Summary: The team discover an abandoned Ancient outpost and find themselves trapped in a ten thousand year old nightmare.

Categories: General
Characters: Aiden Ford, John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan
Genres: Angst, Drama
Warnings: None
Chapters: 23 [Table of Contents]
Series: None

Word count: 76647; Completed: Yes
Updated: 07 Nov 2005; Published: 09 Aug 2005

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Author's Notes: This is a WIP which will have around 35 parts. So you've been warned! No ships, no spoilers, no permanent damage done. Reviews appreciated!

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, MGM and the Sci-fi Channel do. I will take them out of their protective packaging to play with, thus lowering their value, but I promise not to lose any of their accessories or to give them bad hair cuts. Heads are not replaceable.

The Value Of A Memory Is

Chapter One - Teaser

Meir Yana should have been happy.

The sun was warm against her back and shoulders, brushing a broad stroke of pink across her nose and cheeks. A faint breeze ruffled her hair, and chilled the sweat at the nape of her neck. Trailing sand through her fingers, she lay on the shore of the lake and yawned, blissful in the peaceful environment of her birthplace.

She should have been happy, but she could not shake the gnawing sensation in her gut. There was a familiarity to this place, something dark and twisted to the memory. There were shadows beneath the sun and the wind felt harsh. Trying to shake the sensation, she delved her hand deep into the sand to enjoy the feel of its grains against her skin.

Only to scream, and lift her hand, bloodied and torn from the glass shards beneath her. The sun was gone, and the sky was empty, a deep black devoid of stars. The wind was full of whispers, and her dread turned to terror. Breath stuttering in her chest, she dragged herself to her feet, the glass ripping the skin from her feet. The hisses were louder, whispers that seemed to reverberate deep inside her skull, painfully. She staggered backwards and the trees around her grabbed at her clothes, at her hair, and pulled her inwards. With her fists she fought back, smearing red against the leaves, the scent of copper rich and heavy in the air.

She writhed within the forests embrace, vines breaking free from the dirt to wrap around her ankles and tighten, crushing bone. She screamed, her hands caught by leafy tendrils that forced themselves through her flesh and out, pierced through and through. The hissing grew louder still, but she could not cover her ears, and her screams turned to sobs, her body still pulling spasmodically against the grip of the forest.

Then there was a face, a shimmer in the darkness, pale skin that glowed despite the absence of light, and a smile she could see despite the mask across its face. Teeth, and lust, and warm saliva; it moved through the forest without effort, gliding without touching the glass floor. The vines and roots of the plants pulled away from its touch, withering and dying.

It reached her and bent its head, so she could feel the cold it exuded. Her sobs had become whimpers, and she slumped into the forest, the branches and leaves in her flesh bearing the weight of her body.

Unable to move, she could only watch as the thing bent closer, stretching out its hand towards her chest. Just as its fingers were about to touch her bare skin it paused, its head tilting slightly to the side.

She took a breath.

Its hand plunged down deep, through the thin layer of skin, past the thicker layer of fat and muscle, deeper still until its fingers pressed against her rib cage and she could do nothing but scream. She howled against the darkness as the skin shriveled and dried beneath its touch, as her muscles withered, as cataracts clouded her vision and a deep, deathly cold seeped into her heart and clenched tightly.

It beat feebly for several moments, then stuttered and died.

The cold evaporated with it, and the pain. The hand dissolved and her chest closed up around the wound. The forest pulled back, her skin knitting and healing as though it had never been breached, blood fading from the leaves and dirt beside her. With the support of the forest gone she fell, and closed her blinded eyes...

She opened them after a moment, to sun on her back and shoulders, brushing a broad stroke of pink across her nose and cheeks. A faint breeze ruffled her hair, and chilled the sweat at the nape of her neck. Trailing sand through her fingers, she lay on the shore of her home, and wondered why, when she should be at peace, she felt so afraid.