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Trapped (6)

Artist: easytheregenius
Word Count: ~ 22.100
Summary: When a member of the crew goes missing, most of the stranded point their fingers at the obvious suspect who keeps claiming to be innocent. The crew is forced to work together and surprising alliances are forged to get Eli back.
Characters: Eli Wallace, Nicholas Rush, Everett Young, Camile Wray, Ronald Greer, Matthew Scott, Tamara Johansen, Chloe Armstrong, Sgt. Spencer, Adam Brody, Vanessa James, Dale Volker, Jeremy Franklin, Lisa Park, Airman Becker, Marian Wallace, OCs
Pairing: Chloe/Matt
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Air, Darkness, Earth, Time, Life, Human
Setting: Season 1 – after Life
Warnings: Violence, language
Beta: elaiel, who took on the task of beta reading the English version of this. artemis_neith who looked at the very first German version of this years ago – thanks for that and for the criticism that made the story better than it was before.
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Stargate Universe and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.

Chapter 5
Trapped Masterlist



The wonderful artwork for this story was created by easytheregenius. Please drop a comment for the coverart and banners.

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6.



Eli crossed his arms, pressing them against his body to keep warm. He left his position, leaning against the wall, and did another lap around the perimeter of the room that was only slightly lit by his cell phone lying on the floor. “227,“ he counted. “Guys, when I'll reach 250, I'm really going to start to worry.“ He stared at the door, hoping that it would open and someone would get him out of here. His cell phone told him that it had been five hours since he'd woken up. He needed help. “228.“ He knew who could be responsible for his situation. Spencer had attacked him repeatedly over the course of the last few days. The attacks were only minor scuffles but they'd succeeded in making Eli insecure. He had no idea why Spencer was so focused on him all of a sudden but he didn't want to know. He didn't tell anybody about it because he didn't want to cause difficulties. Now, shivering and alone trapped in a possibly remote part of the ship, he wished that he had.

The door's mechanism was triggered and Eli was so surprised that he needed a few moments to realize what was happening. “Finally!“ he cried out. “Thanks.“ He stepped towards the open door, stopping abruptly when the bright beam of a torch blinded him. “Not that I'm not thankful but do you mind …“ He was interrupted by something crashing into his belly and he doubled over, coughing. A kick to his ribs and a hit to his face and he collapsed. He pushed one hand against his ribs, gasping. There was a sharp pain shooting through his chest and he couldn't breathe for a moment. A soldier's boots stepped into his line of vision. Cold metal was pressed against his temple and the safety of a gun was released. He moaned, a scared little sound, and tried to lie still.

He could hear the other man's breath and the weapon was pushed harder against his head. When the soldier spoke Eli actually flinched. “I should shoot you.“

Eli gasped, staring at the other man's boots. He didn't dare saying anything. The voice … it wasn't Spencer but he knew that voice.

“Damn! What am I gonna do now?“

The storage room. He remembered now …

… Eli was walking backwards – talking to the Kino trailing behind him – and presented the room they used as a storage area for most of their boxes and food. “This is our main storage area. There are more boxes in the mess hall and the labs. But this is most of our stuff.“ He smiled at the camera. “I'll show you my favorite box.“ He turned away from the Kino, stopping when he saw that one of the boxes was open. Energy bars and protein powder packages were littering the floor. “What …“

Movement on the right made Eli turn around but by then, the butt of a gun was already hitting him over the head and he collapsed. His vision was swimming out of focus when a man leaned over to peer down at him, and the soldier said, “Damn! What am I gonna do now?“…


…“I should shoot you,“ the man repeated and it sounded as if he wanted to convince himself of doing it.

Eli raised a trembling hand. “Hey! We … can talk about this, okay?“

“Shut up! I know that you'll tell the Colonel if I let you go!“ The gun vanished and he was kicked in the ribs before it returned to press against his temple.

Eli gasped. He was getting nauseous because he felt as if something in his chest wasn't where it had been before the vicious kick. He'd never cracked a rib before but he just knew that he'd done it this time. “Because you can't steal our food.“ Eli bit his lip and tried to hit a friendlier tone. “Let's talk about this. It's cold. Let's just … we'll talk to Colonel Young … please, we … we'll find a solution … we-“

“Shut up!“

Eli flinched.

“The Kino,“ the other man said and Eli flinched again when the camera was slammed to the floor next to his face. “Can the others see what you recorded?“

Eli shook his head. “I promise.“ He swallowed. “You can connect it to the control room's screens but I disconnected it so that only the remote control was replaying the footage. I disconnected it because I … I wasn't doing this officially. It was new footage for my …“

“I don't care.“

“Okay,“ Eli answered, appeasing. He swallowed. “You can't do this. Someone will find me.“

“No one will find you.“

“You can't know that, can you?“

It was quiet for a few seconds then the man straightened, grabbed the Kino and left the room. Eli heard the door shut. He breathed in deeply, regretting it as soon as his ribs protested. “Okay,“ he muttered, “I can do this.“ He sat up and brushed a hand through his hair. “I can do this.“ He stared at the ceiling. “Where are you?“

***

Dale Volker admitted that he wasn't one of those who appreciated Colonel Young taking charge but he knew when respect was called for. And he thought that he knew when an idea sounded rather stupid. He shook his head and hissed, “Don't say that.“

Jeremy Franklin crossed his arms on the table of the mess hall and nodded to strengthen his position. Dale stared at the laptop screen he was sharing with Franklin and Brody to watch the Kino footage and find something – anything – to help Eli. The control room had been too crowded for their liking. Rush was a nervous wreck and he wasn't hesitating to shout at everyone he thought wasn't doing what they were supposed to do. Dale had to admit, though, that he'd never thought that Eli's disappearance would disturb Rush that much. But then, Eli seemed to have found a small amount of influence he could use on Rush, something more qualified scientists on board were still looking for. Maybe it was because Eli wasn't like them – no degree or any kind of scientific education. Still looking for his place among them. Rush had a way of intriguing the kid and getting him to use his mathematical and technical genius, even managing to support it, and Eli was like a sponge, soaking up ever scrap of knowledge. Rush was a good teacher, Dale had to give him that much.

Franklin raised his eyebrows and paused the footage. “I think it's obvious.“

Brody shook his head. “I don't. The Colonel knows where to draw lines.“

Franklin hunched his shoulders. “I think the military's sticking together.“

Dale narrowed his eyes. “Young defended you when Spencer was hassling you, didn't he? How can you say that he's protecting him?“

“Who else could have hurt Eli?“

Brody stared at the floor and shrugged. “What about Greer?“

Dale shook his head. “That guy's a lunatic but he's got nothing against Eli.“

Franklin snorted. “Someone has to have done it. Eli's too smart to open the wrong door. He's able to read Ancient to some degree. Somebody did something to him. I say it was Spencer and Young's protecting him.“

A voice behind the three scientists made them flinch. “If I could prove that Spencer's the one responsible for Eli's disappearance, don't you think that I would do everything to get him back?“

Dale and the others turned around to face Colonel Young. “Colonel,“ he said softly, almost apologetically. Young stared at them.

Franklin got up, clearly not ready to give in yet. Sometimes, Dale had to admit that he was going too far. “Did someone interrogate him?“

“Lieutenant Scott,“ Young answered. Franklin deflated a bit. He crossed his arms, obviously feeling defensive. Young continued, “And if the three of you would spend more time watching the footage we'd actually make some progress.“

Dale and Brody nodded their consent and turned back to the laptop. Franklin stared at Young.

“Something the matter, Doctor?“ Young asked. Franklin seemed to contemplate saying something but he didn't. He just sat down beside Dale and Brody, staring at the footage.

***

Eli knew what was happening. He'd watched Vertical Limit and he knew what cold could do to a human. He tried to pull his legs closer to his chest and pushed his back against the wall in the corner of the room to try and create some warmth. He felt tired and he was too dizzy to keep walking in circles. He hadn't been able to activate the door mechanism. Since he couldn't feel his fingers anymore he'd given up on it and balled his hands to fists and crossed his arms instead, sitting curled up on the floor. Humans could die from hypothermia. Eli knew that. He also knew that his time was running out. He didn't have much more than a few hours.

Were they even aware that he was missing?

The thought crossed Eli's mind while he tried to guess the temperature and once there, it didn't go away again. Did someone notice that he was gone since ... he checked the watch on his cell phone ... over twenty hours since he'd left Chloe's quarters? And if they didn't find him, what would they tell his mother? Eli put his head on his knees.

And would the Air Force continue to pay for her medical needs if he died?

***

Harry knew that he was in serious trouble. He leaned against the wall in the corridor, his arms folded against the cold down here, his gaze fixed on the door behind which Wallace was trapped. The chalk crosses Harry had smeared on the door before the first rescue mission had stopped anyone from opening it ... but what if they found out that the crosses were fake? That there was not a room with a hull breach behind it, but a prison? Maybe Rush would be able to determine that Harry had destroyed the inner door mechanism with a few hits of his weapon and would come to investigate. Maybe Young would demand to search the rooms with crosses, too. Harry's thumb brushed over the barrel of his P90 and he considered shooting Wallace. Nobody would be able to pin it on him, because all the soldiers were allowed to handle the weapons. They would think that it had been Spencer. They were already thinking that. Or he could leave Wallace where he was and let the cold do its job. The boy wouldn't be able to survive this for very long and if they found him one day, they would blame Spencer. Maybe Harry should guide them towards Spencer either way. He nodded to himself and turned away. Now, he just had to find someone who could explain to him how to delete the footage on the Kino. The only proof against him.

***

Young had ordered everyone to rest for a few hours. Nicholas had nodded his consent and watched the civilians leave the control room.

One hour later, he was still standing at the console. He had the indistinct feeling that he was missing something, and Nicholas had never been able to rest when that was the case. He stared at the screen displaying a map of Destiny and tried to find where he'd went wrong. His tired eyes weren't able to find anything.

"Dr. Rush?"

He raised his head to look at Chloe and cleared his throat. "Miss Armstrong." He massaged his forehead. "Aren't you supposed to get some rest?"

Chloe shrugged and folded her arms. "You are, too." She approached the screen Eli was always using to work. Her fingers touched the surface hesitantly and it lit up, displaying a map of the ship. Nicholas was watching her with a frown. She looked at him. "Any news?"

Nicholas shook his head. "The Kinos didn't record a thing. The soldiers didn't find anything. I can't get the heat detector to work." He stopped, frustrated.

Chloe stared at the screen, then at Nicholas who kept watching her. "Teach me," she said.

Nicholas laughed without humor. "You can't just learn this in a matter of minutes. You don't have the necessary qualifications."

"Neither did Eli. He learned it."

Nicholas stared at his screen. "Eli has a higher IQ than most people on board this ship plus a remarkable gift for everything involving technology."

"Wouldn't it help you if we worked together?" Chloe asked. Nicholas narrowed his eyes and stared at his screen. Chloe seemed to give in. She said sat on a chair and looked at the screen. "What's the problem with the heat detector?"

Nicholas suppressed an impatient sigh. "They're protected by the elusive master code. I'm looking for a way to get in."

"Doesn't the ship have other detectors you could use?"

"If it did, I would."

"What about the Kinos? Do they have some kind of detector we-"

"Miss Armstrong," he interrupted her harshly, "I'm doing what I can but I'd be able to accomplish a lot more if you would just leave me alone and stop bothering me with stupid questions."

Chloe stared at him, her face showing her frustration. "You are the one who's wasting time – Eli's time. You don't understand a thing about this ship."

Nicholas froze with one hand just above the screen. "Miss Armstrong," he said warningly, "leave. Now."

Chloe turned away and left the control room with fast steps.

***

The door to his quarters were only about half-way open when Matt found his arms full of Chloe sobbing into his shoulder. "What …" Sleepily, he reacted on instinct and tightened the embrace, closing the door with a nudge of his elbow. "Chloe?"

"They'll never find him," she said.

Matt guided her towards his bed. "No. C'mon, we'll find him and he'll be okay." He laid down.

Chloe plastered herself to his side, her head under his chin. "He's my best friend."

"I know." His hand brushed through Chloe's long hair. Sometimes he was a bit envious of the way Eli could influence Chloe. He could make her laugh as if it was no big deal while Matt sometimes had difficulties even making her smile. He blamed himself. He'd never been a humorous person, always a bit too earnest for his age.

"Who would be able to do something like that to him?" she asked.

Matt sighed. "We don't even know if someone's responsible, Chloe. Eli's sometimes a bit overeager …" He stopped when she tensed up.

She raised her head to look at him. "No," she said firmly. "Somebody did this to him."

"Chloe," he sighed.

She got up and turned around to him, her bright eyes angry. "Don't blame him."

"Chloe, I'm not blaming anyone."

She turned away and left the room. As the door closed, Matt fell back onto his bed and rubbed his forehead. "Dang!"

***

Camile entered Young's quarters through the open door and found him lying on his couch. He was staring at the ceiling, frowning thoughtfully.

"Colonel Young?"

He looked up at her. "You're supposed to sleep."

Camile nodded with a small smile. "Yes, so are you." She sat in the armchair and put the files she'd brought on the table.

"What's that?" Young asked, sitting up. He rubbed his tired eyes.

"Suspects."

Young sighed deeply. "We should wait until we've found Eli, don't you think?"

"I'm not blaming anyone," Camile said calmly. "I'm just considering possibilities."

"And I bet one of those possibilities is Sgt. Greer."

Camile shook her head. "I'm able to separate private business from my job, Colonel. It's obvious that Sgt. Greer has nothing to do with that. Even I can see that he gets along with Eli." She sighed. "In fact, I'm here for a different reason."

"I know. I don't agree."

"Colonel, we have to inform Homeworld Command."

"We have nothing to tell, Camile. No suspects and no corpse."

Camile shook her head. "We have to tell them that there's a problem. That we're unable to find Eli. And the IOA has to know."

"No way."

"Colonel-"

"All we've got are suspicions and as long as we've got no real leads we won't inform the IOA. They're gonna use it against me." Irritated, Camile frowned and Young shook his head. "That's got nothing to do with you, Camile. Strom's just a bit overeager."

Camile understood what Young was talking about. She didn't think all too highly of her boss herself. She knew why he'd refused to promote her. Not only was he prejudiced because she lived with a woman, but he also knew that she was way more qualified than him. And even though her sense of duty told her that she had to inform the IOA, she also thought that she could make an exception. "Fine, but we should tell Homeworld Command. No matter how far away from Earth we are – Homeworld Command oversees this mission."

Young rubbed his forehead. "Tomorrow, all right?"

"Okay."


Chapter 7
Trapped Masterlist

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