Tomas laughed as his shot met its mark, taking the second Lantean down. He felt no remorse on the fact that he'd just fired a bullet at a woman. She was one of them. She deserved her fate. He reloaded his rifle, gleefully going after the third man who was trying to help the other two to safety. Tomas leaned towards the opening. Taking a deep breath, he sighted down the barrel. He'd caught the other two mid body, but they still moved. Perhaps this one deserved a bullet to the head.
He twitched the barrel higher.
The second his finger slid towards the trigger, the rifle was out of his hands and he was lying flat on his back on the floor, his own weapon pointed back at him.
"Where is she?" the traveller demanded.
Tomas kept his mouth shut. While he had few reservations that this man would quite handily shoot him here and now, Tomas had no qualms about what Thea would to do if he cowered and gave away Calara's location.
It wouldn't be a quick death that's for certain.
Then a second man appeared.
By the gods he was even bigger than the first!
The cold fury in the newcomer's eyes left Tomas with no doubt he was now in deep trouble. Whereas the traveller looked ready to shoot, the other man looked ready to tear Tomas apart. Slowly. Painfully.
The traveller stepped aside, leaving Tomas to face the second man, unheeded. The giant hauled him to his feet with barely an effort. Tomas knew he was not a light-weighted man. The cold truth of death in the giant's eyes sent Tomas's heart racing. He caved before the question could even be asked. "The cellar! She's in the cellar. But you're too late!"
"What do you mean, too late," the man demanded, slamming Tomas into the wall. His head cracked against the wooden beam, leaving his ears ringing.
"Poison," Tomas answered. "She'll be dead within the hour. But I can help! I have the antidote."
When the giant didn't answer, Tomas harbored the hope that his lie was working. If he could buy himself some time, he might just get out of this after all.
Then the giant smiled.
Tomas knew his end had come.
Laura tried to help as Sheppard dragged her into the crumbling vegetable stand by the back of her vest, but the best she could do was a half-hearted crawl. As soon as they reached the safety of the wooden gazebo, she slipped in the squashed husks of melon and berries and dropped onto her side. She tried to roll away, to get to Evan, but Sheppard shoved her back down, sending a shock wave of pain straight up her spine and into the top of her head.
Then Evan's face appeared above hers, looking equally concerned, and equally pained.
Laura grabbed for his hands, so she could get a better look at where the bullet hit. There was no blood. No wound. Nothing but a silver nugget wedged in middle of his vest.
Thank the gods of Kevlar!
"You idiot," Evan wheezed, his breath sharp and pained. He helped John roll her onto her side. "I told you to get back."
Laura was having too hard a time sucking in air to argue that there was no way she would have left him to die in the middle of the street.
John tore at the straps of her vest, releasing the crushing pressure on her lungs. "Son of a bitch," she hissed, finally able to get a full breath.
"Easy," John ordered. "I think you broke a rib."
"Or twelve." She accepted their help and sat up. "It feels like twelve. Sweet baby Jesus, that hurt. What are these damn things made of, Kryptonite?" She reached out and dug the bullet fragment out of Evan's vest.
Evan winced and tried to wack her hand away. "Play with your own bullet, Superman."
John checked the back of Laura's vest, then handed her another clumped ball of metal. "Merry Christmas."
"Don't suppose you happen to know who my secret Santa was?" she asked, crushing the twisted lumps into her fist. She grabbed Evan's arm and crawled to her knees. She wasn't sure if she was helping him, or he was helping her, but together they made it over to where John was now watching the village from the corner of the gazebo.
"Attic window," John said, as the sound of breaking glass accompanied a terrified shout. "But I think Ronon just beat you to it."
Laura looked up just in time to watch a very fat man do a horrible impression of a flying turkey out an attic window. With a bellowing shout, the villager sailed through the air, arms flailing wildly. His short flight ended with a crashing halt into a stack of wooden crates.
He didn't get up.
For a brief second Laura caught a glimpse of Ronon in the shadow behind the broken frame.
"How come he gets to have all the fun," she whined.
"Because he isn't the one getting shot," John answered. "Now if you two are done field testing the ballistic capabilities of the village idiots, we have a Doctor to find."
Ronon ran back down to the kitchen.
The old woman was gone.
He cursed, but had no time to dwell on it. He needed to find Jennifer.
He scanned the floor, kicking aside furniture, looking for clues to a hatch or opening. Anything that would indicate the location of a cellar. Fear of the fat man's threats twisted in his gut. Jennifer had been poisoned. Time was running out.
"The store," Kiryk said, moving quickly to the closed door in the back corner of the kitchen.
Ronon took up a covered position on the opposite side and aimed at the door. Kiryk yanked the door open. Ronon sidestepped and sighted down the corridor, but the covered hallway adjoining house to the storefront was empty. He followed Kiryk to the other end, kicking open the second door, ready to kill whoever stood between them and Jennifer.
He slid to a stop in the opening, blaster raised on movement behind the counter, but the answering insult belonged to Sheppard.
"You know, door's have these things called handles." John lowered his P90 and eyeing the broken door now hanging on a single hinge.
Ronon was happy to see Cadman and Lorne on their feet, but his words of relief would come later. "We're looking for a cellar," he commanded, circling the small store area.
Everyone fanned out without questioning, shoving aside stock and toppling supplies in their search.
Teyla called out from the front. She dragged a rug away from the side of the counter. A perfect square was notched out in the wooden planks, accented by two hinges and a metal ring. She stepped behind the hinges and leaned forward to grab the ring, pausing to wait for the go ahead.
The others formed a circle around the hatch, weapons trained at the floor.
At a nod from Sheppard, Teyla yanked it open.
There was no sound, no movement, and no light.
Ronon leaned over the entrance to the underground cellar. The rungs of a narrow ladder dropped down into the darkness below, but the room beyond was too dark to make out any shapes.
With a wince of pain, Evan dug a set of glow sticks out of the pocket of his vest. He cracked them, shook them, then let them fall to the bottom. They landed in the dirt, highlighting the ladder and surrounding boxes with an eerie green glow.
Ronon sensed a shift in movement to his left.
Kiryk reached for his arm band. "Wait here." Then he disappeared. A second later he called out, his voice drifting up through the open hatch.