Another six Wraith hive ships dropped out of hyperspace, to join the others that were attacking Atlantis. The air outside the city’s shield burned from the intensity of the fire raining down upon it, but so far the shield was holding. It would have been a different story if they hadn’t received those new ZPMs from the SGC.
But hold was all they could do. The last of the city’s drones had destroyed three of the first wave of hive ships that had attacked them, but there were no more left, and the attacking ships were standing back, outside the range of their other weapons. The Wraith were continually dialling into their gate too, so they couldn’t use it to evacuate, or call for help.
The attack had been going on for nearly a week, and even the new ZPMs were showing the strain. They were down to 80% of their initial power. They could hold out for another month before they were completely drained, if the Wraith attack continued at the current intensity. Dr. Weir hoped that the Wraith would run out of power for their weapons, before Atlantis lost power for its shield, but the arrival of the Wraith reinforcements didn’t bode well for that idea. The only good thing was that it was Tuesday. The SGC always dialled in on Tuesdays. At least they would know that something was wrong when they were unable to connect.
Not that there was anything they could do. Even if they dispatched the Daedalus
right away, it would be a couple of weeks before it arrived, and there wasn’t much it could accomplish against a dozen hive ships.
Colonel Sheppard’s team had been off world when the attack began, but Elizabeth had little hope that they would be able to pull another rabbit out of their hat to save them this time.
Elizabeth was pulled out of her thoughts by Dr. Zelenka yelling: “I’m reading a ZPM power fluctuation!”
No! The ZPMs were the only things keeping them alive! “How bad is it?” she asked.
“It’s— It’s not bad at all,” said Zelenka, with a bemused expression on his face. “ZPM power levels are rising!
85% … 90 … 95 … All three ZPMs are back to 100% power!”
“How could that be?” asked Dr. Weir.---
The Wraith Queen smiled as she watched the atmosphere burn around the Ancient city. She had lost three ships in the initial assault, but it seemed that the Atlantians had nothing left that could strike at long range. Any dart that attempted to approach the city was still destroyed, but she didn’t need to use her darts. All she had to do was stand back, and rain fire down upon them. Their shield couldn’t hold forever. She was surprised that it had lasted this long.
It had taken her years to build this alliance. Normally the Wraith hives acted independently, but by themselves they were no match for the Atlantian weapons. It was only by acting in concert that they had the strength to destroy the one kernel of resistance against their power that existed in this galaxy. It was only a matter of time before Atlantis fell.
She didn’t see the green glow when it first started to grow in her command deck. It came from all around her, growing in intensity so slowly that no one noticed, until it suddenly collapsed into a single brilliant point of light, that quickly faded, leaving a human female behind.
“You have to stop this,” she said.
” asked the Queen. “Why should I stop, when Atlantis is about to fall?” This human female was nothing
to her. She had learned her lesson from her sisters, who had kept Atlantians alive when they really should have just sucked the life right out of them, and her hand flashed out into the chest of the woman before her.
She got two surprises from her action: the first was that her hand passed through empty space; the second was a feeling of Power: just a taste, like a drop of water on the tongue of a woman dying of thirst in the desert.
“What are you?” she asked.
“My name is Dawn Summers,” said the apparition before her. “What I am …” She shrugged. “I’m still trying to work that out.”
“What do you want?”
“I want you to stop,” said Dawn.
When I am so close to victory?” asked the Queen.
“You aren’t anywhere near a victory,” said Dawn. “The city’s shield will hold against anything that you throw at it. I won’t let it fail. It will hold for the next week, month, year, whatever it takes.”
“But they are cut off,” said the Queen. “Even if their shield holds, they have no way of resupplying. Eventually, they will starve.”
“No they won’t,” said Dawn. “You’ve been doing a pretty good job of coordinating your gate connections, so that as soon as one ends, a new one is ready to take its place, but I can break into the connection any time I want. You can’t win.”
“If I can’t win, why are you here?” asked the Queen. “Why are you even talking to me?”
“Because I don’t want to destroy you,” said Dawn.
“You’re just a hologram!” said the Queen. “How could you destroy me?
“With a thought,” said Dawn. “You have one hour to think about it. In one hour, if you haven’t stopped, I will destroy you, and any of your ships that are still attacking Atlantis. After that, I will destroy any Wraith who try to cull any other world.”
“What kind of demand is that?” asked the Queen. “We have to feed!”
“Do you have to feed on people?” asked Dawn. “I like a nice, medium-rare, steak. It would be damned hypocritical of me to object to you sucking the life force out of a cow, or a pig, or a chicken. If you want to feed off them, be my guest, but I draw the line at anything that you can have a conversation with. People are out of bounds. You try to feed off of them, and I will stop you.
“The Wraith, as they exist now, are nothing but parasites. You take life, but you give nothing in return. You hold back the development of the people of this galaxy. Your existence is tied to that of your hosts. You cannot survive without them, but they don’t need you. In fact, they’d be better off without you. As long as you keep feeding off the people of this galaxy, you are nothing but a drain upon it.
“But it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Dawn. “You’re intelligent. You have a lot you could contribute to this galaxy, and the others. You could be a force for good in the universe, if you choose to be. The choice is yours. You have one hour to make it.”---
An hour had passed since Zelenka had reported that their ZPMs had somehow spontaneously recharged themselves. An hour in which the fire from the Wraith ships had not abated. And then it stopped. The Wraith hive ships attacking Atlantis all exploded in blossoms of fire.