppard. After all, I will be throwing in the nuclear weapons to sweeten the deal. Go, Doctor McKay. Your two hours have already started ticking down.”
Fighting both anger and fear, Rodney was escorted back to the stargate where he gave his IDC and with a sickening feeling in his stomach at having to face what was on the other side, entered the stargate.
It was just Elizabeth to greet him on the other side and for that, he was grateful. “Rodney?” Rodney did not look well and Elizabeth was concerned at the greenish tinge to his face. “Where is Colonel Sheppard?”
“They're holding him hostage Elizabeth! It's a mess. They're going to shoot him! Kolya wants Cassie. You've got two hours!” Elizabeth struggled to follow Rodney's outburst. “Slow down Rodney, you're making no sense.”
Rodney took a deep breath and Elizabeth led him through it slowly, stopping him when necessary to ask questions. Her face serious, she keyed her comm. “Major Lorne, Ronan, Teyla, we have a problem. Please come to my office now.”
Ten minutes later Rodney was repeating the events of the afternoon to the others and Elizabeth looked at her watch when he had finished. “So, we can expect communication in what, 80 minutes? This gives you time to organise your marine forces Major Lorne. We need to show Commander Kolya that we won't take this serious breach of trust lightly. Can you be ready to move out in 30 minutes?”
Lorne snapped to attention. “Of course Doctor Weir. Thirty minutes.” Lorne departed with Ronan and Teyla following him and Rodney breathed in relief. “Yes, of course, a rescue mission. Why didn't I think of that? Should have thought of that!”
Tempted to slap Rodney across the face to end his babbling, she ushered him out of her office and contacted Carson to warn him of the situation and advise that under no circumstances was he to let Cassie know what was taking place.
Thirty minutes later she met Lorne and an impatient Ronan with three teams of marines in the gate room, fully armed and battle ready. 'OK Major, Ronan, you have a go. Go, bring him back.”
The Genii soldiers guarding the gate were no match for the group of marines, despatching them neatly and efficiently with their superior training and weapons. Following Rodney's instruction on how to get to the grain silo that led to the subterannean chambers where Colonel Sheppard was being held, they stormed the room, weapons at the ready to find it empty, and after a thorough search of all the rooms and subterannean hallways they made their way back to the gate to dial Atlantis and give their report.
“What do you mean he's not there?” Rodney was nearly hysterical. “He was tied to a chair in the middle of the room. Why would they move him?”
Elizabeth turned to Rodney. “Think about it Rodney. They knew we would come for him.”
“Major Lorne, the communication will come through in ten minutes. Stay where you are until we hear from them and I'll see if their transmission allows any clues as to where he might be held.”
Ten minutes later, right on schedule, a video link was established by Kolya with Atlantis. Smiling smugly in front of a camera, he stepped aside slightly so that Elizabeth could see John bound to a chair. She mentally filed away as much detail about the room as she could, intending to relay this information to the waiting marines. “Commander Kolya. It seems our trust in you was misplaced. Once broken, trust cannot be regained, I hope you realise that.”
“Dr Weir, I have given you my demand. Send through the girl and we'll return Colonel Sheppard unharmed. Simple really.”
“Not so simple Kolya. We don't negotiate with terrorists. I'm sure Colonel Sheppard has already made that clear.” Elizabeth willed herself to remain calm.
“In that case I will shoot Colonel Sheppard in the leg. It will hurt and he will bleed substantially, but it will not be a fatal wound. In two hours I will ring you again and hope that you have come to a more favourable decision.”
At that moment Cassie entered the gate room, hoping to greet Rodney and John on their expected return from their mission, and and came to a stop in front of the video feed just as Kolya raised his gun and shot John in the leg at close range. John screamed in pain, unable to do anything but rock forward with his hands tied, but at Cassie's answering scream, his head snapped up and anger replaced the pain in his eyes. “Get her out of there, for God's sake Elizabeth.” His words were cut off with a hiss of pain and Cassie, anger churning inside her, moved closer to the screen.
Kolya's greedy eyes were quick to feast on Cassie as he caught sight of her.“Ah sweet Cassandra. I knew you would be the one to see reason. I am sure you don't want to see your precious Colonel Sheppard suffer any more than he already has.”
“What is he talking about Elizabeth? Will someone tell me what is going on?” Carson ran into the gateroom then and attempted to forcibly remove Cassie from the room. “Come on lass, you don't need to be here, to see this.” Struggling free, she screamed at Kolya. “What do you want Kolya. Do you want me? You can have me, send John back... you can have me...” Still feeling weak she slumped slightly and Carson was there to steady her. “Don't do this to yourself lass!”
John's voice rose in the background, filled with anger and pain. “No Cass, I won't allow it! Kolya you miserable bastard, you lay one hand, one finger on her and I will KILL YOU.” John struggled against his bonds and Cassie, left with no other choice announced to Elizabeth and Kolya “We'll make the trade!” Kolya smiled in satisfaction and severed the communication.
Rodney snapped his fingers impatiently. “Yes, yes! Pretend to make the trade, use her as a decoy to get Kolya's goons to lead her and marines to John, then overpower them! Cassie won't be in any real danger that way, will she? She'll have cover the whole time.”
“Rodney, you may be onto something. We've got Lorne standing by and I'll get him back here now to organise this.” She turned now to Cassie, a stern expression on her face. “ Cassie, you effectively undermined myself and John's authority and you will have to deal with those consequences when this is all over, but for now, get yourself into tactical gear, you will go in as protected as we can make you.”
“No Elizabeth. No tactical gear. He wants a mistress? He wants the woman he saw the other night, he'll get that woman Elizabeth, but he'll also get more than he bargained for! Teyla, I need your help, please.”
“You can't be serious?” Carson was beside himself. “I cannot allow my patient to leave the base, much let putting herself at risk in such a way. Is everyone here insane? This is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard!”
Cassie's eyes shot green sparks and she stilled the noise in the room. “Shut up everyone! This is my decision, I will not leave him there to die.” Energised and fully charged by something almost tangible that burned inside her, she stormed off to her room, with Teyla in close pursuit. Flinging garments aside, she located the items she wanted and with Teyla assisting with impossibly tight closures, slithered into some of the most provocative attire that Teyla had ever seen. Buttery soft leather pants, fitting Cassie's lithe legs like a second skin, tiny bustier top, also in leather promoting far more cleavage than she would ever normally put on display topped off with knee high boots with killer six inch heels.
When she walked into the gate room fifteen minutes later, she sizzled, and Carson put a hand to his heart as if it required a restart. “Oh my lord...” he managed. The soft leather moulded her delectably rounded bottom, and those breasts – Carson shut his eyes to stop the indecent thoughts and opening them again, saw the cloud of blonde curls that fluffed out and hung nearly to her leather clad bottom... his eyes travelled down further, and oh those naughty naughty boots...
Elizabeth's hand went to her mouth and could manage to find no words and the fumbling gate technician somehow managed to dial the gate and Cassie stepped through.
Major Lorne closed his eyes and counted to ten before opening them again, and wished NEVER to be in the same room as John when he laid eyes on her dressed like that in public. One marine cracked “where's the whip?” and Cassie only had to walk up to him with that sassy sexy walk and stare him straight in the eye and he wilted readily before her. It was Ronan who managed to lighten the mood a little, laughing slightly and muttering something under his breath that sounded like “way too hot for Kolya to handle...”.
Cassie handed the directions that Kolya had relayed on where the trade would take place. The heeled boots were not a wise choice given the amount of walking that was involved and it was over an hour before they arrived at the agreed meeting place. Ronan took his place close to Cassie, his intention to not let the Genii commander anywhere near her. He bent down slightly to speak to her. “You know what to do?”
Her voice came out harshly. “Keep Kolya at a distance, allow Major Lorne and the marines to secure the perimeter and to take out the Genii guards, and yes Ronan, Kolya is MINE!” She patted the Beretta that she had tucked into the waistband of the leather pants. “You get John out and to safety.”
“Yes Boss!” he answered wryly and for his trouble he received an answering kick from the toe of those rather lethal boots.
“Shh, I hear something...” Lorne and his marines fanned out, melting into the surrounding trees. Kolya stepped into the clearing, John propped up between two Genii guards, with several Genii guards fanned out in a semi circle, weapons trained on both Ronan and Cassie in the front, and outwards to the trees. They stopped several feet away from Cassie and Ronan and John's face as he saw Cassie, was like thunder. Unable to stop herself, she made to run toward him, only to be held back by Ronan who slid a hand to her waist and around her stomach, effectively anchoring her to him. Cassie saw the shutters go down over John's expression and knew at that moment that he may not forgive her for what she was about to do.
“Cassandra. You came and oh, a more beautiful sight I have never seen.” Kolya's eyes roamed hungrily over her and Cassie drew herself up proudly, facing him as an equal not as a victim and felt the surge of anger that shot through her needing to take direction. He continued, eyes never leaving hers. “You are indeed a most stunning woman unlike any I have encountered before. You will be my perfect mistress and will complete my collection of beautiful things.”
Ronan tightened the hand that banded her stomach, feeling the clutching spasms that marked her ragged breathing and sensing the vibrating anger that pulsed through her. “Easy girl...” he whispered. “We only get one shot at this.” He too had seen the shuttered expression on John's face and knew that he would never understand or approve her reasons for doing this.
Ronan's hand began inching toward his weapon, partially out of sight by the arm that held Cassie, when at that moment Major Lorne and his marines stepped out of the treeline, weaponless with hands behind their heads, herded towards the others by Genii guards who had preempted their plan.
Kolya was getting impatient. “This is how it will work Cassandra...”
“Don't call me that Kolya!”
“Ahh beautiful Cassandra, I will address you as I wish. You will walk toward me and stand to my left. Once you have arrived at my side, my guards will release John to his people, and they will remain here under my guard for a short time until we have had the chance to make our exit gracefully. You will then be allowed to leave. Do not try to follow us or I will be tempted to hurt her, but just the parts of her that cannot be seen. I do not wish to marr perfection.”
At this point Cassie paled and if it wasn't for Ronan's arm holding her close, she would have fallen. A Genii guard came up beside Ronan and removed his weapon, but did not search him for the many concealed weapons, mainly knives of varying descriptions, that he carried. Cassie was wrong. Kolya was his and he only needed one clear shot.
Ronan removed his arm from around Cassie's stomach and she walked towards Kolya, but her eyes were on John, but the anger she saw there made her flinch. As she neared him, she stumbled slightly and reached out to him and saw him flick a contemptuous glance at her attire and deliberately look away. “Don't.” John ground out. “Don't touch me!” Cassie's eyes filled with tears, but John hardened his heart and she felt Kolya's cold hand grab her arm as he reached her side and chuckle delightedly. “So, it seems you are to be mine afterall and without a fight, Colonel Sheppard appears to have grown tired of you. Such a shame.” He ran his hand suggestfully down her back and let it linger on her bottom and seeing her shudder John felt a hot clawing sickness and leaned over to dry retch. “You are dead Koyla...” he whispered.
He was taken to Lorne, Ronan and the others and the sudden distance between him and Cassie widened like an impossibly large chasm. Ronan quickly freed one of his knives, but Koyla had placed Cassie so that she was in his line of fire and he grunted angrily at being unable to get a clear shot. The Genii guard backed up until they were fully covering the pair and a vague corner of John's mind was able to appreciate the controlled and expert military strategy that the Genii had displayed. Ronan lined up for another shot, then realised in a rush of anger, that Cassie and Kolya were no longer in amongst the guards, and then they too, were gone.
“Ronan! Give me a weapon. The window is closing. We need to go after them now!” Ronan pushed John down onto the ground. “You need to get that wound bandaged first, you're not going anywhere until I do that!” While he utilised one of the field dressings in John's tactical vest, Major Lorne took his marines and attempted to follow, but returned shortly after to report that all tracks had let to a cave that upon searching, they had found empty with no apparent exit points and no tracks leading out.
“Colonel Sheppard, we need to get back to Atlantis. You need medical attention and we need to get weapons and bring back Rodney and Zelenka to go over that cave with a fine tooth comb. Given the fact that this planet is basically an underground city, it is likely that there are secret entrances all over and that one of them is in that cave. Rodney will figure it out in no time!”
John, in severe pain and in danger of losing too much blood, did not argue and Ronan hoisted him to his feet, firmly supporting him and they made the long trek back to the stargate. The big man tried to break through John's stony silence.
“John! We couldn't have stopped her, you know that. You wouldn't have done anything less, nor would any of us.”
“Damn it to hell Ronan! It's my job!” John's fury was tangible.
“No, it's not Colonel. Don't fool yourself. It's always been more than that. She's always been more than that!”
“Don't tell me what she is and what she ISN'T Ronan! What she just did was mindblowingly stupid, but if anything happens to her, this is on YOUR head, just as much as hers.”
Angrily he pushed himself away from Ronan and dragged himself unaided the remaining distance to the stargate, using the pain to fuel the anger further, because without the anger, there would be only fear and he could not allow that.
John was taken straight to the infirmary upon their return while Ronan and Lorne filled Elizabeth in on the failed mission. Carson felt the anger coming off John in tangible waves and knew he needed to get the Colonel to settle down a little before his anger tipped over into the red zone and the point of no return.
“John?” No reply, just stony angry silence. “John!” more forcibly this time. “I need you to listen to me and you're not to say anything until I have finished. Agreed?” Something in Carson's voice drew John's eyes upward and he saw something in Carson's eyes that made him give an abrupt nod.
“I know you're angry, disappointed and a whole range of other things and believe me son, you have a right to be. It was a wrong call on her part, a stupid one if I may say so, but her heart made the decision, not her mind. You understand that, don't you?” He did not wait for a reply. “When she saw you shot, everything else shut down, sort of like you are doing now, and only one thing mattered, saving you. I was there son, I saw her eyes and knew that nothing on this earth would stop her. Reason went out the bloody window, and if I know the lass correctly, she is likely sitting there regretting it and wishing she could do it differently. But what's done is done. You can sit there sulking, or you can let me patch you up sufficiently to get you back out there and you can go get your woman. Because she would expect no less of you.”
John huffed out a frustrated and angry breath, but a little of the heat had gone, just as Carson had hoped. “She's NOT my woman!”
“Aye son, maybe not yet, but she will be. One day.”
In brooding silence, John let Carson patch up the bullet wound and coming to a decision he keyed his comm. “Elizabeth, organise some teams. I'm going after her – now!” His voice held no room for argument and he left the infirmary with a clear plan in his mind.