Title: The Bribe, Book Two, Part 2.
Genre: Slavefic, so it could go up to NC-17.
Beta: The Great and Glorious Goddess47.
Dr Weir announced that everyone was invited to the party, including the Custodian corps and all the staff, barring the few left to man the controls and the guards on duty. John watched three of the Custodians entered the room together, looking nervous and subdued, but Ford immediately ran forward to greet them and drag them towards the food. He smiled at the puppy’s enthusiasm and sighed with relief that he had backed his new CO up.
“Major...I thought this occasion merited using General O’Neill’s gift!” Dr Weir held up two of the metal mugs that came with the off-world kits.
John took one and tasted champagne. He didn’t really feel like celebrating.
“You did good” Elizabeth told him encouragingly.
“I don’t know about that” John answered, sighing.
“Hey, there was no way you could have saved Colonel Sumner” Dr Weir smiled understandingly.
“I have to live with it” Dr Weir nodded and John felt the need to carry on. “I’m beginning to think you were right – I have made things much worse. I haven’t made us many more friends out there.”
“No?” She turned and indicated the party where Athosians and Earthers mingled happily, eating and drinking and generally finding out about each other. “Look around you.”
Halling and Jinto were being reunited, touching foreheads with affection and John knew that he could never have lived with himself if he hadn’t gone to fetch his people... people who now seemed to include a large number of ‘aliens’.
A little further around, John could see Teyla approaching Rodney who was standing next to his friend Dr Beckett, nibbling on something nervously. He wondered what Teyla was saying to his slave, but didn’t feel the need to interfere just yet.
“You did the right thing,” Dr Weir insisted. “And now I want you to give some thought as to who you want on your team.”
“My team?” John queried.
“You’re the ranking Military Officer now and I need you to form an off-world team. We need to get out there and start doing what we came here to do!”
John gave this a little thought and then grinned. “You do realise I can get us into all sorts of trouble, right?”
Dr Weir laughed and went off to mingle.
Of all the people at the party who could have come to talk to him, Rodney was really not expecting it to be the Athosian Warrior woman. She approached and then held her head as though bowing. When Rodney looked at her perplexed, she smiled serenely and explained,
“On my home planet we touch our heads together in greeting and to show friendship.”
“Oh! I... you don’t... I’m not...” Rodney spluttered.
“Do you not wish to show friendship?” she asked calmly.
Rodney blushed even more and Carson nudged him, so he stepped forward and lowered his head to touch the beautiful woman’s forehead with his own.
“Now we are friends. I am Teyla Emmagen of Athos, daughter of Tagan,” she announced.
“I am Rodney, ma’am... my lady... I’m... I’m just a slave.”
“But you helped Major Sheppard...” Teyla was surprised and Rodney lowered his gaze unhappily.
“I belong to the Major, ma’am.”
“Your people have slaves? I am surprised... you seem to be fond of the ideals of freedom.”
“What else should one do with criminals, ma’am?”Rodney asked.
“You may call me Teyla,” the lady insisted.
“Please forgive me, ma’am, but I really can’t,” Rodney sighed miserably.
“You are a criminal then?” there was clear surprise on the warrior’s face and Rodney smiled ruefully. In the background he could see that his Master was watching, but he didn’t seem to mind that his slave was chatting.
“Yes ma’am. I was convicted of reckless behaviour and I nearly caused the death of an important person... I am also arrogant and rude and I think this was their way of dealing with me.”
“Nearly causing the death of someone?” Teyla questioned, eyes raised in surprise. “Did this person not die then?”
“No... Major Carter saved his life with some work that should never have worked and left us all vulnerable... but it doesn’t matter, ma’am... I was convicted and I am now a slave,” Rodney stated.
“When will you be free?” Teyla enquired kindly.
“Free? I... I’ll never be free, ma’am.” It was Rodney’s turn to be surprised. There were some cultures on Earth where they had abandoned slavery as a means of dealing with criminals, but most of the Milky Way planets had some form of slavery – look at the Jaffa! Although they weren’t criminals...
“We Athosians do not keep slaves and we provide a safe haven for those who wish to escape it,” she explained, breaking into Rodney’s thoughts, and Rodney could hear the diplomatic offer she was making. It made Rodney grin.
“You are kind Ma’am, but luckily I have a great Master now and he allows me to work. Dr Grodin has given permission for me to help him with the systems here in Atlantis and Dr Zelenka uses me as an assistant, so I have all I need for the first time in a long while.”
“Then I am glad for you, Rodney.”
They both turned to find Major Sheppard approaching them and Teyla smiled and offered her forehead for greeting. Stiffly, Rodney’s Master complied and Rodney would have gone to his knees, as was proper, but the Major shot out an arm and held him up.
“Master,” Rodney acknowledged.
“You charming the natives?” his Master asked looking at the Athosian.
“Rodney was explaining what he does here,” Teyla informed him.
“Cool, ‘cos I have something I want to ask you both. You know the planets around here... I was wondering if you would be prepared to join my team, to help us make friends in this Galaxy.”
“Your team, Major Sheppard?” The warrior‘s eyebrows rose in amusement and surprise.
“There’ll be four of us and we’ll go to planets and see if we can trade our expertise and medicines for food and friendship. We have a whole new enemy to fight and we’ll need food to survive,” John told them enthusiastically.
“I can introduce you to many friends of the Athosians and help you to trade.”
The Major grinned, “Now I was hoping you’d say that! So you’ll be on my team then?”
“I would be honoured, Major Sheppard. Who else will be on this team?” she asked.
“Lieutenant Ford and Rodney.”
“Me?” Rodney gasped. “On a team? But Master....”
“Yup, you’ll be on my team. I need a scientist and you’re it!”
“But Master, you need a fighter and someone who...” Rodney babbled.
“I need someone who can think on their feet and do all the sciency stuff. You know what we’re looking for and you are an expert in Ancient gadgetry, so yes, you’re on my team. Besides, you’re mine and I want you with me,” the Major explained calmly and Rodney beamed.