John mounts a rescue for Cassie, angry at what she has done and Cassie finds out just how deep Kolya's obsession with her is.
Cassie knew that the moment she stepped into the dark cave with Kolya's hand clamped around her waist that she had made a serious mistake. The cave was very dark and damp and as she staggered over the uneven ground in her heeled boots, Kolya's hand firmed, sliding between the fabric of the bustier and the waistband of her pants to fan out on the exposed skin. She shuddered feeling a cold crawling sensation and the sudden urge to lean over and vomit. Taking small shallow breaths, she tried to remain upright and ignore the hand that played suggestively over her skin and they came to an abrupt halt at one side of the cave. Kolya manipulated a device on his wrist and a portion of the cave slid open, exposing a series of tunnels and she was thrust forward to feel the empty thud of the cave wall closing behind her.
Stumbling along in her heeled boots she lost count of how long they followed the dark and twisting tunnels. Unlike the ones near the Genii war room, these were undeveloped and Cassie realised that rescue may not be an option in the near future, given that this whole planet was likely home to a labyrinth of tunnels. Kolya kept a steadying hand clamped around her waist and the feel of his hands on her body continued to repulse her. His eyes would frequently fall on her, and the gleam in his eyes left her in no doubt that she was in some serious trouble.
They arrived in a well lit area that had been lavishly decorated, obviously Kolya's private quarters and Kolya led her inside, pausing first to cup her chin, none so gently so that her face was tipped upwards. “The opulence of this room, pales beside you my dear. I have spent many years accumulating beautiful objects and you will make a most delightful addition to this collection and have the privilege of becoming my wife.”
She pulled her face out of his grasp. “Wife? Are you serious Kolya? I will NOT marry you and you won't force me.”
Kolya's eyes glittered. “Of course I can my dear, in oh, so many ways. I think you need to be taught a little lesson in obedience and I'm pleased to say that I know just how to do this. I am needed for a time at one of our laboratories, but I shall leave you in a special place, to give you time to adjust to your destiny, and to make you say... a little more... ameniable?.. to me.”
“But first, we must remove these garments I think... your lesson will necessitate you being in a more natural state.. although.. I must say, these have certainly managed to accentuate your considerably fetching assets... yes indeed...” Kolya's hands began to untie the tight fastenings of the bustier and shutting her eyes briefly to block out his face, Cassie kicked out with her pointed toes, catching him in the shins. This only served to anger him further and she was slapped hard across the face, hard enough to bring a wave of dizziness washing over her, allowing him time to rip off the remainder of the bodice. Pushing her into a chair, he bent to unzip the boots, running a hand suggestively along the highly arched instep of her foot, sliding it up her calf, then when he made to unzip her pants, Cassie slapped his hands pleading... “Don't.. just don't... please, I'll do it...” Fascinated, he watched her unzip the pants, and drew her to her feet so that he could peel them down her legs. Standing before him in just her underwear, he roamed greedy eyes over her and his hands reached out to knead her breasts roughly, causing her breath to hitch on a barely suppressed sob.
“Yes my dear, you will be mine in all ways... soon. However, I wish us to be wed first.” Pulling her along with him, he opened a door to a recessed area on one side of the room. The interior was dark and damp smelling and he pushed her in, quickly closing and locking the door behind her. “Behave Cassandra” he called. “I don't believe you are the only occupant of that room.”
She heard his footsteps echoing away and in the period of silence that followed, heard the dripping of water, and a more ominous sound, a loud skittering of tiny claw like feet that send a thrill of fear down her spine. Shivering in just her underclothes, loathe to move around the room for fear of disturbing the other occupants, she slid down the wall, hugging as much warmth to her body as she could and let the hot tears come.
It was a long time before the tears stopped, and she hiccuped softly in the dark, terrified as the scittering sounds came closer and closer. At one point she felt something brush past her leg and she let out a scream she could no longer hold in and leapt up to bang on the door. “Kolya... please... let me out.... please...” There was silence on the other side of the door and she stood with her face pressed into the wood and waited for his return.
It was a long while later before she heard his footsteps outside the door. Twice the creature had ventured closer and both times she had kicked out at it, sending something flying with a scream of it's own. When Kolya opened the door, she fell into his arms without protest and be rubbed her cold, damp back to sooth her, feeling her shaking against him. “There, there, my love – this is just as it should be, you needing me...I believe your behaviour has undergone a most pleasing transformation. As a reward, I have brought you a wonderful gift, a most beautiful gown that I had made especially for you. You see sweet Cassandra, I have been planning your stay here since the night I met you.”
Releasing her, but keeping her hand firmly in his, he led her to a bowl of warm water with washcloth and towel folded neatly beside it. “It will be my pleasure to bathe you my dear. I have new undergarments for you, so we will remove these so that I can bathe you fully.”
A dullness has crept over Cassie, memories of being held captive by a pyschotic fan all too clear in her memory now as it was brought back by the captivity in the small dark room. This enabled her to lock away part of the now in a small part of her mind, and as such she was able to feel little shame as he drew down her panties and smoothed his hand down the length of her leg before following it with the washcloth and soapy water. She closed off that part of her mind so that she would not feel his touch, and while it remained almost asexual, showing reverence for her body rather than desire, she knew that would not last and she would likely be forced to do something that felt vile and dirty.
Kolya finished bathing and drying her and if he noticed her disspirited demeanor, he did not comment on it. She stood unmoving in the centre of floor while he gestured to a gown that hung from a rack on the wall. “Your gown my love. You will wear this for the banquet tonight so that my people can meet my future wife.” Cassie's eyes were drawn to the red and gold gown, that in another situation and time would certainly be deemed beautiful, however she felt only revulsion that she would have to wear this clothing of his chosing.
When she was dressed to Kolya's liking, he tenderly tucked her hand into the crook of his elbow and escorted her down a long tunnel. Cassie kept her eyes downcast, a shuddering feeling of sadness swept through and she wondered if she would see Atlantis.. Earth... John.. again.
The dinner, like everything in Kolya's life was lavish and as his guest of honour, she was seated at the head of the table with him and handed a goblet filled to the brim with a golden liquid. Her eyes, no longer sharp, idly looked down the length of the table, looking at faces and wondering how they could sit there and celebrate their leader taking a woman by force. In a burst of mental acuity she knew that he had broken her spirit just a little and knew also, that the sluggish feeling came from a drink he had given her while she was dressing. Then her brain dimmed again, and she welcomed the fog that would give her the strength to get through what she would be forced to endure.
His eyes glittered as she dutifully rose the goblet to her lips. “Drink this my sweet... drink it all. It is a most wondrous drink. I believe you will feel more... yourself, once you have finished it.” Hoping it would dull the pain just a little more, Cassie drank deeply and after that, there was little conscious thought.
Having arrived at the stargate in full battle dress, John had regained a little of his equilibrium and hardened his resolve to get Cassie out and kill Kolya. He pushed his anger for Cassie aside, it would be of no assistance in the field and concentrated instead on his anger for Kolya. He had been given a temporarily patch up job by Carson, while under any other circumstances he would not be happy to do this, he understood that the Colonel would leave under his own steam and it was better to help than hinder.
Anticipating Genii soldiers waiting for them at the gate, they had sent a MALP through first, and surprised to receive no welcome party, the team followed.
A lone figure stepped out from the treeline and instantly John and his team had weapons trained on him. Recognising Layton, John kept his weapon raised and walked up to Layton and pushed the muzzle into his neck. “Where is she Layton? Where's Kolya? Your miserable life is worth nothing to me and I will kill you in a heartbeat unless you tell me where she is.” John's voice was rough and Layton swallowed nervously at the blunt force of his anger.
Layton raised his hands to show that he was not armed. “Easy Colonel. I'm not here to hinder, I'm here to help. I don't like what Kolya is doing, he is power hungry and his alliances are not being made with nations that will bring mutual benefits to our worlds. Some of us fear that he has become insane, and what he has done to your woman? Some of us cannot condone that.”
John's fury reached near explosion point, and the weapon was jammed even harder into Layton's neck, causing him to tumble backwards, landing hard on the ground. “What has he done to her?If he has hurt her in any way... God help me Layton... you're walking a fine, fine line right now.”
Layton cowered on the ground, fearful of John's wrath over what he would tell him next.The cold anger in the Colonel's eyes showed that he was a man on the edge and that is not a place he wished to confront anybody.
“He has announced his intention to wed and it will take place tomorrow, but it is on the other side of the planet. There are two ways to get there – the long way above ground, a much shorter way through a series of tunnels. For now he has her in his private quarters and these are heavily guarded, you won't get her there. I would recommend you wait until the wedding tomorrow, I can set it up so that some of the security forces are... incapacitated... and allow you and your team to get her out. That is the best I can do Colonel.”
“Has he touched her? Has Kolya touched her?” Pain cut a sharp path through John at the thought of that monster with his hands on Cassie. Holstering his weapon he felt Ronan lay a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“His intention will be to wait until after the wedding, so she will be safe from any... inappropriate behaviour until then. But, he may have done... other... things to her. He is a cruel man, especially if he does not get what he wants and if she fights him, he will show no lenience. But for tonight I think she will be safe. I saw her at a banquet just before I came here, he is keeping her drugged, and he has punished her only a little... I think.”
John bent down to wrap his hands around Layton's neck, pulling him close and harshly saying in his ear. “You had better pray, that he does not lay a hand on her tonight.”
With just a few short hours until the proposed ceremony, Layton elected to take them via the tunnels to where the event would take place, so that preparations for her rescue could be put in place. John and his team were exhausted, but he imagined Cassie alone and no doubt terrified in Kolya's lair, and he pushed his exhaustion aside and concentrated on the plan at hand.
Marines were placed in strategic locations within the celebratory hall, and John and Ronan found places to wait out the remaining hour until it was due to begin. Layton, at his word, managed to inject some of the security with a sleeping potion so that it was thinned out a little, but not so much that Kolya would notice.
When the doors opened and Kolya and Cassie walked in, John felt a fist to his stomach. She appeared unable to walk unaided, leaning heavily on Kolya, dressed in layers of white tulle, pale pale face above the obscene dress making the vivid bruise on her cheek stand out in fine detail. John clenched his weapon and ground his teeth slightly to stop himself erupting straight out of where he was hiding and spraying the supercilious leader with bullets. Her eyes were vacant and John remembered Layton telling them that she had been drugged. But it was more than that. He saw in her posture that she had been broken, just a little and accepted a portion of the blame for letting this happen. But it was anger for her that flared again, her willful disobedience of orders had gotten her into this situation, best intentions on her part or otherwise, and to face down a monster like Kolya in his own territory, dressed... like that. He felt his blood begin to boil again and forced calming breaths so that he did not explode.
At John's signal, his team left their hiding places as one and everything seemed to happen at once. The guards were slow to react, thanks to Layton and a little of his magic potion and were despatched quickly and with little fuss. Most of the guests ran screaming from the room once the shooting began, and it was only a short time after it all started that John found himself standing in front of Kolya and Cassie.
Kolya's face had registered surprise at the attack and a measure of respect from one soldier to another. His hand snaked around Cassie's middle pulling her tightly against him, and his hand rested proprietorily on her breast. A veil of red dropped down over John's eyes and he moved forward, but was momentarily distracted by the listlessness and lack of recognition in Cassie's eyes and in that brief moment that he took his eyes away from Kolya, the man had pushed Cassie roughly to the ground and was somehow in front of John, his own weapon pushed into John's side.
“Ah Colonel. You came for your woman after all? Or was it the thought of her in my bed that was driving you insane... hmmm?” His cold voice fluttered seductively in John's ear and Kolya could feel the spring like tension in John's body, coiled and ready to explode. “She has been branded with my mark now Colonel – she no longer belongs to you. Tell him Cassandra – tell him how much you want me now...!”
Ronan had edged his way around the room and now knelt down beside Cassie, pushing her hair back from her face and gently touching the vivid bruise there. “Ahh Cass....” he murmured, and registered like John, the dullness in her eyes. Keeping a wary eye on Kolya who still held his weapon firmly against John's side, he whispered to Cassie. “I need to leave you here for a minute love, I have a shot at Kolya and by god, I'm going to take it.” Keeping his hand down so as not to arouse Kolya's suspicions, he pulled a knife from his boot and tensing slightly, whipped his body around, firing arm coming up in the split second that John managed to get an elbow in Kolya's throat, temporarily causing him to move the weapon from John's side. John, seeing Ronan turn, ducked slightly to the side and Ronan's arm was fast and the knife embedded itself in Kolya's leg. With a grunt, he bent slightly, staggering just a little, then with an almost superhuman strength he whirled around and was gone.
John signalled to Ronan that he would follow Kolya, and Ronan was back beside Cassie in an instant, scooping her into his arms, concerned to see her so pale in the yards of white fabric that flowed over his arm. Her head hung slightly and he cradled her higher so that her hair hung in a stream over his shoulder.
He looked down at her just as a glimmer of recognition shone through. “Ronan?” He smiled down at her. Feeling her tense suddenly, her eyes sharpened. “Kolya? Ronan, where's Kolya... Oh God, what have I done...”
Ronan touched her face with one of his large, but gentle hands, holding back the anger that burned for the coward who had run. “You're safe now Cass, he can't hurt you anymore. I'm taking you home.”
“John..?” she said softly. Ronan was a long time in answering. “He's gone after Kolya.”
Cassie visibly shook when he tried to enter the tunnels with her, therefore they moved above ground where they could move at a faster pace. Ronan kept her tightly held in his arms, covering the ground easily with his tiny bundle. They were nearing the stargate when Cassie began struggling to get down. “Let me down Ronan, please let me down...I feel sick!” Gently he set her down and she staggered slightly away from the others, leaning over to be sick, but there was nothing left in her stomach so she was reduced to painful dry retching. Major Lorne, after waiting a discreet distance away, quickly joined her and handed her a bottle of water, which she took gratefully. She sat down abruptly and Lorne was beside her, holding her hair back as she took great gulping breaths and gently rubbed her neck to quiet her breathing, feeling helpless in the face of what that monster had done to her.
When Ronan came to pick her up again she stopped him. “No, Ronan, there's something I need to do. Please give me a knife!” Puzzled and hesitant to hand one over, he cautiously extended one of his smaller ones and she grabbed it. Pulling herself to her feet, and waving away Lorne's restraining hand, she moved away from them both and starting cutting angrily at the material of the skirt, chopping off lumps in a hacking motion.
John came limping up behind them, blood trickling from a gash on his forehead and the reopened gunshot wound on his leg, and saw Cassie flailing with the knife. She systematically destroyed the material and he watched in horror as she continued slicing, frantic now as tears started to fall and as her her breathing became ragged, the knife glanced off her arm, opening a nasty wound. He was faster than Ronan to react, was on her in an instant, pushing her backward and knocking the knife out of her hand. The momentum sending her flying, with John landing astride her, knees locked to the sides of her waist. He grabbed for her cut arm, saw her chest heaving as she sobbed and her head turned away. “Cassie, Christ what are you doing? Baby, look at me!”
Ronan had him by the shoulders and was hauling him off, bending down to wrap his massive hands around her tiny arm to staunch the bleeding. “Leave it John, leave her alone... it's enough, she's been through enough... just leave her.” While Cassie lay there unmoving, head turned away, oblivious to the blood that flowed freely from her arm, Lorne was quick to react, bringing a field dressing from his tactical vest and managed to wrap it around the wound. Ronan, satisfied that the wound had been taken care of, turned back to John, who sat back on his knees, head held in his hands.
“Sheppard, go dial the stargate, I'll bring her, just go my friend...”
Shaking his head at John , he picked up Cassie, now minus most of her dress and made the short distance back to the stargate in silence.
Layton was waiting for them when they arrived at the stargate with two packages before him on the ground. He gave a grimace of distaste when he saw Cassie. “I am truly sorry, that man is an animal... but I have something for you, as promised in our original agreement, plus an extra gift, although I know this in no way can make up for what damage has been done.” He gestured to the two parcels, and John reluctantly came forward to inspect the contents, finding a nuclear device in one, and a Zero Point Module in the other. Surprise crossed his face.
“Perhaps one day, our plan to overthrow Kolya will succeed and if that is the case, perhaps we can revisit the possibility of an alliance.”
Flicking a quick salute at them, he stopped briefly in front of Cassie, who now stood unsteadily on the ground in front of Ronan, held secure by a large hand at her waist and reached a hand out to place softly on her head, withdrawing it quickly when he heard the slide of John's weapon. “I truly am sorry for what was done to you.” and with that parting comment he turned and left, Cassie standing unmoving and sad in front of the stargate, a lost soul with a terrible sadness in her eyes in a tattered white wedding dress.