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Genre(s): AU, Action/Adventure, Romance
Rating: R
Character/Pairing: John Sheppard/OFC, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan, Rodney McKay.Het/Slash/Gen: Het
Word count: 1,276
Disclaimer: I do not own them, I would have treated them better.
Summary: John Sheppard and the crew of the Pegasus Star dock at Alliance Space Station 17 to drop off supplies and take shore leave. Little do they know what awaits them.
Prompt: Week 29 Prompt – Babel (in this case the word babble)

Author's Notes: I thought last week was bad, this week was worse, some RL stuff to deal with, so this little segment is brief and hasn't moved the story as far along as I had liked. However, I am determined to post something every week, so this little segment does include the week's prompt of babel…which became babble. Eventually I will get this story where I want it and once again, thanks for sticking with me!

Please note: This story is rated R and does contain nudity and sexual situations, although not all chapters will contain R-rated material.


By stella_pegasi

Part One: The Wolf's Cave

Part Two: The Colony

Part Three: The Path To Prion (Segment 1)

Part Three: The Path to Prion (Segment Two)

Once the cabinet slid across the opening and the dim illumination from the basement was lost, the passageway plunged into darkness. The torch light extended for only a short distance before vanishing into pitch-blackness.

Sheppard grabbed Élan's hand, "Stay behind me, this tunnel's narrow and uneven, but we need to move quickly."

They hurried down the corridor, feeling more than seeing their way, stumbling over loose rocks on the floor. For nearly ten minutes, they kept up the quick pace.

"Ow…damn it, fucking ceiling…" Sheppard abruptly halted as he bumped into a low section of the passageway's ceiling.

"John, are you alright?"

"Yeah, just need to remember to duck…ugh," he massaged his forehead where a small trickle of blood flowed from a minute cut.

Tugging on his jacket sleeve, Ana hinted, "Perhaps if you slowed down you wouldn't be outrunning the light."

Sheppard grumbled, "You're right. Point your light toward the floor; I'll light up the ceiling."

Carved through the limestone-like bedrock, embedded fossils of shells and small animals littered the walls, glittering in the flashlight beams. The path widened a bit, but the walls were very jagged. Sheppard slipped an arm around Élan, pulling her closer to protect her from the rough walls; she was shivering. He glanced at her, seeing tears streaming down her face.

“Ana, hey…what’s wrong?”

“I…I’m just worried; did they torture my father the way they did us?"

“I don’t know," he paused, "but I won’t lie to you, if he didn’t cooperate with them, then…I just don’t know.”

She shuddered, and Sheppard asked, “I know they tortured you with that wand, are you hurt anywhere?”

“I'm alright, John, really, just shaken up a bit." She scoffed, "Archeology always seemed so safe, until now; I never expected to be fleeing Prions through a secret tunnel.”

He pulled her close, “I never intended to put you in this much danger, and I promise I’ll get you back to the ship safely.”

"Don't patronize me, John: I'm not helpless, scared…yes, but I chose to do this. If anything, I'm the one who should apologize for dragging you into this situation."

"No, I owe you an apology. I realize you're strong; you wouldn't be here if you weren't. I guess it's just that you are so tiny and fragile looking that I let my masculine ego think I needed to protect you." The corner of his mouth turned up in a slight grin.

She leaned against his chest, "It is a rather endearing quality of yours."

"Not one I'm likely to abandon easily, so you might as well get used to it. Come on; let's get out of this tunnel."

They continued for nearly forty minutes, walking as quickly as they could in the dangerous passageway, until the tunnel began to slope upward. "Okay, this is where it gets fun. I can feel a cold breeze; I think we are close to the exit." He turned to her, "The climb is fairly steep, get in front of me; I don't want you sliding backwards."

She slipped around him, and he continued, "At least the Alliance boys had the foresight to install some ropes to grab onto, just be careful."

Ana reached for the first rope loop, but it was just out of her grasp. "A boost please."

"See, knew you'd need me for something," Sheppard placed his hands on her waist and pushed her up until she could reach the loop. She grabbed on, and pulled herself up the slope, Sheppard climbing behind her.

The exit was about ten feet above them when Ana reached for another rope, Sheppard pushing her toward it. As soon as she pulled on the loop, it broke loose, "Oh…," she uttered a startled cry and fell, rapidly sliding past Sheppard.

He had one chance to keep her from sliding back down the tunnel, "Ana, grab my leg." She reached up, her small hand closed on the top of his boot, and she tightened her grasp, halting her fall. She swung her right arm up, losing her flashlight in the process, and grabbed onto his leg. Sheppard held onto a secure loop, and bent over clasping her arm, lifting her, holding her tightly until she regained her footing.

"You okay?' His heart was beating wildly, but he attempted to keep his voice calm.

Ana was breathing hard, but she managed a soft laugh, "I think the amusement park on Candor IV should think about making this one of their attractions. Quite a rush…"

"We don't have much further to go, when you get to the opening don't peek out until I get there."

It was still dark; a small moon had risen while they were in the tunnel casting a weak light over the rocky terrain. Sheppard took a quick look out of the opening, to find a large boulder had been rolled in front of the hole, hiding it from view of the path.

"Come on, it looks clear." He pushed himself out of the hole, then pulled Ana out. Sweeping the flashlight around, he found the path to the right, quietly he said, "This way." The path was rocky, steep at times, but wide enough for a small cart.

Ana asked, "I don't remember, did that officer say how far the cabin was?"

"No, just to follow the path until we came to it. You certain you're okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay."

After fifteen minutes, the path began to level out; Sheppard expected they were on the ridge of a hill. "I imagine we might be close to the cabin, keep your eyes open."

The path was now lined with thick groves of tall, feathery pine trees, the sharp aroma filling their senses. The air was cold, and through the trees, despite the pale moonlight, the Wolf's Cave nebula was clearly visible in the night sky. They had traveled approximately a quarter of a click when Sheppard stopped, then pulled Ana off the path into the brush at the base of the pines. When Ana started to protest, he covered her mouth with his hand and whispered, "Someone's coming."

Seconds later, three men rounded a slight bend and headed toward the trees where Sheppard and Ana were hiding. The men were carrying carcasses of animals that resembled Earth deer. Two of them were jabbering loudly about their prowess as hunters.

On older man in the lead, carrying a large weapon, yelled at the others, "You are foolish boys; you do not know how to hold your ale. I told you never to drink on a hunt."

"Papa, look at what we have brought home for the winter. Mama will be happy, and besides, Juli and I love ale." The younger man turned to his companion whom he had been talking to, "Right, Juli?" Juli began to laugh boisterously, "Yes…we are magnificent hunters." The boys began to jabber at once, their words blending into confused sounds.

"Quiet…I'm tired of your babbling; you are only making noise, not sense. You are both going to be sorry when your mother hears of this behavior. Besides, I spotted a hunting party from the colony, a large group. I do not trust them; I suspect they would just as soon hunt us. Now, remain quiet until we are home…no, remain quiet…even after we are home."

Sheppard waited until the hunters were well out of sight before he rose, pulling Ana off the forest floor. "Well, looks like we need to be careful, there are Prion in the woods. Let's stay off the path, inside the tree line and keep as quiet as we can." Silently, they continued searching for the safe house.

To be continued…

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