artisticabandon: futuristic cityscape (atlantis)
[personal profile] artisticabandon
Title: Fracture Points
Recipient: [ profile] stella_pegasi
Word Count: 11,580/? (1,765 this part)
Rating: PG for this part, probably PG15 overall
Warnings: Somewhat graphic torture whump, and allusions to such.
Summary: A debriefing is a debriefing until its an interrogation. Or, the story about how to break and still stay whole.
Author Notes: I was asked for slice of life, team, Cam, and lots of whump. I hope this suffices. Full prompt(s) will be posted with final chapter, because, well, spoilers. Also a bit more rushed than I usually like, because well, deadlines. And a totally chaotic RL.
Note the second: Thanks again to [ profile] midnighta for the totally awesomely fast beta. :)


Part 5: Open


First off, I should say that part of what follows is not completely from my own personal perspective or knowledge. (Mostly because I was unconscious or in shock for most of it.) It's based on what other people have told me and I'm simply including it for...a more rounded picture.

So. I guess this part starts back when Rodney got stabbed, and I told Teyla and Ronon to get him back home, to Atlantis. I still don't know how but they got back with the jumper I'd left behind. (To be frank, I'd expected them to get back via the secondary planetary gate, that is, on foot.) So. I don't know if Rodney was compos mentis enough to pilot, or Ronon and Teyla had to convince the jumper that he was. (No one's told me how they managed it despite my many attempts at asking. Nor have they let me see the jumper in question.) (I think they're afraid of what I'll do when I find out what they did...)

The first thing they did on getting back to Atlantis was to get Rodney to a medical team. SOP-sorta-thing.

The second thing they did was getting the ball rolling on a rescue team. Also SOP.

Total turn-around time from arrival in Atlantis to departure of the rescue team would've been about, oh, fifteen minutes. (Allowing time for multiple debriefs, a quick infirmary check, rounding up the primary rescue team with the backup battalion-on-duty, and getting all that loaded on jumpers... Our record in drills is 12 minutes 48 seconds, but who's counting?)

I didn't know about all that at the time, of course. (I suspected, because I knew how well I'd trained my people, but I didn't know.) (And there's a vast chasm between knowing and knowing.)

The first thing I knew was that I was waking up somewhere dark and cramped. (Well, okay, the darkness came first and the cramped part came second.) The darkness was...rather complete, at first. (Like being dumped in a vat of the stuff, was actually my first thought.) So then I decided to see if I could move. (Which was where the cramped part came in.)

Big mistake.

Toes, yeah, they were doable. Fingers, not so much. Great way to remind myself exactly how broken I was, and not just from the ceiling thing. I actually remember being surprised that I wasn't injured more than I was before. Oh, sure, cramped beyond belief, but it didn't seem like I was hurting anywhere extra. (Although, I was also having sense memories of other times I'd been buried alive, the last time being the most prominent. Ronon. Dreadlocks. Dust. Fire. All around me and in my side.) (So I wasn't all that sure about what was worse and what wasn't.)

Of course, that could just be the adrenaline speaking.

From what I could tell, I was still lying in that chair they'd tied me to, but the rocks had forced it back, so I was now in something of a semi-inclined position. Still tied up, with chunks of very heavy ceiling all over me, but maybe somewhat comfortable...if you tilted your head and squinted. And I had my very own pocket of air, and light was getting down to me somehow, so I couldn't be too far down from the surface, right?

And hey, I was alone. For the first time in way too long.

The "alone" thing didn't last.

I'm not sure how long it was until I heard voices. It only seemed a short while, but then again it was just me there. It could've been longer, because there was no one to tell me if I passed out for a bit, you know? And my time sense was all sorts of fuzzy.

All I could do was wait. Wait to see if they would come closer, stay where they were, or leave. (Which was "fun" on all sorts of levels.) For the record, my money was on the coming closer option. It's stupid, but it's also simple curiosity at work. People can never resist a good mystery. And I guess a bunch of rubble where once there'd been something was as good a mystery as any. (Of course, the buncha rubble is only a mystery to long as you're not the cause of said mystery, because then there is no mystery and nothing to investigate.) (On the other hand, there's always the old "let's look at what I did factor," which has caught so many criminals red-handed.)

So, yes, I have no real idea how long it was until it sounded like they were right above me.

Yay. This is gonna hurt. Gathering what strength I could, I yelled out to them. And I was right. It did hurt. It's how I found out I was a lot more injured than I'd thought.


"But I thought you said most of your injuries came while you were a hostage."

"They did." He gave a one-arm shrug, which really was the best he could do. "I was still, technically, a hostage right at that moment. I was still in that stupid chair, wasn't I?" So therefore, still a hostage/captive. Q.E.D.

"That's splitting straws."

Sheppard raised an eyebrow for that. "Is it?" (This whole inquiry thing was about "split straws" in his opinion. But airing that opinion wouldn't get him very far, would it?)


From the sounds of it, they were surprised to hear me. (To hear anyone.)

So the people attached to the voices did what anyone would do in this sort of situation. They started trying to dig me out.

I found out quite a few things in the process, listening to the conversations. (It's amazing what people will say when they think you're too "out of it" to hear.)

1. Not my team.
2. They were Lao'tians.
3. More to the point, they were a Lao'tian scouting team who'd been looking for the Ahm'lin rebel hideout because of what had happened at those "negotiations" earlier.
4. And having found said hideout, they'd decided to blow it up.
5. It wasn't the first time the Ahm'lin have taken "hostages". It was just the first time they'd found the hideout in time to do anything about it.
6. Because no one survives being an Ahm'lin hostage. No one. They find the bodies a day later, almost every bone broken.

From that, it was easy to figure out a few things.

1. I was far luckier than I'd thought.
2. They were the ones responsible for my "escape" from the two idiots.
3. Maybe that was why relatively less rubble and debris fell on me compared to said idiots.
4. They might've blown up the building, but that didn't mean they were used to...what would you call this? The aftermath of an explosion. Or at least, the part where you look for survivors.
5. One thing they're not is combat engineers. I had more debris fall on me as they "dug me out" than in the initial collapse.


"Really? You figured it out like that?"

"Well, yeah. And then I burnt the list into my memories so I'd remember them all for the debrief. It's easier than trying to tell you the thousands of little things they did that tipped me off."


I should probably rewind a bit here to explain something. In the process of digging me out of the rubble, they found the chair. That is, they had to get me out of the chair first. Now, being of this...pulley and weight construction, it was another thing that was "fun" on all sorts of levels.

Because when the ceiling collapsed on me, it also fell on the weights system. Some of them snapped off – which wasn't really relevant considering I had a ceiling sitting on top of me – and others...well...other weights were pushed further down by the rocks. Now that was a problem.

It meant that parts of me were getting rather restricted blood-flow, which meant all the associated complications. I didn't know it, but we were on something of a clock, and not just because I was heading into shock. (Which probably explains why they were focusing on clearing around my limbs, once they traced everything back to that stupid weight system.)

It seemed like they fussed around for ages over that chair. What things to cut to make it easier for me, and what they shouldn't cut because that would set off a rockslide or impact on another weight or...well, you get the idea. What I mainly remember was that I was cold.

Like I said, I was heading into shock.

The only surprising thing was that I hadn't started the shock-thing earlier.

I can still remember that almost-perfect moment when the Lao's cleared the rocks around my head, (the gentle brush of a hand against my cheek, the dust in the air, the head that obscured the sun for a moment until they moved,) and I finally could see the sunlight again in...I don't know how long. (Too long.) So warm. And bright. Yeah. Okay. Obviously the Concussion From Hell was playing havoc with my senses. Obviously some rock had come a little closer than I'd thought and I'd hit my head (again). That was, what, head hit number four? Or five? Had I lost count?


The important thing was that the light was so intense, so bright, that I couldn't handle it. I had to keep my eyes shut, and even that at times felt like too much. It was either that or throw up (repeatedly) and that was definitely not on my To Do List for today.

But as good as that was, that doesn't even compare to when they finally lifted me out. Which took some doing, I admit. Some hairy moments with some scarily sharp knives to cut the ropes. Their totally awesome human brigade to move the rocks and weights. And the god-awful pain of the maneuver to get the blanket under me so they could lift me properly.

And then...the only way left to go was up.

It was...a beautiful moment.

That was when I thought that, yeah, maybe now I was free. And that was when I finally heard the sweet sound of a puddlejumper. My team was coming.

Now that was the sound of freedom.



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