She awakens but has no memory of who she is or where she has come from. Then some unsettling evidence begins to point to the truth.
It had been an extremely short night of sleep for John. He had spent almost an hour just holding her during those early hours of the morning and had not released her until he felt the rhythmic breathing that indicated sleep and Carson had laid a hand on his shoulder saying quietly. "She'll sleep now Colonel, and so should you. She needed that, a bit of human comfort in amongst the inhuman cruelty she must have suffered these past days, or possibly weeks. Go to bed now Colonel, I'll keep watch over her."
Three hours later, he rolled over groaning, and ran a hand through his perpetually tousled hair and down his face, feeling the rasp of unshaven skin. First thing on the agenda, he thought, shower and shave... then coffee, and lot's of it.
Two cups of coffee later, he left the mess carrying a tray of breakfast food including a cup of coffee and made his way to the infirmary to see how their refugee had fared throughout the remainder of the night. Carson had signed off duty to get some sleep and left his second in command in charge, a female doctor by the name of Jennifer Kellerman. She intercepted John as he entered the infirmary, smiling as she saw the tray he carried. "That was thoughtful of you Colonel, I was just about to send down for a tray to be brought up, she'll be waking soon and I don't know when she last ate."
He placed the tray on her bedside and asked the doctor how the rest of her night had gone. "She didn't wake Colonel, emotionally and physically exhausted – that's what Carson had noted in the file he left." They had been speaking softly, but John noticed that soft gray eyes were now open and looking up at him, clearing slightly from their stormy gray as she recognised him. Smiling at her to reassure her, Jennifer introduced herself and went about taking her vital signs to note in the charts, while John picked up the coffee and waved it invitingly under her nose.
"I don't know where you're from honey, but here we start the morning with this rather intoxicating and somewhat addictive brew." She smiled then, her first smile and it was as though a cloud had cleared it's passage from the sun and the eyes became silver and crystalline. Mesmerised, John almost dropped the coffee, missing Jennifer's amused look as she noticed his rather fumbling demeanor, and the likely reason behind it.
"Thank you...John?... it smells familiar, I think. Perhaps we drink this where I come from as well..." She took the cup in her good hand and took a sip, closing her eyes as the warmth spread through her. He took the tray, and placed it on the bed in front of her, but she seemed disinclined to eat anything, saying her stomach did not feel well. John shared a look with the doctor, she was so thin and tiny and needed to eat and John resolved to find way to get some food into her.
"Doc, any chance that she is up for a wheel chair tour of the city. Just a short trip, and no speeding, I promise." This elicited a small giggle from her and a corresponding smile from Jennifer who looked at him fondly. Wheel chair races around the hallways of Atlantis were not unheard of for him and Ronan in moments of boredom when they had both been incarcerated in the infirmary at the same time. "And sweetheart? We need to give you a name... what do you think Doc? What shall we call her?"
"Dani..." Her voice was a little hesitant.
"Dani... is that your name sweetheart?" John had pulled back the blankets and was about to help her into the wheelchair, but paused to hear her answer.
"It sounds right... somehow... Dani..." He carefully placed his hands around her waist, avoiding the cracked ribs that had been strapped, and helped her down off the bed and into the chair. "Ok, so Dani it is!" he said cheerfully and shared a look with the Doctor who discreetly turned away to contact Elizabeth and let her know that they had a possible name.
She wore only a teeshirt that looked suspiciously like one of his old ones, that reached mid thigh and rode up to expose shapely legs once he had seated her in the wheelchair. Grabbing a blanket off the bed, he settled a blanket over her knees, both for warmth and a little discretion - he didn't want his marines to be getting an eyeful of that!
Keeping up a light chatter as he wheeled her around the city, they stopped in the mess first, hoping to interest her in a little food. Her eyes lit up when she saw the fruit that they regularly had sent back from earth, and she smiled up at him. "I think I'd like an apple thank you." Reaching out to grab one, he stopped suddenly and drew his hand back, looking at her curiously. "Apple? You called it an apple." Picking it up now, he casually threw it from hand to hand, watching her. She appeared confused. "Is that not what it is called?"
"That's what we call it Dani, the people from earth. Carson explained who we are and why we are here?" When she nodded, he continued. "This particular fruit does not grow in this galaxy, we have them sent back from earth, and we don't use our produce to trade with other planets. The name apple, would only be known to people from this base... and other people from earth..."
Energised now, he handed her the apple, and quickly turned the wheelchair around, heading to the control room. His features had hardened, and turning around she caught the look that was now on his face, where before there had only been sympathy and kindness. "John... you're scaring me, what's wrong?" He didn't answer, just keyed his ear comm to make sure that both Rodney and Elizabeth were in the control room, and when he wheeled her in, the look on his face had Rodney pulling up sharply and taking a breath. The Colonel only got that look on his face when he was seriously pissed.
"Just what the hell's going on here Elizabeth?" He let go of the handles and strode towards her, hands fisted on hips. "John? What on earth is wrong." Elizabeth's glance flicked from Dani to John, seeing only confusion and fear on Dani's face.
"What on earth Elizabeth... you got that right. Dani called that damn thing an apple...! Work that one out, both of you," he spat out, including Rodney in his outburst.
"Oh..." said Rodney.
"You mean...?" started Elizabeth.
"I'm from earth..." finished Dani, eyes now round and afraid. "And I don't even know what earth is..." and she threw the apple across the room, pushing herself up and out of the wheelchair, she turned and ran out of the room, one arm banded around her ribs. Curious glances followed her passage down the hallway, and one of the passing marines, attempted to halt her headlong flight but was afraid to grab her in case he hurt her. He keyed his ear comm to alert Sheppard in the direction she was heading and turned to follow her.
Injured or not, she was fast and John was out of the control room as soon as he had finished swearing. Angry at himself for scaring her, he took off down the hallway, passing one of the marines who pointed in the direction she had gone. He reached the transporters and there was still no sign of her, and he thumped the door of the nearest transporter in anger. The marine had followed him. “Sir? I don't think she would have gotten this far. She looked like she was in pain. I didn't want to grab her, saw that she was injured and thought I'd do more damage than not.”
“Damn it Sargeant, not your fault. I spooked her, should have thought before I opened my mouth. She's hurt, she can't have gotten far. We'll search the rooms off the hallway.”
Ronan arrived then, having heard the commotion. “You lost her Sheppard? With cracked ribs and a broken arm? Losing your touch my friend...”
“No crap Ronan, I screwed up – we need to find her before she hurts herself worse. Something you need to know as well – turns out she's from earth!”
Ronan widen his eyes at this news. “You kidding? Someone back on earth did that to her? You guys got some serious problems on your planet if that's how you treat your women.”
“There's more... Elizabeth just contacted the SGC to find out who she was... news flash Ronan. She didn't come through their gate. So either there's another gate on earth that no one knows about, or she came via another planet... get's better and better! Let's find our lady, she's the only one that can fill in the blanks.”
Dani felt panic as she ran down the hallway, just a desperate need to get away, feeling suddenly that she had done something terribly wrong. Her ribs ached and she had to take shallow breaths as each running step caused a jolt of sharp pain that made it hard to breathe. Hearing voices coming toward her, she ducked into an open door that closed smoothly behind her and found herself alone in the darkness and suddenly felt a terror so overwhelming that she backed up until she could feel something solid behind her and slid down the wall. The pain was intense now and she felt the blackness from within that had claimed her before, spiral up to claim her again, and sunk gratefully into the dark as consciousness was lost.