"Who are you?" the Wraith Queen demanded, bared teeth a chilling counterpoint to the melody of her voice. Her straight black hair fell like curtains far past her shoulders, gleaming in the harsh spotlight of the audience chamber. Audience chamber might be pushing it a bit...the place was little more than a spacious room with an elevated circle of floor at the center. No guards were visible save the two lurking among the slender columns ringing the open space. If the Wraith believed that interrogation by the Queen would loosen her tongue, they were very, very wrong.
"Who are you?" The Wraith demanded again, leaning forward. The stench of the creature's breath momentarily distracted her from the alarm screeching through the halls and the muffled boom of explosions peppering space all around the hive. She'd never been so close to a living Wraith before...if she made it out of this alive, it was not an experience she would seek to repeat. "Why were you on that ship?"
The vessel suddenly rocked, nearly taking her feet out from underneath her. She drew herself up and faced the Queen, arms crossed. "I don't need to tell you anything."
The Queen hissed and raised a hand to her cheek in the mockery of a caress. She clenched her teeth to keep from crying out as a vise suddenly closed around her head and white-hot knives plunged repeatedly into her temples. She fought for every shred of focus she could gather and used all of them to weave a barrier against the Wraith's attempt to invade her mind.
"You cannot hope to stop me, human," the Wraith sang, each word ratcheting up the pain just a little more until the edges of her vision were clouded in red and her body seemed to be anchored far below her. A distant jarring in her knees told her that she'd sunk to the ground, but she held on to the shield, the rough deck scraping the skin from her hands.
The ship heaved again, hard enough to toss her onto her side and bring the Queen to one knee. The Wraith shrieked in rage and swept out of the chamber without another word. Reality returned in a rush as the torment lifted, leaving behind a memory of agony that still blurred her vision and drew the screaming klaxon into her head to reverberate against the inside of her skull. She rose, half-expecting one of the guards who had brought her here to stun her before she'd made it to her feet. The blast never came, and a scan of the room revealed that she was alone.
The route back to the Dart bay and the Jumper that had carried her from the clutches of enemy Replicators into the web of the Wraith was fuzzy, but she would make it...she had to make it. The Wraith could not be allowed to take what she knew of Atlantis and of Earth and use it to destroy her people.
She slipped down a hallway leading deeper into the hive, moving from shadow to shadow and barely avoiding knots of warriors striding through. The walls and floor shook as thunder raged on all sides and she quickened her pace, hoping to reach her own ship before this one was blown into atoms.
The bay was crawling with Dart pilots when she finally arrived, all frantically prepping the last of the small ships for launch against the Asurans. She stifled a scream when the corridor at her back exploded in smoke and dust and debris, nearly pitching her into the bay. Wracking coughs ripped through her chest as she glanced uneasily behind her and then ahead at swarm of activity engulfing her Jumper. She thanked the Ancients that the Wraith had left the rear hatch open and tried to sink deeper into the darkness just outside the doors, praying that she would make it to the golden ship before a damage control party showed up to assess the gaping hole in the wall less than ten feet from where she stood.
It felt like an eternity before all of the fighters streaked out of the bay. She eased through the archway, glanced around quickly for any stragglers, and sprinted toward the open ship. Once inside, she retrieved a diagnostic tablet and hooked it into the primary power crystal array. An image of the conduits appeared on the screen, damage from the Wraith's capture of the vessel clear as day. Her Replicator allies had made sure she knew the power systems inside and out before leaving Asuras. She could fix it. A violent tremor ripped through the hive, knocking her to the deck, and a low-pitched wail joined the screech still filling her head.
She could fix it if she had time.
Elizabeth closed the rear hatch and locked it, sighing in relief when the life support systems kicked in automatically. The Replicators could destroy the hive around her if they wanted to...as long as she got the engines and shields up before they found her in the wreckage she would be safe.
She was finally going home.