Author: overstars PM
SG-11 returns bearing a virus that brings both death and a terrible, powerful gift especially for a few lost people, including a certain clone. Completed. Story 1 in the "Standard Candles" series.Rated: Fiction K - English - Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 18,858 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 3 - Published: 09-05-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2044849
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate SG-1 or any of the characters within. I do not intend to infringe upon any copyrights. I have made no financial or tangible gains from the writing or publication of this story on this site or any other site on which it may appear.
1. The Tendency of Paths to Converge
should have kissed Sam, but instead was stupid and showed off Kyiana,
and only got her sympathy when Kyiana turned out to be a Goa'uld.
The real Kyiana is too slight and waspish for him. He liked her better when she was a Goa'uld.
But he'll keep that to himself.--------
They were not warriors by nature, any of them. They were inventors, healers, artists, philosophers. Thinkers. At best, they adapted the ways of war to themselves.
The Wraith could not be avoided. They were warriors. They did not think, hypothesize, discuss. They bowed only to their own hunger.
There came a time, when the Ancients felt the Wraith closing in and knew that slowly, surely, they were going to be overrun. They'd thought about it enough to know.
They gathered one last time at Heliopolis. They feared not so much for their lives, as for their knowledge. They asked one last thing of their allies. They asked only that all they knew, all they'd done, all they'd created be saved.
So they built a library, a library with an ingenious lock on it.
it's core knowledge would be unreadable by any computer that any race
could devise. It would be encrypted to the code of the magnificent
human brain. Still, if human could just stick their heads in and have
the knowledge, even if it killed a lesser evolved being in doing so,
then it wouldn't be such a good idea. Even a moment of useful knowledge
could be a dangerous thing to a lesser race.
So they divided the process of getting, keeping, and using the library into four stages, which required each of the races to get involved. A process which meant four races stood between the Wraith and domination of life as they knew it.
The Ancients kept the Manus, the Hand of Knowledge. The physical library itself.
The Asgard kept the only method of removing the knowledge from a person's brain.
The Nox kept the way of reading the knowledge.
The Furlings, the closest to the Ancient, kept something even more important. Something that they called The Priming Agent. It was the deadman's switch for the entire process. It was a virus that served dual purposes. Firstly, it was a deadly poison to the Wraith. It destroyed their make up at the cellular level. However, the virus was costly and time-consuming to manufacture, even for such an advanced race.
It's second and more hopeful purpose was to create in any lesser race a way of becoming something like an Ancient.
It restructured DNA of the victim while writing new neural pathways into their brain, doing it's best not to damage existing memories, knowledge, and abilities. Theoretically, and ideally, it would give a person abilities to go hand in hand with the knowledge, the abilities that the Ancients themselves possessed. Giving them they ability to heal, to affect other beings with touch, to use Ancient technology, to learn language, to become telepathic, telekinetic. As the Ancients are.
This way their civilization, their race, could be carried on, rebuilt whenever any race became advanced enough to travel through the Stargate, whether their evolution had progressed sufficiently or not to make them Ancients in and of themselves.
Only, the Priming Agent was meant to be contained, used on one person in a closed area. Because it is at best a questionable venture. Some lesser evolved forms of the Ancient race could not be affected at all. Of the lesser beings that the virus could manage to affect, most died. Very few that became infected had the strength to survive it intact. Those that did were sometimes left maimed.Still, there were those who would survive. Even some who might be able handle having some or all of the abilities that go with the knowledge of the Ancients.
The Furlings themselves were forced to flee when the Wraith cullings came to a peak.
They left everything behind. Fled into the darkness of other galaxies, never to return. They left the virus in the two galaxies they felt were most at risk. In tiny metal boxes, meant to release their toxin if taken through a Stargate or off a planet.
They fled. The Wraith came and all the boxes in what is now know as the Pegasus Galaxy were found. Hundreds of Wraith died, but to no avail. It was merely a weeding of their garden. They continued to flourish.
The Wraith slept. And the boxes in what is now known as the Milky Way Galaxy remained untouched.--------
She's a good girl. Her daddy is alive. The system works.
And dad is coming home tonight from work, and he'll get a whole three days off for stand down.
If all goes well, he'll be uninjured. Amy studied extra hard, washed the dishes herself, and didn't pass notes in class. The system will work.
With two hours 'til his extended weekend, Siler is watching the clock and his every step. He's relatively safe right now, fixing a broken valve on the spinners in the gate room when SG-11 walks in from a routine meet 'n greet.
"Hey Siler!" says one of them.
"Hey there, Dr. Chisholm. Anything interesting?"
"We found a Furling settlement. Brought back a rubix cube."
of them has noticed that inside of it's box, the cube has expanded
slightly and even as they stand around exchanging pleasantries on a
late afternoon return from a mission that it is leaking virus into the
gateroom. Into the air they breathe.
"Does it have any moving parts?"
"Just don't get it near me. I'm off in two hours."
SG-11 claps. It's a long standing running joke about just how often Siler gets hurt on the job. He's going for a world record, six weeks without a scratch.
"So, Sargeant, how long has it been since your last injury?"
"Six weeks. Knock on naquadah."
Siler taps his wrench on the Stargate as he gets back on ladder to fix the spinner. SG-11 walks off talking of Furlings and how Dr. Jackson is quite possibly going to have an orgasm and they definitely want a piece of the mission, but someone is going to have to bravely approach General O'Neill and somehow, someway, make him pay attention long enough to approve the mission. Chisholm suggests letting that be Dr. Jackson's problem.
Siler laughs, concentrates on the spinners. He goes home two hours later. Amy and his wife greet him. They eat dinner together and rent a movie which is some chick flick, but hey, he lives with two chicks and the movie has sex. Life is nice and cozy. He falls asleep during the movie.
Three hours later, all of SG-11 is in the infirmary.
around four in the morning, Amy Siler's eyes shoot open and she feels
the nausea wash over her body in a sick wave of sweat. She isn't even
fully awake as she scrambles for the toilet, hunches over and proceeds
to be sicker than she has ever been.
Six hours later, the base is quarantined and the source of the illnesses is determined to be the artifact that SG-11 brought back.
Siler and his wife are fine.
Amy's fever is 104.5, she's piled under blankets. Her words are slurred and she can't stand up right. But she hasn't fallen unconscious yet.
Siler get the call from the base just around noon.
A team from the SGC comes to Siler's house and Dr. Carmichael looks Amy over. She's definitely got the virus. Her eyes are dilated, her temperature fluctuating back and forth, flu-like symptoms.
Siler tells her not to be afraid when they put her in the box, to carry her out of the house, and the men around her are all in hazmat suits.
She nods and says she understands. Only the moment they pick her body up, she screams. She claws at the inside of the box, sobs, tells her daddy that she's been a good girl.
They do not let her out the entire way to the mountain. She doesn't see her father again for the next four hours.
They lock her in a room with other sick people. Only doctors in hazmat suits are allowed in.
Three days later, Amy is still awake, when most other victims have gone comatose. This in itself is a miracle. Dr. Carmichael is hoping, praying, theorizing that perhaps Amy might be able to pull through with some kind of antibody.
That she alone, through some miracle of her immune system, can stem the tide of infection that has swept the base.
In all, there are 58 victims. 45 of them are SGC personnel. 13 are civilians.
On the seventh day, while Amy is still conscious – and she's the last one left conscious - Siler climbs into a hazmat suit and goes to sit with his daughter. They say that with her symptoms, she's got maybe six to eight more hours before she goes under.
Amy curls up in her bed and opens her eyes. Through the plastic mask she sees her dad. She looks around. She sees faces in the window.
She doesn't know why, but she can hear them, even when they aren't talking. It buzzes in her head, constantly, like being in a crowded room and unable to hear anything specific, only the wisp wisp wisp of other people.
"She's the only one left, General," says the doctor, staring down at her. His hands are in his pockets. She knows him well. Dr. Carmichael. "Please, just let her beat this. I only need one. Just one."
"How?" asks the nice blonde woman. She's just a kid. God, Lieutenant Smith had a kid her age. This virus doesn't make sense. Janet could crack this, Janet would know. I miss Janet.
"Honestly, this beyond the edge of what I understand. Her body seems to able to tolerate some of the proteins," Carmichael answers.
"What are her chances?" asks General O'Neill. He came to see her once when he saw all the other sick people. Most of them were asleep. God, if there is a God, if there's anything like a God, Oma Desala, something, don't let this kid die. Don't let him lose his daughter, not here, not like this. He's a good man. Fight it, Amy, fight this son of a bitch virus. Please God let her hold out.
Carmichael tells him, "I honestly can't say. She can tolerate some of the proteins, but her body is breaking down, all the same. If she makes it another week, it'll be a miracle."
Another man standing next to General O'Neill says, "I studied the artifact for three hours. It didn't infect me."
She may or may not know this man, maybe she met him once. He doesn't seem like a stranger. He's brighter than everyone else. There's a little more light around him. She can see him better. She knows him, she saw him once, somewhere. Somewhere.
"Luck of the draw," says blonde woman.
"Some luck," General O'Neill says. God I hate my job. Hate it hate it hate it hate it. Goa'uld and stupid viruses coming through the Stargate. And god it doesn't end ever. How did Hammond do this?
Then things flash in his mind. She sees snakes, she sees men with glowing eyes, she sees a beautiful ring, with shining water rippling in the middle. The words make sense. The snake and glowing eyes, that's Goa'uld. The ring, that's the Stargate.
She has to hold these words. She has to tell someone.
"There's something in the mountain, daddy, something in the mountain," she tells him, knowing she can't reach out and grab him even though she wants to touch another human being that isn't wearing plastic.
Daddy says, "Shh, it's okay sweetie, there's nothing in the mountain. You're gonna be okay."
"No, no. Their eyes, daddy, their eyes. Glowing eyes, don't let them get in your head, that's what they do, get in your head. And then the tall ones, they come and they take your soul. They come from the other side of the water. It's so big and shiny you just go through it, it's easy, I know it is. Daddy, there's something in the mountain, it's here in the mountain. The water and you can go through it, but only one way. You have to get out of here, we have to go. It's here in the mountain."
Through the glass, the blonde woman says, "Did she just say what I thought she said?"
General O'Neill doesn't move his mouth, but he still says, Crap.
Her dad goes away. His voice gets loud, echoes up into the glass.
"I didn't say anything, swear to god, sir," her dad tells them.
"She probably doesn't understand what she's saying," Dr. Carmichael says.
"How is that any better?" asks General O'Neill. How? How did this go so so so badly. It was a routine meet 'n greet. This can't get any worse, swear to god, it can't.
Behind the glass they get louder and louder. Thinking so many thoughts and the loudest is the man that's bright and she can't remember why she knows him.
"He's brighter, brighter than everyone else. It's like the light's on all the time. Where do I know him from?" she asks her father.
"Who, sweetie?" her father asks, but he isn't anywhere she can see.
"The bright man. He's so loud, can't you hear him? He won't be quiet, he keeps buzzing. I know him from somewhere. Listen, listen, listen, it's here in the mountain, daddy. Can't you feel it? I can feel it. It's in the mountain."
"Shh, it's okay. What's in the mountain?"
Amy leans her head back, her body starts to tremble a little, but then a wave of coolness washes over her. It feels good, to have relief from the heat. She closes her eyes and squirms just a little, to adjust to all the new coolness and looseness in her body. She keeps talking but it's not her mouth. Or her words. Or anything that belongs to her.
She listens and is just as surprised as everyone else when she starts speaking. Because it's not English. She understands it and doesn't. It sort of fluctuates in her mind, like reading lots of big words together, she has to go slow to make it work.
"She's speaking Ancient, Jack," says the bright man.
"What the hell's she saying?"
"It was in that place, maybe – I don't know that word – when it came time for them to chose. There were those who loved this plane – surface – level – something – and those who were weary. The weary made their arguments in the Place of Great Power – Vis Uban - for three days. Many followed them. Those who would not leave with the Weary Ones could only weep, because they loved this plane and were not prepared to abandon it to darkness. And so the Weary Ones left this plane and all that loved it to their fate."
Amy felt her body relax, she laid her hands on her chest and breathed out.
"I'm tired, daddy, it's time to go, we have to go."
Then she sleeps, like the rest of them.
Eventually, they start dying. The first one dies an hour after Amy sleeps.
One by one they all drop.
Four days later, only ten are left.
By the end of the next week, only Amy is left. Improbable and hanging on. She is in a dark place, where there are only strange voices and mechanical noises.
They're beginning to get on with the business of saving the world and exploring the galaxy. There are no more vigils over her. Only Siler's closest friends even bother stop by. Most people just ask and news disseminates. Fans out to tell everyone that Amy is just circling the toilet bowl. Any day now, it'll be all over.
Siler is the object of pity. Whispers and down-eyed look follow him like the water churned up in the wake of a big ship.
Then, in the middle of some silent night, while Amy is supposed to be waiting to die, she doesn't. She does the opposite. She emerges from the darkness into the dimness of the nighttime infirmary.
It doesn't take her long to figure out that she can't speak. Can't even make noises. Her vocal cords do not move. Amy needs to speak with someone, needs to find her dad. So she rolls out of the bed. The machines that are tethered to her follow her to the floor with crashes and thuds. They buzz and beep to let someone know there's been an accident.
Amy lays on the concrete floor and waits, knowing eventually, Dr. Carmichael and his army of nurses will come.
By morning only the IV in her. She sits up and eats the first breakfast she's eaten in two weeks. Her parents and her brother are glued to her side.
Once, General O'Neill even comes. They have a long serious
talk. Well, he has a long serious talk. Amy has a long, serious listen.
But somehow, they nod, shake, gesture, and awkwardly stare their way
into an understanding that Amy doesn't remember anything from when she
was sick and that if she does, even if it seems strange or unreal, that
she needs to tell her father immediately.
The doctor warns she may have experienced something close to a stroke, that she may regain full speech or never speak again, or something in between. He speaks in doctor-language, and tries to fool her into optimism.
She knows she will never speak again. Amy does not fool herself, lying in the bed in the infirmary, scribbling down her words, into believing that there is hope.
There isn't. She knows this. She isn't precisely sure where the certainty comes from, but it's there. It's real.
This is how her life will be from now on. Whether that's a bad thing, a good thing, or just a different thing, she doesn't know. Maybe she used to talk too much. Maybe she'll be one of those inspirational stories where some person starts a charity and does the whole walk-a-thon thing and raises money. And hey, it's not a bad life. It's a life.
After the last couple of weeks that Amy has had, life, any life, is a good thing.
It's not optimism, but it's something. It makes the world fit into her head and work when she tries to speak, forgetting sometimes she can't. When she has to clap, whistle, jump to get people's attention. When she has to totally relearn communication with everyone.
Or, when she's in a new school, in special classes with retarded kids that drool and sometimes throw things. Where she and the special teacher try to learn sign language and hear each other when the one kid named Precious starts to scream and cry and have a fit.--------
Of course, Jack jumps off the couch and hugs the guy. He's lost a kid, and to see Siler like that, pale and more scared than he was the time when a DHD blew up in his face, that kind of shakes Jack.
Siler sits down and asks him to help Amy at the new school and make sure people don't pick on her, to be her friend.
more importantly, Sam impresses on him the need to watch her. She said
some things while she was sick that made them think she knows, somehow,
about the Goa'uld and the Stargate. And since Jack already knows and
he's already there, could he just add that to his to-do list.
It's not the Stargate, it's not a mission, but Jack will take it.
It's something. It's a purpose.
It's good to be the hero again. Even if it's probably going to turn out to be a big nothing. But hey, being an almost-hero is better than being a definite nothing.