The three of them staggered toward the gate, guns at their backs, hands grasping and dragging when their legs couldn't keep up the pace. They'd cut Rodney's bonds but left Teyla and Ronan's hands bound. Clearly, they didn't think he'd be a threat and they were right. The way he felt now he doubted he could better Zelenka in a fight.
"What's happening?" Rodney asked.
"Like I said," the leader of their escort explained. "You're going home. Your boss and my boss came to an agreement."
"What kind of agreement?"
"One that got us what we wanted." He kicked out at Rodney's legs. "Now shut up and walk."
Rodney knew now that they walked the three of them past the market place on purpose, one last kick in the ribs, letting them know at what price their freedom had been brought. Ronan had bellowed like a wild animal at the sight of Sheppard standing in the market place. Rodney's voice had stuck in his throat. Sheppard glanced toward them across the open ground, too far away for Rodney to see the expression on his face.
Ronan screamed and kicked out, Teyla struggled against her bonds, even Rodney struggled in the increased grip of his captors, not wanting to turn away from Sheppard, not wanting to leave him behind. They were pushed into the avenue of trees that led down to the gate and Rodney twisted, briefly escaping his guards grip. Falling to the dust, he looked up in despair to see Sheppard watching them leave. All too quickly hands grabbed him again and the last sight he saw was Sheppard being pushed to his knees in front of the commander.
The rest of the walk to the gate was dream-like, his body simply couldn't struggle anymore and his brain, the only real weapon he had, grasped helplessly at vague ideas that refused to take the shape of any kind of plan.
He was thrown at the DHD and told to dial; he punched in the alpha site's address as though running on autopilot. Surely Sheppard had a plan. The wormhole burst out of the ring and settled back into a shimmering event horizon. The guards pushed, prodded and kicked their reluctant hostages toward the gate, toward freedom, and the last thing Rodney heard before he stepped through the gate was a single gunshot.
"You got what you wanted. You get my team, and you get them out of here. Alive and unharmed."
Sheppard's jaw worked against the strain of the words as he glared daggers at the commander of the Genii. The man had called himself Jenar.
The commander grinned slyly. "You don't mince words, do you Colonel Sheppard?"
Sheppard was aware of the four men behind him and the three in front of him. They had patted him down and took all his weapons and he was feeling naked without the weight of his guns. He held his hands stiffly, away from his sides, ready for a fight if need be.
"I'm a man of my word, Colonel," Jenar continued. He glanced to his right and Sheppard saw Teyla, Ronan and Rodney being manhandled towards the gate. Ronan and Teyla had their hands bound behind them, and Rodney was stumbling as the men holding him carried him forward. Sheppard heard Ronan bellow and lash out at his captors, and Teyla and Rodney renewed their struggles when they saw him standing in front of the commander.
"Take a good long look, Colonel," the man said. "It's the last you're going to see of them."
Sheppard heard boot steps behind him and he was roughly shoved to his knees in front of Jenar. He couldn't take his eyes off his team, however, as they were shoved through the trees towards the gate. Rodney was forced to dial and Ronan and Teyla were shoved forwards as the wormhole unfurled.
The commander pulled out his gun, levelling it at Sheppard's head. Sheppard knew this was it. No turning back now. He glared at the Genii, knowing in his heart the man had been true to his word as he saw his teammates shoved forwards towards the glowing wormhole.
Jenar pulled back the safety on the gun. Sheppard's universe exploded in white light as the commander fired.
Jenar watched as Sheppard's head snapped back, his body hitting the ground with enough force to make Jenar wince. Blood immediately began to pool beneath the man's head from the gash the bullet wound left along his temple.
Jenar knelt next to him, peeling back his eyelids and checking his vitals.
"We need to move fast," he said to Koti and Hal. "We don't move him until we've packed up. I want there to be a good amount of blood on the ground before we leave. Discourage anyone from following. Pack up. I want us out of here in five minutes."
His men moved into action, quick and efficient. The guard posted at the Stargate had already dialled through to their next destination to keep Sheppard's team from trying to dial back, and Jenar was ready to do some gate hopping to keep the Atlanteans from following.
Koti wrapped a bandage around Sheppard's head then helped hoist the man's limp body over Hal's shoulder as the men raced for the gate. Jenar erased the evidence of their flight to the gate and took one last look at their surroundings. The pool of blood in the middle of the clearing was obvious. Head wounds were nasty and did bleed a lot. Enough to make the Atlanteans think twice about following and hopefully enough to make them believe that Sheppard was dead. Jenar made sure that McKay had heard the gunshot and possibly had even seen Sheppard fall to the ground. If so, that was enough. If they believed their commanding officer dead, it would only help cover their tracks as they escaped.
He grinned and entered the wormhole.