Chapter 1 – Lastlight
There's a hunger burning inside of him. He trembles, weakness deep in his bones, underneath his bonds. Opening his eyes his an ordeal, but ultimately futile – he can't see. Only vague shapes and flurries of movement.
Every nerve is ablaze, but his mind is in shambles.
Where is he? Who is he? Why is this happening to him?
There's people talking but he can't make any sense of their words, they blur together into one, a monotonous hum of noise
His consciousness fades quickly, retreating into the dark, away from the pain and confusion, too weak to struggle for too long.
He has no idea how long he's been asleep when the light returns to him.
His eyes flutter open more easily now, and he sees a dark, reddish-brown ceiling, sparsely lit by a gas lantern beside him, the warm glow giving him some form of comfort.
Still tied down, he strains against the bonds and feels a sharp sting in his right arm. Looking down, he sees a needle in his vein, pumping him full of a clear substance.
Glancing down makes him dizzy, and he shifts his gaze up to the ceiling again.
“I am so, so sorry.”
Those words make sense to him. The voice is familiar, too. He turns his head to the side and sees a small man, his dark hair messy and unwashed, dark shadows under his weary eyes.
He remembers that face, but won't recall who it belongs to.
“Who....” he manages to utter, his voice raspy from long silence, his tongue heavy from sedation.
“You don't-... I should have known you wouldn't remember.” The man struggles with words for a moment. “Do you remember anything at all?”
“No...” The prospect of answers loosens his tongue. “No, I know nothing, not who I am, not what this place is. Can you tell me, please?”
Something flickers in his eyes, and the man quickly reaches up to wipe his eyes.
“Your name is Lastlight.” he says, slowly and carefully. “You're a Wraith, and you were captured - … I don't know how. I was captured, too. I'm a Doctor, a medical professional. They made me-...”
A pause. The man shakes his head, and takes a deep breath.
“They made me run experiments on you.” he admits. “They wanted to develop a biological weapon, a-... It's called a retrovirus. It reverses the... transformation, the genetic one that your species went through over thousands of years, by-.... Well, it made you human.”
Yes. That name feels right.
He clenches his eyes shut.
“Made me human?” he parrots.
“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.” the man assures him. “I was with you before the treatment started, and you told me who you are, because I warned you. That the retrovirus is likely to wipe your memory, or at least repress it, that is.”
Lastlight inhales sharply, and lifts his right hand as far as his bonds allow it.
This makes sense to him. Vague pictures dance through his mind; blood on his hands, spaceships and Queens, hunger and feeding.
But his palm is empty.
“Will it... reverse?” he asks. He feels numb, as if the weight of the man's words doesn't quite reach his core yet. There's underlying panic, rage, fear, disgust. But it doesn't surface.
“I-... Yes. It requires regular re-injections to keep you stable. I... don't know if it'll leave permanent damage, though.” the man informs him, nervously kneading his hands.
Lastlight nods toward the infusion bottle strung up next to the bed he's tied to.
“This?” he asks and the man nods.
“If I... tamper with it, they'll kill me. Then you're helpless.” he argues and Lastlight closes his eyes again.
“I don't want this.” he says.
“I know.” the man responds soulfully. “I know you don't.”
“It's been weeks.” Spark discloses. “I don't know if our friend will ever contact me again.”
Her voice is slightly distorted through the subspace connection, and the sparse, cool lighting on her Hive gives her skin a blue tint.
She looks older and tired.
“I'm honestly surprised he got off that planet in the first place.” John Sheppard admits. “Where was it that you met him?”
“Very far from any Wraith territory, on a planet we have marked as too thinly populated to even consider for the alliance.” Spark responds. “We were tracking his signal, that's how we found him. And he was waiting for us. He knew very well what he was doing.”
“Reason to suspect that he found something on that planet he didn't care to share with the class yet?” John muses, and Spark shrugs, an oddly human gesture for a Wraith.
“We scanned the planet for energy spikes that could indicate civilization beyond the few tent villages we found, and there was nothing.” she says. “Had there been anything noteworthy, I'd have told you already.”
Teyla, at John's flank, takes a step forward.
“The Genii hide their operations underground. You have not managed to find out about that before we told you, not could you track your mother's signal until she was above ground.” she reminds Spark. “There could very well be something hidden on this planet.”
John gives her a look, raises a brow, them turns back to Spark.”
“You got an address for us?”
A moment of hesitation, then Spark nods.
“I have it saved, yes. But I want to talk to my mother before I give it to you.”
“Why the hell?” John protests, but Spark doesn't let that aggravate her.
“Because the life of one of your people is at risk, and knowing you, you'll sprint off on your own.” she explains herself. “And we want to send backup in this case.”
“You're damn right, one of my people is in danger, so of course I'll act as soon as I can! We don't have-...”
“It's been five weeks, Colonel Sheppard.” Spark interrupts him. “A few hours more of less will not decide over life and death at this point. However, if you rush in there without us, it might doom you instead. So please. Let me do this.”
Teyla lightly touches his arm, and gives him one of her intense stares, unrelenting, until John sighs.
“Fine. Do what you have to do, but do it quick. Okay?”
For a moment, a smile flickers over Spark's face, a glimmer of youthful hope underneath her serious masque.
“Okay.” she responds, and the connection cuts.
Delilah smells Seeker before she feels his hand on her shoulder, the faint scent of freshly oiled leathers, and the odd, alien fragrance that all Wraith males seem to use.
She's come to associate that combination with comfort.
“There is news.” he says, when she turns around to him. “Queen Spark has contacted us. Apparently, Sheppard wishes to hunt for the Genii on the planet the male lured us to.”
“What? But... hasn't the planet been scanned?”
“It has, but our sensors can only pick up energy spikes on the surface. Spark believes that this is where Carson Beckett is being held.”
He pauses briefly, as if to gather his thoughts.
“I have requested to be put on the mission squad.” he then adds, and Delilah reaches out to tuck a stray strand of hair behind his ear.
“Despite having to work with Sheppard, of all people?” she asks, but there's no mock in her tone, concern, rather.
“I may not like him, but I can respect him as a fellow soldier.” Seeker states. “That was the root of my conflict with him. We were soldiers, with orders to fight one another. Now that these orders are void, I can stop opposing him.”
“If he stops antagonizing you.” Delilah reminds him.
“I am... patient.” he says. “More than you give me credit for. I will be fine.”
“I know, but...” Delilah sighs. “Kolya wanted you. I doubt that it's the only reason for this game he played, but he's wanted you ever since we first clashed with him. He wants Wraith prisoners for whatever reason and he has a personal grudge against you.”
“You worry for me.” Not a question, no. Almost an accusation. Delilah frowns at him like a bratty child.
“And I have a darn good reason to be worried!” she proclaims, then looks back to her desk. “The vaccine and its deployment will work without me for a while. How high are the chances that Horizon lets me go with you?”
“Is this out of concern for my safety, or to soothe your own guilt?” Seeker probes. “You have not spoken of your delusion that you may be responsible for all of this due to not killing Kolya back then. It's been left to fester, without an outlet.”
Delilah scoffs at him, while it stings in her chest – he's right, and he knows her better than she'd like him to.
“Both.” she admits.
“You are no soldier. If you worry for me, then I shall be permitted to worry for you even more.” Seeker argues.
“No. Because I will be right next to you. No one has to worry.”