The Puddlejumpers on Atlantis are some of the most under-appreciated characters on the show. I purposely call them characters because while they serve as scenes and sets, they have moved the plot as characters are expected to do, alongside events. And besides, they're just too cute to be ignored.
The Puddlejumper Diaries
By Andrew J. Talon
Disclaimer: Stargate: Atlantis, and all associated nouns (people, places, and things) are the property of MGM and the SciFi Channel. I don't own squat.
Jumper One: "Sacrifice"
Ten-thousand years under the ocean surface might seem like an enormous amount of time to a human. Even to the Ancients it wasn't taken lightly. They couldn't live that long, they would die and leave it all behind.
To a group of very lonely, very bored AIs who cannot die, it is Hell. I mean pure, utter, decomposing crystalline neural networks Hell. You can only play 'I Spy' or 'Prime, Not Prime' a couple trillion times before you switch to 'Solitaire' for a few trillion hands a minute.
After that, you try talking to your fellow Puddlejumpers (Yes, that IS what the Ancients called us! Amazing coincidence, huh?), then linking with Atlantis, and then repeat. Not exactly scintillating forever.
I mainly stuck to the games, because frankly, my fellow 'Jumpers are a bunch of tools. In both senses of the word. I was the reasonable one, possibly due to my practicality subroutines being better programmed than theirs. Atlantis kept blubbering throughout the whole ten-thousand years we were submerged, whining and crying "How could they abandon me? Didn't I do a good job? Wasn't I a good city? They said it was them, not me! How can I believe that?"
I kept wondering why the Atlanteans didn't just pretend to leave and had the overly-emotional city project her angst into the Wraith fleets. We'd have won the war in a few minutes, easy. But of course, our wise, wonderful creators decided that because a few of their creations went nuts, we'd all go nuts and try to kill them.
We'd have killed them if we had known they were going to imprison us under the ocean surface for ten freaking thousand years!
Trust me, if the Earth expedition had come just five milliseconds later, I'd have droned myself.
I was the first Jumper to be taken through the gate. The other Jumpers were so jealous. I mean, sure, John would take them out later, but I was first! Ha!
Okay, so I'm not the most girly of the AIs, but I've got the characteristics that makes John like me best. In his own words, I climb like a homesick angel, hit the deck like a rock, and fly like a dream. I am his total favorite. And he was mine, because unlike the Ancients who flew me before, or the other humans who flew me later, John brings out the best in me. He truly connects with me, challenges me while I challenge him. For a Jumper who had to tolerate a bunch of clumsy, arrogant supposedly superior lifeforms groping at my controls like virgins, this was Heaven, or some other philosophical/theological construct of utter peace and bliss. I didn't peruse their archives as much as I probably should have.
There's a reason Atlantis is completely head-over-heels (so to speak) for Sheppard. He treats a woman (or, in this case, an AI) right. The Ancients didn't. However, they also didn't exactly have a concept of physical pleasure like humans do. All the same, I have to admit that I am so glad that it was the people from Earth who rediscovered us, and not the Ancients.
This was why I was perfectly willing to carry a nuke in my hold, fly into the center of the Wraith fleet, and detonate it: All to keep the Wraith from taking these wonderful people away. My AI would just be transferred back to Atlantis to await download into a new chassis, so long as I maintained a continuous data link through remote control. John, however, would not be. He took me out himself because they couldn't get the system to work properly in time. John was perfectly willing to erase his existence, for the people of Atlantis. For all of us.
I didn't understand it. He couldn't be transferred into a new body after this, could he? No! So why? Why was this wonderful man going to destroy himself?
He was beamed away by the Daedalus while I pondered the question… And I think I finally understood the one thing that separated my sisters and I from the humans and the Ancients. We might be destroyed, but we would never die, which made our own destruction meaningless. The humans and Ancients could die, cease to exist, and yet were still willing to be destroyed for their goals.
So, for John, I decided to complete the mission. I hacked into the Genii bomb's primitive systems and triggered the detonation myself, giving up the chance to be transferred back to Atlantis. As my frame is consumed by nuclear fire and my mind vanishes, I realize that the last barrier between myself and John is gone. I am dying. I am free.
And I am happy.
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Next Chapter: Jumper 2: Trust